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The one and only free public forum for Bohras. The focus of this forum is the reform movement, the Dawoodi Bohra faith and, of course, the corrupt priesthood. But the discussion is in no way restricted to the Bohras alone.
<br>Dear br. Asghar Ali,<p>I am sorry to switch threads – I thought it best to do so as it is becoming increasingly difficult to load the original thread with its many entries.<p>My contention to you in point 1 was your words that Syedna Taher Saifuddin admitted, during his hearing in the Chanda bhai Gulla case that the mithaq text is of recent origin. As you put it, it was “from the horse’s mouth”. This is simply an untruth and you have not been able to quote from the proceedings where Syedna Taher Saifuddin is supposed to have admitted it.<p>My point 2 was to do with the fact that this mithaq is of antiquity and to argue that your contention that it is of "recent origin" is false. It is in this context that I quoted al-Maqrizi’s Khitat and Heinz Halm’s recent findings to show that what the text quoted by them as being used in the Fatimid and pre-Fatimid times is very close to what we have today.<p>It is very strange that a man of your learning has to stress that Al-Maqrizi’s Khitat does not say the mithaq was meant for Dai. How can it? Al-Maqrizi is simply quoting the text as used by the Fatimids - so where is the question of the Dais being allowed to claim the mithaq for themselves? The Duat Mutlaqeen of satr did not exist then. The problem is that you want to say that whatever applied in the time of a manifest Imam should be being applicable in his seclusion. This may be your belief but it certainly isn't the Bohra one. If your logic would be taken to its natural conclusion, then one would have to search for all the powers the Imams claimed for themselves using say only the Quran and not what they themselves said. And except for one place, you won't even find the word "Imam" in the Qur'an.<p>I am fluent in Arabic and have read Tuhfat al-Qulub more than once. The context of the statements are exactly as I stated. The text is clearly intended to exhort the officials and to establish Syedna Hatim’s position with regard to them.<p>You raise new topics without really completing the ones being discussed. I really prefer that discussions be limited to a few points at a time and if you are to respond to this posting, I would rather that you did not add new issues.<br> <br>One of the new issues you raise is about how the mithaq is being used today, and comparing it with the case of the amil in the time of the 49th Dai. I say it was magnanimous of the 49th Dai not to have excommunicated that amil – in fact, he even accepted a ziyafat by him after the event. But the choice of when to exercise excommunication and when not to is solely at the discretion of the head of the faith and not yours or mine - and the 49th Dai’s benevolent action can hardly be taken to mean that excommunication should never be applied, or that that his actions should be the norm. Remember that history is littered with cases of rejection, baraat and excommunication. Even the Prophet (SA) excommunicated Hakam the vile father of the Marwan and banished him out of the boundaries of the state for simply calling Rasulullah unjust - yet he chose to be kind to many who were cruel to him, disobeyed him and even those whom he knew to be hypocrites. One can’t say that if Rasulullah (SA) should have been kind to Hakam because he was kind to others. We simply accept his right to decide in his wisdom and justify it by saying that we believe he was divinely guided. The same applies to this case. It is either your belief that the Dais are guided by the Imam or not. If you belive they are not, then of course you will find many things that are objectionable about them.<p>In the same vein, I fail to see your logic at all when you consider Syedna as not having “even one tenth of the qualities of a Dai” as stated in Tuhfat al-Qulub, and yet accept him as your spiritual head. As you well know, to attribute qualities to anyone is highly subjective. Ali (SA) is regarded in greatest esteem by Shias, but an object of vilification by the Kharijites. You will find similar divergence about personalities and even their specific actions all over the history books. Even Syedna Hatim, whose book you quote, and who I assume you believe to be a Dai with all the right qualifications, was regarded by Ahveri as not even having the qualities of an ordinary mumin. You too, like Ahveri, can choose to have that view of Syedna, but by what stretch of imagination can you then also claim that he is your spiritual leader?<p>Murtaza<br>
<br>Dear Asghar Ali Engineer,<p>Can you please reply to this message so that we can complete the discussion with some conclusion?<p>Muztaza
Dear Murtuzabhai,<p>Without reading the cross examination in Admjee Peerbhoy case of <br>Saiyyidna Tahir Saifuddin you are asserting that he never admitted that there was any change in the mithaq. Please first go through the cross examination of Saiyyidna Tahir Saifuddin Sahib in the exhibits of the case and then make any such assertion. He clearly admitted that "there is some changes in the mithaq" .(See the book Chandabhai Gulla Case Gujarati version, pp-110).<p>There are more than 110 qualifications for da`i one of which is that the Da`i should have competent knowledge of all religions of his time? Does he have knowledge of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism which are Indian religions?, let alone other religions. Does he have competent knowledge of Christianity which is world religion? How can then he debate with representatives of any of these religions? Is it merely subjective assessment, as you allege?<p>According to yet other conditions a da`i should have competent knowledge of various sciences of his time? Does he have knowledge of any of social sciences like pyschology, political science, anthropology, let alone natural sciences like physics or mathematics? Has he done a Ph.D. in any one of these sciences?<p>If the 49th da`i was magnanimous and did not declare ex-communication against the amil who filed a suit against him, how magninimous our da`i <br>is? In fact this is also one of the qualification that a da`i should be<br>magnanimous and compassionate. If he had been such split would not have<br>taken place in the community. He is known as persecutor of the dissenters. I am the greatest victim of his wrath. I have been assaulted five times, my house and office both were completely destroyed by his followers and he did not utter a word condemning these brutal attacks thanks for magnanimity of Saiyyidna saheb. <p>I have never used an unbecoming word against him even after these attacks whereas he called me 'Shaitan, laeen, Jahannami' and so on.<p>If mithaq is being widely misused by Saiyyidna Sahib and his followers why should it not be pointed out? Should we not keep original purpose of the mithaq in mind?<p>Best wishes, and wassalam,<br>Asghar Ali Engineer<p>
Assalamu alaykum,<br>I do not want to comment on the reference both of you are dealing with, for I have not access to it. However, I would like to comment on one of Bhai Asghar Ali points.<p>You question the magnamousity of the 49th Dai against that of Sayedna Burhanudin. Remember, it was the current Dai that unilaterality accepted the mithaqs of half the Udaipur communities without any stipulations or repremations. Only of taking the mithaq. This has been done across the world for bohras. You argue one amil. I defend with large jamats of reformist coming into the guidance of Sayedna.<p>And I again must restate the stance I had taken and Br. Murtaza reiterated...you make statements without providing direct quotes from those sources you say are your defense. This is not proper debating procedure. And again you have not stuck to the original topic you started.
