Al-Ismaeliya sect (Al-Buhra) [Archives:2003/649/Reportage]

July 10 2003
The leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community, Sayyidna Muhammad Burhanuddin
The leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community, Sayyidna Muhammad Burhanuddin
Thousands of Buhra followers gathering in Haraz mountains, Yemen
Thousands of Buhra followers gathering in Haraz mountains, Yemen
Mohammed bin Sallam
This is the most widespread sect of Al-Batiniya cult in the world. It exists in Yemen and its activities are quit visible here. Light will be thrown on this sect briefly studying it historically and socially, and reasons for its existence in Yemen taking Haraz and Waila south of Sana'a regions is the central point for leadership.
Recently, Al-Buhra Sultan arrived from India in order to establish education centers for Al-Buhra teachings in consent of president of the republic. Until date they have established 3 centers two in Haraz and one in Sana'a and the number of followers reached 25 thousand Yemenis according to Deputy of the Sultan in Yemen Salman Rashid.

Historical overview:
Hisorians agree that this sect relates directly to Abi Al-Khattab Mohammed bin Abi Zainab Miqlas Al-Ajdae, who was called Abi Thaiban or Abi Ismael. And they are 5 groups all claming that the imams are prophets sent by God to deliver messages to the people. They say there are still two prophets of them, one who has spoken, being Mohammed (may peace be on him) and another silent being Ali Bin Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him). And that the imams are to be obeyed by all humans and they know the future and that their imam Abi Al-Khattab is a prophet and hence must be obeyed, then they said that the imams are gods and then they implemented that on themselves then they said sons of Al-Hussein are sons and beloveds of God and then they implemented this on themselves.
Al-Batiniya cults have started first in Iran and the neighboring lands, and then it spread to others. And it is not one sect but it is a network of many because it includes Shiite, Sufiya in a way.
Of the most famous groups in Al-Batinya cult is:
Al-Khuramiya, after Babik Al-Khurami who was most prominent during the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutasim reign.
Al-Buhra, coming from Al-Buhara which means in Gujarati language the merchants, or is called Al-Mustalia referring back to Ahmad Al-Mustali who died 495 A.H. And is also called Al-Taiyibia referring to Al-Taiyb bin Al-Amir Biahkam Allah. And this is the most widespread group of Al-Batiniya and is also called Al-Makarima and has a branch called Al-Yamamiya. And they also have another branch called Al-Dawoodiya referring to Dawood bin Ajab Shah, and another called Al-Sulaimanya and they are Al-Makaramia who followed Suleiman bin Hassan whom they believed as imam.
Al-Nizariya, relating to Abi Mansoor Nizar bin Al-Mustansir, who was called Al-Mustafa Lideenuallah and were also called Al-Aghakhaniys.
Al-Hushaishiya, (Assassins) the name coming from the Hashish which they used to take as drugs and their followers.
Al-Drooz, and this follows Al-Obaidi Mohammed bin Ismael famous for Noshtkeen Al-Darzi, and Darzi means tailor.
Al-Khasroiya, dating to Nasir Khasro Al-Qbadiyani Al-Farisi.
Al-Saba'eia, or the seven and those who believe in the seven roles of the imam and claim that imamite role ended to Ismael bin Jafar Al-Sadiq because he was the seventh imam.
Al-Ibahiya, meaning the profligacy because they approved incest.
Al-Mulahida, or the atheism because they don't believe in prophets, resurrection and heaven or hell, they don't even believe in religions.
AlMumira, referring to the Arabic word for red “Ahmar” because they dye their clothes with this color.
Al-Talimiya, the educationists because they claim no education except that from the infallible imam.
Al-Kharmdiniya or Al-babikiya, referring to a Persian man called Babik Al-Khamdini.
Al-Nasiriya, relating to Mohammed bin Noseer Al-Basri Al-Nomairy, and call themselves Al-Alawiya sect referring to Ali bin Abi Talib (may god be pleased with him). Yet some historians say that this sect was called Divine Alism because some believed that god's spirit was placed in Imam Ali's body. Nasiriya today is ruling Syria and are concentrated in the north in a region called Alwaleen Mountains. Of their cities are Latakia, Sahoon, Banyas, Tartoos, Al-Amraniya and Qardaa'a. A small number lives in Al_Iskandarun and Antakiya and there is a number of them in the USA perhaps those who migrated there some time in the past.

