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Differences in belief between Bohras and Nizaris
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ONiazi



Joined: 05 May 2003
Posts: 56
Location: Deerfield, IL, USA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 6:44 pm    Post subject: Differences in belief between Bohras and Nizaris Reply with quote

Assalamu aleikum!

What are the differences between Bohra Ismailis and Nizari Ismailis?

I know that practice-wise the both groups differ remarkably - so much so that one would not consider them part of the same group (Ismailis) of Shi'ism. Yet, how do they differ doctrinally and theologically? (Besides, of course, their Imam being in ghaibat and the Nizari Imam being mawjud and hazir.)

(I think it's interesting how Gujarati plays a large role in both groups.)

Thanks!

Mowla hafiz,
ON
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wa alaykum Salaam, Ahalan wa salan

Bohoras are an offshoot of the Fatimid Dawa that spread into the Indian subcontinent hence their connection to Gujerat. They belong to the Musteali faction of the Fatimid Ismaili split. Most of their beliefs stem from the Fatimid period and have not been modified a great deal unlike the Nizari Ismailis whose beliefs changed radically after the fall of the Fatimid period. Hence the Bohoras still retain the practices of Ismailis during the Fatimid period which include the Salat, Sawm, Hajj etc. One could say that the Bohoras retained the 'zaheri' aspect of Fatimid Ismailism whereas the Nizari Ismailis retained and developed the 'batini' aspect. I believe they still follow the Fatimid theology and philosophy whereas the Nizari Ismailis have modified their systems significantly since then.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 5:20 am    Post subject: Bohoras - Different Accent Reply with quote

I am curious as to why the Bohoras speak Gujerati with a different accent than the rest. They pronouce the letter "t" differently. Can anyone explain?
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:31 am    Post subject: 'Ismaili Communities - South Asia’ Reply with quote

'Ismaili Communities - South Asia’

This article is an edited version of an article originally published under the title ‘Ismaili Sects - South Asia’ in Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, Vol. 3, pp. 185-187, ed. David Levinson and Karen Christensen, New York, 2002.
Farhad Daftary and Azim Nanji

An important Shi‘i Muslim community, the Ismailis as an entity emerged in 765 from a disagreement over the successor to the sixth imam, Ja‘far al-Sadiq. The Ismailis chose Isma‘il and then traced the imamat through Isma‘il’s son Muhammad and the latter’s progeny. The bulk of other Shi‘i, however, eventually recognised 12 imams, descendants of Isma‘il’s brother Musa al-Kazim. The two main Ismaili branches in India are the Musta‘lis (Bohras) and the Nizaris (Khojas). The Nizaris, led by the Aga Khan, also have populations in Pakistan, Iran, Central Asia, East Africa, Europe, and North America.

Early History

By the middle of the ninth century the religiopolitical message of the Ismaili da‘wa (mission) aiming to win recognition for the Ismaili imam as the rightful interpreter of the Islamic revelation was disseminated in many regions by a network of da‘is (missionaries). The earliest Ismaili missionaries arrived in Sind (in today’s Pakistan) in 883, initiating Ismaili activities in South Asia.

By 909, the Ismailis had succeeded in establishing the new Fatimid caliphate with their imam as head, in rivalry with the ‘Abbasid caliphate (750-1258) established by Sunni Muslims. Around 958 an Ismaili principality was established in Sind, with its seat at Multan, where large numbers of Hindus converted to Ismailism. Ismaili rule ended in Sind in 1005, but Ismailism survived in Sind and received the protection of the ruling Sumra dynasty. The Sulayhids of Yemen, who acknowledged the suzerainty of the Ismaili Fatimid caliph-imams, played a crucial role in the renewed efforts of the Fatimids to spread the Ismaili cause in South Asia. In 1067 missionaries sent from Yemen founded a new Ismaili community in Gujarat in western India. The mission maintained close ties with Yemen, and this new Ismaili community evolved into the present Bohra community.

In 1094 the Ismaili community became divided over who would become the nineteenth imam; the two branches resulted from this division, each of which developed its own religious and literary traditions.

Musta‘li Ismailis (Bohras)

The Musta‘li Ismailis founded their stronghold in Yemen, where in the absence of the imams the da‘i acted as executive heads of the da‘wa organisation and as community spiritual leaders. They were designated as da‘i mutlaq (da‘i with absolute authority).

The Musta‘li da ‘wa

The Musta‘li da‘wa in South Asia remained under the strict supervision of the da‘i and the da‘wa headquarters in Yemen until the second half of the sixteenth century. In South Asia, the Musta‘li Ismaili da‘wa originally spread among the urban artisans and traders of Gujarat; the Hindu converts became known as Bohras.