qiyam I think you have exhausted all your points of view on this subject but keep on flogging the same opinions. Your idea of debate is that if you cannot quote something you lose. Take a rest and give others a chance.
Dear br. Asghar Ali,<p>I am sorry that you have to adopt such a patronizing attitude in this discourse. In a previous posting you assumed that I didn’t know Arabic and asked me to ask someone who knows the language. Now you have assumed that I am making statements about the Chandabhai Gulla Case without reading the proceedings. I will have you know that I have access to the official proceedings of the Chandabhai Gulla Case, including the hearing of Syedna Taher Saifuddin. Not a Gujarati book as quoted by you, but the official English record of the entire case. In that, Syedna Taher Saifuddin is cross examined about the mithaq on pages 307-309, Monday, October 11th, 1920, and again on page 434-437, Friday, November 12th and finally on page 462-464, Monday, November 15th. In addition, the mithaq is mentioned in passing in a few other places. Nowhere in the aforegoing does Syedna Taher Saifuddin say that the present mithaqnama is of “recent origin” as alleged by you.<p>To refresh your memory, you said:<p>“Saiyyidna Tahir Saifuddin said that text of mithaq is not the orignal one but has been prepared recently while being cross examined in the Chandabhai Gulla case. The reformists had quoted Saiyyidna Hatim (R.A) from Tuhfat al-Qulub. So he had to accept it and confess that the present text never existed before.” (posted 08-30-2001 09:52 AM ET) <p>I am sorry for being a little blunt, but this is a blatant lie. He never even said that the present mithaq text was of recent origin, let alone that “it never existed before”. <p>Besides this, how can present text “never have existed before” when even you admit that Al-Maqrizi’s Khitat has a form of mithaq that differs from the present one only in the mentioning of the Dai and “looting of properties” (posted 09-11-2001 09:27 AM ET).<br> <br>Thus, both your claims, that the mithaq text “has been prepared recently” and that this was “confessed” by Syedna Taher Saifuddin in the Chandabhai Gulla Case are patently wrong!<p>You say (posted 09-14-2001 01:47 PM ET):<p>“According to yet other conditions a da`i should have competent knowledge of various sciences of his time? Does he have knowledge of any of social sciences like pyschology, political science, anthropology, let alone natural sciences like physics or mathematics? Has he done a Ph.D. in any one of these sciences?”<p>To say that one has to do a PhD in a subject before one is regarded as “competent” in a religious context is a ridiculous argument. The human being is not endowed with a long enough life span for such an endeavour. Men of Allah, such as the Prophets and the Imams (and the Dais if you happen to believe in them) are supposed to understand miraculously by divine inspiration, on a need-to-know basis, a facility they appear to use rarely and sparingly; and it is this that makes them leaders of men.<p>Since you feel Syedna should have PhDs as interpreted by you, could you name one Dai in whom you believe, perhaps prior to the 47th, who actually did? ? Do you believe for example, that the author of the book you quote, Syedna Hatim, had the 12th century equivalent of PhDs in all known sciences? If not, is it your contention that no Dai could have such qualifications? If so, why is it that only the present Dai has to have them? <p>As I have said in detail in a previous message, even a cursory study of the context in which these qualifications are quoted, would show clearly that these are extremely lofty standards that no human being could be expected to achieve fully. They were meant to inspire the Dawat officials of Syedna Hatim, and provide them with ideals to aspire to, albeit in acknowledgement of their human weaknesses. They are hardly meant to be taken literally, much less to be applied to the Dais of Satr.<br> <br>I shall not reply to your other arguments in the letter because they deviate from the subject, though I do not agree with them. <br>My intention in this dialogue was not to engage you in a host of separate arguments. It was only to point out specific factual untruths in some of your statements.<p>Best wishes,<p>Murtaza<br>
Dear Brother Murtuza,<br>I had immediate excess to the Gujarati translation and I quoted it which clearly shows that Saiyyidna Tahir Saifuddin said that some changes have been made. I will obtain the English version of the cross examinations and check the veracity of your quotes. Anyway it does not detract from veracity of my basic statement that Misaq is only an instrument, not a goal for iman.<p>Iman is born in the heart and transforms the personality of believers. <br>Misaq accomplishes no such transformation. It has become, at best dead ritual. People at the age of 15-16 are made to hear it in Arabic or highly Arabicised Gujarati, do not follow abc of it. You avoid dealing with this.<p>You also have been avoiding dealing with highly persecutory use of <br>mithaq by Kothar. Let alone it becoming an instrument of transformation for believers, it has been made into an instrument of slavery. Why do you avoid dealing with this aspect. Anyone can be a true mu`min without ever hearing of mithaq. Why Da`aim al-Islam does not mention it among the pillars of Islam if it is so central that one cannot even become mu`min without giving mithaq? <p>Please confront the truth and take the bull by its horns. Can you produce any quote from books of our Fatimi Da`wat which says one can become mu`min only by giving mithaq, not otherwise?<p>How do I know whether any body knows Arabic or not. I said if you don’t<br>then....If you know it and your are fluent in it it’s a matter of great<br>pleasure for me. It is not the central point of dialogue that we are <br>having.<p>There have been several da`is who were towering figures of all `ulum of<br>their times. Saiyyidna Idris, Saiyyidna Qadi al-N`uman, Saiyyidna <br>Hamiduddin Kirmani, Saiyyidna Muayyad Shirazi, Saiyyidna Hatim etc. How many more you want me to name. Why do you avoid the main question that our present da`I has hardly any knowledge of contemporary social and natural sciences and other religions. These qualifications are very fundamental for a religious heads who are supposed to be involved in dialogues with others, specially followers of other religions. Our Da`i can speak, at the most, only about our religion. He can hardly take part in international seminars, dialogues etc.<p>Best wishes,<br>Asghar Ali Engineer<br>
