Tour A Bohra
Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb greeting AHM Aswer
In case you hadn’t noticed, Colombo has been full of men and women in head to toe cloth, white and colored respectively. Nice hats too. These people are obviously Muslim, but I did a bit of reading and they are part of a Shia sect called the Bohra. Their leader Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb, has arrived in Colombo for a ten day ceremony called the Ashara Mubaraka. This influx has almost single-handedly boosted the Colombo tourism industry, filling hotels and guest houses. I’ve also seen Majestic City and Odel full of these guests.
The Prophet Mohammed’s temporal succession involved many schisms in Islam, the most notable being that between Sunni and Shiite. That division hinges on the 1st successor to Mohammed, while the Bohras emerged from another succession dispute, this involving the 9th caliphate. That group split again, with one branch being the Dawoodi Bohra. They are mostly India based, but many live in Sri Lanka. Those are the Bohra that now walk our streets to gather with their leader, Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb.
He is the Imam’s (descendant of Mohammed) vice regent, and Dawoodi Bohras consult him on all manners, spiritual and temporal. They also pay a significant Zakat, or tax, directly to their leader, which is in turn distributed and funds the restoration of mosques, etc. The Bohras emphasis both secular and religious education and have a high proportion of businessmen and professionals above them. They seem pretty cool.
And that is all I got from Wikipedia. Now, rumour wise, these are things that I heard. If anyone can confirm deny them I’d be interested to know.
- That huge fantastic house across from Colombo University bookstore is a private Bohra residence.
- They had ID cards which they scanned at the airport. The cards matched them to the local Bohra houses they were staying with.