Many were converted in Cambay, Patan, Sidhpur, and later in Ahmadabad, where the Indian headquarters of the Musta‘li da‘wa were established. Early in the sixteenth century the headship of the Musta‘li Ismailis passed to an Indian from Sidhpur, and later the headquarters of this Ismaili community were transferred permanently from Yemen to Ahmadabad, where the da‘i could generally count on the religious tolerance of the Mughal emperors. By then the Ismaili Bohras of South Asia greatly outnumbered their co-religionists in Yemen.

Challenges for the Bohras

In 1589 a succession dispute over the position of the da‘i mutlaq split the Musta‘li Ismailis into the rival Da‘udi and Sulaymani branches, each of which followed a separate line of da‘i. Subsequently the Da‘udi Bohras were further subdivided in India as a result of periodic challenges to the authority of their da‘i mutlaq. In 1624 a third Bohra splinter group appeared under the name of ‘Aliyya, a small community of 8,000 still centred in Baroda. In 1785 the headquarters of the da‘wa organization of the Da‘udi Bohras were transferred to Surat, still a centre of traditional Islamic and Ismaili learning for the Da‘udi Bohras.

The Bohras, like other Shi‘i Muslims, were periodically persecuted in South Asia, and many converted to Sunni Islam, the religion of the Muslim rulers of Gujarat and elsewhere. However, with the consolidation of British rule in India in the early nineteenth century, South Asian Ismailis were no longer subjected to official persecution. The total Da‘udi Bohra population of the world is currently estimated at around 700,000 persons, more than half of whom live in Gujarat. Since the 1920s Bombay has served as the permanent seat of the da‘i mutlaq of the Da‘udi Bohras and the central administration of his da‘wa organisation.

The Sulaymani Ismailis, numbering around 60,000, are concentrated in northern Yemen, with only a few thousand Sulaymani Bohras living in South Asia, mainly in Mumbai (Bombay).

Nizari Ismailis (Khojas)

Nizari Ismaili da‘wa

In the late eleventh century, the Nizari Ismailis founded and organised a state with a network of mountain strongholds in Iran and Syria, which the Mongols destroyed in 1256. Around the thirteenth century, the Nizari Ismaili da‘wa was introduced into the Indian subcontinent. The earliest Nizari da‘i operating in South Asia apparently concentrated their efforts in Sind (modern-day Punjab in Pakistan), where Ismailism had persisted clandestinely since Fatimid times. Nizari da‘is were referred to as pirs in South Asia. Pir Shams al-Din is the earliest figure associated with the commencement of Nizari Ismaili activities in Sind. The Nizari da‘wa continued to be preached secretly in Sind by descendants of Shams. By the time of Pir Sadr al-Din, a great-grandson of Pir Shams, Nizari missionaries had established their own hereditary dynasty of pirs in South Asia with sporadic contacts with the Nizari imams who continued to reside in Iran.

Pir Sadr al-Din consolidated and organised Nizari activities in South Asia and strengthened the Nizari Ismaili, or Khoja, community in the Indian subcontinent. His shrine is located near Ucch, south of Multan. Sadr al-Din converted many Hindus from the Lohana trading caste and gave them the title of Khoja. The specific Nizari Ismaili tradition that developed in India is sometimes referred to by the vernacular translation of the Qur’anic term sirat al-mustaqim, rendered as Satpanth (sat panth) or the ‘true way’.

Pir Sadr al-Din was succeeded by his son Hasan Kabir al-Din, who eventually settled in Ucch, which served as the seat of Nizari Ismailism in South Asia. Pir Hasan was reportedly affiliated with the Suhrawardi Sufi order, at the time prevalent in western and northern India. Multan and Ucch in Sind, where Ismailism had become established, were also the headquarters of the Suhrawardi and Qadiri Sufi orders. In the next two or three centuries Ismailism, in its Nizari form, re-emerged in the subcontinent, in forms and ideas having much in common with Sufism. The nature of this relationship is not clear, but recent research suggests that the Ismailis along with the Sufis spearheaded the spread of Islam in rural areas of India. The Ismaili heritage and contribution to Islam in South Asia are best reflected in their literary traditions, preserved and developed over centuries and aptly called ginans, from the Sanskrit jnana, meaning reflective or contemplative knowledge.

After the death of Pir Hasan Kabir al-Din a section of the community seceded and established itself in Gujarat, becoming known as Imam Shahis. The majority continued to adhere to the authority of the Nizari imams.

Ginans and Their Historical Context

Expressions of devotion and spirituality

With scholars’ growing realisation that oral and so-called popular expressions of Muslim devotion and spirituality constitute a vital component of Islamic life and practice, there is increasing interest in the texts that preserve, in local languages, the devotional spirit of Muslim mysticism in the Indian subcontinent. In the South Asian context such texts represent part of the processes of conversion, negotiation, and transmission of established traditions of Muslim spirituality and ideas. The ginans emerged in a milieu where both oral and written traditions were well established. Because of their primary role in ritual and religious life, the performative and recitative elements of such devotional expressions were much more pronounced than was the case, for instance, for Sufi poetry.

