After the development of Sayyida Zainab Mosque.. Who are the Bohra sect and what is their relationship?

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Sunday, May 12, 2024

Books – Muhammad Shaker:
The Bohra community enjoys close relations with Egypt, as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received Sultan Mufaddal Saif al-Din, the Sultan of the Bohra community in India, and the Sayyida Zeinab Mosque was opened, after its development.

During the meeting with the Sultan, Sisi praised the efforts of his sect and his sect in renovating the shrines of the Prophet’s family in Egypt.

This is not the first time that the President has met the Sultan of the Bohra community in India, as his name appeared for the first time, in 2016, when he donated 10 million pounds to the Long Live Egypt Fund, and this was followed by the announcement of the sect’s participation in the restoration of a number of Ahl al-Bayt shrines and historical mosques in Egypt. This resulted in Sisi honoring the Bohra Sultan by awarding him the “Scarf of the Nile” last August.

Below we review the history of the Bohras.
The Bohras are a Musta’li Shiite Ismaili sect. They recognize the “Mustali” Imam, and after him “the Commander”, then his son “Al-Tayyib”, and for this reason they are called “the Tayyibi”. They are the Ismailis of India and Yemen. They left politics and worked in trade, so they arrived in India, and the Hindus mixed with them. Those who converted to Islam were known as “Bohras.” Bohras are an old Indian word meaning “merchant.”

Dawoodi Bohra Muslims trace their heritage back to the Fatimid Imams, as direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Egypt. During the tenth and twelfth centuries, they ruled large parts of the Islamic world extending from North Africa in the west to Pakistan in the east.

In addition to this Shiite majority, who are often from the merchant class, the Bohras include a Sunni minority who are usually peasant farmers.

The Dawoodi Bohras are spread in 40 countries around the world, and number about one million members. They are guided by their leader, nicknamed the “Mutlaq Preacher” or “Unrestrained Evangelist,” who moved his headquarters from Yemen to India about five centuries ago.

Since the collapse of the Yemeni Sulayhid state in 1138 AD, the Bohras were subjected to harassment by successive rulers, and the leadership of the sect moved from Yemen to India.

The main center for the members of the sect is located in the city of Mumbai, and most members of the Bohra community live in India. In the Arab world, its members are spread across Yemen, Egypt and the Emirates, especially in Dubai. There are also large concentrations in Pakistan, Yemen, East Africa, and the Middle East, in addition to their increasing numbers in Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

The Bohras greatly respect their leader and call him Mufaddal Saif al-Din. The Bohras are characterized by uniform dress for women, just as there is a uniform for men. They are distinguished by being peaceful and do not mix much except with the followers of their sect, although mixing cannot be avoided due to their work in trade, as members of the sect collect a monthly sum of money. All members spend on joint projects and this is considered a source of funding.

The number of its followers in the world reaches one and a half million people, with its main center in Bombay, the majority of whom are in Yemen and India, and are keen to establish good relations with the rulers. Every year, tens of thousands of “Dawoodi” Bohra followers flock to the Haraz region, which is about 90 km away from Sana’a, to visit. The tomb of Hatem Mohieddin.

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