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Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

Bibi Tahira, commonly known as Syeda Imam Begum was the last known member of the Kadiwal family and the composers of the ginans in India. She was born most probably on 1199/1785 in Kera, Kutchh. The tradition has it that she was the daughter of Syed Hashim bin Syed Buzrug Ali bin Syed Mashaikh II bin Syed Muhammad Fazal Shah bin Syed Sadruddin bin Syed Zain al-Abidin bin Syed Abdul Hasan bin Syed Mashaikh I bin Syed Rahmatullah Shah bin Pir Hasan Kabiruddin. Syed Rahmatullah Shah (1422-1519) resided in Uchh and then made Kadi, Kutchh as his permanent residence. His family therefore became known as Kadiwala Syeds. His son, Syed Mashaikh I lived in Pirana, about ten miles from Ahmedabad, and then took up his residence in Kadi. His son Syed Abul Hasan also lived in Kadi. Syed Mashaikh II (d. 1108/1697) was famous for compiling thirteen works. His son Syed Buzrug Ali's detail is not accessible, who however is said to have lived in Tando Muhammad Khan, Sind, where he died most probably in 1740 or 1745. His son Syed Hashim Ali Shah was the father of five sons and a daughter, named Imam Begum.

Imam Begum passed her youth at home. It is said that she made her first public appearance when Bibi Sarcar Mata Salamat (1744-1832) visited India in 1245/1829 and is reported to have joined her from Karachi to Jerruk, where they resided for three days, and thence proceeded to Bombay. Imam Begum resolved to settle in Bombay in 1246/1830. She used to organize the religious gathering of the Ismaili women in the Jamatkhana. She also visited Kutchh and Sind around 1253/1837 and resided at Karachi. She is also reported to have visited Bombay in 1257/1841 and had an audience of Imam Hasan Ali Shah in 1261/1845. It is said that she again visited Karachi in 1276/1860, where she died in 1282/1866 at the age of 80 years. Imam Begum was famous for her piety and learning and composed many ginans. She always remained in seclusion and hardly talked with the men. She was a strict vegetarian. She received allowances from the Imam till her death.

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