Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah's
Mumbai Campus

Welcome to our showcase of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah’s stunning architecture in Mumbai. This masterpiece, envisioned by Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin RA and actualized by his heir, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, mirrors the Dawoodi Bohra community’s rich heritage and modern educational approach. We invite you to explore the fascinating history and intricate details of this architectural marvel.

Legacy of learning

Salient Features of the Campus

Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah in Mumbai is a testament to the Dawoodi Bohra community’s heritage. Its masjid mirrors al-Jāmiʿ al-Azhar’s design, with high arches and lantern motifs. Yemeni stone and Indian Makrana marble are used, symbolizing the community’s roots and Indian heritage. The īwān features Mughal-inspired pillars and scalloped arches, representing the spread of divine knowledge. This architectural wonder embodies Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin’s RA vision, realized by Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS.
Masjid

Masjid

Like all the other three campuses of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah namely, Surat, Karachi and Nairobi, the masjid in the Mumbai campus holds a place of prominence within the campus and signifies the pivotal importance of ʿibādat within the Islamic framework for the acquisition of knowledge. ʿIbādat in Fatimid philosophy is not limited to prayer and fasting, rather it incorporates the holistic vitalisation of both this worldly realm and the hereafter, for all of creation. ʿIbādat and knowledge, therefore, reinforce one another such that the more one learns, the greater becomes their obligation to apply that knowledge through action and the greater degree to which they are able to do so results in a further efflorescence of understanding and discernment. The Fatimid imams demonstrated this philosophy by constructing jāmiʿ masjids, which served both as places of congregation for prayer as well as centres for the dissemination of knowledge.
the Hall of Blessings

Iwan al-Barakat

The īwān is a large ceremonial hall which in a sense, embodies the academy’s very identity. Throughout the course of Aljamea’s history, the īwān has served numerous functions. It has been the location for classes, sermons, congregations as well as key community events.

The most important function of the īwān is that it serves as a receptacle for the blessings of past dais and the wisdom they imparted, as well as an avenue for the perpetuation of those blessings at the hands of the current dai. His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA would repeatedly state that the īwān in Surat, known as the īwān al-Barakāt (the Hall of Blessings) echoed with the voices of past dais. He, like his predecessor, His Holiness Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, chose the īwān as the venue for the Imtihān Sanawī, Aljamea’s annual examinations which are attended by thousands of community members from across the world each year. From the īwān’s ghurfa (elevated day room) he would personally observe the viva voce proceedings, which are unique to the academy, for hours on end, delivering addresses, recounting historical narratives, offering counsel and engaging with students on a range of subjects. Today, his successor, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, continues this legacy. 

To represent this continuity of the duat’s blessings and the echo of their voices, the īwān in Mumbai is infused with design elements from the mausoleum of three dais interred in the Indian city of Ujjain: the 39th Dai Syedna Ibrahim Vajihuddin RA, the 40th Dai Syedna Hebatullah al-Muayyad fi al-Din RA and the 47th Dai Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin RA.

It was Syedna Abdulaqadir Najmuddin RA who conceived the Mumbai campus when he wrote to his son, the 49th Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, in 1300 H to establish a new madrasa (educational institute) in Mumbai, on the pattern of the madrasa built by the 43rd Dai and founder of Aljamea, Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin RA in Surat. More than a century later, the 52nd Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, his illustrious grandfather's namesake, announced the establishment of the Mumbai campus on the occasion of his golden jubilee as Dai Mutlaq. 

