Is reform truly possible?

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.
kansas
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:23 pm

Is reform truly possible?

#1

Unread post by kansas » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:34 pm

Hello everyone. Like many of you I am sure, the events of the past few weeks have grabbed my attention and have even prompted me to write to this forum for the first time.

I was born in the United States into a Dawoodi Bohra family. At an early age, I became troubled with many aspects of our faith. These questions and doubts increased when I went to college and learned more about our religion. I finally decided I could no longer remain a Dawoodi Bohra and started to consider myself a Sunni Muslim. I eventually married into a Sunni family and became a father.

I have now been outside the Dawoodi Bohra community for quite some time. I have no regrets from a purely religious point of view. But as I get older, it is becoming clearer to me that my decision led to some unexpected costs. I am referring to my increasingly limited interactions with Bohras themselves, who I almost always find to be excellent people. I feel it is unfortunate that my kids will be estranged from the community of their ancestors and won't know what it is like to be part of such a warm and close-knit group of people.

The following may at first seem like a digression, but please bear with me. A Buddhist is someone who believes in the teachings of Buddhism; a Catholic is someone who believes in the tenets of Catholicism. Jews are somewhat different. There are many Jews (often called secular Jews) who do not believe in the religious tenets of Judaism, many of these people in fact are staunch atheists. Nonetheless, they continue to refer to themselves as Jews. Why is that? This is because Jewish identity (unlike Buddhist or Catholic identity) is not limited to religious doctrine; it also contains a strong ethnic and cultural component.

So what are the components of the Dawoodi Bohra identity? Clearly the most obvious component is the religious one. Most people would say that Dawoodi Bohras are those people who follow the Syedna and abide by his rules. But is there an ethnic/cultural component to the identity as well? I would argue that there is. It seems that most Bohras are the descendants of a limited number of Hindu castes, with limited intermarriage with people outside the community for centuries. Furthermore, the unique history of the faith, with it's Egyptian, Yemeni, and Indian influences, has led to the development of a distinct culture as well.

In fact, couldn't one argue that for most Bohras, the ethnic/cultural aspect of their identity is the part that is most important to them? In my experience at least, the majority of Bohras agree with most if not all of the complaints made on this website. Yet their strong desire to remain in the community is what leads them to remain quiet and accept ill treatment at the hands of the Kothar.

However, those who remain in the fold are not the only ones letting their strong attachment to the community cloud their religious thinking. I believe that the desire to retain ethnic/cultural ties with their brethren has led Progressive Dawoodi Bohras to adopt a position that is incoherent and set goals that are impossible to achieve.

The main tenets of current Dawoodi Bohra faith are exceedingly clear. The Syedna is infallible, and is inspired by an infallible Imam. Through the nass of the Imams and then the Dais, he is the only man on earth who is fit to lead the community of believers. Confronted with this claim, there are only two logical courses of action. Accept the claim, close your mouth, and do exactly as one is told. Or one can reject the claim. But by definition, one then is saying that the claimant is a lying charlatan, and needs to find a new faith.

The mission statement of this website claims that the Progressive Bohras accept the religious authority of the Dai. But this same Dai claims infallibility. How can one criticize someone who by definition is free from error? Criticizing an infallible Dai would be akin to criticizing the Prophet himself! Even if one offers a single criticism of the Syedna or the organization he heads, one is implicitly rejecting his claim of infallibility. To be blunt, one is stating that the Syedna is a fraud. Given this situation, how does the Progressive claim of accepting the religious authority of the Syedna make any logical sense?

Recently the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra website posted "A Manifesto on behalf of the Dawoodi Bohra Community" by internationally recognized Bohra scholars Ismail Poonawala and Abbas Hamdani. In their manifesto, they list a number of reforms they deem necessary before they could support either Mufaddal Saifuddin or Khuzema Qutbuddin as the next dai. These reforms include admitting the following:

that he is only a Nazim Da’i (administrator) and not a Da’i Mutlaq (with full powers)

that the custom imposed by Tahir Saifuddin to obtain raza (permission) for each and every petty matter is against the teachings of Islam and should be abolished


My goal is not to question whether these reforms are just or moral. But I do wonder if the authors have put any thought into the consequences if either of the claimants agreed to their demands. Take the two reforms advocated above. If Mufaddal Saifuddin were to agree to just these two demands, he in effect would be admitting the following: "My father and grandfather (or brother and father in the case of Khuzema Qutbuddin) were power-hungry frauds who exaggerated their position and enacted policies that were against the teachings of Islam." How can either claimant do this without both destroying their own claim to leadership and the very foundation on which the entire faith rests?

