The Dawoodi Bohra Community
eaded by His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, the Dawoodi Bohra community traces its heritage to the Nabi Mohammed SA, his Wasi Amir al-Mumineen Moulana Ali bin Abi Talib SA and their successors and descendants, the Fatemi imams SA. ‘Fatemi’ is derived from Maulatena Fatema al-Zahra SA, the daughter of Nabi Mohammed SA and the consort of Amir al-Mumineen Moulana Ali bin Abi Talib SA.
Since the person of the Fatemi imam is the pivot around which the community revolves, the term ‘Fatemi’ is used to identify and describe all aspects related to the community. Dawoodi Bohra faith holds that a Fatemi imam is always present on earth to continue the Dawat Hadiyah: the mission of guiding the faithful.
In 526/1132, the 21st imam, Moulana al-Imam al-Tayyib SA 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 head by the imam’s vicegerent and representative: al-Dai al-Mutlaq (pl. Du’at Mutlaqeen, also termed Dai al-Mutlaq or Dai), literally meaning ‘summoner with comprehensive authority’. Invested with his powers, the dai’s pronouncements and actions are regarded as those of the imam.
The imam initially chose Yemen for the Du’at as their seat of Dawat 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 dai Syedna Dawood bin Qutubshah RA. Today, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS is the 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq and heir to noble heritage of the Fatemi imams and Du’at.
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, UK and France, North America and Southeast Asia.