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.
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I am writing this to see if others out there have considered or at least thought about the implications of living in North America. Perhaps by exchanging viewpoints I may learn if other have any solutions or are faced with teh same dilemmas.<p>Lately what I have been struggling with is the bringing up of my children in North America. I am not a very religious (fanatic) but am religious in my own way. I have taught the children Namaaz and they can read the Quran. I recite the Quran and the various duas almost everyday. I find that forcing children in North America just causes too much conflict in the house. I try to work with them and they are good children. They at least listen to me. I also in turn respect their point of view and try to work with them. I am not very strict about practice but I expect my children to pray whenever possible and at least in the evening if possible. I also am happy if they do their evening prayers regardless of the time the sun sets. I do not expect them to be up past 9:30 p.m. to wait for maghrib. I do not care what anyone thinks but I think if they can be in communion with Allah at any time then at least they understand the meaning of Allah.<p>The thing I have been thinking about is the present model we bohoras use to train the youth. I am slowly coming around to the conclusion that if we do not change the model of instruction to incorporate the variables in North American society and continue to pound our children with the way our instructors are trained in Jamiya, our children are not going to be interested. This I think is because our chidlren evaluate everything in context. They do not accept things at face value. They question and I think it is because of their western liberal education which trains one to be curious and seek a rationale for things around you. When my children go to madressa and the mullasaheb says that only bohoras will go to heaven, they come back very confused. They go to school every day with christians and then for them to hear this at madressa is totally mind boggling for them. My younger cgildren are left confused and my older children just laugh at this matter. Also to tell them that there will be rivers of milk and honey in heaven is something beyond their imagination and impossible. But this is what they learn at our madressas. It is my sincers opinion that if we do not teach children by taking into consideration the context they are living in then we are not going to see them come to the mosque when they grow up. Something must be changed. It is a serious conundrum for me. I would like to know what other parents have done or think.<br>Please do not turn this discussion into a kothar bashing opportunity. i would like to hear from otehr parents. this is teh only site for bohoras to discuss something uncesored. I await your thoughts.
The Conference being held in Toronto in August is planning on addressing youth issues. Many of us are questioning what being a Bohra entails. With the input of the world's youth in attendance, parents in particular should gain some insight into what is necesary for Bohra youth to continue their parents' work.
OBSERVER,<p>Very good points. HOWEVER, in CHRISTIANITY, they're taught the ONLY way to HEAVEN is thru JESUS....."I am the Light...those who believe in me will enter the Kingdom of Heaven..." Therefore, to ridicule and criticize our beliefs is, frankly hypocritical, when the Western beliefs we so gladly think is "evaluate everything in context. They do not accept things at face value. They question and I think it is because of their western liberal education which trains one to be curious and seek a rationale for things around you." <p>The concept of Heaven is not unique to Bohras or Muslims, OBSERVER. Any Christian will tell you they have very similar concepts of the afterlife.....so what's the problem with these guys? Are they "not evaluating everything, aren't they also accepting things in face value?" My question to you is this. Do you believe in what you pray? It is a deeply personal question, and I don't want an answer....BUT think about it. We're all taught the tenets of ISLAM..WALAAYAT, TAHARAAT, SALAAT, ZAKAAT, SAUM, HAJJ, JIHAD. How many of these do you actually follow? Does it really matter to YOU whether you do or don't? Islam, is a deeply PERSONAL religion. There is NO compulsion in Islam. You're taught all that is required for YOU as an INDIVIDUAL to make YOUR own decisions. The rest, my friends, is between you and your Maker!<p>I agree, maybe saifos and books need to be written in English, maybe, and with a translation so kids know what they are praying. The salaat duas are magnificent. I urge you to learn from the ONLY true representative of the Imam, our Dai-El-Mutlaq. Don't be lost in your own grand delusions of how this faith ought to be, but simply what it is!
Thank you for your response.<p>I frankly do not understand whether you are trying to share your experience or you are being critical of my comments. It seems the latter. I am not going to enter into an argument as to why we should not object when taught about heaven just like the christians do not when taught the same thing. First of all there is a lot of evidence around you that christians object to the same teaaching. The christians are teh mainstream in this society and it is easier for them to get on with life. We are a minority and have come to this world with a different religion and a different philosophy of life. I am searching for ways to transfer my values to the next generation but I need a new appraoch. teh approach of my father does not work. The question I want guidance on is how do I transfer my value set to my children so that it carries on. I would like to hear from people who have some ideaswhich I can use.