The central double-heighted space of the īwān in Mumbai is supported by intricately ornamented pillars and scalloped arches which have their origins in Mughal architecture and are widely used in community structures across India, especially the mausoleums of past dais as well as the original īwān in Surat. The scallops in the arches originate from a single high point and cascade downwards on either side of the arch increasing geometrically in number. In a sense the continuity of the arches and their scalloped design illustrate the dissemination of divine knowledge which was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed SAW and through him, to his legatee, Imam Ali bin Abi Talib AS and their progeny the Fatimid imams AS and thereafter their dais AS, spreading far and wide and growing and flourishing with the passing of time. The scallop design also alludes to the echo of the voices of the dais, which originate from a single point and subsequently reverberate in all directions in a circular ripple like pattern.
The main wall of the iwan, which is the location of the ghurfa and adjoining balcony, is adorned with a hand carved wooden bethak, a traditional seating arrangement found in the residences of past dais from where they presided over the dissemination of knowledge to their pupils. This particular bethak is a composite of design elements from the mausoleum of Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin RA in Ujjain. One of the more noteworthy patterns to be found on the bethak is that of the grape and vine. In Fatimid philosophical traditions, grapes signify knowledge. A similar grape and vine motif is found both on the holy sepulchre of Amirul Mumineen Imam Ali bin Abi Talib AS who is designated by the Prophet Mohammed SAW as the gateway to all knowledge as well as the mausoleum of Syedna Najmuddin RA who is renowned for his literary works in praise of the Prophet’s legatee and who as dai, is himself considered a gateway to the knowledge of the imams. 

The centre of the īwān’s ceiling, like the īwāns of all other campuses, is ornamented with a mudawwara, a large medallion taken from the facade of al-Jāmiʿ al-Aqmar in Cairo. It contains an inscription of the Verse of Purity from the holy Quran, signifying the role of knowledge in purifying the soul and how inversely, only those of pure and sincere intention are able to acquire and safeguard knowledge. The second floor of the īwān is decorated with hand carved wooden panels featuring designs from al-Jāmiʿ al-Azhar and further underscoring the significance of the jāmiʿ and its influence on the educational philosophy of Aljamea. 
A Beacon of Quranic Learning

Mahad al-Zahra

Mahad al-Zahra, Aljamea’s Quranic learning institute, features interconnected buildings with Quran-inspired designs. It uses modern technology for Quran memorization and study, and its serene environment includes koi ponds and gardens.
The Mumbai campus auditorium, inspired by a parable from Rasail Ikhwan al-Safa, is a space for academic discourse and cultural exchange. Its design incorporates elements representing minerals, plants, animals, and humans. Notable features include pearl and floral motifs, horse and deer designs, and peacock patterns. The auditorium, which can seat 600 people, is equipped with a 4K LED screen and advanced sound, lighting, and acoustic technologies. It hosts various events, including annual dissertation defenses.

Architectural Significance

The Mahad building, the Architectural Significanceiwan, and the masjid are interconnected, forming a continuous space. This design might be intended to facilitate movement and interaction, or to create a particular aesthetic effect. The building also has an octagonal design, which is inspired by a verse from the Quran. The eight-sided structure is symbolic, signifying the throne of Allah. This could be a way of incorporating religious beliefs and symbolism into the physical structure of the building.

Educational Impact

The Mahad al-Zahra appears to be an educational institution that focuses on Quranic learning. It facilitates the memorization of the Quran and provides instruction in Quranic sciences and arts. The institute integrates modern technology into its curriculum. The use of a Quranic voice lab suggests a focus on the oral recitation and pronunciation of the Quran, which is a significant aspect of Quranic studies. The e-learning programme indicates that the institute is leveraging digital platforms to deliver its educational content, possibly allowing for remote learning and a wider reach.

Cultural Elements

The building you’re referring to seems to have a rich historical and cultural significance. The inscriptions on the walls include the names of Fatimid imams and bismillah’s, written by past dais. The building also offers a serene environment for Quran memorisation. The campus includes a walkway area with koi ponds and gardens, providing a peaceful and tranquil setting for study and reflection. This suggests that the design of the surroundings is intended not just for aesthetic appeal, but also to support the spiritual and educational activities taking place within its walls.

Entrance

Bab Zuwayla

The main entrance to the Mumbai campus is a replica of Bab Zuwayla, which was built by Maulana Badr al-Jamaly RA the vizier of Imam al-Mustansir bi Allah AS in 1091 CE and is one of the four surviving gateways to the Fatimid city of al-Qahera known today as the old city of Cairo. Al-Qahera, the walled city built by al-Imam al-Muizz AS following his conquest of Egypt, was accessible through a number of gateways, each with its own special significance, name, purpose and place in the rituals of the state.