Dear br. Asghar Ali Engineer<p>Any debate, in my opinion, has positions that are defended by expressing feelings or beliefs and supporting these feelings with facts. Feelings, when eloquently expressed, influence the listener, whereas facts actually convince. Feelings and beliefs can be disagreed upon, facts by and large, can’t. It is therefore important to get the facts absolutely right in any debate.<p>When we started this discussion, I highlighted a few points in your past dialogue with br. qiyam which were underpinned by factual faslities. These falsities were important to clarify as they have a major bearing on the case you made. Whilst you have tried to answer them, you have also kept on brushing them aside and instead challenged me with other issues. I refuse to be sidetracked into other issues before we conclude the current ones. <p>Once we agree that in fact, the mithaq text is old, one that was extant in Fatimid and pre-Fatimid times (as per Al-Maqrizi and Halm), and that you were mistaken in claiming that Syedna Taher Saifuddin said in the Chandabhai Gulla Case that the misaqnama used in his day “ did not exist before”, then we can move on to the other points you have raised.<p>Also initially, I challenged your reading of Tuhfat al-Qulub and said that the context demonstrates clearly that the qualifications of a Dai as well as the idea that the mithaq should only be applicable to a Dai cannot be interpreted the way you did, but that it is text meant for the Dais operating under an Imam when the Imam is manifest; and that the learned Syedna Hatim gave the same lofty ideals to his hudud (officials) to aspire to. You did not argue this point much, but instead you talked of how the present Dai does not have “even a tenth” of those qualifications and showed how unsuited he was to the office. With this, I raised the question as to how you judge a Dai to have got those qualifications and asked whether your belief system allowed you to consider any Dai as having had all the said qualities. The answer you have given is that some Dais are “were towering figures” of knowledge of their times, but only two of the Dais you mention are those of the period of satr.<p>Both these Dais had enemies whose regard for them was much less than yours. In a past mail, I named Ahveri whose objections to Syedna Hatim are well recorded in our books. He would disagree with you in your estimation of the abilities of Syedna Hatim in the same way as you would disagree with a "loyalist" Bohra regarding the qualities of the present Dai. Now I ask you again, by what criterion should one judge these personalities? By yours or by Ahveri’s? And since you regard one Dai as having failed your test (the 52nd) and 2 as having passed, what of the other 49 Dais? Were they in your books, if not towering figures, at least qualified to be Dais as per your contention that each Dai should have the qualities defined in Tuhfat al-Qulub? <p>I believe you are simply making strong value judgements and asking us to accept your values. Because your beliefs, for whatever reason, rightly or wrongly, do not let you believe in the present Dai, you never will see anything good in him. For the loyal follower, however, there will be nothing wrong to be seen in him. And this should not be a surprising thing. As you well know, even Rasulullah (saw) is regarded by many Western thinkers (Dante, for example) and many Orientalists as the embodiment of evil, with his thoughts only being crude copies of Judaism and Christianity. To them is their belief and to us, ours.<p>I shall try to debate the other questions in your mail once we have agreed on the points discussed so far.<p>Best wishes,<br>Murtaza<br>
Dear Brother Murtuza,<br>I was out of India and hence some delay in writing to you. It is strange logic that if a particular da`i has enemies it equips him with the qualities mentioned for a da`i in Tuhfat al-Qulub. Yes, Saiyyidna Hatim and several other da`is had opponents, so what. I am talking of these da`is having personal merits which count, not whether some one had enemies or not. Do you think those who do not have certain abilities or competence cannot have enemies? Even a very simple person holding no office or having no knowledge of any thing can have enemies. Having or not having enemies is not the question.<p>Real question is whether the present da`i has the qualifications mentioned by Saiyyidna Hatim. If he has, please go ahead and mention them. Let us not beat about the bush. How many tasanif he has like other Yemeni da`is? Can he debate with any religious missionary of other faiths with expert knowledge of their faiths? Can he hold debates about science and religion with adequate knowledge of most recent scientific theories? Is he a good and competent administrator? Why then all this mess around him. <p>Even most faithful orthodox Bohra says that all uperwalas do this. Does this not reflect on his administrative capabilites? Is he really very compassionate? Why then persecution of reformists and attacks on them. <br>I have been attacked near fatally several times and my house and office were completely destroyed? Abbas Aurangabadi was burnt alive in Karachi? <br>Did he ever condemn these brutalities? Can he control men around him.<p>Does he honestly spend money collected from community on the needy? Does he not coerce people to pay for the dead by holding up dead bodies? Is it Islamic teaching? Are Kotharis not very arrogant? Does da`i ever tell them to be polite with the people. Many more questions can be raised about those qualities mentioned by Saiyyidna Hatim from Nishapuri's risala.<p>Wassalam<br>Asghar Ali Engineer<p>
