The Buhrah Sect in Yemen [Archives:2001/32/Reportage]

August 6 2001

Hassan Al-Zaidy
Yemen Times
The Buhrah sect is gaining more and more affiliates every year and one can find that the affiliates of the sect flow to Yemen every year, particularly prior to the pilgrimage season. The Buhrah sect has its own special rituals and religious leaders and it is part of the Buhrah doctrine to visit the graves of their religious leaders.
There are five graves, located in Haraz area, which are the destinations of the Buhrah sect affiliates. The graves are for these religious scholars of Buhrah: Hatim bin Ibrahim al-Hamidi al-Hamadani and known as Hatim al-Hathrat, Idris Imad Eldin, Mohammed Ali Shams Eldin, Ali Shams Eldin. The affiliates of the Buhrah sect shall visit all these sacred graves to pay homage to these religious leaders.
The fellows of the Ismailiate sect of which Buhrah is a sub-division are based in different areas in Yemen like Sa’afan area near to Haraz, A’aras and Jeblah in IBB Governorate. Furthermore, there are few affiliates of Ismailiate doctrine in several part of Yemen such as Taiz, Aden, Zabeed, Dhamar, Huoth in the district of Hamadan and some residential areas in the city of Sana’a like Nuqum and Bab al-Sabah.
Buhrah is the name attributed to one of the sects of the Ismailiate doctrine. The Buhrah doctrine has emerged since four hundreds year ago. The word Buhrah came from the Karjah language spoken in the province of Karjah in the west of India. Moreover, some people say that the word Buhrah came from the name of a Yemeni tribe immigrated to India while some other say that the word Buhrah means spices which used to be sold by the affiliates of the Fatimiate doctrine in India.
A day in the sacred al-Hatib mountain
Al-Hatib is the name of a high mountain in Haraz 90km away from the capital Sana’a. We came over the mountain via the asphalted road constructed by Mr. Burhan Eldin the Sultan of Buhrah so as to reach the building which incorporates the office of the Sultan of Buhrah in addition to a four-story hotel used by students and the visitors. There are also a restaurant and a modern school.
At the center there are about 20 teachers and supervisors most of them graduated from the Saifiyah University in India which teaches the Ismailiate doctrine’s teachings.
The Buhrah sect has a specific etiquette for eating in which they start by having salt and then go ahead with the rest of the meal. When we were dinning with his Highness the Sultan of Buhrah Mr. Salman Rashid and some students we could see the pictures of the different sultans of Buhrah hanging in the dinning room which is divided into two parts one for men and the other for women.
The number of the students at the Buhani School in Haraz ranges from 30 to 50 students. There are some means for recreation including table and ground tennis and some other playgrounds but as we heard watching TV is forbidden.
Buhrah’s projects in Haraz
We paid a visit to some areas in Haraz and we noticed that the most important project there is the water project which was implemented at the expense of the Sultan of Buhrah. Over than seven thousands inhabitants benefit from this project which cost more than YR 17 million and it is run by the locals at that area.
Over than five million Rials was donated as loans for farmers. Moreover, a new school is now under construction which will provide courses for farmers on bee-keeping and animal-raising. Similarly an animal farm has been constructed at the expense of the Sultan of Buhrah at the estimated cost of 10 million Rials.
Buhrah & Qat
The Buhrah sect in Yemen has waged a war against Qat and its cultivation. The representative of the Sultan of Buhrah to Yemen has erected a nursery which contain different transplants of banana and coffee trees which will be donated for the farmers who will uproot their Qat trees. Moreover, more than USD 90000 has been earmarked for the Qat-uprooting campaign which will contribute to the locals’ efforts to get rid of this evil tree.