Burhanuddin was born in Surat, Gujarat, India. He was appointed to be the future Dā‘ī at the age of 19 by his father, the previous Dā‘ī l-Muṭlaq, Taher Saifuddin. Burhanuddin succeeded his father, upon the latter's death, when he was 53 years of age. He has seven sons and three daughters and all members of his family reside at Saifee Mahal, Mumbai.
Burhanuddin completed recitation of the Quran in 1921.At around the age of 13, he escaped an accident when bridge railing collapsed while on travel in Colombo, where his vehicle got hung on one wheel. He got lakab of Burhanuddin at age of 15 on his occasion of misaq. He received the designation of hadiyath (Sheikh) from 51st Dai at the age of 17 (1931 A.D.) and later designated as mazoon at the age of 20. He became hafiz at age of 21 (1935 A.D.) and married Amatullah Aai two years later.
Much later (1381 AH) he made a trip to Yemen to visit the earlier Dais of Yemen and consequently received the designation of "Mansural-Yaman".
At the age of 53 (1965 A.D.) he became 52nd Dai on death of his father Taher Saifuddin.
Burhanuddin organised Ashura (Imam Husain's) function at various locations and addressed the gathering of Dawoodi Bohra (invited from all over world):
Cairo (1980 and 1981)
Karachi (1977, 1983, 1987, and 1996),
Nairobi (1984 and 1998)
Mumbai (2009, 2010 and 2011),
Colombo (1970, 1991, 1999, 2007, and 2008)
Burhanuddin's 100th birthday (as per AH) celebrated on Rabiul Aakhir 20th 1432 AH which fell on 25 March 2011. On this historic year staggering numbers of his Dawoodi Bohra followers, intent on congratulating their leader, attended the functions in Mumbai in his presence on this occasion.
Ailing Burhanuddin appointed his second son Syedi Mufaddal Saifuddin as his successor in June 2011 during his London stay
Education, culture and work for men and women
Burhanuddin supervises the curriculum of the Arabic academy Al Jamea tus Saifiyah and has emphasized education and modernization for both men and women of the community. The quest for knowledge includes religious education as well as secular study in universities throughout the world.It is an Islamic Arabic Academy situated in the heart of Surat, India which is a leading theological University for Dawoodi Bohras. It was founded in 1814 by the 43rd Dai Abdeali Saifuddin.
In 1920, Dr. Taher Saifuddin transformed this institution into a university that also promoted education for Bohra girls. The university has seen tremendous expansion and now has state-of-the-art facilities and a competent International Baccalaureate Office (IBO) with acceptance worldwide.
His era has also been marked by a widespread programme of construction of mosques, mausoleums and community buildings in Bohra centres around the world. There is, for example, the Raudat Tahera, the mausoleum of his father Taher Saifuddin in Mumbai, India. The mausoleum has the entire Qur'an engraved on its four walls. This has been done in gold leaf on marble with precious gems encrusted in all the 'Bismillahs' (the opening verses of each individual chapter of the Qur'an). He has also made a contribution to the holy shrine of Ali, the first Shiah Imam and fourth Sunni Caliph.
In 1980, he completed the renovation and restoration of the Mosque of al-Ḥākim in Cairo and since then, several other Fatimid era mosques of Cairo have been restored. In the wake of this endeavour, Bohra communities across the world have sought to build their own mosques in their hometowns and Bohra mosques have been constructed as far afield as North America, Europe, Africa and Australia. These community centres and places of worship have fostered both a local and worldwide sense of togetherness and brotherhood which is seen most vividly in the annual gathering to commemorate the martyrdom of Muhammad's grandson, Husayn ibn Ali at Karbala in the seventh century.
Burhanuddin also contributed towards the re-establishment of the Saifee Hospital in Mumbai in June 2005.
He delivers nine days of sermons every year, the event taking place in a different city each time. Elsewhere, the commemoration also takes place in every Bohra centre across the world, with sermons given by appointed priests to local communities. He also gives scholarships to students in India. He has developed a Trust in Mumbai for this purpose and many Dawoodi Bohra students have been assisted.
Awards and accomplishments
Burhanuddin has been awarded :
- Degree of 'Doctor of Islamic Sciences’ by the Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt on March 13, 1966.
- Degree of ‘Doctor of Theology’ by the Aligarh Muslim University in India on October 17, 1966.
- Degree of 'Shahadat-e- Taqdeer' by Ahlul Bait University, Karbala, Iraq
- Title of 'The Star of Jordan' by government of Jordan
- Title of 'The Vishaul Nile' (order of Nile) by then-President of Egypt, Mubarak.
- Title of 'Star of Texas' by Texas
Burhanuddin has been involved with several notable projects including:
The Raudat Tahera in Mumbai.
The repair and renovation of the Mosque Al Jame ul Anwar.
The repair and renovation of the Mosque Al Aqmar in Egypt.
The gold plating of Maulana Ali's Zaree in Najaf.
The gold plating of Maulana Abbas e Alamdaar's Zaree in Karbala.
The construction of Rasul Husain(Cairo)Zarih in Egypt.
The Mukalafat-al-Rasool next to Rasul[original research?] Hussain, where some of the Imams are buried.
The construction of Maulatena Zainab's Zaree in Egypt.
The construction/renovation of The Grand Mosque of Kufa.
The renovation of the maqsurah (musoleam) of Imam Husayn
The construction of Saifee Hospital in Mumbai (India)
Under his direction, his followers in Yemen constructed the mausoleum of Sayedna Hatim and a mosque in Hutaib Mubarak,mausoleum of Syedna Ali Shamshuddin Bin Abdullah in Shareka and of Syedna Idris in Shibam. He also undertook projects for providing water and electricity to the faiz and town. The roads to ziyarats in Yemen were made more accessible to vehicles by him.
In 1976 Burhanuddin addressed enlighten gathering in the historical Royal Albert hall, London and in 1982 he addressed International Islamic Seminar at Colombo.
He was elected as the Chancellor of the Muslim University of Aligarh by the Court of the University in its meeting on October 3, 1999. On April 26, 2000 he visited Australia and became the first Da'i al-Mutlaq to have traveled to five continents.
In June 2004 Mohammed Burhanuddin was conferred a Doctorate of Literature (Honoris Causa) by the Governor of Karachi at a ceremony held at the Karachi University. He has also been honored by the highest civilian ranks of Jordan and Egypt.
The cities of San Jose, Houston, Dallas, Irving and Richmond Hill have accorded him an Honorary Citizenship and Keys to their cities.
In August 2005, he inaugurated a mosque in the United States in Fremont, California. President George W. Bush congratulated him for this in a letter from the White House.
Other Fatimid architectural contributions
Renovated Lulua Mosque, Cairo
Renovated Aqmar Mosque, Cairo
Renovated Juyushi Mosque, Cairo
Mosque Imam Abadullah, Salamia, Syria
Zarih Ja'far at-Tayyar, Jordan
Zarih, Sayyeda Ruqayya, cairo
The burial place of Imam Hussein's head in Askelan,Israel
The 52 nd Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA will live on and on; in the annals of history, for immemorial, in the being of his mansoos, the 53 rd Dai, Syedna AaliQadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS in whose glowing visage shines Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA ever brightly. May Allah grant him a long and healthy life till the Day of Qiyaamat.