Sulaimani Bohras


























Among the Shias of South Asia the Ithna-Asharis are in the majority while the Khojas and Mustaali or Must'ali 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.

Sulaimani Bohra are a subsect of Ismaili Mustaali. They are mostly concentared in Yemen and Najran province of Saudi Arabia. The Mustaali group of Isma`ili Muslims are so named because they accepted the legitimacy of the Fatimid caliph Al-Musta'li, after Mustansir, and not Nizar, whom the Aga Khan group or Nizaris consider as their Imam. This group is also referred to as the Taiyabi or Tayyibi group, named after the last Imam recognized by them, Taiyab abi al-Qasim. Originally, there was a distinction between Taiyabi Mustaalis and Hafizi Mustaalis (who recognized the Fatimid rulers of Egypt between 1130-1169 as legitimate Imams, not Taiyab abi al-Qasim). However the Hafizi Mustaali view lost all support after the downfall of the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt, and current-day Mustaalis are Taiyabis.

In 1592, a leadership struggle caused the Taiyabi Mustaalis to be split into Sulaimani (sometimes formerly also called Makramis) and Dawoodis. The Sulaimani Bohra (named after their 27th Dai Sulaiman bin Hassan) are mainly concentrated in Yemen, while the Dawoodi Bohras are strongest in Pakistan and India. After the death of Da'ud b. 'Adjabshah, the 26th da'imutlaq, in 999/1591, the succession was disputed. While in South Asia Da'ud Burhan al-Din was established, Da'ud b. Adjabshah's representative in the Yemen, Sulayman b. al-Hasan al-Hindi, claimed to have been designated successor by the deceased da'imutlaq. The dispute was not resolved and led to the permanent schism between the Da'udi and Sulaymani factions which accepted separate lines of da'is in 1592. Among the Sulaymanis, whose cause had only few adherents in South Asia, the position of da'imutlaq in 1050/1640 passed to the Yemenite Ibrahim b. Muhammad b. Fahd of the Makrami family, in which it has remained since with few interruptions. The Makrami da'is established themselves in Nadjran, Najran in Saudi Arabia, where they were supported by the Banu Yam. Before 1131/1719 they conquered the Haraz region in the Yemen and held it against all attempts of the Zaydi imams to expel them. The Da'i al-Hasan b. Hibat Allah (d. 1189/1775) conquered Hadramawt and unsuccessfully fought the rising Su'udi dynasty in Central Arabia. From Haraz the Makramis were expelled in 1289/1872 by the Ottoman general Ahmad Mukhtar Pasha, who took their fortress 'Attara and killed the Da'i al-Hasan b. Isma'il Al Shibam al-Makrami. The present da'imutlaq of the Sulaymanis is Jamal al-Din 'Ali b. al-Husayn al-Makrami, who succeeded his father in 1939. Besides the Banu Yam in Nadjran, the people of the Jabal Maghariba in Haraz are Sulaymanis.





















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