Dawoodi Bohras: A glimpse at the truth [Archives:2003/656/Reportage]

August 4 2003
Salman Rashid, representative of His Holiness, Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, in Yemen
Salman Rashid, representative of His Holiness, Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, in Yemen
The uprooting of qat in the Haraaz province
The uprooting of qat in the Haraaz province
By Salman Rashid
Representative of His Holiness Dr. Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin, in Yemen.

A short while ago on Thursday the tenth of July 2003a certain reporter of The Yemen Times wrote an article titled 'Dawoodi Bohras, an Ismaeliyah sect', which had many fundamental mistakes about their beliefs.
Dawoodi Bohras are not descendants of Abi Al Khattab Mohammed bin Abi Zainab Miqlas Al Ajdae neither are they related to him in any way, as the reporter has mentioned wrongly.
The article indicates that the Imams that the Bohras believe in are prophets and in one instance also claims that they are Allah. This allegation has no base and any person calling himself a Muslim would not have any such belief. Bohras do not believe this at all. Their beliefs have been stated quite clearly below.
The reporter states that Dawoodi Bohras believe that Mohammed (SAW) was not the actual man in which Allah made the revelation to and infact it was Ali bin Abi Talib (SA) as the actual 'Holy man'. Such an accusation can not be tolerated. The article further comments that the Bohras believe in two prophets which is absurd and in no way true. The positions of both Muhammad (SAW) and Ali (SA) have been clarified below.
I would also like to add here that the name Dawoodi Bohra is not due to the name of one of the Dais, Dawood bin Ajab Shah, as the article suggests, but his successor Dawood bin Qutub Shah. The reason being that the Sulaimaniya Bohras also believe in Dawood bin Ajab Shah as al Dai al-Mutlaq and separate from the Dawoodi Bohras after the demise of him. The Sulaimanis believing in Sulaiman bin Hassan and the Dawoodi Bohras believing in Dawood bin Qutub Shah.
Since the publication of the wrong article on 10/07/2003, both the reporter and the chief editor of Yemen Times have apologised for the incident. I would like to commend Mr. Waleed, the chief editor, for the professional way in which the case was handled and as the representative of His Holiness Dr. Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin here in Yemen, I greatly appreciate his co-operation and courageousness in the publication of this article, regarding the true beliefs of the Dawoodi Bohra community. I wish both him and The Yemen Times all the success they deserve.

Faith of the Dawoodi Bohras.
Allah, the originator of the universe, created the angels in the heavens to worship Him and Adam (SA) to represent Him as His Khalifah (vicegerent) on Earth. From the itrat (progeny) of Adam (SA), He chose, in each age, Anbiya' (Prophets) to whom He entrusted His revelation and laid the oath upon them to convey His revelation as and when required. Allah never allowed and shall never allow, the earth to remain without a Hadi (Guide) designated by Him and without a Kitaab (book) sent down by Him so that mankind may be shown al-Sirat al-Musataqim (the Straight Path). In this way, the ages passed until Allah designated Muhammad (SAW) as his Nabi (Prophet). Allah sent Muhammad as His last and final Rasul (Messenger) to mankind with the Din (religion) of Islam prevailing it over all religions. To Muhammad (SAW) He revealed His final Risalat (Message), laid down in the Qur'an in manifest Arabic language to confirm, explain, complete and supersede all revelations made to the Anbiya' before Him.
La ilaha illa Allah (there is no God but Allah). Allah may He be praised and may His transcendence be affirmed, the Merciful the Compassionate, the Alive and the Everlasting, is the creator. He is unique, and has no associates. To Him only is the Call of the Dawat made and to him is ta'at (obedience) due.
Muhammad (SAW) is Rasul Allah (the Messenger of Allah). He is Sayyid al-Mursalin (Lord of the Messengers) and Khatam al Nabiyyin (Seal of the Prophets). To him was revealed the Qur'an, a perfect guide and a clear discriminator between right and wrong. It was he who brought the final Risalat of Allah to mankind and through him Allah established the religion of Islam.
Ali (SA) is Wali Allah (the Chosen of Allah). He is Sayyid al Wasiyyin (Lord of the Legatees) and Amir al Mu'minin (commander of the Faithful) appointed by Muhammad (SAW) to be his Wasi (Legatee) and successor after him.
Ali (SA) was succeeded by a line of Imams of which the first was Imam Hasan (SA). He was succeeded by his brother Imam Husayn (SA), Sayyid al-Shuhada, (Lord of the Martyrs) through whose sulb (loins) the tasalsul to the Imamat has continued and will continue, until the Day of Judgement. Each imam is appointed by nass (investiture) from father to son. The 21st Imam, Tayeb, went into seclusion and his descendants, one after the other, continued to function in that manner. During the Satr (seclusion) of the Imam, the Imam, by his command and sanction, is represented by al-Dai al-Mutlaq. The Dawat, a noble trust of the Imam, is headed and governed on behalf of the Imam by Dai al-Mutlaq, who acts and holds office as the Imam's representative and na'ib (vicegerent) and exercises his rights and authorities. Al Dai al-Mutlaq selects and appoints his successor to the office by nass (investiture). The tasalsul (chain of succession) of al Du'at al-Mutlaqin will uninterruptedly continue until the Zuhur of the Imam or until the Day of Judgement.
Today Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin is the 52nd incumbent to the office of al Dai al-Mutlaq. He succeeded to this position of al Dai al-Mutlaq in 1385H/1965AD through the appointment by his illustrious father and predecessor, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Taher Saifuddin (AQ), the 51st al Dai al-Mutlaq.

Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin, al Dai al-Fatimi.
Dr. Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin has always guided his followers to act upon sharia'at Muhammadiya in all aspects of life, be it regarding matters of din or matters concerning daily life. Examples of this are ample and can be observed clearly in his order that, as the Qur'an has clearly stated that khamr (alcoholic beverage), any form of intoxication and riba' (interest) are haraam (banned) and all his followers should stay away from them. Through his guidance, followers of His Holiness have been able to live their everyday lives, be it in any country in the world, refraining from the above mentioned.
His Holiness has always said that al Qur'an is our book and everyday life revolves around the Qur'an. Its memorisation and recitation is obligatory on all his followers and for this reason he has made numerous schools and educational centres, including Al Jamea-tus-Saifiyah, two Arabic Academies, to ensure that both his followers and other Muslims get that opportunity. Amongst all these centres, the Mahad al-Zahra is a special institution for the hifz (memorisation) and teachings of Qur'an and is unique to itself.
As mentioned in the Qur'an regarding Qarzan Hassana, Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin has established Qarzan Hassana projects, which are loans sanctioned without interest, for the social and economic upliftment of his followers, in many different countries throughout the world.
Along with the above mentioned, Qat is a hazardous epidemic in Yemen, ruining the lives of all those who are associated with it. Not only should it be not chewed and uprooted, but should not be dealt with in any sort of way. In all of his ten visits to Yemen, he has always emphasised these issues, stressing how important it is to refrain from chewing Qat at all times. After a long and hard struggle, the followers of Syedna, under his guidance, have managed to uproot more than two hundred thousand trees in the province of Haraaz. But the fight against this problem has not stopped there. Under directions of Syedna, three alternatives for the welfare of the farmers are provided for those who uproot the Qat tree.
1. A nursery project has been successfully established in the Haraaz province which offers farmers coffee, olive and various other fruit plants for their land.
2. A honey project which enables farmers to own honey bee boxes for the production of honey, which can then be sold.
3. Animal husbandry schemes which allow farmers to own their own livestock.
The Sultan al-Bohra has time and time again instructed his followers to act upon Muhammad Rasul Allah's (SAW) saying, that the love and loyalty for the country and government in which you live in, is a part of your faith. He has also said that one should take part in the charitable and welfare projects the government takes on.
To live in peace, harmony and brotherhood with ones neighbours, is a Muslims quality and all followers of His holiness are taught these qualities by himself personally. It is for the above virtues that both his father Syedna Taher Saifuddin and himself are known as the 'Ambassadors of Peace', throughout the world.
Syedna has preserved and restored historically important Islamic monuments, Mausoleums and Masjids world over, including the Masjid of Ali bin Abi Talib (AS) in Kufa, Iraq and the grand Masjid, Jame ul Anwar in Cairo, Egypt, which is a designated UNESCO heritage site. Along with these and other restoration work, His Holiness has made over three hundred masajids (mosques) worldwide.