Among the Nizari Ismailis, ginan has come to refer to that part of their tradition whose authorship is attributed to the pirs who undertook conversion and preaching. It is important to distinguish the various strands making up the hagiography of the pirs and to isolate the elements that reflect traces of ancient tradition and form the nucleus of later narratives. These are rarely concerned with imparting objective records of the past; the true value of the ginan narratives lies in their dual perspective on the tradition: one level mirroring the impact and continuing influence of the earlier pirs on the community’s collective memory, and the other revealing the community’s beliefs and understanding at various stages in its history.

Modern Period

The 46th Nizari Ismaili Imam Hasan Ali Shah (1817-1881), who received the honorific title of Aga Khan (‘lord’) from the monarch of Iran, Fath Ali Shah Qajar, emigrated from Iran to India in the 1840s and eventually settled in Bombay; he was the first Nizari Ismaili imam to live in India. Aga Khan I established elaborate headquarters and residences in Bombay, Poona, and Bangalore. As the spiritual head of a Muslim community, like other communities in British India, Aga Khan I was accorded recognition of his role in the legal framework of the empire. Aga Khan I tried to strengthen the religious identity of his followers. His successors to the Nizari Ismaili imamat adopted modernisation policies and introduced new administrative and institutional frameworks for guiding the affairs of their Khoja and other Nizari followers. Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III, the 48th imam, led the Nizari Ismailis for 72 years (1885-1957), longer than any of his predecessors. He became well known as a Muslim reformer and statesman owing to his prominent role in Indo-Muslim and international affairs, as well as a wealthy sportsman and breeder of racehorses.

The Nizari Khojas, along with Bohras, were among the earliest Asian communities to settle in East Africa. Many from the Nizari Khoja communities of East Africa, India, and Pakistan have emigrated to Europe and North America since the 1970s. The Khojas today represent an integral part of the Nizari communities scattered in more than twenty-five countries.

They currently recognize Prince Karim Aga Khan IV as their 49th imam. The present Nizari imam continued and substantially expanded the modernisation policies of his grandfather and predecessor and developed new programmes and institutions, including the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Under the leadership of their recent imams, the South Asian and other Nizari Ismailis, numbering several millions, have entered the twenty-first century as a prosperous and progressive community with a distinct identity and a variety of regional traditions.

Further Reading

Abdul Husain, Mian Bhai Mulla, Gulzare Daudi, for the Bohras of India, Ahmadabad, India: Amarsinhji Press, 1920.

Ali, Syed Mujtaba, The Origin of the Khojahs and Their Religious Life Today. Wiirzburg, Germany: R. Mayr, 1936.

Asani, Ali S., ‘The Ismaili Ginans as Devotional Literature’, Devotional Literature in South Asia, ed. R. S. McGregor. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 101-112, 1992.

Daftary, Farhad, The Ismailis: Their History and Doctrines, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Hamdani, Abbas H., The Beginnings of the Ismaili Da‘wa in Northern India, Cairo, Egypt: Sirovic Bookshop, 1956.

Kassam, Tazim R, Songs of Wisdom and Circles of Dance: Hymns of the Satpanth Ismaili Muslim Saint, Pir Shams, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995.

Lokhandwall, Shamoon T., ‘The Bohras, a Muslim Community of Gujarat’, Studia Islamica 3, pp. 117-135, 1955.

Nanji, Azim., The Nizari Ismaili Tradition in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent, Delmar, NY: Caravan Books, 1978.

Schimmel, Annemarie, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, Chapel Hill, NC University of North Carolina Press, 1975.

Shackle, Christopher, and Zawahir Moir, Ismaili Hymns from South Asia: An Introduction to the Ginans, London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1992.
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star_munir



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are some major mistakes in this article by David Levinson and Karen Christensen, New York, 2002.
Farhad Daftary and Azim Nanji

First:
Nizari da‘is were referred to as pirs in South Asia.

Nizari dais were not referred as Pir. Pir word was and is used for "Imam Mustwada" It is clear from Ginans that dais were not referred as Pir for example about Pir Shams it is in Ginan that
The manifest guide from the begining is Shams. He is indeed the one who has wandered through numerous ages.
[Ginan Aad Gur Shams mun naavar Jaan verse 1]

Second:
By the time of Pir Sadr al-Din, a great-grandson of Pir Shams, Nizari missionaries had established their own hereditary dynasty of pirs in South Asia


No comments....As any one with proper knowledge of Ismaili history can understand that thats not the true.

Third:
Pir Hasan was reportedly affiliated with the Suhrawardi Sufi order, at the time prevalent in western and northern India.


Nonsense for any Ismaili to even think like that !


