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Group numbering approximately one million, residing in India, Pakistan, the Middle East, East Africa, and the West (the name means “traders”). Trace their spiritual ancestry to eleventh-century Indian Hindu converts to Ismaili Shiism. Divided into several subgroups. Most prominent, best-organized, and wealthiest are the Daudi Bohras. Led by dais, currently Muhammad Burhanuddin, who are well known for their prolific written works and as orators. Oath of allegiance to shariah, imam, and dai is first given at puberty and is renewed annually on the feast of Gadir al-Khumm. Follow Fatimid school of jurisprudence, recognizing seven pillars of Islam (rather than the standard five), in which love of God, Prophets, imam, and dai is first and most important. Other pillars are purity, prayers, charitable dues, fasting, pilgrimage to Mecca, and jihad. Pilgrimages to saints' shrines are an important part of devotional life. Have a strong tradition of religious learning. Wear distinctive dress: beards and gold-rimmed white caps for men, colorful two-piece head-to-toe dress for women. Group also includes some Sunnis. Sulaymani Bohras are a smaller group, located in Yemen.

See also India, Islam in; Ismailis; Shii Islam

Subjects: Islam.

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