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
Ismāʿīlī Manuscripts from Yemen

How did the Ismāʿīlī works,1 written by their duʿāt (pl. of dāʿī, i.e. missionaries) in different countries, at distinct times, under diverse circumstances, come to be preserved in Yemen having completely disappeared from their country of origin?2 The answer to this intriguing question can be found in Ismāʿīlī history. The Ismāʿīlīs are historically associated with Yemen, as expounded by the Ismāʿīlī Yemenī dāʿī Idrīs ʿImād al-Dīn, a historian of the daʿwa3 and a prolific author, who died in 872/1468 in Shibām (Kawkabān).4 The following account is culled from his two major historical works.

Ismāʿīlī Manuscripts from Yemen (PDF).

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

Why Bohras are reluctant to join the reform movement
From most of the reformist fora it is discussed what have we achieved? We are still so few and far in between. Why our number does not increase rapidly? Why so many people continue to flock around the Bohra priesthood? These are important questions, of course and need to be discussed dispassionately. 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.

Islamic states have no Qur'anic sanction
A number of Islamic countries claim that they are an Islamic state and that secularism has no place in their society. Some Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia consider secularism to be a great sin. Is there any concept of an Islamic state in the Qur'an? more
Recostruction of Islamic thought
How do we look at a religion? As a set of rituals, dogmas and institutions? Or as values and thought system? Some emphasise the former and others the latter. Generally the masses of people are more concerned with rituals dogmas and institutions whereas the intellectuals lay more emphasis on thought system and values, particular on the thought system. more
Merchant Princes of East Africa
Gijsbert Oonk, the author, starts the book (The Karimjee Jivanjee Family: Merchant Princes of East Africa 1800–2000) with an insert of a family tree. This becomes a very necessary tool for readers as we weave through the journey of the prominent Karimjee Jeevanji family on the east coast of Africa. The author is a senior associate professor of non-western history at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He has published various books and numerous articles on the history of the Indian Ocean region. 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
  • News & Events
    Dr Engineer in Afghanistan for talks on Islam
    Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer was invited by Afghanistan Islamic Research Academy for one week from 1st July to 7th July 2011 to deliver lectures on Islam and participate in a conference on Islam and Narcotics. In Afghanistan today tens of thousands of people, including thousands of women, are addicted to drugs. more
    Features
    Ramzan, iftaar and nostalgia
    During the Cold War American presidents had a handy way to manipulate the masses. All they had to do was cry out “Russians are coming, Russians are coming” and the gullible Americans would be spooked out of their wits. Similarly, there is a way to spook the Muslims? No, it’s not “the Americans are coming”, although that is more terrifyingly true than one can imagine. I’m referring to something closer to home, something integral to their faith. more
    Islamic perspective
    Recostruction of Islamic thought
    How do we look at a religion? As a set of rituals, dogmas and institutions? Or as values and thought system? Some emphasise the former and others the latter. Generally the masses of people are more concerned with rituals dogmas and institutions whereas the intellectuals lay more emphasis on thought system and values, particular on the thought system. more
  • Bohras and Reform
    Dai and his qualifications
    It is generally believed that a Da'i is as infallible as an Imam. Such a belief is certainly wrong. As far as the Ismaili beliefs go, there is no such belief about the infallibility of a Da'i. Only an Imam after Nabi and Wasi is believed to be infallible. more
    Karbala and its relevance to Dawoodi Bohras: 2
    This is the second part in a series discussing the relevance of Karbala to our community. Saifuddin Insaf argues that our present-day priesthood is completely out of step with the principles for which Imam Hussain sacrificed his 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
    Your story
    › Tell us your story, write to us.
    How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?
    I was born in 1939 in a Dawoodi Bohra family. Having been brought up in a traditional Bohra household and later having migrated to North America I ensured that my children were raised in the same tradition. I taught them to read, write and recite Arabic, how to perform wudhu and offer prayers, explained Islam and its sects down to what we are as Dawoodi Bohras. more