The Bohra Religion: Taking a Closer Look

A celebrity “compassionate” Imam was under the spotlight recently for partaking in an Ifṭār gathering with leaders of other religions. News reports state that there was also a Bohra at this event. Some questions you may be asking yourself right now:

Who and what are Bohras?

Are the Bohras a sect, or do they follow an independent religion?

Are Bohras Muslims?

Can a Muslim marry a Bohra?

Should Muslims be partaking in Ifṭār with such people?

History & Development

Sayyidunā Ja’far As-Ṣādiq raḥimahullāh had a number of sons. The eldest son was Sayyidunā Ismā’īl raḥimahullāh. The Shia of the time attributed the Imāmate to Sayyidunā Ismā’īl raḥimahullāh. However, Sayyidunā Ismā’īl raḥimahullāh had passed away during the lifetime of Sayyidunā Ja’far As-Ṣādiq raḥimahullāh. Most of the Shia then took Sayyidunā Mūsā Al-Kādhim raḥimahullāh as their Imām.

Note: It must be borne in mind that the Shia Imāmate concept is completely alien to Islām. The Shia had falsely attributed this idea of Imāmate to the progeny of Sayyidah Fāṭimah raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā and continue to perpetuate this lie to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

RELATED: The Hidden Shia Agenda of The Muslim Vibe

A group among the Shia were adamant and maintained that the line of Shia Imāmate should continue through the descendants of Sayyidunā Ismā’īl raḥimahullāh. This group became the Ismā’īlī Shia – commonly known as the “Seveners”. It was the Ismā’īlīs who had established the Fāṭimid Dynasty later on in Egypt.

In fact, this pattern of discord and splintering occurred among the Shia at every stage of the Imāmate. At one point, an argument arose regarding whether Musta’lī or Nizār should be the Imām. One group believed it should be Musta’lī, and they became the Musta’liyyah Shia. The other group believed it should be Nizār, and they became the Nizāriyyah Shia.

These Musta’liyyah Shia are known today as the Bohra. They acquired the name Bohra due to their trade activities. The leadership of the Bohra remained in Egypt for a long time. However, during the Crusades, Salāḥu-ud-Dīn al-Ayyūbī raḥimahullāh had crushed the Ismā’īlī rule. The Bohras thus fled to India and Yemen, where they continued with their activities and appointed a chain of Dā’īs.

There are basically two branches of the Bohras – the Dāwūdī Bohras and the Sulaymānī Bohras. The difference between the two is based simply on their location. The Dāwūdī Bohras are in India and have a headquarters in Surat, Gujarat. The Sulaymānī Bohras are situated in Yemen. There are also a small number of Sulaymānī Bohras in Pakistan.

Dāwūdī Bohra men are recognizable by their distinctive unique hats and three-piece clothing sets, while their women wear special coloured Burqas. As such, they are easily identifiable. There are no distinct clothes for the Sulaymānī men and women.

The differences between the Bohras and the Muslim Ummah are not based on rulings, rather they are based on fundamental beliefs.

RELATED: The Roots of the Ismaili Shi’ites and Their Divisions

Bohra Beliefs

There are no major creedal differences between the Bohra and the Rawāfiḍ. The Bohras can actually be classed as being a branch of the Rawāfiḍ. Their only major split is in the line of Imāmate that each group believes in respectively. The Bohras and the Aga Khanis take Sayyidunā Ismā’īl raḥimahullāh as their Imām, whereas the Ithnā ’Asharīyyah Rawāfiḍ do not.

The twelfth Imām is hidden according to the Ithnā ’Asharīyyah, whereas according to the Bohras, every one of the Imāms are hidden. In the Bohra religion, the Dā’ī stands as the representative of the hidden Imām.

Bohras claim to believe, and have conviction in one deity, but they believe Allāh Ta’ālā to be Mujarrad; meaning they do not accept any of the eternal qualities of Allāh Ta’ālā to be established for Him. Moreover, they believe the eternal qualities of Allāh Ta’ālā, are established for their hidden Imāms.

The Bohras believe in the concept of ḥulūl – they believe that the divine being of Allāh Ta’ālā had entered into the being of Sayyidunā ‘Alī raḍiyallāhu ‘anhu. Such a belief is of course undeniably shirk (polytheism).