I hope I have shown that the attempt to reform even one policy instituted by a religious leader who claims infallibility is logically impossible without fatally compromising the faith itself. This is why any attempts to reform Dawoodi Bohrism are doomed to failure. It makes as much such sense to speak of a reformed Dawoodi Bohrism as it does to speak of a married bachelor or a pregnant man. The concepts are mutually contradictory; one is forced to pick one or the other.

So what is a person who is critical of the Syedna and the Kothar but nevertheless would like to keep his ties to the ethnic/ cultural group of his forefathers supposed to do? The first (and most popular) option is to remain within the religious community and begrudgingly accept it's dictates. Unfortunately, it is hard to escape the conclusion that this behavior is cowardly and hypocritical. The second option (which also seems popular, at least from my limited experience in America) is to basically cut off all ties to the community as a whole. However, this option forces one to renounce one's ethnic/ cultural ties even if that wasn't one's intention or desire. A third option is to become a Progressive and pretend that one is still a member of the community even though one has been excommunicated and advocates reforms that would immediately destroy the religion as currently practiced.

I believe the answer to this question lies in the history of the Bohras. Numerous schisms have taken place over the centuries: I contend it is time for one more.

Inspired by Professors Poonawalla and Hamdani, I therefore humbly submit my own manifesto on a possible way forward.


1. Progressive Dawoodi Bohras should admit that by criticizing the Syedna and Kothar, they no longer believe in the Syedna in the manner that he requires and have left the faith.

2. Having done so, the Progressives should formalize the obvious and officially create a new sect. My suggested name for the sect is Udaipuri Bohras. The definition of an Udaipuri Bohra would be a Muslim originally from the Dawoodi Bohra community that no longer accepts the authority of the Syedna. Initially the sect would have to be ecumenical, including ex Dawoodi Bohras now following various Shia, Sunni, Sufi, and non-denominational forms of Islam. However, with time perhaps scholars would come forth that could shape a distinctive theology that draws on positive aspects of Bohra practice (love for the Prophet's family, tolerance, cleanliness, etc.) while discarding the negative aspects (powerful clergy, iddat, excommunication, etc.).

3. Redoubled efforts should be made to fill the gaps in people's lives that arise when leaving the Dawoodi Bohra community (helping rebuild social circles, facilitating the search for marriage partners, buying burial plots, etc.)

I believe that these suggestions would excite a lot of people and engender a lot of support. Thanks for reading.

think
Posts: 1836
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:15 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#2

Unread post by think » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:45 pm

kutbi bohras do fill the void.

Ozdundee
Posts: 879
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:57 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#3

Unread post by Ozdundee » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:24 am

The writer is strangely only challenging the reformists motives and has not discussed why SMS can not be a fair leader or whether he has researched enough to understand SKQ vision.

Dawoodi bohras whether reformists or Qutbi have contributed funds and effort to build the community infrastructure. If reconciliation or fair selection is impossible and a split is the only option, the facilities need to be divided and where not, joint use is to be facilitated by independent authorities.

leaving empty handed is unfair and unacceptable as the departed party will be severely disadvantaged in propagating and delivering its community services

think
Posts: 1836
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:15 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#4

Unread post by think » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:48 am

here is my take on the whole issue.
Do what moula Ali had done.
Two people are fighting for the chair of dai. SMS mumineen started blatantly cursing HQS in bohri masjids and markaz all over the world at the instigation of SMS. That did not work . SMS now wants to try soft tactics and even in open majlis says that he would hug KQS if he came in his fold.
There is no need for hugging and beuracratic maneuvering from either side as to who is going to be the next dai ..
Let SMS step down and leave it to the people thereby following the footsteps of moula Ali.
If some feel SMS is the real dai then let mumineen join his party and if some mumineen feel KQs is the real dai then let people go with him. No need for brutal gunda tactics , cohersion and barat etc.
After all everyone is answerable to Allah on judgement day. He or she will answer to Allah as to why He or she chose one over the other. The winner will be the one who chose the quran above everything else and followed it the best way He or she could.Let mumineen decide on their own free will without any mafia type tactics from either party.

SBM
Posts: 6250
Joined: Sun May 09, 2004 4:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#5

Unread post by SBM » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:53 am

says that he would hug KQS if he came in his fold.
SMS will hug anyone if he can hug Ramdev he can hug anyone, an opportunist Dai

Gulaame Islaam
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:06 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#6

Unread post by Gulaame Islaam » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:10 pm

I love and am very excited about Mr kansas view. To change the leaders and their devine claims is impossible. The only way, as kansas says, is to start a new Bohra group.
I think it is time we start planning a meeting while there is so much energy in the air for reform. Admin can you set up a roll call and see who wants to physically come togeter. I am willing to travel wherever.