Fourth:
After the death of Pir Hasan Kabir al-Din a section of the community seceded and established itself in Gujarat, becoming known as Imam Shahis. The majority continued to adhere to the authority of the Nizari imams

The sect of Imam Shahis was formed at the time of Syed Mohammad Shah after the death of Syed Imam Shah. According to the Shorter Encylopedia of Islam, "He [Syed Imam Shah] can not be regarded as the founder of a new sect as he remained loyal to the Imam of his time."
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 10785

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

star_munir wrote:

Nizari dais were not referred as Pir. Pir word was and is used for "Imam Mustwada" It is clear from Ginans that dais were not referred as Pir for example about Pir Shams it is in Ginan that
The manifest guide from the begining is Shams. He is indeed the one who has wandered through numerous ages.
[Ginan Aad Gur Shams mun naavar Jaan verse 1]

Our Pirs were part of the Nizari Dawat and therefore they were Dais. But they were referred to as Pirs in South Asia. In my opinion there is nothing wrong.
star_munir wrote:

Second:
By the time of Pir Sadr al-Din, a great-grandson of Pir Shams, Nizari missionaries had established their own hereditary dynasty of pirs in South Asia


No comments....As any one with proper knowledge of Ismaili history can understand that thats not the true.

I am not sure what is not true. Were not all Pirs appointed from the same lineage at that time and hence wouldn't you call it a dynasty?
star_munir wrote:

Third:
Pir Hasan was reportedly affiliated with the Suhrawardi Sufi order, at the time prevalent in western and northern India.


Nonsense for any Ismaili to even think like that !

Our Imams and Peers have known to be associated with mysticism and sufism through out our history. Being affiliated to an order does not make him a disciple of Suhrawardi. He could have been associated in the capacity of a lecturer. At times it helps our cause if such connections are made so long as we do not compromise our Bayat with our Imam.
star_munir wrote:

Fourth:
After the death of Pir Hasan Kabir al-Din a section of the community seceded and established itself in Gujarat, becoming known as Imam Shahis. The majority continued to adhere to the authority of the Nizari imams

The sect of Imam Shahis was formed at the time of Syed Mohammad Shah after the death of Syed Imam Shah. According to the Shorter Encylopedia of Islam, "He [Syed Imam Shah] can not be regarded as the founder of a new sect as he remained loyal to the Imam of his time."
I agree with you.
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star_munir



Joined: 21 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya Ali Madad

As you wrote:

By the time of Pir Sadr al-Din, a great-grandson of Pir Shams, Nizari missionaries had established their own hereditary dynasty of pirs in South Asia I am not sure what is not true. Were not all Pirs appointed from the same lineage at that time and hence wouldn't you call it a dynasty?

Of course Pir is appointed by Imam and were appointed from same lineage but read the sentence again "NIZARI MISSIONARIES HAD ESTABLISHED their own daynasty of PIRS."

K MaherAli its good that you are taking it very positively but same Author Farhad Daftary in book Short history of Ismailis further wrote that"PIR SADARDIN ..... HAD ESTABLISHED A HEREDITARY DYNASTY WITHOUT REGULAR CONTACTS WITH NIZARI IMAM " Its on page number 179 on first paragraph. Now what do you say?





"Nizari da‘is were referred to as pirs in South Asia. "
Of course Pirs who converted hindus were dais also but not all dais or missionaries were Pir. There is a difference between dai and Pir..Hazir Imam is also Pir but not Dai similarly Syed Imam Shah was dai and not Pir.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YAM
star_munir wrote:
K MaherAli its good that you are taking it very positively but same Author Farhad Daftary in book Short history of Ismailis further wrote that"PIR SADARDIN ..... HAD ESTABLISHED A HEREDITARY DYNASTY WITHOUT REGULAR CONTACTS WITH NIZARI IMAM " Its on page number 179 on first paragraph. Now what do you say?
In my opinion there is nothing wrong with the statement. Were not the Peers autonomous in their governance of the various institutions? Although they were appointed by the Imams, they did not consult them on day to day matters. They were responsible for the establishment and administration of the various JamatKhanas and the Dawat institutions in the Jampudeep.
star_munir wrote:

"Nizari da‘is were referred to as pirs in South Asia. "
Of course Pirs who converted hindus were dais also but not all dais or missionaries were Pir. There is a difference between dai and Pir..Hazir Imam is also Pir but not Dai similarly Syed Imam Shah was dai and not Pir.
Perhaps a more accurate description would have been: "The heads of Nizari dais were referred to as Pirs in South Asia."
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star_munir



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mowla Ali Madad,
The sentence is not about establishment and administration of Jamat Khana etc but establishment of hereditary dynasty without contact with Imam.
Pir have spiritual contact with Imam and also Pir Sadardin went two times Iran from India for deedar of Imam. In FAIR section of this website there is a very nice song in Gujrati "Hazrat Ali naa janaasheen basta hata Iran ma..." in song it is that for the sake of Deedar momins used to go India to Iran and come back with Dua and blessings of Imam.