The Bohras accept Sayyidunā Muḥammad Rasūlullāh ﷺ as the final Messenger, but along with this, they also assign the position and status of Sayyidunā Muḥammad Rasūlullāh ﷺ to their Dā’ī. In essence, they negate the Khatm al-Nubuwwah (finality of prophethood) of Sayyidunā Muḥammad Rasūlullāh ﷺ.

Muslims believe that the Anbiyā’ (Messengers) are the special and chosen select servants of Allāh Ta’ālā. They are infallible. No human being can acquire their position or status. On the other hand, the Bohras believe that the Anbiyā’ can commit sins. They also say that the status of the Imāms is greater than that of the Anbiyā’.

The Adhān of the Bohras is similar to that of the Rawāfiḍ.

The Bohras perform ṣalāh only three times a day instead of five.

Bohras do not believe in the obligation of Jumu’ah Ṣalāh.

Bohras do not propagate their religion, nor do they have any authentic and reliable scripture.

Bohras would previously participate in self-flagellation with knives and chains, but this has been curtailed and is now limited to flagellation by the hand only.

Bohras are insolent towards the Khulafā’ Rāshidūn and other Saḥābah raḍiyallāhu ‘anhum, and they do not believe in or accept the lofty status of the great companions raḍiyallāhu ‘anhum.

Bohras wear white and are prohibited from wearing black. They are also instructed, emphatically, to adhere to wearing their special hats.

The former Dāwūdī Bohra leader, Mohammed Burhanuddin, is reported to have claimed he’d been granted all that was granted to Sayyidunā Muḥammad Rasūlullāh ﷺ. Mohammed Burhanuddin also proclaimed having been given free rein to change any of the teachings of the Noble Qur’ān, whenever and however he wished.

Bohras refer to themselves as “Mu’min” and they refer to Muslims as “Musla”.

Bohras also play a major role in interfaith and promote the common faith message in their areas and circles of influence.

Based on their blasphemous and heretical beliefs, Bohras are not Muslims and are outside the fold of Islām.

RELATED: An Overview of the Deep Schisms in Ismā’īlism

Recent Bohra Shenanigans

The current leader of the Dāwūdī Bohras is Mufaddal Saifuddin, the 53rd Dā’ī. As per the norm, he did not assume this position without a fight. The 52nd Dā’ī, Mohammed Burhanuddin, died in 2014. Bohra tradition requires that the successor be named within the lifetime of the Dā’ī. The rival to Mufaddal Saifuddin was Khuzaima Qutbuddin. Khuzaima Qutbuddin filed a civil suit in 2014 at the Bombay High Court against Mufaddal Saifuddin. Khuzaima Qutbuddin desired that the court declare him the 53rd Dā’ī! See here.

However, Khuzaima Qutbuddin actually died before his dream could be realized. See here.

It is both irksome and revealing to see how the Indian Prime Minister has a deeply friendly and loving relationship with the Bohra community in India. In contrast, Muslims in India are subjected to the worst kinds of oppression and persecution under his watch. Refer to the news articles: herehereherehere.

Notes

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NffzIZSNfUk
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d1qdmQeapg

Follow Mufti Abdullah on Twitter: @MuftiAMoolla

MuslimSkeptic Needs Your Support!
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
6 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Hasan Abdullah

Most of the claims in the article are baseless lies based on speculation. Though some true facts are sprinkled in between. Overall a very poor source of information.

Jose

The Quran NEVER claimed that Prophets and Messengers are infallible – just that they didn’t sin as frequently as most humans do.

Hamza Çavuş

That is false.

Jose

When the Prophets make a mistake or sin, they don’t intend to do it. Yunus SINNED when he didn’t want to deliver his Message to the Assyrians – and he ended up getting swallowed by the whale. The Prophet made a mistake or sinned when he temporarily implemented stoning to death for adultery which was replaced with lashing after Ayesha was falsely accused and nearly framed for Zina. There is no mention of stoning in the Hadiths after the Prophet received the revelation of fifty lashes for mulk Al

Jose

There is no mention of stoning in the Hadiths after the Prophet received the revelation of fifty lashes for mulk Al yameen. There is a hadith that mentions stoning for married people but 100 lashes for singles but that was implemented until the punishment to lash 50 times the mulk Al yameen came about and because it was a transition period from where the laws were changed from Old Testament rulings to that of the Quranic revelation. Stoning ended in the Quran.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jose