Al-Imtihān al-Sanawī: Annual Examinations


Continuing the legacy of his respected forefathers, His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS personally conducts and oversees the annual exams of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah. The exams commence with an address by His Holiness that sets the theme and tone for the examinations. This khutba, or discourse, commemorates the memory of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s RA tireless endeavours for Aljamea.

Pictured: The late His Holiness Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA is seen here conducting the Zikra khutba in the Great Masjid of Surat, al-Masjid al-Muʿazzam. 


The examinations signify much more than a mere test of aptitude and learning. They are a source of pride and motivation for students because they take place in the august presence of His Holiness as well as thousands of community members. He personally presides over the oral examinations of students from classes seven through eleven. Throughout the year, students study a series of epistles composed by His Holiness Dr Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, His Holiness Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA and His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. During the oral examinations, they are questioned regarding a variety of topics from these epistles and asked to relate their answers to contemporary issues, modern disciplines and real world applications. Content, oratory and poise are key components of this distinct form of assessment. The audience benefit from the volley of questions and answers, especially from the intermittent articulations made by the rectors. Often His Holiness personally poses questions and addresses the gathering.

Pictured: The late rector of Aljamea Shahzada Dr Yusuf Najmuddin QR conducting the viva voce examinations of Shahzada Ammar Bhaisaheb Jamaluddin DM in the old Iwān of Surat Jamea.


A brief introduction booklet is provided to students which, in light of the Zikra discourse, elaborates on the theme of the examinations and provides avenues for student reflection and introspection. This introduction helps students comprehend the depth of the questions asked and adds focus and relevancy to their answers. Prior to them taking place, all question papers for the written examinations are presented to His Holiness for his approval. There are a total of eight written papers which cover the various subjects taught in Aljamea. In addition, students at stage four have one more exam on the subject of their specialisation. Questions stress the application of learning and critical thinking skills. 

Although conducted primarily for Aljamea, this occasion has distinct eminence amongst the entire Dawoodi Bohra community. Aljamea, as one of its Arabic meanings suggests, gathers thousands of community members at Zikra and encourages their participation in the examinations. The structure of the examination is such that it offers an opportunity of learning for the strata of attendees and provides a venue to conduct programmes for many departments of Dawat-e-Hadiyah. There is even a separate set of written exams for faculty, alumni and members of the community to attempt in tandem with students of Aljamea. In this manner, al-Imtihān are much more than examinations in the conventional sense. They are a platform where the community unites to celebrate its collective identity and promote its various objectives.

The written examinations underway in Iwān al-Barakāt, Surat.

The four rectors of Aljamea conducting the viva voce examinations in Surat.