Ismaili Tawil of the Qura'n

Ismailis make a fundamental distinction between aspect of religion, the zahir (exterior) and the batin (interior). The former aspect consist of exterior aspects, such as knowing the apparent meaning of the Quran and performing the obligatory acts as laid down in the sharia, the religious law. The latter aspect is comprised of knowing the hidden, inner, true meaning of the Qrua'n and the sharia. They further maintain that it is the natiq (lawgiver-prophet) who receives revelation (tanzil) and promulgates the sharia, while it is his associate and deputy, the wasi (plenipotentiary), who expounds the batin through the science of ta'wil. The zahir, therefore, varies from prophet to prophet in accordance with each epoch, whereas the batin remains unchanged and is universally valid. Despite this twofold division of religion into exoteric and esoteric aspects, Ismailis stress that both are not only complementary to each other, but that they are also intertwined with each other like body and soul. One without the other, therefore, cannot exist.

Ismaili Tawil of the Quran. (Scanned PDF).

The wretched of the Bohra commumity
The Bohra community at present is passing through a period of turmoil. (It was true in the early 80s when the book was written as it is now in the late 90s.) Many members of this community, especially those who have taken part in the rebellion against the authoritarian Bohra priesthood, are undergoing intense suffering and mental torture. more
The clergy and the courts
It is amazing that the clergy of a microscopic sectarian community should have fought numerous legal battles with its followers. These legal battles reveal the clergy's sense of insecurity, its greed and its desperation to find legal sanction for its astounding claims to absolute authority. more
Bohra issues: archive of eye-opening articles and posts

This website and Forum have many interesting and thought-provoking posts submitted by various members over a period of many years, and which are difficult to locate. We have gathered this material in one place to provide easy access, and a starting point. Do yourself a favour, read this today.

Does Islam allow for family planning?
Many people, especially women, ask me if family planning is permissible in Islam. They say the imams and ulama say the Qur’an prohibits family planning and quote a verse which says, “And kill not your children for fear of poverty; We provide for them and for you. Surely the killing of them is a great wrong.” (17:31). In no way this verse refers to family planning because it is talking of “killing” and you kill one who exists. No law in the world will permit killing one who is already born and hence the Qur’an rightly condemns killing of children. more
Salafism and Sufism: Is the conflict real?
Salafism or Wahabism, also referred to as the cult of Ahl-e-Hadith is supposed to be directly opposed to the Sufi strain of Islam. In India too the two sects are opposed to each other though here, due to democratic secular polity, nature of conflict is not very aggravated or violent. The partisans of both the ideologies apart, it confuses many Muslims as to what are their differences about and why they condemn each other? more
Three great Bohra scholars of 20th century
Dawoodi Bohras  are not used to reading "Borha" and "scholar" in the same sentence. So it may come as a surprise to learn about these three great Bohra scholars (two Dawoodi and one Suleimani) of the 20th century. Many of us have not heard about them because independent studies and research into religious knowledge is actively discouraged by the Bohra priestly class. It considers religious knowledge as its exclusive domain, and as such zealously controls all our great Ismaili and Fatimid literature. Those who show any sign of indpendent scholarship are ex-communicated and banished as heretics. more
Fearless intellectual activist like no other
I vividly remember the day, some 30 years ago, when the cover story by Asghar Ali Engineer was published in the Illustrated Weekly of India. With Sayedna Moahammed Burhanuddin’s picture on the cover and the title “A Law Unto Himself”, the article created a sensation. Nobody had dared to challenge Sayedna Saheb so openly so publicly before. It gave us young Turks a new sense of mission and energy. Instinctively, we knew this man was on to something. Bohras, who are generally meek and tend to mind their own business, are not quite used to this kind of dynamic personality rising in their midst. more