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When Muslims are targeted in Gujarat, to claim that Dawoodis are not Muslims is sheer betrayal 

It was reported in English daily Indian Express and Hindi daily Pratakal on 4 April 2002 that a group of Dawoodi Bohras in Gujarat claimed that they are ‘Not Hindus. No. Not Muslims either. They are Dawoodi Bohras caught in the crossfire’.

"When the Maulana gives us any directions, we follow. When he asked us to return to business, we had to", said Shabbir Moiz Vohra, who set up shop in Kawant a week ago.

Shabbir suffered losses to the tune of Rs 6 lakh when his three shops were looted and burnt, but did not accept any compensation, saying he would "be better off without it". 

We don’t fear anything after hearing from the Maulana. We don’t want to take revenge because we love peace", said Aliajgar Jainuddin Vohra, who has reopened one of his three damaged shops.

Both of them clarify that they "are not Muslims, but are Dawoodi Bohras". So does Nadir Badruddin Vohra. "We do break bread with them but marriages are taboo. They offer namaz five times a day, we do it only thrice; our mosques are also different", he stressed.

These Bohras claim that "When the Maulana gives us any direction we follow". It is obvious that whatever they have said regarding their not being Muslims is as per dictates of Sayedna Saheb. There is not corrective statement regarding this claim from Sayedna’s side either. So one will consider it as official statement of Sayedna that Dawoodi Bohras are not Muslims. 

In fact any one who follows the basic principles of Islam and believes in Allah, His book the Qur’an and the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is a Muslim. Dawoodi Bohras are very much believers of these three essentials and are, therefore Muslims. They also believe in Wilayat of Hazrat Ali and therefore they are a sub-sect of Shia Muslims. They combine Zohar and Isha prayers and again Asar and Maghrib prayers and pray five times prayers in three times. But they observe all five prayers. Their mosques are known as masjids and not by any other name like temple, church or synagogues. They believe in five pillars of Islam: Wahdat, Salat, Zakat, Haj and Jihad. So it is wrong to say that they are not Muslims.

Being a business community it is true that by and large Bohra community is a peace-loving community. It is unfortunate that their present religious heads have adopted a life of luxury and in order to amass wealth they have imposed several un-Islamic taxes and practices on the followers. In order that their followers do not mix with other Muslims and know the true Islam they make systematic efforts to assert on the minds of the followers that they are quite different from other Muslims.

But the hypocrisy of their religious leaders becomes evident when they order their followers to close down their bank accounts as interest is prohibited for Muslims, or when the Bohra religious head takes pride in being the Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University or his representative being on the Central Haj Committee and Muslim Personal Law Board. They make announcements of their being the real well-wishers of the Muslim world. 

But when the time comes for them to be accountable under Islamic law or Muslim Waqf Act, or to save their skin in a situation like in Gujarat now, they feel no shame in claiming that they are not Muslims. Further more, the Dawoodi Bohras statement, obviously under instruction from Sayedna Saheb, that they are peace-loving is most dangerous under the circumstances, which directly implies that the other Muslims are not peace-loving and are trouble creaters. 

Violent attacks on reformist Bohras time and again by fanatic followers of Sayedna and their round and arrogant behaviour with other Muslims, cursing the Muslim Khalifas and creating riots are for any one to judge how peace-loving these followers of Bohra high priest are? It is the duty of Sayedna to immediately refute the statements made by his followers that they are not Muslims. We also insist on Muslim organizations like Muslim Personal Law Board, Haj Committee, Aligarh Muslim University etc to seriously note this contention on behalf of Sayedna Muhammad Burhanuddin.
(Source: The Bohra Chronicle, Mumbai, June 2002)

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