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Musta'lis [Bohras or Bohri] with Tayyibi Ismailism

Among the Shias of India the Ithna-Asharis are in the majority while the Khojas and Bohras of Western and Central India belong to the two internal divisions of the Isma`ili group of Muslims - the Nizaris [Khojas] with Satpanth Ismailism and the the Musta'lis [Bohras or Bohri] with Tayyibi Ismailism.

Most bohras are Daudi [Dawoodi] Ismailis.The Bohras have their headquarters in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. The bohras are am ethnic group in India and Pakistan, originally a hindu caste -- Bohri Muslims were originally Brahmins. They are under the leadership of a Da'i Mutlaq, or "Absolute Preacher." The religious hierarchy of the Daudi Bohras is similar to that of the Fatimids, and is headed by the da'i mutlaq who is appointed by the preceeding da'i in office. The da'i also appoints two others to the ranks of madhun and mukasir, the two subsidiary offices. These positions are followed by the ranks of sheikh and mullah, which is filled by hundreds of bohras. The sect was formed in the 11th Century C.E. when the Mustalis accepted the imamate of al-Mustali. They remained in Egypt until the fall of the Fatimid dynasty in 1171. From there the sect moved to Yemen where it split, with some remaining in Yemen and others moving to India where they became known as Bohras.

A community of up to one million devout Shi'a, the Daudi Bohras shatter stereotypes about traditionalist Islam. Bohras accept most aspects of modernity, and support the concept of a pluralist civil society. The Bohras have used modernity as a tool to reinvigorate their core traditions. The Bohra clergy has succeeded in establishing a communal identity that is both universally Islamic and unique to the denomination.

Though highly Islamised as compared to the Isma'ili sects like the Khojas, the Bohras have retained much from the native Indian culture. The Dawoodi Bohras are a Shi'a Isma'ili sect numbering over a million today. The breeding ground for this dissident sect was non-Arab territories of what was once Babylonia, Assyria and a few areas of Persia, besides Yemen in the south of Arabian peninsula. The Bohras are of Indian origin, conversion in India having taken place in the twelfth and thirteen centuries.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:59:33 ZULU