In Islamic philosophical traditions, intellectual gateways serve the same purpose as their physical counterparts, safeguarding against attack and allowing passage into the inner sanctum of the city. The Prophet Mohammed SAW has stated, ‘I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gateway. Whosoever desires knowledge must come to the gateway.’ Similarly, in the Rasail Ikhwan al-Safa, the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity, an encyclopaedic philosophical compendium authored by Imam Ahmed al-Mastur AS, the 8th Fatimid Imam, and studied extensively in Aljamea, there are numerous references to the epistles serving as a gateway towards broader and more detailed avenues of inquiry. 

The entrance of the Mumbai campus is not only reminiscent of the resplendence of the Fatimid era and its architectural glory, but more importantly alludes to the academy being a repository and safekeep of the intellectual and cultural heritage of the Fatimid Imams and their dais.

A short distance from the main entrance and just before the sāhat, central courtyard, sits the emblem of the academy within an arch replicated from the Holy sepulchre of Imam Husain AS, the Prophet Mohammed’s SAW grandson. The remembrance of Imam Husain AS and his martyrdom in Karbala for the sake of Islam and the cause of justice, truth and humanity constitutes one of the fundamental tenets of the Dawoodi Bohra faith and is considered the quintessence of all knowledge. The academy’s emblem was designed by the 51st Dai Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA on the pattern of al-Jāmiʿ al-Azhar’s prayer niche arch. It contains an inscription of the Quranic verse which calls towards divinity through the study and appreciation of holy scripture as well as poetic verses which seek assistance and inspiration from the Almighty for the acquisition of knowledge and its correct implementation.

Immediately to the left of the main entrance is the waqf room, a special space dedicated to the waqf (trust) deeds of all four campuses of Aljamea. They are etched in white marble and affixed to the walls of the room, with the names of the dais and their signatures done especially in gold leaf. Beginning with the original deed written by the founder of the academy, Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin RA, followed by the deed written by Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA when he renovated and expanded the Surat campus, thereafter the deed of the Karachi campus written by Syedna Burhanuddin RA and finally the deeds of the Nairobi and Mumbai campuses written by Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, the deeds provide a glimpse into the rich history of the institution and the many milestones in its continuing journey.
Fatimid jāmiʿ masjids

Central Courtyard

The vast open sāhat, or central courtyard, is a mainstay of Fatimid architecture. Jāmiʿ masjids in Cairo feature extensive and imposing open courtyards that maximise natural light and facilitate the flow of air while at the same time filling all those who enter the masjid through the relatively narrow doorways with a sense of awe. In the Mumbai campus, as in other campuses, this journey from the comparative constraint of the entrance to the vastness of the courtyard is symbolic of the academic journey each student undertakes and marks the sea change they witness in every aspect of their lives after entering the academy. 

The central courtyard of Fatimid jāmiʿ masjids, such as al-Jāmiʿ al-Anwar, also contain water features which not only serve a practical function, providing water for drinking and wudu, ritual purity, but also add to the visual appeal of the space, especially when light is reflected off the surface of the water and enhance the calmness of the environment. Both water and light symbolise knowledge in Fatimid philosophy because light enables one to see and dispels darkness which is understood as ignorance, whereas water gives life to once barren and desolate lands resulting in verdant herbage and fruit bearing trees which benefit all.
state-of-the-art

Auditorium

The design of the Mumbai campus’ state-of-the-art auditorium is inspired by a parable narrated in the Rasail Ikhwan al-Safa wherein a wise and kind king constructs a palace for the edification of his beloved children. The palace is modelled after creation and contains references to all beings and the most beneficial disciplines of knowledge that humankind must pursue. The wise king signifies Allah the Almighty Creator, his children represent all of humankind and the splendid palace symbolises the entirety of Creation from the highest of the celestial spheres to the core of the Earth.

The auditorium is envisioned as a space for academic discussion in all fields of knowledge, encompassing the entirety of creation. Most notably, it is the venue for the dissertation defence proceedings held each year for students in year eleven in the presence of faculty members and students, another distinction of Aljamea. It is also one of Aljamea’s primary avenues for cultural exchange and sharing with the wider community. As such, key elements from the parable have been incorporated into the interior design of the building and make reference to the four categories of creation: minerals, plants, animals and human beings.

