Dawoodi Bohra Community

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The Supreme Court recently referred a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the practice in the Dawoodi Bohra community to excommunicate members, to the nine-judge bench.

About the Dawoodi Bohra Community:

  • The Dawoodi Bohras are members of the Muslim community’s Shia sect.
  • In India, they are located mainly in Gujarat and were traditionally shopkeepers and traders.
  • The main language of the community is Lisan al-Dawat, a dialect of Gujarati with inclusions from Arabic and Urdu.
  • The leader of the community is known as the Al-Dai-Al-Mutlaq.
  • For over 400 years, the leader has been based out of India, including the current and 53rd leader, His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin.

What is Excommunicate?

  • In practice, being excommunicated includes not being allowed to access a mosque belonging to the community or a burial dedicated to the community.
  • The Bombay Prevention of Excommunication Act, of 1949 was enacted to stop the practice of excommunication prevalent in certain communities.
  • This is because excommunication is said to deprive the legitimate rights and privileges of its members.
  • The leader of the community has the right to excommunicate its members. 


Q1) Who are Shia Muslims?

They are the followers of a particular school of Islamic thought, which is based on the teachings of the Prophet and his family.

Source:  Excommunication in Dawoodi Bohra community: SC refers plea to the nine-judge bench