JC
Posts: 1624
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2004 4:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#7

Unread post by JC » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:23 pm

I somewhat agree with Kansas .......

There are 3 Basic things:
a) Basic Religion;
b) History of Islam; and
c) Traditions/Customs etc

We should say we are a (Dawoodi) Bohra Community, a Group of People who basically are Muslims (I would tend to say we are more or less Sunnis ..... Shias are basically descendants to people who betrayed Imam Hussain and now feel guilty and accept their forefathers betrayals by matam... thats it - its only that Taher Saifuddin 'used' this left, right, centre to create an unique Bohra 'religion'). However it can be decided what our basic minimum components of religion are - I would personally stick to Five Pillars of Islam.

Second is History of Islam - it should have nothing to do with basic religion. 1/2/3/4, Imams, Caliphs, Dais etc etc are all part of History - this has nothing to do with Faith at all. You may like one Ruler and may disagree with other.

Last is customs, traditions etc ....... this (as Kansas puts it) makes us a unique 'community' ...... NOT a religious sub-sect. We could just be like Memons (and they have various organiations - Jaitpuri, Kathiawari etc). We should move within our community if we share same traditions and the culture our forefathers followed (if one does not like these, (s)he may not join the community).

And Community should be run as a Community, any organization ...... or establishment.

Mkenya
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:16 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#8

Unread post by Mkenya » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:41 pm

ozdundee, KANSAS, FMHASSANALI - great contributions.

The trail is littered with Alawi, Alia, Artalisia, Suleimania and so on. So the Reformists should be the next one! A suggestion was made as to the Reformists should not leave without their fair share. How will you get it? Take Kothar to court?

A post quotes what Maulana Ali did. Are these the same times?

Dear friends, you cannot have your cake and eat it. Why don't you understand that we do not need Dais. PERIOD. Billions of words have been written on this site and others about the subjugation, high-handedness, outright thuggery and so on. Yet, Bohras somehow put money together be in the 'chitthi'. Most Bohras are under the illusion (Gujarati - Brhum) that Nirvana can only be achieved if they hold on to the saya kurta of Dais.

Count me in wherever you plan to get together. I live in Canada.

It is wishful thinking that Reformists or any other group can make Kothar even budge a little.

Bohra spring
Posts: 1297
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:37 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#9

Unread post by Bohra spring » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:18 pm

If we cannot decide how to divide the community assets or allow access to the various factions equitably between the various groups let the law courts decide.

Leaving empty handed and rebuilding is not fair.

Do what India Pakistan had to do or Palestine is proposing .

If this is unacceptable to SMS and since they have the wealth they leave and rebuild their society elsewhere, did SMS not say he is happy to give up the materials in udaipur.

Let's now see how easy it is for SMS camp to talk ...leave...we should say you leave us.

Their are 2 claimants to being a Diai ...while the courts are yet to decide...dawa for SKQ and business for SMS has to continue.

Gulaame Islaam
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:06 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#10

Unread post by Gulaame Islaam » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:44 pm

I think that if we establish an entity soon and show a face which Bohras can see and identify with, a great many people will shift and come out of their closets, just like we are beginning to do. Those of us who are older may have have more free time available to us to make things happen. The progressives in New Jersy and Toronto could launch a gathering that we could all go to; they are already organised I am told. Then we would have a large group in India and a large group in America with local branches. What a wonderful thing it would be for our children and their children to identify with- Pure Bohras, rid of all the anguish and nonsense ideas and rituals that are artficially created and that have nothing to do with Islaam or spirituality. They will have a place to come to for learning true spirituality. They would creatively participate in its evolution, moving forward in a very fast moving modern world, and not stuck carrying the long gone skeletons of the past. They could be real muslims praising Allah and Life, and enjoying Gods bounty rather than sitting for hours crying in the mosque fearing death.

Humsafar
Posts: 2518
Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2000 5:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#11

Unread post by Humsafar » Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:26 pm

kansas,
Your agenda seems suspect here, and devilishly devious. You start with a long preamble on the current situation, and for a moment it seemed you are on to something as one expected you to talk about the much needed reforms and sanity in the community.

It turns out, you want no such thing. Instead your agenda is to support the status quo and the insanity that defines Dawat's power structures. Your agenda is to diss reformists and their agenda. Asking reformists to leave and form their own sect is a proposal every Kothari shill has toyed with, and you're just a more devious of the lot.