As I have read the book Short history of ismailis it is written in such a negative manner that it seems that Pir were not directly appointed by Imam. As it is that Syed Dadu was first Pir but later his name was taken out from the list of Pir..So does this make any sense? There was a detail discussion on this in detail in past in which I pointed out many of such mistakes in Ginan Section of the froum under topic anti Ginan book among ismailis.
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya Ali Madad,

I cannot comment on the other book. However, here it is stated that the Pirs did not have regular contacts with the Imam. If Pir Sadardeen visited the Imam only twice, then this statement is not unreasonable.

Also, we must bear in mind the audience. This work is directed to all - Ismailis and non Ismailis and therefore I consider the context as 'Zaheri'. I would not expect a non Ismaili historian to be able to understand the 'Batini' dimension of our Tariqah and therefore would not be in a position of articulating matters such as the spiritual bond between a murid and a Murshid, though it has a great bearing on any historical circumstance.

This raises broader questions about whether non-Ismailis are qualified to write about Ismaili history. Would they be able to understand the esoteric dimension of the spiritual relationship between a Murid and a Mursheed and its bearing upon historical circumstance?

Say AKDN grows significantly over the next decades. Would non-Ismaili historians 2 centuries hence be able to appreciate the dimension of SEVA involved?
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star_munir



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mowla Ali Madad,
As you worte: Also, we must bear in mind the audience. This work is directed to all - Ismailis and non Ismailis and therefore I consider the context as 'Zaheri'. I would not expect a non Ismaili historian to be able to understand the 'Batini' dimension of our Tariqah and therefore would not be in a position of articulating matters such as the spiritual bond between a murid and a Murshid, though it has a great bearing on any historical circumstance

I agree with you but there some Non ismailis also who have lots of love in heart for Imam and have believe that Imam can do whatever He pleases and there are several examples of it in Noorum Mubin.

The book about which I have commented and many other members also criticized in Ginan Section under topic anti Ginan book among ismailis ... about whom I have discussed here is because many things which is in this article were quite similar to that what I had read in past in that book with same author. As it was written in a very negative way...As we know although history is same but it makes difference if some one writes who follow that religion and other who dont believe in that religion or sect. Like historical events and miracles of Pir Shams were called as myths etc...
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dawoodi Bohras are a Musta'li subsect of Ismaili Shi'a Muslims based primarily in India and Pakistan. Their spiritual leader is Dr. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin. He is known as the Da'il Mutlaq and is the 52nd Dai in an unbroken chain of Dais. The Bohras believe that the 21st Imam, Imam Taiyab (a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad S.A. via his daughter Fatema Zahra S.A.), went into seclusion and appointed the Dai as his Vicegerent.

The majority of Bohras were converts from Hinduism. Their conversion—the result of the work of some Arab missionaries from Yemen—took place around the twelfth century A.D. in Gujarat in India. The converted were largely from the Hindu middle and upper castes and especially those engaged in trade and commerce. Later, indigenous converts undertook the missionary activities in other contiguous regions such as the areas that today constitute Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Thus today, the Bohras in India are concentrated in these areas and number between 800 to 900,000.

They are encouraged to engage themselves in trade though a newly educated professional class is also coming into prominence. There is also a large community in Pakistan, where the main downtown market in Karachi, the largest city, is called Bohree Bazaar because of the community's major presence as shop_owners and _keepers.

There is also a significant diaspora resident in East Africa, Europe and North America.

The Dawoodi Bohras are a very closely-knit community which seeks advice from the high priest (da'i) in both spiritual and temporal aspects. The Bohras trace their origins to the Fatimids of Egypt and thus their cultural mores are based on the practices of the Fatimid Imams. This is further found in the myriad constructions that the Bohras have carried out around the world all of which feature Fatimid influences from the mosques and buildings of Cairo. Dr Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin undertook the complete renovation and restoration of the Mosque of the Imam Al-Hakim in Cairo; a project UNESCO had considered but did not undertake.

The ordinary Bohra is highly conscious of his identity and this is especially demonstrated at religious and traditional occasions by the appearance and attire of the participants.

Dawoodi Bohra women wear a distinctive form of the commonly known burka which is distinguished from other forms of the veil due to it often being in colour and decorated with patterns and lace. Bohra women are encouraged to progress in education in the same way as the men.


Due to the emphasis placed on education, the community is highly educated and can boast of being one of the few communities in India to have 100% literacy.

Besides speaking the local languages, the Bohras have their own language called Lisan-ul-Dawat. This is written in Arabic script but is derived from Urdu, Gujarati and Arabic.

(portions adapted from THE BOHRAS - RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY (http://www.dawoodi-bohras.com/issues/rel_spirit.htm) By Asghar Ali Engineer)
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following are some pertinent facts on the split between the Ismailis and the Bohoras compiled by someone else.


When Nasir Khusraw had sought Imam Shah Mustanseer Billah's permission to go and preach in Khurasan, the Imam had revealed to him that after him, Shah Nizar, his oldest son was heir to the Imamat.............