<br>Dear Brother Asgar Ali<p>Asssalamo-Alaikum<p>From your recent response it appears that you have conceded that MITHAK is more or less historically correct and you have no rebuttal.<p>Now you are arguing about qualifications of Dai. As a non Bohra let me make one point clear. <p>Dai-ship in Bohri religion has evolved in heridetory institution. Progeny of present Syedana will rule you people for ever till qiyamat. New dia's will be appointed from sons of present dai, wether they are qualified or not. It has turned into a religio-political institute. Present Dai has cleverly surrounded himself with his family (Well taken care), apponted prist class (well taken care) and people who care about noble titles (of course they pay dearly for it). So please grit and bear. You have no chance to reform entrancehd currupt regime. Ultimately some of you will form a splinter group and start worshipping Dai-uz-Zaman like mythical Imaam-uz-Zaman.<p>Best wishes and good luck<p>
Dear Friend,<br>Thanks for your e-mail. I can understand your bitterness against the present corrupt system. But I am afraid, your opinion that reformists will worship Da`i al-Zaman is not justified. We don’t believe in worshipping any human being which is against the basic tenet of Islam. We believe in bowing down only before Allah. We want to preserve the real spirit of Islam and the message of equality and justice. I hope you will seriously reflect on the fundamentals of the reformist movement.<p>Wassalam<br>Asghar Ali Engineer<br>
<br>Dr Asghar Ali;<p>Sorry I was harsh and got carried away in my arguments.<p>Your statement "We believe in bowing down only before Allah" is not correct as far as Bohra prectice is concerned. Syedana has told Bohri's to this affect 'Tane Sajdo Wajib che". Please see thread Kadam Bosi---. Your scholarly input will be very helpful in that thread.<p>Wassalaam.<p>
Dear br. Asghar Ali,<p>You have again failed to address the issues of facts regarding the mithaq and its application. We have to accept, as “Muslim First” says, that the point is conceded. I would like this to be noted in this message board so that if ever there is any questioning of the antiquity and authenticity of the mithaq, or of Syedna Taher Saifuddin “admitting” that the mithaq was recently written, then this discussion can be quoted to show otherwise. The same applies to the qualifications listed in Tuhfat al-Qulub, which it is conceded as being lofty ideals for Dawat officials under Syedna Hatim to strive for.<p>Now to address other points you raise. <p>You seem to have gathered from my last letter that I said that having opponents dilutes the qualities of Syedna Hatim. This is a misunderstanding. I was making a very important point, which I am surprised you did not get and which I hope you now address. The point is this - that to apply qualities to a person is largely a subjective matter and can vary widely from individual to individual. Just as you feel that the present Dai does not have many qualities he should have, so did Ahveri for Syedna Hatim. Ahveri felt that Syedna Hatim did not even have the manners of a mumin, let alone a Dai. Now you and I both believe he was wrong. We both believe that Syedna Hatim wrote remarkable books, galvanised a disparate community, lived frugally on mountain tops, dedicating his life for the service of Ahlul Bayt and made huge sacrifices for his followers. Ahveri believed that the books Syedna Hatim wrote were not much of anything, that his mountain retreat was an act of cowardice, that he avoided battles whilst subjecting others to them, and that he allowed factions to develop within his followers. Now today you say Syedna cannot engage in debates in science and religion, has allowed splits to form in the community, his administration has corrupt officials, he takes away his followers’ money, etc. etc. A follower of Syedna’s would say he has strengthened the community’s adherence to the Shariah, increased their love for Ahlul Bayt, raised the community’s profile in the world by talking to world leaders, encouraged the building of mosques, set up qardan schemes whilst freeing them from dealing interest, given free housing to the poor, delivered speeches in Muslim conferences, written books and poems etc. etc. (See for example the new book: Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, an illustrated biography: www.jameasaifiyahtrust.org). I am sure you will disagree with all of these views, but that is exactly the point I am making. The application of qualities to a person is almost entirely subjective and just as you regard Ahveri to be wrong about Syedna Hatim, today’s Bohris regard you to be wrong about Syedna. From their perspective, then, you are merely today’s Ahveri.<p><br>I feel is that you are deliberately avoiding making a statement of belief regarding the Dais of satr. Since you believe that these Dais must have the qualifications stated in Tuhfat al-Qulub, you have negated believing in any of them, since none can visibly measure up to those qualifications. The criticisms you make of the present Dai can apply equally to many more. And even those who can escape these criticisms fall short of other qualifications. So by your standards then, you have to accept that either none of the Dais qualify, or that all the qualifications need not apply to a Dai, in which case, you can’t apply them all to the present Dai either. <p>Best wishes,<br>Murtaza<br>
Dear Murtuzabhai,<p>Thanks for your e-mail. I think we have discussed enough and have thrown light on various issues from our respective viewpoints. Now I think there is no use repeating the same points. The readers also have right to judge. <br>It is not the question whether I feel that present da`i has requisite qualities or not and also it is not the question whether the present da`i is very well equipped with all those qualities. More important is what others feel. <br>Both of us have stated our viewpoints and now let others express their viewpoints.<p>Wassalam and best wishes,<br>Asghar Ali Engineer<br>
<br>in other words, murtaza bhai, Asghar Ali has conceded, and cannot rebut, so he tries to evade responding by asking that discussion between you cease.<p>surely now a Engineer chamcha will step forward to rant about mithaq, ignoring the fact that he has conceded, to deflect attention away from this tactical loss.
