Reformists renew call for struggle against clergy
The two-day 15th All World Dawoodi Bohra Conference concluded in Udaipur on March 12, after a successful convention attended by reformist Dawoodi Bohras from all over the country. This event, held at Lok Kala Mandal, was organized by the Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community (CBDBC) with support from the Bohra Youth Jamaat and Bohra Youth Association, Udaipur. more
Humanism in Ismaili thought: The case of the Rasail Ikhwan al-Safa

Cultural historians are divided as to whether the term "humanism," a product of the Graeco-Roman humanitas ideal, can be applied to the world of medieval Islam. In his chapter entitled "al-Naza al-insaniyya fi'l-fikr al-'arabi" (The Humanist Trend in Arab Thought), 'Abd al-Ral:rman Badawi, reflecting on humanism in Arab thought, states that Greek culture was not unique in creating a humanist ideal. Every high culture, he asserts, produces this phenomenon in its own way. A number of other scholars, such as Louis Gardet, and Mohammed Arkoun have discussed and elaborated on humanism as a feature of Arab-Islamic civilization. In The Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West, George Makdisi has covered all aspects of Islamic learning and rendered the Arabic term adab as humanism.

This article appeared in Universality in Islamic Thought: Rationalism, Science and Religious Belief, Edited by Michael Morony, London: I.B.Tauris, 2014.

Humanism in Ismaili thought: The case of the Rasail Ikhwan al-Safa. (Scanned PDF).

Challenge to sole-trusteeship is most hurting
Prior to late Syedna Taher Saifuddin the Bohra Dais were humble and poor. But he was different. As soon as he occupied the official seat of the Dai he started scheming to take absolute control over the trust properties and the trust funds of the Bohra Community. more
Canadian Senate foils Sayedna's plans - Part 1
In summer 1992, a notice by the Clerk of the Canadian Senate appeared in various Canadian Newspapers advising the citizens that the Sayedna had petitioned to the Senate to pass an Act (Bill S-13) to incorporate the Dai al-Mutlaq as a corporation sole in Canada. 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.

The concept of Islamic state
Islamic state is a most discussed subject both among supporters as well as among its opponents. Is there any such concept? Can we call any state an Islamic state? There are many claimants of course. Interestingly among the claimants are military dictators as well as monarchs. more
Muslims and the mainstream
Often question is raised by those with communal bias and sometimes even by those with secular outlook whether Muslims are part of Indian mainstream. more
Bohra scholar who speaks truth to power
On a cool December morning I knock on the door of a house in a posh Los Angeles county. A diminutive man opens the door. He is Ismail K. Poonawala, former professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at UCLA. There is renovation going on in the house, Prof. Poonawala apologises for the mess. We make small talk as he gives me a tour of his study, it is lined with books on three sides, the fourth is held up by glass doors overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a distance. more
An artist true to himself, true to his soil
Every morning after breakfast you will find Abbas Batliwala in his studio communing with his canvas. “It’s the best time of day,” he says. A time to reflect on inner universe. From its unknown depths emerges an insistent creative urge that has defined his destiny and given him his true calling. If not for this urge Abbas would have been just another shopkeeper. “I’m no more than a salesman,” he says. Not for him the airs of an artist. He makes light of his talent and fame. more
  • News & Events
    Features
    An artist true to himself, true to his soil
    Every morning after breakfast you will find Abbas Batliwala in his studio communing with his canvas. “It’s the best time of day,” he says. A time to reflect on inner universe. From its unknown depths emerges an insistent creative urge that has defined his destiny and given him his true calling. If not for this urge Abbas would have been just another shopkeeper. “I’m no more than a salesman,” he says. Not for him the airs of an artist. He makes light of his talent and fame. more
    Islamic perspective
    The concept of peace in Islam
    Islam is being associated with violence and jihad in the minds of not only non-Muslims but also of many Muslims. The slogans of jihad are being raised by frustrated youth unable to find any other way and also by those who are fighting for national liberation and regional autonomy. more
  • Bohras and Reform
    Fighting on
    At the KC College public meeting (last month), they came with black masks. On Saturday (March 4, 2000), at the Kalina campus, though their faces were uncovered, they refused to give their full names. Yet, it is their steadfastness that keeps the Bohra Reformist movement alive. more
    Ismaili Law: A case for reinterpretation
    This is an article by Ismail K. Poonawala arguing how Ismaili Law as followed by Bohras is in dire need of reinterpration and revision as it does not meet the demands of modern times. The article is from The Study of Shi'i Islam: History, Theology and Law, edited by Farhad Daftary et al. (London: I.B.Tauris, 2013). The book will be officially released next month.

    Ismail K. Poonawala writes, "Ever since its promulgation, most probably in 349/960, as the official code of the Fatimid empire, the Daāim has reigned supreme, particularly with the Mustalī-Tayyibī Ismailis of Yemen and the Indian subcontinent after the fall of the Fatimids in Egypt in 567/1171. However, this centuries-old law has not met the necessities of modern life for the Ismaili communities of the Dāudīs, Sulaymānīs and Alawīs who follow this school of Islamic jurisprudence. Those advocating the status quo (maintaining the traditional system), notably the conservative religious establishments of all the three above-mentioned communities, have had little to offer in terms of a constructive legal reform which might adapt Ismaili law as formulated by its founder, al Qāīdi al-Numān, to the modern conditions of life. more

    Multimedia
    Interviews and talks
    Few people understand what the reform movement is about. They think reformists are against the Dai. This is not true. Check out a series of long-ranging interviews and talks to understand why reformists are fighting and what they are fighting for. more
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    Walking out of the Bohra falsehood
    I was born in India in a small village more than 40 years ago into a Bohra family. I came with my family to Malaysia when I was only 4 years old. I grew up like any normal Bohra surrounded by the richness of the Bohra culture and rituals. My religion was primarily restricted to namaz and learning to read the Qur’an. more