Zulfiqar Husain

Man of courage and compassion

by Saifuddin Insaf

Zulfiqar Husain

Born on 5th July 1930 and died on 8th October 2008 Zulfiqar Husain was one of those Dawoodi Bohras who had witnessed the incoming authoritarianism and corruption in the Dawat’s establishment as it was earlier phase of the Sayedna Taher Saifuddin’s regime. He often used to quote Iqbal’s following couplet in his speeches:

Taqleed ki ravish se tau behtar hai khudkushi
Rasta bhi dhoondh, Khizr ka sauda bhi chhod de

This showed his anger against the blind following of the so-called “Khizr-e-raah” of his community. It also showed his determination to continue his welfare work without toeing the line of submission to the Kothar, as he considered committing suicide better than helpless submission.

Though several books have been written about Zulfiqar Husain Saheb and his work by the beneficiaries of his services but personally he shunned his own publicity.

Koyee laga naa saka uske qud ka andaza
Woh asman tha magar sab se jhuk ke milta tha

Faiz-E-Aam Trust Charitable Hospital.

Only publicity through small pamphlets he made was regarding the services offered by the various institutions like Faiz-e-Aam Trust, Faiz-e-Aam Hospital, Akberbhoy Trust, Muslim Educational Society, Maulana Azad School which later became Maulana Azad College and Hostel with the help of Dr. Rafiq Zakaria when he was elected as MLA., Aurangabad Peace Association, Marathwada Sanskritik Mandal and College, Bombay Mercantile Bank, Prerna Trust, Sir Sayyed College, Balwant Library, Bharti Vidiya Bhavan Aurangabad, Maharashtra Housing Board, Handmade paper Manufacturers Co-operative Society, Indian Institute of Rural Workers, Hydrabad Mutual Benefit Trust, just to name a few.

It is important to note Zulfiqar Husain Saheb’s services to the cause of reform in the Dawoodi Bohra Community, because they will inspire others to do the same in their respective areas:

  • Markaz: The Husaini Alam Bohra Jamatkhana and Bohra Masjid-e-Mohammadi were built by the ancestors of Hydrabad reformists and they were in their possession. But when they were usurped by Sayedna and the reformists were refused entry into them the Andhra Pradesh Dawoodi Bohra Jamat inspired by Zulfiqar Husain and financially helped by Dr. Yusuf Husain Arastu constructed a four-story multipurpose building named as “Markaz” in just 100 days which included a masjid for prayers, a community hall for social and religious gatherings, dormitory for students and travelers and a center for religious education (Madresa).
  • Marathwada Waqf Board: After this experience of losing their valuable properties in Hydrabad the first thing Zulfiqar Husain Saheb did was to get a reformist Dawoodi Bohra appointed on the Marathwada Waqf Board. He remained on Waqf Board for three years. This was in order to protect the Waqf Board from manipulation by Sayedna’s family members. With Zulfiqar Husain Saheb’s efforts till today the Sayedna remains a mere “Mutawalli”(Caretaker) of Dawoodi Bohra properties in Marathwada. He did not allow them to have his absolute control over them in the name of “Sole-trustee” as they have done elsewhere.
  • Registered Kazi for performing Nikah: As Sayedna claims that only those Nikah which are performed by his appointed Amils are valid, Zulfiqar Husain Saheb got the reformist Bohras registered as government appointed kazi officially. At present Janab Abdullah Bhai Engineer is the registered Kazi.

God had given Zulfiqar Hussain Saheb a very sensitive heart and a will to do everything possible to help the poor and needy. Right from a very young age he was involved in social and educational work of especially Dawoodi Bohras and other Muslims in the Marathwada region.

He established numbers of Madresas, schools, colleges and bank in Aurangabad. When he became known due to his dedicated social work late Sayedna Taher Saifuddin and Yusuf Najmuddin were as usual quick to take credit of his fame.

Zulfiqar Husain Saheb was instrumental in establishing a branch of the Bombay Mercantile Co-op. Bank in Aurangabad which provided decent jobs and opportunity to financial progress of many Dawoodi Bohras and others poor and needy in the Marathwada region.

Those close associates of his who have left him under pressure from Kothar have also nothing to say against him except praises in their affidavits in the Supreme Court of India in the Excommunication case.

In the 1980s Sayedna Burhanuddin Saheb suddenly started an agitation against the Bombay Mercantile Co-op. Bank. This act of Sayedna was destructive as it rendered thousand of Dawoodi Bohras jobless and many more people receiving timely monitory help from this bank. The director of the bank, Mr. Zulfiqar Husain and other Bohras employees were asked to resign from the services of the bank which they refused.

As the pressure to resign mounted through local Amil, initially the local Bohras under the leadership of Zulfiqar Husain Saheb led their agitation against the tyrant Amil. Ultimately Zulfiqar Husain Saheb and his companions decided to join the Dawoodi Bohra Reform Movement. With his organisational ability he soon became the Vice-president of the central organisation, Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community (CBDBC).

Zulfiqar Husain receives an award.

Zulfiqar Husain Saheb got the support of academicians and social leaders like, Rafiq Zakaria, Azeem Saheb and Govindbhai Shroff, which widened his scope of activities. He organised the 9th World Dawoodi Bohra Conference in Aurangabad in 1995. This conference was indicative of Zulfiqar Husain Saheb's popularity as eminent persons of all religions and various political parties were present in the conference.

In 1982 a tragedy happened in Aurangabad. An old house collapsed and the occupant of the house died leaving behind five helpless children. This incident touched the heart of Zulfiqar Husain Saheb and he decided to establish Faiz-e-Aam Trust as a long term solution for such casualties. Thus under the able chairmanship of Zulfiqar Husain Saheb the "Faiz-e-Aam Trust" was established which provided the following services:

  • To help people suffering due to natural calamities.
  • To help students seeking higher education in technical and medical fields.
  • Loan to students for higher education abroad.
  • Financial help to establish educational institutes.
  • Financial help to the institutes which provide medical help and to start ambulance services.
  • Treatment and financial help to the patients suffering from cancer and diseases of lungs and heart.
  • Financial help to physically handicapped people.

He made untiring efforts and built a huge hospital "Faiz-e-Aam Trust Hospital" in Kazipura area near Aurangabad to provide above mentioned facilities.

Zulfiqar Husain honoured for his
contribution to Marathwada.

Zulfiqar Husain Saheb was also founding president of Akberbhoy Trust. He was also instrumental in forming “Aurangabad- Hydrabad Mutual Benefit Fund.” On 21st November 2007 Zulfeqar Hussain Saheb was honoured with prestigious Padmavibhushan Govindbhai Shroff Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution to the social welfare of Marathwada and for his remarkable contributions in the development and prosperity of Marathwada.

These days, one can hardly find such dedicated leaders like him, especially when the rich and wealthy Bohras are busy in sycophancy. Just think, is it possible to achieve such honour and distinction by any Bohra under domination of Kothar?

Zulfiqar Husain Saheb was also a crusader for fostering inter-religious harmony in the society. He had lost his wife some years ago and had also undergone heart surgery. With all this tragedies he was as active and dedicated to work till the very last.

His death reminds us of the death of his close associate Dr. Yusuf Arastu’s sad demise in America in July 2008. Dr. Yusuf Arastu was a renowned eye-surgeon. It is a great loss to the Dawoodi Bohra Reform Movement.