Assalamu alaykum,<br>I just a small point to bring out. Br. Asghar Ali has stated that the present Dai doesn't have the capabilities to converse with the other muslim sects. Yet, if this were true, why would he be the current chancellor of Aligarh University (a sunni muslim university) and have receive a honorary doctrate from Al'Azhar University (the most prominent sunni university). I am pretty certain they asked who and what are Dawoodi Bohras (if they didn't already know) before given Sayedna such aspicious titles.
Assalamualaykum,<p>To answer br. Qiyam question, Sayyedna Burhanuddin was conferred "Doctorate of Theology (Honaris Causa) Aligarh Muslim University, India" and "Doctorate of Islamic Sciences (Honaris Causa)Al-Azhar University of Cairo, Egypt".<p>Take note of the word Honoris Causa - which means it is a Honourary Degree. These degree are conferred to those who has outstanding contributions to the institution (eg cash donation), state, or society. <p>Bill Clinton the "womanizer" has been conferred few honourary degrees by distinguished United States and foreign university.<p>I don't think we can really claim anything based on few 'bought' position or title from some Sunni university.<p>Does anyone know whether Our Sayyedna has been honoured by any Shia Theological School/University ..etc? I am pretty certain they asked who and what are Dawoodi Bohras (if they didn't already know) ....
Stop ruining this thread with minor points. <p>This has been one of the most useful conversations on the message board. Brother Asghar Ali Engineer has conceded very important points about the misaq and other matters. The thread should now be closed and preserved.<p>The summary of what has been conceded is:<p>1. The misaq document used today is authentic, has been used by the Imams, and has not been changed recently.<br>2. Syedna Taher Saifuddin never said in the Chandabhai Gulla Case, as has been claimed by the reformists, that the misaq document has been recently changed.<br>3. The qualities listed in a book by Syedna Hatim do not, as the reformists have claimed, apply to a Dai operating in the seclusion of the Imam.<br>4. Applying qualities to a Dai is only a subjective matter that people can have widely opposing views about - and cannot be used to judge his suitability or otherwise of a Dai.<p>In addition, brother Engineer has refrained from making an explicit statement about his beliefs regarding other Dais, calling to question the reformists' beliefs about all the Dais of satr.<p>This has been a very enlightening conversation.<p>Salaams,<p>Vohra<p><br>
It’s amusing, but hardly surprising, that Kothar’s apologists should jump to conclusion – prematurely as always – and celebrate “fateh mubin” by claiming that Asghar Ali has conceded argument on topics under discussion. People with even minimal literacy and the slightest of intellectual honesty will figure out that this is not so.<p>But then what can one expect from people who find spiritual solace in kissing feet and smooching pieces of paper, who invest every act of indignity and insult heaped upon Bohars with some kind of religious/scriptural justification? <p>It’s claimed that Asghar Ali has conceded that:<br><1. The misaq document used today is authentic, has been used by the Imams, and has not been changed recently><p>Now, where exactly has he said this. On the contrary, the fact is that there’s no “authentic” text of misaaq in existence. Despite repeated requests, Qiayam et al have failed to provide the “authentic” source of misaaq being used today. All they have done is hedged and fudged and used all the tricks in the book to confuse and obfuscate the matter – but have failed to source the “current misaaq” in “text and intent” to any “authentic” source books on Fatimid traditions or Islam.<p>It’s claimed that:<br><2. Syedna Taher Saifuddin never said in the Chandabhai Gulla Case, as has been claimed by the reformists, that the misaq document has been recently changed.><p>This is a moot point. The English and Gujarati versions are apparently contradictory. In either case, what is important is that this piece of text is an “invention”. If Sayedna Taher Saifuddin’s alleged statement corroborating this can be confirmed, it would be good. If not, it will only amount to mere denial of reformist claim. It will not amount to “authenticating” the present text. The argument on misaaq does not stand or collapse on his statement alone.<p>It’s claimed that:<br><3. The qualities listed in a book by Syedna Hatim do not, as the reformists have claimed, apply to a Dai operating in the seclusion of the Imam. ><br><4. Applying qualities to a Dai is only a subjective matter that people can have widely opposing views about - and cannot be used to judge his suitability or otherwise of a Dai><p>Again, these conclusions reflect wishful thinking. Asghar Ali is trying to argue, quoting authentic sources, that a Dai must have certain qualifications to do justice to his office. Admittedly, the qualifications that Sayedna Hatim has enumerated are stringent and not all Dais have been able to live up to them. But that does not mean Sayedna Hatim’s tract has no relevance. This does not mean that a Dai should not meet at least some of the qualifications of what an “ideal” Dai should be. “Applying qualities to a Dai can be subjective” it is claimed. So whose subjectivity are we supposed to take into account. Without any minimum standards and qualifications, even a crook can become a Dai.<br>