The conclusion you arrive at is based on assumptions and reasoning that are not terribly original. Every Taher, Burhan and Muffy has made it here over and over again.
kansas wrote:The main tenets of current Dawoodi Bohra faith are exceedingly clear. The Syedna is infallible, and is inspired by an infallible Imam. Through the nass of the Imams and then the Dais, he is the only man on earth who is fit to lead the community of believers.
No sir, it is not even vaguely clear that Dai is infallible. Can you please quote authoritative source books to show us how you gained your "exceeding" clarity on this matter? With the two Dais claiming Nass and Daiship, making a laughing stock of our community, by now your faith in their claim for infallibility should have been shaken a little bit. If not then can you with absolute and exceeding clarity and proof tell us which infallible Dai the infallible Imam has appointed by inspiration. And which is a lying, despicable charlatan and impostor. With our Dawoodi Bohra faith so much chock a block with infallibility this should not be hard thing to do, don't you think so?
kansas wrote:Confronted with this claim, there are only two logical courses of action. Accept the claim, close your mouth, and do exactly as one is told. Or one can reject the claim. But by definition, one then is saying that the claimant is a lying charlatan, and needs to find a new faith.
No sir, the only logical option is to confront a claim with demand for explanation and proof. To accept such outlandish claims - with or without closing one's mouth - is exceedingly stupid. And to do what one is told to do without understanding is not only stupid and illogical but also against one's basic intelligence.
kansas wrote:The mission statement of this website claims that the Progressive Bohras accept the religious authority of the Dai. But this same Dai claims infallibility. How can one criticize someone who by definition is free from error?
I'm Einstein and I'm claiming that pigs can fly faster than light. Why don't you accept my claim and take a ride on my pigs. How can you criticise my claim and still be free of error?
kansas wrote: Criticizing an infallible Dai would be akin to criticizing the Prophet himself!
Wow, here you're scaling new heights of logic and analogy. Sir, even the Prophet never claimed to be infallible, and even he was open to criticism in his time. Even so, the analogy doesn't hold here because you are comparing a Dai who claims to be infallible with a Prophet who never made such a claim.
kansas wrote:Even if one offers a single criticism of the Syedna or the organization he heads, one is implicitly rejecting his claim of infallibility.
Wrong again, we actually explicitly reject his claim to infallibility. We also explicitly criticise his incompetence, lack of leadership and the rampant corruption in the Dawat. There is nothing implicit in our position and agenda.
kansas wrote:To be blunt, one is stating that the Syedna is a fraud. Given this situation, how does the Progressive claim of accepting the religious authority of the Syedna make any logical sense?
Well, we never reached that conclusion, but now that you mention it makes perfect sense. Actually if you had any idea about the history of Dais and Dawat, you would know that infallibility of the Dai is not and has never been a central pillar of our faith. It is a recent innovation to fool people like you who take a mere claim as eternal truth. We accept his religious authority by way of tradition, because it is an article of Bohra faith. The Dai's religious authority is not absolute and is valid to the extent it is in compliance with the tenets of faith. A more upright and honest Dai will have greater authority.
kansas wrote: But I do wonder if the authors have put any thought into the consequences if either of the claimants agreed to their demands.
The authors have put a lot more thought into that manifesto than you must have in rustling up this diatribe. As scholars they have an obligation to state the facts, to tell the truth. Only paid intellectuals and tamed scholars tailor their facts with an eye on consequences.
kansas wrote: If Mufaddal Saifuddin were to agree to just these two demands, he in effect would be admitting the following: "My father and grandfather (or brother and father in the case of Khuzema Qutbuddin) were power-hungry frauds who exaggerated their position and enacted policies that were against the teachings of Islam." How can either claimant do this without both destroying their own claim to leadership and the very foundation on which the entire faith rests?
Exactly, that's what it is. It's high time the community realised that it is being hijacked by a ruthless, corrupt bunch of fraudsters. They have no claim to leadership except by way of privilege and entitlement. Can't you see that despite the infallible Imam this Dawat has become a family dynasty and a family business, exceedingly profitable, I might add?
kansas wrote:I hope I have shown that the attempt to reform even one policy instituted by a religious leader who claims infallibility is logically impossible without fatally compromising the faith itself. This is why any attempts to reform Dawoodi Bohrism are doomed to failure. It makes as much such sense to speak of a reformed Dawoodi Bohrism as it does to speak of a married bachelor or a pregnant man. The concepts are mutually contradictory; one is forced to pick one or the other.
No sir, you have shown no such thing. Only thing that is fatally compromised here is the Dai's fraudulent claim to infallibility. The attempts to reform appear to be doomed because people like you blindly and with their mouths closed accept fraudulent claims. The only thing mutually contradictory is you claiming to be logical.
kansas wrote:The first (and most popular) option is to remain within the religious community and begrudgingly accept it's dictates. Unfortunately, it is hard to escape the conclusion that this behavior is cowardly and hypocritical.
You said it, it is the option of the coward and hypocrite - and by popular choice of this option Bohras have become a community of cowards and hypocrites. Of course in your calculation what is missing is Islamic principles of truth, justice and compassion. Islam doesn't teach you to be coward and hypocrite. An if majority of Borhas choose to be so they cease to be Muslims. Having lost their umbilical chord to Islamic and Quranic teachings, they might as well go fly kites of ethnicity and culture with their infallible Dais.
kansas wrote:I believe the answer to this question lies in the history of the Bohras. Numerous schisms have taken place over the centuries: I contend it is time for one more.
Really, this your reading of history and this is your conclusion? Spitting the community? If you had learned the real history - which these scholars and many other learned people in our community are conversant with - you would have realised that our Dawat has been hijacked and made into a cult. In the annals of our history there is no precedent for such a thing. The time is not split the community but to kick the mafia clergy out.