Pearl motifs found on the auditorium's four primary doors speak of minerals whereas floral designs are emblematic of the plant kingdom. Animals are represented first by horses which are also found on the doors in the same pattern as the doors of some fatimid palaces in Cairo. Horses are considered the highest and most noble of all animals because of their bravery, intelligence and faithfulness. Deer which are renowned in Arabic literature for their graceful demeanour and their captivating large eyes can be found in a design band running across the length of the balcony. Motifs containing peacocks can also be found on the side walls of the auditorium in short bands. The students and faculty who are the lifeblood of the institute, represent the human element which in Fatimid philosophy is considered the raison d'etre for the creation of the entire universe. 

The combined space of the ground floor, balcony and royal box can seat up to 600 people, giving them an unobstructed view of the stage and the 10 by 6 metre state-of-the-art LED screen which can display in 4K resolution. The auditorium also makes use of superior sound, lighting and acoustic technologies which are employed in theatrical presentations as well as recitations and musical performance by the Aljamea band.
Library

Qaat al-Zawaya al-Fatimiyyah:

The hall of Fatimid corners

The dining hall of Aljamea is known as the mawāiʾd which is the plural form of māʾida denoting both the large circular platter on which meals are traditionally served in Islam as well the meal itself. The Fatimid imams were renowned for their simāt, a reference to the cloth laid down on the floor upon which meals were served. During their rule, the Islamic tradition of feeding others found renewed impetus. Historians narrate that on occasions such as Eid, the Fatimid imams would specially instruct for rich and wholesome meals to be prepared for the populace who would throng in their thousands to partake of the blessed simāt al-Fatimiyyīn. In Fatimid philosophical traditions, māʾidat is considered both as physical nourishment and as a heavenly blessing that descends upon Allah’s beloved. Just as the body requires nourishment to maintain its health and remain robust, the soul too is in need of nourishment in the form of pure knowledge to maintain its vitality and ascend in rank. Amirul Mumineen Imam Ali bin Abi Talib AS states, ‘Food is sustenance for the body while wisdom is sustenance for the intellect. When the intellect fails to find sustenance it dies the way a body does in the absence of food.’  

The 34th Dai, Syedna Ismail Badruddin RA reified this link between physical and spiritual sustenance when he vowed to provide lodging and boarding to all those who came in pursuit of knowledge, should he ascend to the leadership of the community. His legacy was safeguarded by his successors the dais, who all assumed the responsibility of providing both physical as well as spiritual nourishment to all those students who journeyed to their presence in their quest for enlightenment. Feeding students was such a labour of love that the consort of the 37th Dai Syedna Noor Mohammed Nooruddin RA would personally tend to students with the same care and affection that she would her own children.

The Mawaid in Mumbai, like the one in Nairobi, pays homage to Syedna Ismail Badruddin RA. It replicates design elements from one of his surviving havelis (residences) in Jamnagar in intricate hand carved wood work including; a central wooden panel, intricately carved pelmets atop windows, ornate wooden cross beams and pillars as well as wooden storage niches found on both floors of the Mawaid.

Quranic verses which refer to Allah’s sending down of māʾidat upon His beloved as well as traditions and poetic verses extolling the blessings and bounties inherent in coming together to partake of a meal, adorn the walls of the central cutout. The walls of the Mawaid on both floors are further decorated with artistic renderings of prophetic traditions, the sayings of the imams and references from seminal jurisprudential texts like the Daʿāim al-Islam, regarding certain beneficial and blessed foods such as dates, apples and onion seeds.
The Mawaid has a combined seating capacity of about 550 and its state of the art kitchen prepares the same number of meals twice on a daily basis, once for lunch and once for dinner. In addition it also prepares, packages and delivers 160 meals twice daily to the households of all faculty members. Menus for each meal are prepared by qualified nutritionists and take into account the requisites of a healthy and balanced diet as well as the caloric requirement of both males and females of different ages and body types. Each meal is accompanied by an intake suggestion chit which lists the individual components of the meal along with their caloric value per serving and provides guidance on how much each person should consume depending on their gender and age along with interesting nutritional facts and allergen advice.