Also when Badru Jamali had proved very arrogant as the Chief Administrator, the Imam had warned him to desist and when Badru Jamali tried to usurp the power of the Imam, he appointed Shah Nizar as his successor and had made his decision known to all the Governors.

At that time there were two parties - one party supported Shah Nizar and the other supported Musteali (the younger son of the Imam).

Hassan bin Sabbah who supported Shah Nizar was also imprisoned but he escaped from there and went to Persia and preached in favour of Shah Nizar.

Shah Nizar's followers are called Nizari Ismailis (Khwajas) whilst Musteali's followers are called Bohras. Both are called ismailis as they followed Imam Shah Ismail.

Musteali was the son of the Imam was never appointed by his father to succeed him as an Imam nor was he appointed as a Khalif.

Amirul Juyus Al Afzal was the Prime Minsiter then and he supported Musteali's appointment as the Khalif because Musteali was his son in law and Al Afzal was power hungry.

Al Afzal forced Imam Shah Nizar's aunt to make a statement that "Musteali" was the successor of Imam Shah Mustan Seer Billah..

After the death of Shah Mustan Seer Billah, Musteali forcefully became the Khalif with the help of Al Afzal and he called all his brothers to do his Bayah and to recognize him as the next Imam.

Imam Shah Nizar refused and said, " I would rather die than acknowledge you as an Imam - My father appointed me as his legitimate successor for which I have a written proof " and saying so Shah Nizar left the court and Musteali sent his spies to find Shah Nizar but they could not locate him as the Imam had moved to Alexandaria thereafter.

Al Afzal attacked Alexandaria where the Imam was living peacefully and
finally the fighting was stopped as both parties agreed to come to a settlement.

However when Imam Shah Nizar went to meet with Musteali in good faith, Musteali proved treacherous and rather than coming to any settlement,imprisoned the Imam.

Musteali died at a young age of 26 and his son Aamir was their 21st Imam. Aamir found out all the wicked things which Al Afzal had done and so he killed him.

Aamir had barely remained as a Khalif for some nine years when he was murdered.

At the time of his death it is said that one of his begums was pregnant and that this child was to be his Heir and in the meantime his cousin Abdul Hamid Hafiz would rule.

Historian Olyari says: Aamir's begum gave birth to a baby girl but the Bohras believe that the begum gave birth to a baby boy who since age 2 has "disappeared" and that his name was Taiyab and they consider him to be their 22nd Imam.

Now Abdul Hamid Hafiz and Abu Ali (Al Afzal's son) fought raging battles for power and eventually Abu Ali too was murdered but Cairo had become very unstable as people were fighting amongst themselves. and in the end Salahudin became the Khalif under the title of SULTAN.

By this time Hassan Bin Sabbah had already established the Fatimide rule in Alamut

The Musteali Ismailis founded their stronghold eventually in Yemen where in the absence of the Imams the Da'is acted as Executive Heads of the da'wa organization and as community spiritual leaders and they were designated as Da'i Mutlaq ( with absolute authority).

Practice-wise both the groups i.e. the Nizaris and the Bohras remarkably differ. It is only interesting that they speak Gujrethi in common but they differ doctrinally and theologically plus the Bohra Imams are in "ghaibat" but ours is "Mawjud" and "Hazir".

Most of the Bohra beliefs stem from the Fatimid split and which remain unmodified,for the most part and hence they still retain the Salat, Sawm, hajj etc.........it can arguably be said that they are still retaining the "Zaheri" aspect of the Fatimid Ismailism whereas the Nizaris have retained and developed the "Batin" aspect as well.

I think the Bohras still pursue the Fatimid philosophy and theology but we have overtime modified our systems.

In 1589 a succession dispute over the position of the Da'i Mutlaq split the Mustealis into the rival Dau'di and Sulaymani branches and each follow a separate line of Da'i.

Subsequently the Dau'di Bohras were further sub-divided in India as a result of periodic challenges to the authority of their Da'i Mutlaq.

In 1624 a third Bohra splinter group appeared under the name of "Alliyya" and in 1785 the HQs of the Dau'di Bohras was transferred to Surat.
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ONiazi



Joined: 05 May 2003
Posts: 56
Location: Deerfield, IL, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much! That was very helpful.

Mowla hafiz,
ON
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BOHRA COMMUNITY

This Muslim community of Gujarat in western India traces its spiritual ancestry to early conversions to Ismaili Shiism during the reign of the Fatimid caliph-imam al-Mustansir (AH 427-487/1036-1094 CE). When schisms occured in the Ismaili dawah (mission) in the eleventh and twelfth centuries in Egypt, the Ismailis in India followed the Fatimi Tayyibi dawah of Yemen.

Subsequently, this community split a number of times to form the
1. Jafari Bohras,
2. Daudi Bohras,
3. Sulaymani Bohras,
4. Aliyah Bohras, and
5. other lesser-known groups.

