The untold story of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims of Chennai city gets unfolded here with their interesting tales of settlement, and their journeys.


Title page of book Mausam e Bahaar printed in 1311 hijri i.e.130 years ago.  Written by Miyansaab Sheikh Mohammad Ali ibn Mulla Jeeva Bhai.
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sakhawat hussain akbari
Sakhawat Hussain Akbari (1877- 1932) with his children

Sakhawat Hussain Akbari was the 7th generation of Mulla Jafferji. He was born to Akbar Hussain and since then the surname Akbari has stuck and is still carried forward by his children and grandchildren all over the world. He studied in Madrasa-e-Azam and used to walk daily to the school on Mount road.
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Mahmud Ali Mulla Enayat Husain, also a descendant of Mulla Jafferji, was born in Madras but later moved to Bombay. He worked at the Banque De Paris as an accountant.
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History of the first Bohra Muslim of Madras

Family tree of Mulla Jafferji, descendent of Syedna Qutubuddin Shaheed, first Bohra of Chennai

In the late 1790s, Mulla Jafferji ibn Mulla Ismailji came to Arcot from Surat, in search of a job.

Mulla Jafferji was a direct descendent of Dai Syedna Qutub Khan Qutubuddin Shaheed’s (AQ) daughter Ajabboo Saheba of Ahmedabad. She was married to Mahabat Khan, who was a direct descendant of Rasoolullah SA.

Jafferji came to Arcot in Tamil Nadu via the Malabar coast and joined his uncle, Sheikh Ahmed Ali in Arcot, who helped him set up a bangle business. Eventually, he moved from Arcot to Madras in 1796 and set up a garment business. According to one theory, this was because his uncle who was a courtier in the darbar of the Nawab of Arcot came to know that the nawab had a bad eye for his daughter Halimabi, so he got her married to Mulla Jafferji and sent them away to Madras in 1800.

There in Madras, Jafferji started a garment business. Soon he tasted success and his garments were imported to outside India. He came to be known as a successful trader and was given the title of Malek ut Tajjar by the Arcot Nawab. After a couple of years, his uncle joined him in Madras but soon after passed away in 1803. Sheikh Ahmed Ali’s grave — built in 1803 — lies in the cemetery behind the Mohammedi Masjid and is the oldest Bohra grave in the city. Jafferji died in 1815 and is buried here as well.

Jafferji then bought a piece of land and built Saifee Mosque in 1810, the first mosque in Moore Street. He had two wives, 5 sons, and 3 daughters. he died in 1821.

If you have an interesting story to share about the early Dawoodi Bohra Muslims of Chennai or incidents and experiences of your own, please mail us with a photograph of the same. We welcome relevant pictures, tributes, snippets, biographies, etc., that may add value to the site.

Wives and Family of Mulla Jafferji.

Mulla Jafferji married twice and had 8 children, 5 were sons. His son Peer Khan was an eminent poet, pen name Tapish.

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