And I find it uproariously ridiculous that you suggest reformists breakaway, when the drama of two Dais is tearing the community apart. The time is not for reformists to part ways but to uphold and extend their enlightened and progressive agenda to the rest of the community. In the name of culture and ethnicity Bohras can't live in oppression and slavery forever. Dare to be a little bold, little courageous and think in the interest of the whole community. Bohras deserve to live in freedom and dignity like any other human beings, like any other Muslims.

The time is not to once again sheepishly submit to the mafia clergy but to challenge them anew, especially when it stands exposed and is vulnerable. Instead you divert attention to reformists and even foolishly suggest an alternative manifesto. It would be exceedingly funny if it were not at the same time fatally tragic (or should it be tragically fatal). If this the intellectual mettle the community can throw up in a time of crisis then only a truly infallible Dai can save it.

JC
Posts: 1624
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2004 4:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#12

Unread post by JC » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:07 pm

Kansas, Bro Humsafar has some valid replies to your assumptions. Lets see what you have to say.

Mkenya
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:16 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#13

Unread post by Mkenya » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:06 pm

Humsafar - Very well said.

The Reformists, me included, will forever spin their wheels. Expose', menifestoes, directives are all very well but what resources do we have to mount and sustain an oral and written bombardment against Kothar. Kothar, through its henchmen, throughout the world is filling nightly majlis with men, women and children. In the guise of 'Kathme Quran' it is whipping up support for SMS. What better platform the passing of Burhanuddin Saheb could have given to Kothar. Night after night 'Lanat' is proclaimed on one of theirs. SMS has the power and 'tijori' and SQS has neither. SQS does not even have the support to make a ripple; just like us the Reformists. The future looks bleak for SQS. As for us Reformists we will continue to be a thorn in Kothar's side. Will we, can we, make a difference?

kansas
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:23 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#14

Unread post by kansas » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:14 pm

think, Ozdundee:

I must admit I find the excitement and hope many reform-minded Dawoodi Bohras have placed in Khuzema Qutbuddin to be very peculiar.

The basic narrative of the Progressive Bohras is as follows: Our Dais used to be humble servants of God and the community. Then, a change began to occur, and they started to become power-hungry and corrupt. This phenomenon really started to accelerate during the reign of Syedna Taher Saifuddin, and became even more pronounced during the reign of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. This all led to the formation of the Progressive Dawoodi Bohras in the 1970s in Udaipur, who have since then been demanding the Syedna and the Kothar to enact numerous reforms. So far, these attempts have been completely unsuccessful.

It needs to be kept in mind that the second most powerful person in the whole hierarchy during the entire time from the formation of the Progressive Dawoodi Bohras to the death of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin was Khuzema Qutbuddin. And now this is the person to lead the charge for reform?? A quick perusal of his website clearly demonstrates that his entire claim is based on being the beloved and chosen son/brother of the past two Syednas. He clearly states that he is not coming as a reformer, but as a maintainer of the glorious precedent set by his brother and father. Again, as Syedna he would be unable to make any serious reforms without implicitly admitting the error of his predecessors which would inflict a fatal blow on his own qualifications to lead. Reformists looking to Khuzema Qutbuddin would be like people looking to Dick Cheney to reform the policies of George W Bush! This picture truly speaks volumes.

http://fatemidawat.files.wordpress.com/ ... -photo.jpg

kansas
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:23 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#15

Unread post by kansas » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:20 pm

JC:

I strongly disagree that there is any validity in what Humsafar wrote, must I respond to someone who calls me a devious devil? Besides, the main thrust of his argument is that I believe in the infallibilty of the Dai; I made it very clear that I do not and that I left the faith. And I do not "suggest that reformists break away" ; I simply am stating that people who claim the religion has been "hijacked by a ruthless, corrupt bunch of fraudsters" have already broken away! My only "agenda" is the hope that a new Bohra organization can be formed and be open to people who do not accept the authority of the Syedna.