The word Bohra (also spelled Bohara or Vohra) is derived from the Gujarati vohorvu or vyavahar, meaning "to trade." This has sometimes caused Hindus, Jains, and Muslims of trading communities other than those related to the Tayyibi Ismailis to list themselves on census forms as Bohras. The early Hindu converts of the eleventh century comprised of a single group of Ismaili Bohras owing allegiance to the da'i mutlaq in Yemen. A number of them seceded in 1426 to form the Jafari Bohras, who adopted the Sunni Hanafi school. The modern Jafari Bohra community comprises mainly cultivators residing in Patan, Gujarat, who revere descendents of the sixteenth-century Sunni missionary Ahmad Jafar al-Shirazi. After the Jafari schism, the Ismaili Bohras were subject to severe persecution by local rulers. However, by the late sixteenth century, they had grown strong enough to enable the transfer of the mission's headquarters and the residence of the da'i mutlaq to India. The da'i mutlaq operates as the sole representative of the secluded Ismaili imam, and as such has had a great influence on the history, faith, and practices of the Ismaili Bohras.

The term "Bohra" applies most commonly to the Daudi Bohras, who are reputed to be the best organised and wealthiest of all Bohras. The Daudi Bohra community has largely been molded into its present form by the two da'is who have led the community in the twentieth century. The fifty-first da'i, the celebrated Tahir Sayf al-Din (1915-1965), was an accomplished scholar, a prolific writer and poet, a capable organizer, and a man of vision.

During his period of fifty years he revitalized the community, fostered strong faith, modernized the mission's organization, promoted welfare and education in the community, and guided it through the tumultuous period of world wars and independence of nations. A doctrinal dissent that had severely disturbed the community for sixty years prior to his accession was successfully challenged and reduced during his period to a less significant anti-da'i social reform movement. As much as 2 percent of the community belongs to this movement, whose demands are regarded as heretical by the rest of the Bohras. The reformists were particularly active in the 1970s and early 1980s, but their efforts failed to win legal recognition and only amounted to bad press and distress of the Bohra community.

The present da'i, Muhammad Burhanuddin, has continued his predecessor's endeavors with particular emphasis on strengthening the community's Islamic practices and on the promotion of Fatimid heritage.

The religious hierarchy of the Daudi Bohras is essentially Fatimid and is headed by the da'i mutlaq who is appointed by his predecessor in office. The da'i appoints two others to the subsidiary ranks of madhun and mukasir. These positions are followed by the rank of shaykh and mullah, both of which are held by hundreds of Bohras. An ahil (usually a graduate of the order's institution of higher learning, al-Jami'ah al-Sayfiyah) who leads of the local congregation in religious, social, and communial affairs, is sent to each town where a sizable population exists. Such towns normally have a masjid and an adjoining jamaatkhanah (assembly hall) where socio-religious functions are held. The local organizations which manage these properties and administer the social and religious activities of the local Bohras report directly to the central administration of the da'i based in Bombay, called al-Dawah al-Hadiyah.

At the age of puberty every Bohra, or mumin (believer) as sectarians call each other, pronounces the traditional oath of allegiance which requires the initiate to adhere to the shariah and accept the leadership of the imam and the da'i. This oath is renewed each year on the 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah (Id Gadir al-Khumm). The Bohras follow the Fatimid school of jurisprudence, which recognizes seven pillars of Islam. Walayah (love and devotion) for Allah, the Prophets, the imam, and da'i is the first and most important of the seven pillars. The others are (ii)taharah (purity and cleanliness), (iii) salah (prayers), (iv) zakah (purifying religious dues), (v) sawm (fasting), (vi) hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), and (vii) jihad (holy war).

Pilgrimages to the shrines of the saints are an important part of the devotional life of Bohras, for the facilitation of which resthouses and
assisting organizations have been set up. The martydom of Imam al-Husayn is commemorated annually during the first ten days of Muharram.

The Daudis use an arabicized form of Gujarati, called lisan al-dawah, which is permeated with Arabic words and written in Arabic script. Another distinctive feature is their use of a Fatimid lunar calendar which fixes the number of days in each month. There is a strong religious learning tradition among the Daudi Bohras, the da'is usually being prolific writers and orators. The Daudi Bohras number about a million and reside in India, Pakistan, the Middle East, East Africa (since the eighteenth century), and the West (since the 1950s). They are easily recognizable by their dress: men wear beards and white gold-rimmed caps, and women wear a colorful two-piece head-to-toe dress called a rida.

