I wish even 10-20 % of our fellow brothers/sisters understand this brilliant articles and come out boldly in the defence of the silent majority.
S. Insaf wrote:Dawoodi Bohras and Present Crises
In defence of the Silent Majority
Dawoodi Bohras are "Spineless Idiots".
That is the impression of many Muslim ulama who know them closely.
This remark is offending! Off course!
Shocking! Off course!
But they reason it out as follows:-
Dawoodi Bohras are Spineless - - Because they have no self-respect, willingly suffer insults, humiliation, beatings, exploitation, extortion and not only that, they themselves met out discard, insult and torture to their own blood relations.
Dawoodi Bohras are Idiots - Because they regularly pay their oppressors to strengthen their power. Even educated, well-placed, wealthy and influential Bohras rather than raising their voice against these evils they throw parties and sing praises for their exploitators and extortionists.
The Dawoodi Bohras’ Scholarly Analysis concludes that:-
1. The strange submissiveness of Dawoodi Bohras is due to the nature of their religious authority and doctrines they follow.
2. This is because of sense of belonging, as Bohras are historically a highly well knit community. Most Dawoodi Bohras fall in line for fear of social boycott (Baraat) for fear of losing the sense of belonging?
3. This is because Bohras are a treading community and they value peace above all and do not want to indulge in social and religious conflicts.
4. Majority of Bohras are orthodox and rigid due to their cultural practices and family upbringing. Very few are liberal and open-minded due to the emergence of university education and professionalism.
5. Dawoodi Bohras vehemently revere Hazrat Ali ibne Ibi Talib and Imam Husain ibne Ali who suffered intensively but fought against tyranny and injustice till they were martyred.
Unfortunately in last 100 years the Bohra priesthood has intentionally emphasized on exaggerated narration of victimization of these martyrs and their exemplary passion instead of exploring their bold and uncompromised struggle against oppression and injustice. The victimization of Ahle-Bayt is so much glorified that the mourners take pried in suffering victimization and they have become coward.
6. Dawoodi Bohras are constantly fed the totally distorted information about their religious doctrines with a view to reinforce authority of Dai and his administration legitimizing authoritarian power structure. The sermons deliver during Moharram were totally controlled by Dai's family, but now that had has been stopped and Dawoodi Bohra are forced to listen a single sermon by Dai relayed all over.
7. Right from childhood emphasis on all respect and privileges to Dai, his family and his agents, above others in the community and never never question them however stupid they are.
8. The tight control over the community by their priests to safeguard their vested interests and a definite source of regular inflow of huge wealth for Dai.
9. The tremendous financial contribution in pounds and dollars by NRI Bohras settled in foreign countries has made the Dai and his family members more powerful and arrogant.
10. Ever since Sayedna Taher Saifuddin Saheb started withholding the dissemination of the knowledge of Islam and the fatemid history and other literary gems of the faith, the Ulema class in the community has been completely eliminated. The "keepers of the community’s treasures of the knowledge do not do anything apart from the "blowing their own trumpets”.
The causes of present dispute:-
According to the doctrines of Dawoodi Bohra faith it is the duty and the responsibility of each Dai to openly announce his successor Dai in his life time, with inspiration from hidden Imam. But Sayedna Mohammad Burhanuddin Saheb failed in his duty, though he spent a longest life-time than any other Bohra Dai.
Unimaginable huge surplus money and constant inflow of ample fund, created its usual problem in Dai’s family. The desire of control over the huge ill-gotten wealth and power. “Existence and Inspiration of hidden Imam” has taken a back seat and now it is left to the law court or Mumineen to decide.
What can be done now to save the situation?:-
It is foregone conclusion that if Court’s decision goes in favour of one claimant the other claimant would surely appeal to the Supreme Court and the case would drag on for years.
Still this generation (it may be the last generation) of Dawoodi Bohras that is lucky that it still have few scholars of Islam and Fatimid literature and history, like Prof. Ismail Poonawala and Prof. Abbas Hamdani.
Prof. Ismail Poonawala has already conveyed to the Bombay High Court, by a separate submission through Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community, and rightly so, that:-
“As a result of present dispute, only the Dawoodi Bohra community is affected and non else, it is only just and proper that it must have a say in the appointment / selection of a right person as its leader and spiritual guide. It should not be left to the arbitrary whims of an individual as it’s the current practice. For the last 175 years the succession has been monopolized within one family. The predecessor appoints either his brother or son as successor irrespective of his merits or qualifications to lead the community. By a right person I mean the most pious, most learned and the best qualified as per the qualifications criteria elaborated above.
How should it be determined that a person is the right person to lead the community and be its spiritual guide? I suggest that it should be left to the good sense of the community. Either through a direct referendum or an indirect process. The referendum can be supervised by an election commission similar to the Election Commission of India. It is not difficult to constitute such a commission. It can be a 7 or 11 member body selected from the most qualified persons of the community. For example the former chief justice of India, Hon. Justice Ahmadi could head such a Commission. I respectfully beg to submit that it is not an easy task or a quick-fix solution. It will take time. It is high time, however, that steps must be taken now to safeguard the interest of the community now and in future.” – Ismail Poonawala
It is matter of pride that well-wisher intellectuals of the community have started thinking and acting on these lines. The first-ever survey of its kind among the Dawoodi Bohras was conducted online by an anonymous group between February and August this 2014 year.
As it the present split in Dai’s family has created a lot of turmoil and uncertainty in the community. The Dawoodi Bohra Community is highly suppressed community and there is no culture of discussion and no openness for expressing one’s feelings. The members of the community are not free even to name their children as per their likeness. They just follow the dictates of their exploitative masters. However agitated they may be but fear the consequences of speaking their minds. So the only alternative was an online survey, though it was restricted to the Bohras who were educated and computer literate. The internet gave a forum however limited it was it gave anonymity to the respondents.
The survey's findings blow the myth of a cohesive, united community unquestioningly devoted to its spiritual head. This is the first time the closed and tightly controlled community has given vent to its feelings on the conduct of those who control it.
This Survey points out that:-
66% of Dawoodi Bohras feel confused, spiritually paralyzed or betrayed by the split in the community's spiritual leadership.
23% of them are staying on in the community out of faith;
for the rest, family, cultural identity or fear are compelling them to do so.
38% have given their oath of allegiance to the new spiritual head freely; the rest did so reluctantly.
64% are against the uttering of laanat and declaring a social boycott on members of the community. This practice has been adopted by supporters of the current head Muffadal Saifuddin, to denounce those who do not support him.
The trickiest question was; which of the two rival claimants did the respondents accept? This was an optional question, and 266 respondents answered it. Of them, only 32% accepted Muffadal Saifuddin, as the Syedna's successor, while 46% supported the Syedna's brother, Khuzaima Qutbuddin.
The practice of uttering curses was felt as a new low for the community. Only 3.5% had no problem with the practice.
36% of the respondents were from the Indian subcontinent,
88% of them were graduates or postgraduates,
73 % were men.
This survey beyond boubt proves that Bohras are niether spineless nor idiots, they are terribly afraid and supressed, they would speak out their minds once a safe forum given to them. Let us give voice to the supressed and silent majority of Bohras.
This survey is a future road map to choose a right person as its leader and spiritual guide.
Lets hope the Bombay High Court or any other law agency does a through and all inclusive survey as suggested by learned professor Ismail bhai Poonawala.