Bohris look forward to Syedna’s 100th birthday | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Bohris look forward to Syedna’s 100th birthday

More than two lakh Dawoodi Bohra Muslims from around the world will converge in the city this weekend, to witness an event that they unanimously declare as the most momentous one in their history.

mumbai Updated: Mar 25, 2011 02:17 IST
Aarefa Johari

More than two lakh Dawoodi Bohra Muslims from around the world will converge in the city this weekend, to witness an event that they unanimously declare as the most momentous one in their history.

The community’s spiritual leader, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, turns 100 on Friday, and the Bohri community has been celebrating for more than a month with a spate of events including international car rallies, medical camps, trade fairs and mass marriages.

On Friday morning, the Syedna will deliver a sermon to thousands of Bohris in Bhendi Bazaar, after which people will queue to greet him.

On Sunday, the community has organised a procession along Marine Drive where the spiritual leader will be carried in an open carriage. “In his discourse, Syedna will convey the message of love, advise the followers to abide by Islamic values and pray for international peace and harmony,” said a spokesperson for the community.

The lanes of Bhendi Bazaar, colloquially referred to as the ‘Bohri mohalla’, have been lit up especially for the centenary celebrations, and several Bohris settled out of the country have flown to Mumbai to participate in the celebrations.

“The Syedna is for me the most important person currently living on earth, and I am really looking forward to getting a glimpse of him,” said Mustafa Biviji, 25, an engineering analyst based in the US who has lit up his Sewri home for the occasion.

Bandra resident Zahra Lokhandwala, 24, who took the Syedna’s permission to write a book describing people’s experiences of miracles performed by him, plans to gift it to him on his birthday. “I consider myself extremely lucky to witness this historical event, which will go down as one of the happiest days of my life,” said Lokhandwala.

As part of the birthday celebrations, the community has also started a long-term ‘Cook Healthy, Eat Healthy’ programme that will involve educative workshops for Bohri cooks around the world to teach them about healthy and hygienic cooking.

A 100-yr journey
Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin was born on March 6, 1915, and on March 25, he turns 100 according to the Hijri (Islamic) lunar calendar. He is the 52nd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra community, and succeeded his father Syedna Taher Saifuddin in 1965. He ascended to the position at the age of 53 – making him one of the youngest Dais in the community’s history – and has also held the post for the longest time, 46 years. He is an internationally renowned scholar of Arabic literature and theology. Cairo’s Al-Azhar University and the Aligarh Muslim University have conferred doctorates on him.