No one denies the practice of misaq during the times of Isma`ili <br>imams. However, real question is of text and changes made therein and how old the text of present misaq is. As per admission of Saiyyidna Taher Saifuddin Saheb himself in Chandabhai Gulla case of 1917 the present `Ahd al-Awliya (misaqnama) is only 90 years old (vide Judgement of Chandabhai Gulla Case,page 25. <p>It would be interesting to quote an extract from this <br>judgement. "I may note", the learned judge says, "too, that in weighing evidence one must bear in mind the doctrine of implicit obedience to Defendant 3 (Taher Saifuddin), and his powers of excommunication and their consequences. In certain particulars the modern Meshak would appear to have been from a form not obsolete. For one thing it purported to give the Mullaji certain powers which he expressly disclaimed in the witness box - (See evidence taken in camera -Notes, page 326). For another it countenances the possession of slaves which has long since been a criminal offence in India, (see Indian penal Code,s.180). The Mullaji himself says that Ex. 17 (i.e. misaq) purports to be 90 years old. (Notes, page 180).”<p>Thus it is Saiyyidna Taher Saifuddin who admitted clearly that the extant misaqnama is 90 years old. Also, under examination, as the learned judge says, he disclaimed powers accruing to him as per the extant misaqnama. He had also claimed to be God on earth, a claim the judge threw out. <br>Thus the judge says, "It is incorrect to say that the Mullaji Saheb is in effect God, and that it is a sacrelige to bring the present suit. This is, I think, opposed to the leading tenet of the Mahommedan faith...."<p>Thus one can see to what extent the religious leadership went in claiming powers and authority which is un_Islamic.<p>Another important consideration is from what book of Da`wat the text of the mithaq has been taken? Saiyyidna Hatim's Tuhfat al-Qulub mentions <br>mithaq but gives no text. If it is taken from Maqrizi's Khitat it is no book of Fatimi Da`wat. Maqrizi was an Isna Ashari Shi`ah, not even an Ismaili.<p>Saiyyidna Hatim also clearly says that mithaq cannot be taken for da`i, it is only for Imam and he emphasises this fact. Who then added da`is name in the text of mithaq? Is it not tampering with the original text?<p>Third question is: Is giving mithaq a fundamental tenet of our faith?<br>Clearly it is not. Da`aim al-Islam mentions seven pillars of Islam and discusses all aspects of shari`ah but does not mention mithaq even indirectly. Why? It says Walayat is essential part of our faith and even there mithaq is not mentioned. How can then it become obligatory? It is in fact not. It is tasdiq bil janan (endorsement by ones heart) that one becomes true mu`min not merely by tradition of passively listening to something one even does not understand (as it is in Arabic or <br>Arabicised Gujrati) that one become mu`min. <p>To be mu`min one has to understand deeply ones beliefs and then accept them with all sincerity and put them into action.<p>During the underground period of Isma`ili movement mithaq was taken to<br>ensure loyalty of the initiated to the Isma`ili movement and it was<br>religio-political in nature. Now mithaq has become an instrument of slavery and oppressive power rather than an instrument of transforming ones heart and soul. All reformists are sincere m`umins from the depth of their heart though they do not give mithaq to any da`i.<p>As for the qualifications of a da`i our present da`i does not possess any. Having qualifications is not merely subjective matter. Having opponents does not mean that ones true qualification cannot be objectively judged. If I go for a job my qualifications will be objectively judged by my employer though my opponent may maintain I do not fit for job.<p>A da`i's job requires qualifications which have been laid down by <br>Nishapuri in his risala and which have been included by Saiyyidna Hatim in his Tuhfat al-Qulub. A da`i has to be a competent administrator. Is our da`i a competant administrator. According to his own followers he does not know what ooperwalas do and he has no control over them. Is he then competent administrator?<p>He should be great scholar of his faith and other contemporary faiths. <br>The present da`i is not known to have written any book advancing the knowledge of our faith. The Yamani da`is have done glorious work in this direction. He has no knowledge of contemporary faiths. Can he take part in any inter-faith dialogue and speak impressively as Dalai Lama, Pope and other heads of religion do? He can speak only dawat ni zaban, nothing else. Not only language he has no knowledge of religions like Hinduism, Buddism, Jainism etc. It is doubtful whether he has knowledge of Sunni Islam in depth. <p>A da`i is supposed to protect his community. He put his own community in danger by publicly pronouncing lanat on three caliphs publicly. Two <br>Bohras were killed in Bombay and their properties worth more than a crore was destroyed. It was utterly irresponsible on his part to prnounce lanat publicly. Can he be a competent governor then?<p>A da`i is suposed to be compassionate. Is our da`i so. His followers commit violence against reformists and their leaders, loot their houses and offices and he does not even condemn it; he provokes them on the contrary.<p>I can go on and on to show our da`i does not possess those qualifications prescribed by Nishapuri in his risalah.<p>I hope this will suffice for the present.<p>Asghar Ali Engineer<br>
