Thursday , September 28 2023

Strong controls the weak

This post has been read 16151 times!

Nafisa, the wife of one of my partners, died of a fatal illness that did not take her long. I had previously written an article in her elegy for she was an extraordinary person in the truest sense of the word.

Out of my respect for the wonderful history of the late Nafisa, and my strong relationship with her husband, I participated in the burial ceremony.

The Bohra group is considered a branch of Ismaelism, and it is currently headed by Mufaddal Seif al-Din, (the fifty-third absolute preacher), who manages the affairs of his followers from the city of Mumbai, and they have committees and investment funds in various countries of the world.

He is the actual president in his area, leading his congregation in prayer, and delivers sermons.

The number of the Bohras is approximately 5 million and a majority of them live in the Indian state of Gujarat. A traditional Bohra wears a predominantly white dress, in addition to a distinctive head covering, and a short or bushy beard for the religious among them. As for the women, their clothes consist of two pieces of bright colors and decorated with lace and a hijab but without covering the face.

The Bohras from the political point of view remain neutral and are loyal to the country of residence, but they remain conservative enough to maintain their identity, and are famous for their cleanliness, their love of volunteering and helping others, especially during the time of famine, and their relief work received praises by the Indian prime minister on more than one occasion.

The Bohras are also considered among the best educated in India and abroad, both men and women, and I experienced that myself, despite their conservative society, and the abuse that women are subjected to sometimes.

The Bohras perform zakat, fast during Ramadan, go for Hajj, jihad in addition to purification, and do not believe in usury, but rather in the good loan whose money is collected from almost everyone, and it is spent on marriage loans, services, home purchases, education expenses, and financing business projects for their followers, and the latter is what made them merchants cleverer than the others.

Nevertheless, the bad side in this matter, in the view of some, is that the money collected from those who are able to pay, in Kuwait, for example, is almost obligatory. Without it, it is impossible to finance the needs of the members of the sect in every country, but the lack of transparency regarding the manner of disposing of these funds made some object on the method, and demanded transparency, and this is what the leadership did not accept, and for this reason it excluded them, in a form of deprivation, especially since they had previously chosen not to abide by the requirements of belonging to the group, in terms of clothing, beard, and others.

Consequently, the person in charge of them tried to refuse to bury the deceased in the group’s cemetery, which is located within the Al-Ja’afari cemetery in Sulaibikhat, and this is an arbitrary practice that I did not accept at the time in the cemetery.

The fact that the deceased was not committed, according to their request, or did not pay money to the official of the “group”, does not justify the refusal, as the land of the cemetery belongs to the state, and no private party has the right to control it. Had it not been for my personal intervention at that time, she would not have been buried according to the desire of her husband and children.

We call on the Municipal authorities to take action and prevent the practice of such illogical actions against this peaceful group. The desire to bury in a specific place may be a person’s last wish before his departure, and it is a logical wish, so how can he/she be deprived of it because of a difference of opinion?

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By Ahmad alsarraf

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