Across the city, Dawoodi Bohras gathered in mosques on the eve of the birthday of their spiritual leader, the 52nd Dai-el-Mutlaq, his holiness Dr Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin. Tuesday, the 20th of Rabi ul Akhir (as per the Dawoodi Bohra calendar) marks the completion of 101 years. The birthday was celebrated simply with Bohra men and women singing hymns in his praise after which all congressions prayed for his long life and health. Men and women streamed out of mosques for salawat which consisted of a sandwich and sweetened milk.
The longest living spiritual leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community to date, Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin’s age and abilities are something of a miracle to his community.
Up till his last birthday, Syedna Burhanuddin could still deliver heart-wrenching majalis to his people. To be able to speak lucidly and eloquently at the age of 100 has always been perceived as one of the signs of piety and goodness by his followers. Eight-year-old girl Maria had dressed up for the celebrations in a gold-sequined ghagra chooli do with an extra long Sajda. “He loves us,” she remarked when asked what his birthday meant for her. “Bhai sahab told us he loves kids and prays for us.” She was terribly excited about the goody bags that will be distributed today. Her mother smiled and added: “When I hear Syedna Burhanuddin speak, I am filled with peace and tranquillity … I consider us lucky to have such a source of guidance.”
Today there will be a grander function, which will include a minimum five-course meal in the traditional Bohra fashion in all Dawoodi Bohra mosques.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.
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