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Syedna's final journey begins; lakhs of mourners pay respects

Mumbai, Jan 18, 2014, (PTI): 15:09 IST
Indian Muslims join the funeral procession of the head of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. A pre-dawn stampede killed more than a dozen people Saturday as tens of thousands of people gathered to mourn the death of Muslim spiritual leader Burhanuddin in the India's financial capital, police said. Burhanuddin died Friday at the age of 102. (AP Photo)
The funeral procession of Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin today began from his Malabar Hill residence here, where lakhs of mourners gathered to pay tributes to the spiritual leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community amid tight security arrangements.

The procession, which moved at a snail pace commenced around 10 AM from Saifee Mahal, where community members converged in huge numbers for the final journey of the 102-year-old leader, who will be laid to rest at Raudat Tahera mausoleum here at Bhendi Bazar later in the day.

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin led the Namaz-e-Janaza of the late Syedna.

As scores kept joining the procession every minute, to get a last glimpse of the spiritual head while it proceeded through Walkeshwar Road in South Mumbai, the route was closed for traffic to allow easy passage.

Thousands of people from all walks of life joined hands to form a human chain across the Road and bid a tearful adieu to the departed leader, who passed away after a cardiac arrest here yesterday.

The body of the departed leader was placed in a flower-adorned casket draped with the national flag atop a open vehicle, escorted by policemen, immediate family and community heads.

Earlier in the wee hours today, at least 18 people were killed and 40 injured when a stampede broke out in the Malabar Hill area when Syedna's followers started thronging his house after learning about his death.

Dawoodi Bohra is a sect of Shia Muslims spread all over the world. One of the key principles of the sect is "patriotism as part of the faith."

The 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq of the worldwide Dawoodi Bohra community, the leader was the eldest son of Syedna Taher Saifuddin. He succeeded his father upon his death in 1965.
He was credited with transforming Dawoodi Bohras into a vibrant community and honoured with highest civilian titles like the Star of Jordan and Order of the Nile by the respective governments of Jordan and Egypt.

Syedna was conferred Honorary Doctorates for his efforts in social and educational development by renowned institutes like Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Aligarh Muslim University and University of Karachi.

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