Meals are entirely prepared in-house from responsibly sourced and freshly procured ingredients and the highest standards of hygiene are maintained at every stage of the cooking process. A strict zero-waste policy based upon accurate data collection ensures that only the right quantity of food is prepared and not even a morsel goes to waste. In line with the community’s environmental awareness guidelines, kitchen refuse is segregated for recycling and composting and the rest is disposed of in a responsible manner.
Academics and Administration

Infrastructure and
Educational Philosophy

The vast open sāhat, or central courtyard, is a mainstay of Fatimid architecture. Jāmiʿ masjids in Cairo feature extensive and imposing open courtyards that maximise natural light and facilitate the flow of air while at the same time filling all those who enter the masjid through the relatively narrow doorways with a sense of awe. In the Mumbai campus, as in other campuses, this journey from the comparative constraint of the entrance to the vastness of the courtyard is symbolic of the academic journey each student undertakes and marks the sea change they witness in every aspect of their lives after entering the academy. 

The central courtyard of Fatimid jāmiʿ masjids, such as al-Jāmiʿ al-Anwar, also contain water features which not only serve a practical function, providing water for drinking and wudu, ritual purity, but also add to the visual appeal of the space, especially when light is reflected off the surface of the water and enhance the calmness of the environment. Both water and light symbolise knowledge in Fatimid philosophy because light enables one to see and dispels darkness which is understood as ignorance, whereas water gives life to once barren and desolate lands resulting in verdant herbage and fruit bearing trees which benefit all.
Residences

Student Residences at the
Mumbai Campus

The student residences comprise two 8 floor buildings, one for male and the other for female students. Each building can house a total of 260 students. Rooms can accommodate 8 students and each student is allotted a personal bed, study table and cupboard. The residences are not merely dormitories but are envisioned as comfortable and cosy spaces where students can unwind after a long and demanding day of academic pursuits. They also function as an avenue where students can socialise and put to practise the numerous values, skills and character traits they assimilate during class. 

The 6th floor of the residential building is connected to the 6th floor of the academic building through a glass bridge which provides students residing on the top floors of the building easy access to classrooms while those on lower floors can access them through the ground floor, thereby aiding in flow and avoiding congestion.

Students are required to prepare their own breakfast. As a result, each floor is equipped with a fully functioning kitchen and an adjoining pantry area outfitted with a television where the entire floor can come together for breakfast as well as evening snacks and other informal gatherings. Students organise themselves into groups tasked with the responsibility of preparing breakfast for the entire floor and draw up a rotating schedule for the same. In addition to the cooking aspect, they also take care of budgeting, planning, menu preparation and procurement which further equips them with necessary life skills while allowing them to pursue diverse interests.

Both residences are equipped with gymnasiums and swimming pools for student training and recreation. The girls’ residence building features a rooftop swimming pool which incorporates design elements from the surrounding hills that define the topography of the Saifee Park locality. The boys’ swimming pool is located in the basement of the boys’ residence building and is inspired by Juhu beach, another iconic landmark found near Marol.
Celebrating Heritage & Community

Grand Opening of Marol
Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah

The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi inaugurated Aljamea's fourth campus in Marol on February 10, 2023.

Surat Campus

Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah,
Devri Mubarak,
Zampa Bazaar, Begampura,
Surat, Gujarat, 395003, India

261-3011110
surat@jameasaifiyah.edu

Karachi Campus

Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah
St-8 Block-C, North 
Nazimabad, Karachi,
74700, Pakistan

38636600
karachi@jameasaifiyah.edu
Nairobi Campus

Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah,
Saifee Park, Syedna Mohammed 
Burhanuddin Road, Nairobi,
00100, Kenya

020-7650283/84
nairobi@jameasaifiyah.edu
Mumbai Campus

Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah,
3 Bori Colony
Marol, Andheri East, Mumbai,
Maharashtra, 400059, India

222-8317500
mumbai@jameasaifiyah.edu
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