They have historical relations with Egypt.. Who are the Bohras?

On Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received the Sultan of the Bohra community in India, Mufaddal Saif al-Din, who was accompanied by his brother and sons, in the presence of the head of General Intelligence, Major General Abbas Kamel, and the Sultan’s representative in Cairo, Mufaddal Muhammad.

And I traded Newspapers AndChannels Al-Sisi’s statements during the meeting with the Sultan, in which he praised the efforts of his sect and his sect in the work of renovating the shrines of the Prophet’s family in Egypt.

This is not the first time that the Egyptian President has met with the Sultan of the Bohra sect 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 Al-Bayt shrines and historical mosques in Egypt. This resulted in Sisi honoring the Sultan of Bohra by awarding him the “Scarf of the Nile” last August.

Who are the Bohras?

according toTheir official websiteThe 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.

The word “Bohra” means merchant. The Dawoodi Bohras follow the Shiite Fatimid Ismaili Taybi sect. Their faith is based on belief in the People of the House as the legitimate successors of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

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

Sultan of the Dawoodis Bohras Fazl Saif al-Din Sultan visits Najaf in Iraq

The Bohras are one of the branches of the Ismaili sect, which belongs to Ismail bin Jaafar Al-Sadiq, descended from the lineage of Al-Hussein bin Ali bin Abi Talib.

According to EncyclopediaBritannica“The Bohras are Shiite Ismaili Muslims of the Musta’li sect, who live in western India.

She explained that the Mustaali sect, which originated in Egypt and later moved its religious center to Yemen, gained a foothold in India through missionaries in the eleventh century.

After 1539, by which time the Indian community had grown significantly, the sect’s headquarters were moved from Yemen to Saidpur in India.

The year 1588 witnessed a split in the Bohra community between the followers of Daoud bin Qutb Shah and Sulaiman, who each claimed leadership of the community. The followers of David and Suleiman have since remained the two main Bohra groups, with no major doctrinal differences, with the da’i, leader or sultan of the Davidians residing in Bombay, while the leader of the Sulaymanids is in Yemen.

Therefore, the “Bohras” are divided into two groups: the “Dawoodi Bohras” whose members are located in India and Pakistan and whose headquarters are in Bombay, and the “Sulaymaniyah Bohras” whose headquarters are in Yemen.

The Muslim Dawoodi Bohras differ from the Muslim Sunni Bohras, who share many cultural traits with the Dawoodis, according to the website.DNA India“.

The “Bohras” are divided into the “Dawoodi Bohras” in India and Pakistan, and the “Sulaymaniyah Bohras” in Yemen.

And he shares Bohra Their tradition is with all Shiite Muslims that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was succeeded by his envoy, Ali bin Abi Talib, who explained and interpreted the revelations received by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Imam Ali bin Abi Talib, in turn, chose his two sons, Imams Hassan and Hussein, as the first two imams to continue guiding the community of believers, according to the official website of the Dawoodi Bohras.

A fundamental element of the Dawoodi Bohra faith is that the Imam descended from the Prophet through his grandson, Imam Hussein, is always present on Earth to continue the mission of guiding humanity. The imam, like the prophet, is believed to be sinless, infallible, pure and holy, and is considered the repository of prophetic knowledge and the ultimate interpreter of the religion, according to the website.Dawoodi Bohra“.

Bohras regularly perform Hajj in Mecca and the shrine of the Prophet in Medina, in addition to visiting the shrines of the Prophet’s close family, which is also part of the Bohra religious tradition.

This sect has religious shrines and monuments belonging to the Fatimid state, such as the tomb of Hatem al-Hadrat, the Fatimid preacher, buried in the Haraz area west of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and the Al-Hakim Mosque bi-Amr Allah in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Where are the Bohras located?

Currently, the Dawoodi Bohras are spread in 40 countries around the world, and their number reaches 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.

Some estimate their number With more than one million people around the world. Their number does not exceed 25 thousand people in Yemen, spread across Haraz, Sana’a, Hodeidah, Ibb, and Aden, which is home to the Bohra Market and Ali Bhai Mosque.

The current leader of the Dawoodi Bohras is Mufaddal Saif al-Din, who is ranked fifty-third. He assumed his position in January 2014, succeeding his father and predecessor, Muhammad Burhan al-Din, as the imamate is administered in the line of succession from father to son.

Sultan of the Dawoodi Bohras Fazl Saifuddin Sultan.

What is the Bohra language?