Reason for the naming:
In spite of the numerous sects of AL-Batiniya, yet all have one common belief is that the Quran and Islamic sharee'a has two sides, visible and hidden or as in Arabic “Batin”, what is visible is what the general people understand and see and what is hidden only the “special” people see and understand. And this is why the cult is called Al-Batiniya. Of the most famous names for this cult is;
Al-Ismaelia, dating to Ismael bin Jafar Al-Sadiq.
Al-Maimoona, back to Maimoon Al-Qaddah an originally Jew from Iran.
Al-Qaramita, referring to Hamdan bin Qarmat.
Al-Abidiyoon, back to Obaid Allah bin Maimoon Al-Qaddah and they used to be kings of Morocco and Egypt in the sixth century A.H. and were evacuated by Salahudin Al-Ayubi year 560 A.H.
The Fatimid or known as Al-Abidiyoon and are called this way because they claim to be descendants of Fatima (may god be pleased with her) daughter of Prophet Mohammed (may peace be on him).
And the Batiniya name has become linked to the Ismaelia, Qaramita that the three names have become synonyms in the use although the later two as explained are sects of Al-Batiniya.

Al-Ismaelia as been told by Dr. Mustafa Ghalib who is a current follower of it in his book “History of the Isamaeliya Missionary movement” page 7&8:
“Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq had stated in his will that his elder son Ismael is his heir in the Imamite rule. But it so happened that Ismael died during his father's life and so the heir became his son Mohammed bin Ismael bin Jafar Al-Sadiq because Imamite rule, according to the Shiite Laws remains in the descendants only and is not carried from a man to his brother. Another reason was that Mohammed bin Ismael was elder than his uncle Musa Al-Kadhim, and again according to the laws then, he had priority to the ruling and hence the Ismaeliya sect emerged.”

Historical sources say that Al-Qaramita, referring to Hamdan bin Qarmat. And Qarmat as such is an Arabic word that means closing up. So it is said a man closes up between his steps, qarmat or a writer closes up between his lines. It is said that Hamdan bin Al-Asha'th was called qarmat because he had short legs and had small steps consequently. Ivanhof in his book “The Rise of the Fatimiots” said that Qaramita was a known word in South Iraq and the word merged into the Arabic language and became Qarmita. Author of the book “Al-Qaramita: Origin and history” confirmed this idea.

Relation between Ismaelia and Shiite Imamite:
Ismaelia is a branch of Shiism, and they meet in 6 of the followed imams: Ali bin Abi Talib, his two sons Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein, Ali Zain AL-Abidain, Mohammed Al-Baqir, Jafar Al-Sadiq. Post Jafar Al-Sadiq they fall out because Al-Ismaelia says Imamite rule was to son Ismael of Jafar and then his grandson Mohammed and so on. Whereas the Shiite Imamite believed that the ruling was to the second son of Jafar whose name was Musa Al-Kadhim and his descendants hence forward, because Ismael died before his father. The Shiite Imamite which is also called the twelve , says that the twelfth Imam Mohammed bin Hassan Al-Askaray went into a vault or a crypt when he was nine years old with the Quran that belonged to Ali bin Abi Talib and his wife Fatima daughter of the prophet (May peace be on him) and never emerged hence. And that he will come out in the end of time when the world has become unbearable because of cruelty and evil and will establish justice and peace. So they remain waiting his emerging some day.

What about Prophet Mohamed (mpbh)
The prophet in the Batiniya view is not the chosen one whom god has selected to deliver His message. In fact they believe that he was a normal man whom was blessed through his relation to the real holy man (Ali bin Abi Talib). And when they refer to rasool Allah, i.e. messenger of God, they mean not Mohammed (mpbh) but Ali (mgbph).