SBM
Posts: 6250
Joined: Sun May 09, 2004 4:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#16

Unread post by SBM » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:55 pm

new Bohra organization can be formed and be open to people who do not accept the authority of the Syedna.
There are many organizations like that Sunni Bohras do not accept the authority of any Syednas. Bohra is a very relative term

Mazakyo
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 5:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#17

Unread post by Mazakyo » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:12 pm

Kansas bhai you have spoken the truth. I fully agree with your suggestions. Humsafar comments are nothing but emotional discourse.

Biradar
Posts: 877
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:13 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#18

Unread post by Biradar » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:24 am

kansas wrote:JC:

I strongly disagree that there is any validity in what Humsafar wrote, must I respond to someone who calls me a devious devil? Besides, the main thrust of his argument is that I believe in the infallibilty of the Dai; I made it very clear that I do not and that I left the faith. And I do not "suggest that reformists break away" ; I simply am stating that people who claim the religion has been "hijacked by a ruthless, corrupt bunch of fraudsters" have already broken away! My only "agenda" is the hope that a new Bohra organization can be formed and be open to people who do not accept the authority of the Syedna.
Friend kansas: Please understand where Humsafar is coming from. His points are valid, but perhaps he mis-read your intentions. This type of "da'i is infallible" talk is going on on this forum for many, many years now. And, it has been refuted many, many times already. People get a bit sensitive.

In any case, that the da'i is infallible is a myth. It is not part of the Bohra faith. Please, those who think that the da'i is such, please prove it. Also, questioning is an integral part of faith, even in Islam. Do not think that the Prophet asked his followers to believe him blindly. People questioned, and the Prophet explained. Also, consultation is considered a good thing in Islam.

What you are basically saying is that the thugs and dacoits of the Kothar are correct in saying that you can not even challenge the da'i one bit. This is hogwash. This they do to ensure their own survival, and to keep the line of sheep to the slaughter flowing. I once asked my city amil directly if he considered the da'i to be "rabb" and masoom. He stammered around a bit, but then came up with the lame term "qal masoom", i.e. like masoom. They have to do this, as even the most mad mullah can not prove that da'is are infallible. Then, one should ask them, why do we need a Imam at all? Are there two infallible people? In fact, this would be contrary to the concept of tawhid as understood by the Ismail'is.

So, do not concede to the mullahs the power of infallibility. They would love for you to say that, even if they know it is not true. That is the stick they have been using to try and drive out the progressives out of the Bohra fold for a long time. That may explain Humsafar's comments to your post.

Gulaame Islaam
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:06 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#19

Unread post by Gulaame Islaam » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:05 am

I feel that there is some innocent misunderstanding here.. When Kansas says Dai is infallible I think he is saying that the Dai and the Kothar along with the brainwashed masses claim and believe that he is infallible.
Is that correct Kansas?. I see nothing wrong in Kansas argument.

kseeker
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 4:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#20

Unread post by kseeker » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:08 am

*sigh*
With vaseela of panjatan, May Allah help us through this difficult time.

Gulaame Islaam
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:06 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#21

Unread post by Gulaame Islaam » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:41 am

Mr Hamsafar ;
I think you and Kansas have the same orientation towards the religious leaders, but I think you have misread and misunderstood kansas. The difference I see is in the solutions you both offer. You seem to be saying that we should force the leaders out by our opposition from inside, and Kansas is suggesting breaking away because to oust them from inside is an impossibility. I know of cases where people who spoke up were beaten up or publically ridiculed in the mosque. I say we break away first so that we have a collective entity to identify with and as a collective, keep opposing and wake people up to join the new group. By simply talking on this forum we are not going anywhere. We need to organize.