A unique cultural characteristic of the worldwide Dawoodi Bohra community is its distinctive language, known as the tongue of the Duat. This language combines elements of Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Gujarati, which began to appear about a thousand years ago, when a mission known as Duat came to the state of Gujarat in India through missionaries from the Fatimid Imams, according to the website.Dawoodi Bohras“.

The Dawat language is based in its basic composition and structure on the Gujarati language, but the texts and a large part of its vocabulary consist of Arabic words.

​​​​​​​ The Dawoodi Bohra sect in India

What are the most prominent Bohra customs?

The Bohras, in general, are a closed society that relies on centralization in managing life’s affairs. Outsiders think they are a very prosperous and well-ordered society, but this is not quite the reality. There is a lot of poverty among Bohras, especially in India but not abroad. Discipline is also more coercive and comes at a high price, as there is no internal freedom and it is controlled centrally.Progressive Davoudi Bohra“.

The Bohras follow their own traditions in marriage and death, as a group of people are responsible for collecting tithes from the Bohra members, especially on the 23rd of Ramadan, and these taxes are collected for marriages and funerals, according to the “Bohras” website.Progressive Davoudi Bohra“.

In the centrally controlled Bohra community, marriage or funeral rituals cannot be performed without the permission of the group sheikh, i.e. the approval or (permission) of the local sheikh is required to marry or bury relatives.

Bohra men are prohibited from marrying non-Bohra women, but when they do so, they convert her to the Bohra faith and swear allegiance at the time of conversion, and the nikah (marriage ceremony) can only be performed after her conversion. In general, it is not permissible for a Bohra male or female to marry any other Sunni or Twelver Shiite man or woman, except on the condition of conversion, according to the website.Progressive Davoudi Bohra“.

Besides the nikah, all other marriage-related ceremonies are of Gujarati origin, which has less to do with Islam than with the local Gujarati culture to which the Bohras adhere.

​The Dawoodi Bohras maintain a distinctive form of community clothing called the Anwar dress. Clergy traditionally wear a white three-piece uniform and a hat with golden designs called a topi. Women wear a two-piece dress, which is the “robe,” which can be distinguished from other forms of hijab by its bright colors, decorative patterns, and lace, according to the website.Dawudi Bahra“.

The costume of the girls of the Dawoodi Bohra sect.

What is the form of the Bohra relationship with Egypt?

The Bohras are interested in developing the Fatimid heritage, whether mosques or graves, and they allocate large sums of money to this task.

And I mentioned Egyptian local newspapers During the era of the late President Muhammad Anwar Sadat, the Dawoodi Bohra sect came from India to revive Fatimid architecture and restore its monuments in Egypt, and submitted a request to the Egyptian government to restore the Al-Hakim Mosque by the command of God, the fourth oldest remaining university mosque in Egypt, and the second largest mosque in Cairo in size after the Ahmed Ibn Tulun Mosque. This was agreed upon by Sadat, who was invited to the opening and perform prayers with it.

Dawoodi Bohras in Egypt.

The Bohras have a good relationship with the current Egyptian regime, as Sultan Al-Bohra, during his visit to Egypt in 2016, made a contribution to the Long Live Egypt Fund estimated at 10 million pounds, according to Local newspapers.

The official spokesman for the Presidency of the Republic at the time, Ambassador Alaa Youssef, said that Al-Sisi welcomed the Bohra Sultan, praising the efforts made by the Bohra sect to restore ancient mosques in Egypt, including Al-Hakim Mosque, Bi-Amr Allah, Al-Aqmar Mosque, Al-Jayoushi Mosque, and the Pearl Mosque.

Dawoodi Bohras restore Fatimid mosques in Egypt.

On April 27, 2022, Al-Sisi, in the presence of the Sultan of the Bohra community in India, Mufaddal Saif Al-Din, inaugurated the development and renovation work of Al-Hussein Mosque in Cairo, which cost approximately 150 million pounds It continued for nearly a month, with the cooperation of the Dawoodi Bohra sect, according to Local newspapers.

In March 2023, the Egyptian Minister of Endowments, Mohamed Mukhtar Gomaa, and the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Ahmed Issa, opened the Al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah Mosque on Al-Mu’izz Lidin Allah Al-Fatimi Street in the historic Cairo district, after completing its restoration and revival project in cooperation with the Dawoodi Bohra sect.

Mufaddal Saif al-Din, the “Sultan” or preacher of the Bohra sect in India, participated in the opening of the Sayyida Nafisa Mosque after its renovation work, and Sisi awarded him the “Scarf of the Nile” in appreciation of his continued efforts to support Egypt on the cultural, charitable and societal levels, according to a statement by the official spokesman for the Presidency of the Republic.

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