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September 20, 2017

Bohra community leader selects Karachi for Ashara Mubaraka


September 20, 2017

His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the 53rd al-Dai al-Mutlaq and head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, who arrived in Karachi on September 14, will conduct Ashara Mubaraka in the city, said a press release on Tuesday.

Ashara Mubaraka refers to a period of 10 days at the beginning of the Islamic year dedicated to the remembrance of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and Ahle Bayt, specifically his grandson Imam Hussain (RA). The tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, is known as Ashura and marks the day on which Imam Hussain (RA) was martyred along with his family members and companions. 

The commemoration of Imam Hussain’s (RA) martyrdom is an important element of the Dawoodi Bohra faith. During Ashara Mubaraka, His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin will conduct a series of sermons over the nine days that explore themes of justice, sacrifice, brotherhood, forgiveness, kindness and piety, qualities that manifest themselves in the tragedy that befell Imam Hussain (RA) and his loved ones in Karbala, Iraq, which ultimately led to his martyrdom. 

In his sermons, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin will relate these eternal principles with matters of contemporary relevance. He will narrate past events of historical significance and discuss pertinent issues impacting the community in today’s world, all through the lens of Islamic philosophy and theology.

In this way, the longstanding tradition of Ashara Mubaraka celebrates the community’s history, evaluates its present and enhances its possibilities for the future. Durriya, who is en route to Karachi from New York, says: “The Ashara event allows us to get back in touch with our roots and our faith, providing us strength and inspiration for the year ahead of us.

I also find that the learning experience for my family is tremendous; seeing different countries, experiencing new cultures and meeting with interesting people from all over the world.”

Although Dawoodi Bohra centres across the world will host this event locally for members in their cities, the gathering led by His Holiness, which varies from city to city each year, will attract thousands of community members. 

In Karachi this year, about 40,000 individuals from over 40 countries have already registered to attend. Hotels near Karachi’s commercial centre, Saddar, where the Bohra community’s large Taheri Masjid is located, are completely booked. Many Karachites will open their homes to foreign guests, some of whom they’ve never met in their lives before.

Bus companies have been hired to ferry attendees from different parts of the city. Over the course of the nine days, hundreds and thousands of meals will be served.

“Since this is our largest annual religious congregation, we’re mobilising specialised teams to handle accommodation, transport, food, seating arrangements and other facilities to ensure that the community members coming from all over  the world are served comfortably,” explained Murtaza Abdeali, spokesperson for the Dawoodi Bohra community.

Outside of India, Karachi has one of the largest populations of Dawoodi Bohras in the world. It is also home to one of four campuses of the community’s renowned Arabic Academy, Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah.

After many years of preparatory work, Karachi was finally chosen as the venue for this year’s Ashara Mubaraka, an honour it has had twelve times in the past, the last, however, being nearly 20 years ago. Although the late Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin and his respected father, Dr Syedna Taher Saifuddin, have conducted Ashara here multiple times, this would the first time for Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin. 

In the previous three years since Syedna Saifuddin’s ascension to the leadership of the community, he has conducted the Ashara sermons in Surat, Houston and Dar-es-Salaam.

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