Has our Dai shown any leadership or played any prominient role in recent events like Gujrat or New York. The only way they get credence is by bribing lobbist to meet heads of state. Their biggest companions are thugs like Shiv Sena and Shammi Kapoor. <p>As per the learned judge, the community has been turned in to slaves, he is the "god on earth" and bullies the community to submission. Is he really the clone of the prophet he is supposed to be?<br>Salaams
Brother Simon& Qiyam, Have you figured out a good reply to Brother Humsafar & Br Asgarali Enginner?Now stick to the point please & don't beat around the bush!You see we have not conceded but syedna's chelas have a habbit of declaring "false" fateh mubins just like your ruhani bawa, & welcome to the club Aftab-Please ventilate your views-
Assalamu alaykum,<br>I didn't reply in regards to the issue because Asgharbhai has clearly lied on the issue as well as others. Now he is back tracking.<p>This was pointed out by Br. Murtaza as well.<p>He now writes:<br>"No one denies the practice of misaq during the times of Isma`ili imams."<p>Actually, Asgharbhai did say that the mithaq is a recent invention of the past two Dais and is not related to the bayah of Rasullah or the Imam.<p>If you actually read my original posts...Qadi Numan clearly point out that the bayah is a mithaq (convenant) with Allah and His Imam az'Zaman.<p>And now Asgharbhai eludes the mithaq as being done by the Imams of the time of the Abbasid caliphs (which started with Imam Ismail)for fear and to take initiation...this is also partially incorrect. Though the Imams were in hidings the Dais of the Imams were very present in the populas...and they were the one taking the mithaqs not the Imams. <p>As far as the qualification you present the Dai should have...I would agree with Br. Murtaza's explaination of the ideal and their usage. I do so because the qualifications you state as being required...to the extent the Holy Prophet (saw) did not claim to have. The Prophet had the pinacle of Islamic knowledge as taught to him by Allah...the Prophet was not required to be expert in the fields you say a Dai MUST have. I am in noways comparing the Prophet to the Dai, but explaining the qualifications that a Dai MUST have according to your opinion...the Prophet did not have. <p>To your point on being a competant administrator...did Maulana Ali have control of all of his amils? Obviously not. Most of his chosen governors were killed within a year at their post. Others (like Muwaiya) in Syria, Baghdad, did not even recognize Maulana Ali as the Amirul Muminin. So how is this a must qualification if the Amirul Muminin couldn't attain this.<p>Again it also brings back the point Br. Murtaza stated....how many of the Dais of the past meet even part of the qualifications you list. Unless all of them do, then none were qualified to be sucessors to the previous Dais.<p>I do not have access to the case records so please Asgharbhai..quote where and the entire statement of Muqadas Sayedna saying "he is God on Earth". You have referenced it many times without quoting it directly. Br. Murtaza has stated that this is a blantant lie. Please defend yourself with proof.<p>Regarding authencity...the mithaq document used on the case was listed as being from 1248 AH (approx 1827 AD). Was this the original document or a penned document? The reason I ask is firstly we have evidence that the mithaq was taken in the time of the Imams (agreed by both Asgharbhai and Murtazabhai in Maqrizi, a non-bohra) and every issue in the mithaq covered by the "modern mithaq" covered by Qadi Numan and Sayedna Shiraz in their Majalises. How is the mithaq a recent invention? Three Dais before Sayedna Saifuddin used the same "modern" mithaq. Are you also questioning their position?<p>According to the risalahs of our Imams...to be a mumin is to first recognize your God, your Prophet, your Imam...then what you do is accounted for as a mumin. Without this your deeds are like sands in the wind.
Dear Jinx,<br>Sayedna is the current chancellor of Aligarh University...not a honoris title. Secondly, why would a sunni school like al'Azhar or Aligarh even grant an Ismailiyyah Shiah leader an honoris title if he didn't know anything. Must Sunni consider shiahs fasiqs or kuffars. Remember these are religious institutions, not just secular universities.<p>Dear Humsafar,<br>You wrote regarding the authencity of the mithaq: "Now, where exactly has he said this."<p>I quoted the entire majalis regarding the bayah or mithaq of the Imam by Qadi Numan see thread "Misaq: who's twisting the facts". Br. Murtaza stated a copy is in the history by Maqrizi an ithna ashari historian. This would show the mithaq's prevailance if a person from another sect has referenced it.<p>If the text was invented based on the copy of the case..it was invented and followed by four Dais.<p>Asgharbhai as of present, has not quoted from one authentic source (nor has any reformist regarding this topic), though asked many times. He requested quoted from Fatimid books. I did that from Qadi Numan and Sayedna Shiraz. I even listed each point of the mithaq and provided sources for each item. He then jumped to other topics. The book he refered to but didn't quote from Br. Murtaza corrected his false interpretation on.
