The Dawoodi Bohra Community
Headed by His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, the Dawoodi Bohra community traces its heritage to the Nabi Mohammed SAW, his wasī Amir al-Mumineen Maulana Ali bin Abi Talib AS and their successors and descendants, the Fatimi imams AS. ‘Fatimi’ is derived from Maulatuna Fatima al-Zahra AS, the daughter of Nabi Mohammed SAW and consort of Moulana Ali bin Abi Talib
Since the person of the Fatimi imam is the pivot around which the community revolves, the term ‘Fatimi’ is used to identify and describe all aspects related to the community. Dawoodi Bohra faith holds that a Fatimi imam is always present on earth to continue the Dawat-e-Hadiyah; the mission of guiding the faithful.
In 526/1132, the 21st imam, Maulana al-Imam al-Tayyib AS chose complete seclusion and since then all imams, each appointed by his father and predecessor, have remained in seclusion. During this period the community is headed by the imam’s vicegerent and representative: al-dāʿī al-mutlaq (pl. duʿāt mutlaqīn), literally meaning ‘summoner with comprehensive authority’. Invested with his powers, the dāʿī’s pronouncements and actions are regarded as those of the imam.
A GLOBAL COMMUNITY
The imam initially chose Yemen for the duʿāt as their seat of Dawat (daʿwa) and then in 946/1539 this seat was transferred to present-day India. Over the years, the community became known as Bohra. One meaning of the word Bohra is trader and refers to the community’s predominant occupation with trade and commerce. The appellation of Dawoodi comes from the 27th Dāʿī Syedna Dawood bin Qutubshah RA. Today, His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS is the 53rd al-dāʿī al-mutlaq and heir to the noble heritage of the Fatimi imams and duʿāt.
Although the community is predominantly based in South Asia, over the years Dawoodi Bohras have established themselves in various regions across the globe, such as East Africa, The United Kingdom, France, North America and Southeast Asia. For more information regarding the Dawoodi Bohra community, please visit thedawoodibohras.com.
Caption: His Royal Highness Prince Charles addresses a gathering during a visit to the Dawoodi Bohra masjid complex in Northolt, London.