Daudi Bohras are named after their twenty-seveth da'i Daud ibn Qutbshah (d. 1612). Sulaymani Bohras acknowledge a different line of da'is ensuing from their twenty-seventh da'i, Sulayman ibn Hasan (d. 1597). Similarly, Aliyah Bohras follow Ali ibn Ibrahim (d. 1637) as their twenty-ninth da'i having seceded from the Daudis in 1625. Neither have significant doctrinal differences with the Daudi Bohras, though their religious organizations are different. The Aliyah Bohras are led by their forty-fourth da'i, Tayyib Diya al-Daimin, residing in Baroda, India and number about five thousand. The Sulaymani leadership reverted to Yemen soon after the Daudi-Sulaymani split and in the main has remained there. Their current leader, Sharaf al-Husayn ibn Hasan al-Makrami, is the forty-ninth da'i in the Sulaymani series; his chief representative in India, called the mansub resides in Baroda. The Sulaymanis number about four thousand in India and about seventy thousand in the Yemenite region of Najran.

[See also Ismailiyah; Jami'ah al-Sayfiyah, al-; and the biography of Burhanuddin.]
Mustafa Abdulhussein Bibliography
a.. Amiji, Hatim. "The Bohras of East Africa." Journal of Religion in
Africa 7.1 (1975); 27-61.
b.. Burhanpuri, Qutb al-Din. Muntaza al-akhbar. Vol. 2. N.p., 1884.
c.. Burhanuddin, Sayyidna. Istifah Zubad al-Maarif. Bombay, 1965.
d.. Constitutions. Governing local Daudi Bohra organizations in India and East Africa, these documents provide a summary of their beliefs and practices.
e.. Daftary, Farhad. The Ismailis. Cambridge, 1992.
f.. Davoodbhoy, T. A. A. Faith of the Dawoodi Bohras. Bombay, 1992.
g.. Fyzee, Asaf A. A. "Bohoras." In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol.
1, pp. 1254-1255. Leiden 1960-.
h.. Fyzee, Asaf A. A. Compendium of Fatimid Law. Simla, 1969.
i.. Fyzee, Asaf A. A. Outlines of Muhammadan Law. 4th ed. Oxford, 1974.
j.. Habibullah, Abdul Qaiyum. Syedna Taher Saifuddin Saheb: Da'i-ul-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohras. Bombay, 1958.
k.. Hodgson, Marshall G. S. "Da'i." In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol. 2, pp. 97-98. Leiden 1960-.
l.. Jhaveri, K. M. "A Legendary History of the Bohoras." Journal of the
Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 9 (1933).
m.. Jivabhai, Muhammad Ali ibn Mulla. Mausam-i bahar. Vol. 3. Bombay, 1882.
n.. Khan, Ali Muhammad. Mirat-i Ahmadi. Translated by S. N. Ali. Baroda, 1924.
o.. Khan, Najmulghani. Madhahib al-Islam. Lucknow, 1924.
p.. Lokhandwalla, Sh. T. "The Bohras: A Muslim Community of Gujarat." Studia Islamica 3 (1955): 117-135.
q.. Madelung, Wilferd. "Makramids." In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed.,
vol. 6, pp. 191-192. Leiden 1960-.
r.. Misra, S. C. Muslim Communities in the Gujrat. Bombay, 1964.
s.. Najafali, Abbasali. Law of Marriage Governing Dawoodi Bohra Muslims. Bombay, 1943.
t.. Numan, Qadi al-. Daa'im al-Islam. 2 vols. Edited by Asaf A. A. Fyzee,
2d ed. Cairo, 1963-1965. The principle text of jurisprudence followed by the Bohras.
u.. Poonawala, Ismail K. Bibliography of Ismaili Literature. Malibu, Calif., 1977.
v.. Roy, Shibani. The Dawoodi Bohras: An Anthropological Perspective. Delhi, 1984.
w.. Saifiyah Educational Trust. A Golden Panorama. Bombay, [1961].
x.. Sayf al-Din, Tahir. Rasail al-Ramadaniyah. 48 vols. Bombay, 1912-1963.

Along with Burhanuddin above, the most authoritative exposition of the faith and practices of contemporary Daudi Bohras.

y.. Sahifat al-Salat wa-al-ibadaat. Bombay, 1989. Daudi prayer book containing information on religious practices.
z.. Walid, Ali ibn Muhammad al-. Taj al-Aqa'id. Thirteenth-century manuscript. An english summary by W. Ivanov titled "A Creed of the Fatimids" (Bombay, 1936) gives a good summary of the creed of the Bohras.

Source and Credits.
This article is reprinted with permission in its entirety from the OUP Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, John Esposito (ed), Copyright �
1995 and may not be reproduced elsewhere.
In order to make the text of the OUP article more readable for the web medium, most accents have been removed from the original text. The original
article with accents is available here: part 1, part 2, part 3, bibliography.
For more information on the Daudi Bohra community, visit Mumineen.org. The contemporary (and most used) spelling of Daudi Bohras is Dawoodi Bohras.

We recommend Firefox for richer, more secure web-browsing. Join us!
mumineen dot org has served Dawoodi Bohras worldwide since 1997 with the raza and dua mubarak of His Holiness, the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb (TUS).
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