Ismaili Law: A case for reinterpretation
This is an article by Ismail K. Poonawala arguing how Ismaili Law as followed by Bohras is in dire need of reinterpration and revision as it does not meet the demands of modern times. The article is from The Study of Shi'i Islam: History, Theology and Law, edited by Farhad Daftary et al. (London: I.B.Tauris, 2013). The book will be officially released next month.

Ismail K. Poonawala writes, "Ever since its promulgation, most probably in 349/960, as the official code of the Fatimid empire, the Daāim has reigned supreme, particularly with the Mustalī-Tayyibī Ismailis of Yemen and the Indian subcontinent after the fall of the Fatimids in Egypt in 567/1171. However, this centuries-old law has not met the necessities of modern life for the Ismaili communities of the Dāudīs, Sulaymānīs and Alawīs who follow this school of Islamic jurisprudence. Those advocating the status quo (maintaining the traditional system), notably the conservative religious establishments of all the three above-mentioned communities, have had little to offer in terms of a constructive legal reform which might adapt Ismaili law as formulated by its founder, al Qāīdi al-Numān, to the modern conditions of life. more

Udaipur masjid case judgement: A comment
The judgement delivered on 16th January, 1992 by the Rajasthan High Court on appeal by the reformist Bohras against the judgement given by the district court of Udaipur is significant in many respects. more
Bohra issues: archive of eye-opening articles and posts

This website and Forum have many interesting and thought-provoking posts submitted by various members over a period of many years, and which are difficult to locate. We have gathered this material in one place to provide easy access, and a starting point. Do yourself a favour, read this today.

Fundamentalism, traditionalism and communalism
Generally no distinction is made between fundamentalism, traditionalism and communalism, they are often used synonymously. However, it is not so. These terms have distinct meanings and different implications. more
The caravan of summer
Something of the real difference between pilgrim and tourist can be detected by comparing their effects on the places they visit. Changes in a place, a city, a shrine, a forest may be subtle, but at least they can be observed. more
Traditional architecture: House form of Bohras in Gujarat
The history of architecture in India reflects a rich and diversified legacy, not only through the classical examples but also in the display of a rich heritage of vernacular traditions of building. These are spread in several regional environments in the form of a variety of settlement patterns, institutions and dwelling types. more
Bohra scholar who speaks truth to power
On a cool December morning I knock on the door of a house in a posh Los Angeles county. A diminutive man opens the door. He is Ismail K. Poonawala, former professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at UCLA. There is renovation going on in the house, Prof. Poonawala apologises for the mess. We make small talk as he gives me a tour of his study, it is lined with books on three sides, the fourth is held up by glass doors overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a distance. more