Going back to the so called qualifications of a Dai. How does anyone know whether the Dai is knowledgeable about worldly, or other religions? Mr. Engineer, do you have proof that he cannot.... "Can he debate with any religious missionary of other faiths with expert knowledge of their faiths? Can he hold debates about science and religion with adequate knowledge of most recent scientific theories? Is he a good and competent administrator?"<p>Substantiate your claims with documentation, or admit it's your personal bias and opinion of what you would like to see.<p>As for not being an able administrator. Br. Qiyam's example of Amir-Ul-Mumineen Moula Ali A.S. is to the point. And how about his patience when the Caliphate was snatched from him, and all the zoolums on his family? Does this make him a poor administrator? Let me add, Imam Hassan and how he made a pact with the evil doers? Or do we not believe this anymore? <p>There are some things that have to be dealt with carefully, that's the life of politics.<p>My point is this. If I put you under the microscope, how long will you last? We are, afterall, human.
The claim "We are, afterall, human" is very instructive. Can we conclude from this, that the Dai is not infallible?<p>As for Qiyam's hedging and fudging, one ends up repeating oneself. So let me repeat: reformists (including Asghar Ali) have never claimed that misaaq never existed. What they assert is that the misaaq in its current form and practice is a recent invention, and in present time has no historical or religious relevance. Reformis further claim that current misaaq is an "invention" for which the kothar and its apologists cannot provide any scriptural/religious justification.<p>Asghar Ali has tried to show at length that bayah at prohpet Mohammed's time was different - in spirit and text - from the current misaaq which is nothing but an oath to slavery. In fact, it takes an uncommon arrogance and audacity to even begin to compare the two. But then, are we surprised?
Dear Humsafar,<br>Wrong. You and other most definitely say the mithaq is a recent invention. Well if it is recent why does Qadi Numan describe it to a tee for the mithaq to the Imam. The bayah in the time of the Prophet and the first four caliph was a both religious and political...in not going to repeat everything I posted again. Were the companions regarding the bayah of the Prophet and Imams as political or religious? They were first and foremost religious and secondly political, but they were indeed political. This Asgharbhai as conceded. Conceded because he has no proof to show otherwise. I provide clear evidence regarding the matter. <br>If you don't want to read then don't participate.
<Wrong. You and other most definitely say the mithaq is a recent invention.> Thus insists Qiyam. Now, what kind of discussion is this? Forcing us to accept things which we never claimed, said or believe in. Nowhere have reformists said that misaq per se is a recent invention.<p>We are sick and tired of repeating that the misaq in its CURRENT “form, content and intent” is a recent invention. We’ve also been consistently saying that the practice of misaq in its current avatar (excuse the metaphor) is being used to subjugate the community. We’ve also been saying that the misaq in its CURRENT “form, content and intent” has no historical/religious precedence. The Kothar and it apologists have failed to provide any convincing and credible historical/religious/political/social justification for the practice of misaq in its CURRENT “form, content and intent”. Also, they have failed to source the text of the current misaq in its entirety to any accepted Fatimid literature.<p>The attempt to link misaq in its CURRENT “form, content and intent” to the bayah of old is tenuous at best, and deceptive at worst. Whether the bayah was religious or political is immaterial to the current discussion on relevancy and necessity of misaq in its CURRENT “form, content and intent”.<p>Now, pls don’t around and say, “Wrong. You and other most definitely say the mithaq is a recent invention”.<br>
Assalamu alaykum Dear Humsafar,<br>Unfortunately..you keep saying and not proving anything. Your word is just as authoritative on this matter as mine would be. However, I provided evidence, most of which Br. Asgharbhai conceded to. What have you to add...but your words.<p>Do you consider the writer of Da'im Islam, Qadi Numan a Fatimid author? If so, he completely endorsed the mithaq. And it is not me linking the bayah to the mithaq...it is scholars such as Sayedna Shirazi and Qadi Numan.<p>I am not forcing you to believe anything. But I also don't want you push false concepts without any proofs. If you think the bayah and the mithaq are different...explain how? Don't take the easy way by just making blank statements. I have already stated my reasons for relating the two as the same thing. And to make an ignorant statement that the bayah or the mithaq isn't relative...just adds weakness to your argument...the bayah and mithaq was taken by Prophets of Bani Israel, the Prophet, Imams and previous Dais.
Humsafar,<p>here's my question to you guys. Why do you think the issue of Misaq is now a question "..on relevancy and necessity of misaq in its CURRENT “form, content and intent”."<p>I mean, you either give an oath of allegiance to the Imam, like it has been done thru out the Imamate, and thru out the Dai era, or you don't...simple, isn't it? You pledge allegiance to a state (or profession...eg doctors, lawyers, PhDs....catch my drift?) or you don't...there isn't a middle ground here, guys! <p>How and why do you think you have the right to decide that the Misaq is now irrelevant, "in it's current form, content and intent?"<p>The central premise of the Misaq ( at least that's what I got out of mine) is the allegiance to the Fatimid Imam. The relevancy? Uh, let's pause for a moment...........ummm the Imam is NOT present, who are you gonna follow?! And plz don't play with the old line that the Imam does not exist (as many of ur fellow reformists claim), coz then therez NO basis for an arguement! The whole concept of Shia is the leadership question.......I know you know this. The Dai is the representative of the Imam, do you agree to this or not...really simple, isn't it? If you cannot listen to the ambassador, how can you listen to his superior?<p>If ur beef's with the current Dai, then stick to that particular point. If you don't believe in the existance of the Imamate, then it is another topic all together, coz then it really doesn't matter what one says, anyways! <p>I've read Syedna Qadi Noman's Majlis, and I say to you that the current Misaq totally covers ALL that is written.