Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday concluded his three-day State visit to US and left for Egypt. During the two-day visit to Cairo, PM Modi is slated to visit the Imam al-Hakim bi Amr Allah Mosque. The mosque is a 1,000-year-old edifice in the centre of Cairo, and holds special significance for the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims In India.
Imam al-Hakim bi Amr Allah Mosque in Cairo, Egypt | Credit: www.thedawoodibohras.com
3 things you need to know
- PM Modi is on a two-day visit to Egypt.
- PM Modi is set to visit the 1,000-year-old Al-Hakim Mosque in Cairo.
- This visit will have a special significance for the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims In India.
PM Modi is scheduled to spend nearly half an hour at the Al-Hakim Mosque. The mosque, which is a historic and prominent structure in Cairo, is named after Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (985–1021), the 16th Fatimid Caliph. It is a significant cultural site for the Dawoodi Bohra. The PM’s visit to Al-Hakim is likely to strengthen the long-running relationship with the community.
#WATCH | PM Modi to visit the historic Al-Hakim Mosque built during the Fatimid dynasty in Cairo on his two-day State visit to Egypt starting on June 24 pic.twitter.com/P4y8rXJgCd
— ANI (@ANI) June 23, 2023
Who are Dawoodi Bohras?
Adhering strictly to the Fatimid Ismaili Tayyibi school of thought, Dawoodi Bohras are a community with a unique culture. Bohras derive their name from the Gujarati verb “Sahara,” which means “to trade”. They were born in Egypt, moved to Yemen, and later migrated to settle in India in the 11th century.
The sect’s administrative centre was moved from Yemen to Siddhpur (Patan district of Gujarat), India, after 1539, after a surge in the Indian Bohra population. In Siddhpur, the community’s distinctive ancestral havelis (homes) can still be seen. The males dress in distinctive white attire and golden headgear, and the women are known to don colourful burqas rather than the usual black ones.
The Bohras have sub-sects and are divided into two main groups: the majority are Shia merchants while a minority are Sunni farmers.
The Imam al-Hakim bi Amr Allah Mosque is a significant cultural location for the Cairo Dawoodi Bohra community. After six years of prolonged, expensive renovations with a comprehensive effort to increase tourism to Cairo’s Islamic landmarks, the mosque reopened this year. The community of Dawoodi Bohras, which Prime Minister Modi lauded for supporting him and for being “patriotic, law-abiding, and peace-loving”, contributed funding to the renovation project.
Bohras’ cordial relationship with PM Modi
The Bohras’ long-running relationship with PM Modi owes much to the community’s home base in Surat. In 2011, when PM Modi was Gujarat’s Chief Minister, he invited the neighbourhood to the 100th birthday celebration of Syedna Burhanuddin, the community’s spiritual leader at the time. After the spiritual leader passed away in 2014, PM Modi travelled to Mumbai to extend condolences to Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, his son, and his successor. PM Modi and Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the current spiritual leader of the community, have shared a long-standing friendly relationship since then.
When the Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah (The Saifee Academy) inaugurated a new campus in Mumbai’s Marol, the Prime Minister told the community that he was a member of their family. The PM was gracious to Syedna when he paid him a visit in 2016 and talked highly of his encounters with four generations of Dawoodi Bohra religious leaders. In 2018, PM Modi graced the Ashara Mubaraka, the Dawoodi Bohra community’s commemoration of Imam Hussain’s (SA) martyrdom, held in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore at Saifee mosque.