Humsafar
Posts: 2518
Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2000 5:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#22

Unread post by Humsafar » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:30 am

Kansas,
I'm sorry if I misconstrued your intentions and called you names. After all you mean well. Even so, the fact remains that you've built your argument on a false premise - infallibility of the Dai - and with the slightest nudge the whole thing comes crashing down.
In response to JC you write:
I strongly disagree that there is any validity in what Humsafar wrote
Actually it's the other way round. I'm not putting forward any argument or thesis. Instead I'm questioning the validity of your argument.

I agree with your, and expressed similar, reservations about some reform-minded Bohras trusting the SKQ camp to carry the mantle of reform. He may marginally better than SMS but not that much. In the most essential and egregious aspects of Dawat he is no different. He would still claim infallibility, expect sajada, a free ride and other such excesses from the community. Until the SQK side puts out a detailed and clear manifesto as to where they stand and what is their vision for the future of the community they are not going to gain much support. The time is running out, they can't afford to be wishy-washy for too long.

AgnosticTheist
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:36 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#23

Unread post by AgnosticTheist » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:49 am

I think what kansas meant in his first message is that the Dai is infallible in the eyes of all his die hard followers. The Dai claims to be infallible. And that the Dai CANNOT reform because this will put a question on his infallibility. Simple and crystal clear I guess.

Humsafar
Posts: 2518
Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2000 5:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#24

Unread post by Humsafar » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:55 am

AgnosticTheist wrote:I think what kansas meant in his first message is that the Dai is infallible in the eyes of all his die hard followers. The Dai claims to be infallible. And that the Dai CANNOT reform because this will put a question on his infallibility. Simple and crystal clear I guess.
Maybe so, but we cannot accept that fiction. His infallibility has to be questioned as part of reform, and the community must be disabused of this infallibility nonsense.

AgnosticIndian
Posts: 446
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:10 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#25

Unread post by AgnosticIndian » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:30 pm

What I have come to understand is that any "mistake" or something uncomfortable when asked about is termed as Hiqmat na khatir. So this Hiqmat na khatir line hides away all flaws and makes them infallible.

I heard the story of how it was the. Prophet (SAW) or Ali (AS) who ordered th hands of a person to be cut in false case of robbery. But then later using divine powers restored them. So when they were not infallible, how can anyone else be? But then the spin will be hiqmato na wastey or say Shan Zahir Karwa Wastey.

murtaza2152
Posts: 253
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#26

Unread post by murtaza2152 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:51 pm

Kansas,
After long time a good read, as people here only write BS.
Very nicely written and drawn true picture of PDBs. At last very good suggestion of making a a new Bohra sect,with your own rules go ahead and make anew one, leave our corrupt dai which you all believe he is.

Ozdundee
Posts: 879
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:57 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#27

Unread post by Ozdundee » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:09 pm

:) What makes some believe reformists will shut shop if SKQ was to come to power . There will be a reformer somewhere every time .

SKQ is more likeable that's the difference between him and SMS .

I hope We will always have reformers around to ensure balance of power or some resistance to tyranny remains. I may retire in future but there will be my kids and other new blood.

Gulaame Islaam
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:06 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#28

Unread post by Gulaame Islaam » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:18 pm

Humsafar wrote:Kansas,
I'm sorry if I misconstrued your intentions and called you names. After all you mean well. Even so, the fact remains that you've built your argument on a false premise - infallibility of the Dai - and with the slightest nudge the whole thing comes crashing down.
In response to JC you write:
I strongly disagree that there is any validity in what Humsafar wrote
Actually it's the other way round. I'm not putting forward any argument or thesis. Instead I'm questioning the validity of your argument.

I agree with your, and expressed similar, reservations about some reform-minded Bohras trusting the SKQ camp to carry the mantle of reform. He may marginally better than SMS but not that much. In the most essential and egregious aspects of Dawat he is no different. He would still claim infallibility, expect sajada, a free ride and other such excesses from the community. Until the SQK side puts out a detailed and clear manifesto as to where they stand and what is their vision for the future of the community they are not going to gain much support. The time is running out, they can't afford to be wishy-washy for too long.
Bhai humsafar
I am writing this because I hate to see 2 likeminded and well intentioned people misunderstand and fight. You are still not getting the point. Bhai Kansas is making a point using a very sophisticated method of arguing. It is, if I am not mistaken, called the Socratic method, which is very logical and almost mathematical. It goes like this; Say you (not I) claim that A is equal to C .And it is known that C is equal to Z. Then according to your claim, not mine, A must be equal to Z. So when Kansas is saying Dai is infallible, he is really saying that the Dai is claiming it, the kothar is claiming it , (Kansas is not claiming it, in fact I am sure he does not believe it). Then he goes on to argue, based on the Dais claim , not the Truth, what must follow based on that claim.
Hope you get it
And I am glad you apologized to Kansas. I do not know him but I can see that he is a serious thinker and a very spiritual, sophisticated person who has made a lot of sacrifices while perusing the truth.
Dear Kansas, I would love to meet you if you came to the Chicago. We have very parallel stories in life. Question is how to connect ?

