Bohra

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Among the Shias of South Asia the Ithna-Asharis are in the majority while the Khojas and Bohras of Western South Asia belong to the two internal divisions of the Isma`ili group of Muslims - the Nizaris (Khojas) with Satpanth Ismaili and the the Musta‘lis (Bohras or Bohri) with Tayyibi Ismaili. The Bohras are subdiveded into three main sects: Dawoodi, Sulaimani and Alavi.

Most Bohras are Dawoodi (Daudi) Ismailis and smaller Sulaimani branch is located in Yemen. The Bohras have their headquarters in Mumbai. They are under the leadership of a Da'i Mutlaq, or "Absolute Preacher." The Bohras believe their leader is a reincarnation of the previous leader, who was initially a reincarnation of Hadrat Ali. The sect was formed in the 11th Century C.E during the Fatimid dynasty. The Mustalis accepted the caliphate of al-Mustali. They remained in Egypt until the fall of the Fatimid dynasty in 1171. From there the sect moved to Yemen where it split, with some remaining in Yemen and others moving to South Asia where they became known as Bohras. The Bohra is derived from Gujarati language word Vohra meaning trader. The Musta'li missionaries converted local people to Islam.

Though highly Islamised as compared to the Isma'ili sects like the Khojas, the Bohras have retained much from the native South Asian culture. The Dawoodi Bohras are a Shi'a Isma'ili sect numbering over a million today. The majority of Dawoodi Bohras live in Pakistan and India. While the Sulaimani Bohras live in Yemen and Najran province of Saudi Arabia.

The Dawoodi Bohra sect has split into conservatives and progressives groups. The smaller Progressive Dawoodi Bohra group is moving towards mainstream Islam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page Last Updated: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 23:27:15 -0400