Over four centuries ago in 946/1539, when the duʿāt came to India the locus of learning shifted with them. Ahmedabad, a city in western India soon became the seat of Dawat where the 27th dāʿī, Syedna Dawood bin Qutubshah RA, established an academy for Fatimi theology.
Since the community at that time was perceived and labelled as a non-conforming, heretical minority by various governors and clerics, it suffered extensive persecution and discrimination at their hands. However, the duʿāt adhered to their traditions of learning, never failing to fulfil their responsibilities even in the direst of circumstances. In these trying times, teaching sessions were sometimes held on rooftops late at night or even in underground shelters.
This movement shifted with the duʿāt as their seat of Dawat moved from Ahmedabad to other cities in India such as Jamnagar, Mandvi, Ujjain, Burhanpur and finally to Surat. In 1225/1810 almost after three centuries, this educational movement was institutionalised by the 43rd dāʿī, Syedna Abdeʿali Saifuddin RA, in Surat and took the name of Darse Saifee. In this purpose-built academy, funded from Syedna Saifuddin’s RA own personal wealth, stages of learning were defined and an academic hierarchy was formed. After centuries of transition and flux, the educational movement of the Dawoodi Bohra community took root in the city of Surat, India.