The Realization of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah
century after its initial institutionalization, the legacy and honourable task of imparting knowledge and preparing souls was entrusted to the 51st dai Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA. His era was that of World Wars, colonial independence, movements of freedom and pan-Islamic caliphates and unheard of scientific discovery. Recognising the nature and magnitude of social change in his time he adjusted Aljamea’s teaching system in order to produce graduates that could thrive in the complex and changing world that now surrounded them.
In 1381/1961, Syedna Taher SaifuddinRA constructed a new campus of Aljamea in Surat. The educational re-orientation and new campus heralded a fresh chapter in the history of the academy.
Reflecting current realities, beneficial educational practices and subjects were welcomed through the inclusion of courses in English, sciences and humanities. Preserving the old and enduring whilst incorporating the new and beneficial yielded immediate and long term results, as Aljamea mutually imparted spiritual and temporal education.
It was appropriate that this transformation of Darse Saifee be commemorated with a modification to its name. Jamea (jami’ah), the Arabic word for university, reflects the university calibre education brought to the institution and Saifiyah pays due tribute to the efforts of both Syednas, the original founder Syedna Abdeali SaifuddinRA and Syedna Taher SaifuddinRA. What was previously Darse Saifee now became Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah.
The 52nd dai His Holiness Syedna Mohammed BurhanuddinRA continued the development initiated by his predecessor. He widened the dimensions of teaching and learning and provided the campus with the latest technology to facilitate it.
In 1396/1976 His Holiness established an institute for the study of Quranic arts and sciences known as Mahad al-Zahra. His Holiness then endowed Mahad al-Zahra with a state of the art language laboratory that was used for language improvement as well as for enhancing the quality of Quranic recitation, a first in Quranic education.
In 1404/1983 a new campus of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah was established in Karachi by His Holiness which mirrored the academic and structural components of its sister academy in Surat. During this period, a complete renovation and refurbishment process was also undertaken for Aljamea, Surat.
Nearly 30 years later, on the occasion of his 100th birthday celebration, His Holiness established a third campus of this historic institute in Nairobi, Kenya.
The educational movement that traced its heritage to the Fatemi imams of North Africa and Egypt returned to the continent from whence it came.
With the passing of almost one thousand years since the seclusion of the imam and His Holiness’ reaching of one hundred years, ‘thousands’ and ‘hundreds’ had united indicating the exponential blessings that his tenure as al-Dai al-Mutlaq had seen.
Further indicative of his bountiful era, at the onset of his Golden Jubilee year, His Holiness’ shahzadah and successor, Syedna Mufaddal SaifuddinTUS announced on his behalf during the discourse he delivered on the occasion of Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s RA urs mubarak (death anniversary) that yet another campus of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah would be constructed in the suburbs of the great metropolis of Mumbai, India.
His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal SaifuddinTUS, the 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq is the benefactor of Aljamea-tus-Saifyah today. Like his father, His Holiness Syedna Saifuddin TUS consistently emphasizes the importance of character and moral development alongside education and learning. He has emphasized that the study of Fatemi texts and secular subjects in Aljamea should result in a student that is modest and humble yet confident in assisting the continuation of Fatemi thought and culture in today’s world.
He or she should be able to embrace traditional education and contextualize it with modernity rather than sacrificing its principles and ideals at the altar of notions of progress. Syedna Saifuddin TUS repeatedly mentions the students of Aljamea in his discourses and sermons indicating his deep affection for the academy and its children. Today, Syedna SaifuddinTUS upholds the legacy and Fatemi tradition of imparting knowledge.
Though the Fatemi educational movement, which has come to be embodied in Aljamea, spans a thousand years, it is still vibrant today due to the vitality of its philosophy and its assimilation of past wisdom along with contemporary knowledge.
Locations have varied and circumstances continuously change, but the firm resolve to disseminate knowledge and enlighten the intellect has remained and continues to remain unshaken.
Under the guidance of His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal SaifuddinTUS, it is with this resolve that Aljamea positively looks towards the future.