Al Zulfiqar
Posts: 4609
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:01 am

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#29

Unread post by Al Zulfiqar » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:46 pm

kansas,

i like your analysis of the ties that bind dawoodi bohras and you have rightly split them along religious and ethno-cultural lines. the latter is interesting because that is something which is unique to bohras as a community.

i too have been asked by many friends, and rightly so, after i broke all relations with the bohra jamaat, 'will you continue with our rasm's like pehli raat nu thaal, wedding customs, observance of lailutal qadr on the 23rd, wadhawanu, sundhenu, mo mithu, etc. they of course allude to the ethno-cultural traditions which we alone observe, and which distinguish and identify us from other shia-sunni muslim communities.

having separated the religious from the cultural aspects, you have made a notable effort to dissect why bohras find it so hard to leave, even if they disagree with many of the burning issues which have been exposed and discussed ad nauseum here of corruption, independence of jamaats, fraudulent claims of infallibility of dai etc etc.

i can understand why it is so difficult for you and the vast majority of bohras to grasp how the reformists can claim to believe in the 'office' of dai and then go on to challenge the absolute authoritarianism that the last 3 have adopted in violation of our doctrinal faith. this is due to the nexus which the last 3 dai's have very cleverly and cunningly driven into an average bohra's brain that challenging the diktats of a dai is like disobeying allah, citing the self-serving linkage of dai=imam=prophet-=allah. when the daim ul islam categorically enumerates the 100 characteristics that a dai should possess, it amply demonstrates that he is not infallible, otherwise it would not have taken pains to detail those parameters.

in the u.s. presidents can be impeached and censured, a mere threat of which was enough for richard nixon to resign in total ignominy. but the office of the president remains, it is not abolished just because one president proved unfit. its the same with a dai. he is a mere religious functionary, a caretaker/manager for religious and spiritual matters only, with no authority to interfere in the personal and social lives of his flock. the blind belief in the infallibility of a dai has what has led to the impasse' today for the vast majority of bohras - a corrupt, immoral, unethical daiship, and to add further insult to injury, now even his extended family too, can continue to behave as arrogantly and high handedly as they wish and then claim divine infallibility and invoke blind obedience among their long-suffering followers. they can claim fictitious mojizas, they can take credit for the hard work and prosperity of the bohras, they can lie and cheat, shed crocodile tears in the name of hussain and then loot the community in his name, they can hobnob with known criminals and enemies of islam and muslims and put it down to expediency, they can travel in royal luxury, build palaces, own property in billions and pass it off as a sign of worldly power and respect! all the simplicity, austerity and extreme integrity of the prophet and ali (whose shia's they claim to be) has now been cast aside and turned on its head. in their new definition, a dai is supposed to live like a sultan or emperor and flaunt his wealth, power and influence to dazzle his blind-assed sheep followers and also the world. in fact they refer to themselves as sultan-al-bawahir and the sons and daughters as princes and princesses.

the reformists, perhaps in a most unequal, uphill battle of david and goliath, are trying in vain to drive home this simple point. but the kothar's superb, all-pervasive propaganda machinery defeats every valiant attempt to contradict and expose their fraud and chicanery.

atleast david had a chance, goliath was not a religious leader who claimed infallibility. if he did, david would have been stoned to death even if he won.

kansas
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:23 pm

Re: Is reform truly possible?

#30

Unread post by kansas » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:52 pm

Biradar: You have written:

In any case, that the da'i is infallible is a myth.

This is your opinion. Hopefully it is clear by now that I wholeheartedly agree.

It is not part of the Bohra faith.

Now this statement is more problematic. It may be that the claim of infallibility is a relatively new addition to the Dawoodi Bohra faith. Nevertheless, over the reign of the past two Syednas (which lasted a whole century!), it has become a central tenet.

What you are basically saying is that the thugs and dacoits of the Kothar are correct in saying that you can not even challenge the da'i one bit. This is hogwash.

Of course you are free to challenge the Dai and the "thugs and dacoits" of the Kothar. But they are absolutely correct when they say you can not challenge them AND remain within THEIR religious organization. THEY set the rules, the only option you have is to accept them or reject them. This is why I believe a new sect should be created based on a belief in Islam and our shared ethnic/cultural heritage.