Dear observer,<p>I am a Muslim, but not from the Shi'ite side. Therefore, my remarks might not suit your needs but since your message is not here for the sake of argument only, I thought I would reply anyways. If you feel my comments do not suit your situation, ignore them by all means. And I write specifically to this message because your concerns are not necessarily related to Bohra community in particular but to all Muslims in general. For example, all Muslim sects believe that only they will go to Heaven, and most Muslim sects just teach religion without providing freedom of thought to the followers.<p>I am based in Pakistan, and my education is primarily based on Western style colleges, with exception to culture only. Thus, the same questions have arisen in my mind often and I tend to question everything, until I am satisfied. One thing that I have come to know is that all questions are not necessarily immediately answered.<p>I know that Shi'ites in general and Ismailis in particular do not allow reading the translations of Qur'an or understanding it individually. However, my solution to the method of education was understanding Qur'an, which explains everything and makes it very rational. For example, Qur'an at various places implies that religion is not the license to Heaven, infact its belief in One God, the Hereafter and good deeds. However, practising Muslims are granted a place in Paradise because every practising Muslim is bound to be a good human being and of benefit to society. Everyone makes mistakes and they are forgiven if they repent sincerely, thereby elminating their sins.<p>It is also not necessary to make religion hard on children unless they get hold of it. For a start, I made my brother pray once a day, now he does two or three prayers. A start is always gradual and learning takes its time. Even Prophet is supposed to have said that we should make religion easy for newcomers while the ones already in faith should try to attain excellence by increasing their level of understanding and implementation.<p>I was born a Muslim, but I question everything. I even questioned the existence of God, thus it would not be unfair is someone said I was a born again Muslim. This rational approach has certainly changed my attitude towards religion and towards life.<p>Reason is the perfect attitude to religion and should be encouraged. If we were not to reason religion, we would be satisfied with the religious culture we are born with and all doors to Truth would be closed. Reason is infact the only door. The culture we are born with always seems rational and coherent until we sit down to question and argue it.<p>My problems were solved by reading and understanding Qur'an, I do not know for your case. Some of the Bohras I know have told me that it is allowed to read Qur'an keeping in mind that there exists a Batini meaning to everything. At the same time, we can learn and understand Qur'an too. If you believe this approach is alright for you, go ahead by all means. Some others claim that they should not do this, but they would not explain why.<p>If you were to ask me, I would say you should read and understand Qur'an as much as you can, because prophet used to reply often to the people of Makkah by reciting verses from Qur'an. Similarly, he used to answer many of the objections of Muslims by verses from Qur'an, and infact many verses start with phrases "O Prophet, they ask you concerning ...., tell them ...." and "O Believers, ....". This is my reason for understanding Qur'an, and all the more those verses which require one to understand it, and conversions of those people who accepted to Islam by listening to Qur'an only.<p>This is a very brief narration of a personal experience, which has helped me really understand religion.<p>This is not an attack on anyone, or meant as an offense. I write such message just to present another (my) point of view, someone who likes it may accept, anyone who does not deem it fit may reject it. <p>Regards,<br>Musalmaan
Asalaam Aleikum, OBSERVER, MUSALMAAN.<p>I agree with both of you. However, Observer, I was brought up in a Catholic School for oh just about 8yrs, so I can FIRMLY tell you that the Catholic belief is there is no way to God, but thru Jesus. And I have tons of Christian (not just Catholic) friends who claim they "aren't religious" yet they firmly believe this....and I say, more power to them...really doesn't bother me, coz whatever happens in the afterlife is between me and my Maker, right? As long as we all tolerate each other's religions, I don't see anything wrong w/ any views. BUT, as a Muslim (and Shia), we all take the shahadaa.LAILLAHA ILLALLAH, MUHAMMED RASOOLULLLAH, ALIYAN WALIYULLLAH, WASIYAN RASULLOLLAH...forgive the sp:-) The rules of every religion are simple....believe in the principles or find something else you wanna believe in.......There is NO compulsion in Islam, but once you make a commitment a NIAT, then you follow it....otherwise, what's the point? Do we pray at our convenience? Infact, this religion is so flexible, you can even pray namaaz kadha(sp?)!!<p>As to the Holy Quran. Well, there has NEVER been a problem of learning and understanding the LITERAL meaning of the Quran in Bohras or in ANY Muslim sect. I mean, it'd be lucidrous to stop people from reading and learning the language on which the words of the HOly Book are based on, right?:-) BUT, the Quran itself states that there is a much deeper meaning to the text than meets the eye, and there are individuals who are learned enuf to do this interpretation. The classic example to me is the Surat, Wal Asre Innal Insaaana....u guys know this right? This Sura has been interpreted by so many people, yet NONE of them take into accout the historical context for these beautiful verses. These verses are meant to reflect the zoloom's of Ashura. The tribulation of the Ahlul Bait over the rape of Islam by Yezid. The tribulations of secession and the sabbar of Imam Hussein (AS) on all that befell him, so that we can now all say the Kalematus-Shahadda. <p>I believe therez nothing wrong w/learning Arabic, or even translating all the wudu, and namaaz prayers, and even the Quran.....AS long as it's just the literal translation. <p>Let the deeper meanings be enlightened to us by those who as empowered to do so.....like the Imam and his Dai.<p>Maasalaama...and a Happy Eid-E-Khadir-E-hum to ya'll!
Thank your Musalman & Masai for your responses.<p>Musalman,<br>I have started doing something that you have suggested. A Jordanian friend recently gave me a trnaslation of the Koran and I have started reaing ot with its meanings and I must say it amkes a lot of sense. i am going to start my kids in reading with me. this is a translation by Yusuf Ali who was a bohri. For those of you who are interested an autobiorgpahy on Yusuf ALi has been published. Visit www.afkar.com/yusuf.html. for your viewpoints.
Observer,<p>I am glad that my message helped you. Someone posted url to this group,<p>http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dawoodibo ... pline<p>It is a Bohra helpline mailing list, apparently administered by a Bohra named Burhan. It provides a good commentary (quite compatible with that of Yousufali's) and answers questions related to religion. However, it also voices some anti-priesthood sentiment and you may need to scrutinize it yourself before letting your children know about it.<p>And if you ever need help with respect to Qur'an, do let me know, I'll be more than happy.<p>To All,<p>On rereading my earlier message, I realize that it seems that only belief in God, the Hereafter and good deeds is sufficient. However, rituals are equally incumbent and it is not clear in the message. Missing an obligatory act of worship is necessarily a sin. Thus, someone who does not know about Islam, has never heard about it or those children which die in infancy/youth might enter Paradise.<p>Regards,<br>Musalmaan