It’s Expensive to be Jewish and Several Times More Expensive to be Bohra!

Written by Asghar Vasanvala | Published on: August 9, 2017
On July 30, 2017 I came across the following article in Los Aneles Times under title “It's too expensive to be Jewish” by Leslee Komaiko. After reading I realised “It is several times more expensive be Bohra.”

Bohra Muslims

For avoiding Sunni persecution many Shia groups joined Sufi sects and adopted other disguises. It seems Bohras Fatimid Imams in Egypt, and later, their vicegerent Dais in Yemen, were influenced by Christians, Jewish Kabbalah, Hasidic Judaism, etc. Bohras also incorporated Hindu traditions. Over years, some Jews, some Christians, and some Hindus converted to the Bohra faith.

Some of those converts achieved higher positions. In their elevated status, they imposed their thinking, culture, and tradition on Bohras followers. I find lot of Similarities between Bohras traditions/rituals with Jewish traditions/rituals.

Bohra Imam/Dai occupy status similar to Chief Rabbi. However, Dais are not as learned today because the Bohra Imam and Dai are appointed by his predecessor; mostly from his own family and not based on independently assessed knowledge or ability. Even a sick and incapable son can become Imam or Dai.

We do not find books or treatises written by Imams or Dai themselves whereas a Rabbi must have high literary achievements.


Why, you may ask, Is it too Expensive to be Bohra. Please read the following to find answers

 1. Womb Tax. When a child is still in mother’s womb, Bohras must start paying tax called Sila-Fitra and then every year thereafter. Bohra Chief Priest says, not paying tax, the child will be down with health problems and bad luck. Sila Fitra is recorded by town Amil, the Bohra Chief Cleric’s agent; it remains on balance sheet and cleric would harass you until it is not paid.

2. Animal Sacrifice. When a child is born Bohras must perform Aqiqa, the sacrificing of a goat. For this ritual, one must take permission from local cleric and pay him Salam. Jews also had tradition of Korban https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korban

3. Rite of passage. At reaching puberty Bohras perform Misaq which is similar to Jewish Bar Mitzvah. During Misaq the boy or girl must pledge allegiance to Syedna. One has to agree and pronounce “Yes” to several conditions such as if the person goes against Syedna’s edicts, his/her property becomes illegal to him/her including his wife and children. His wife gets automatic three divorces and each divorce being equal to three more divorces. His property can be looted. One must pay hefty Salam (tithe) for the Misaq and Misaq must be renewed yearly. No other Muslims, Shia or Sunni, have this tradition. On each yearly Misaq day, Bohras must pay to Syedna a hefty sum.

4. Marriage. At the time of Nikah ceremony both the bride and bridegroom family must pay hefty Salam (tithe) to local cleric called Bhaisaheb. Having Nikah performed by[AV1] [AV2]  Syedna, the chief cleric himself, costs several lakhs Rupees.

5. Taxes. Every year each Bohra has to pay about 20 taxes viz. Zakat 2.5% of certain saving, Sabeel fee of several thousands, constant offering of Nazar Muqam, Najva, Imam Salam, Darees charges, tiffin tax, tomb collection, offerings at tombs of several taxes, trips to tombs and offering in Galla, mosque building and its inauguration charges, prayer space charges, Moharram Waez spce fee, Every month Syedna announce new projects even in foreign country Bohras are levied separately, During Syedna’s visit towns folks must host visitors. Syedna has colleted billions and stashed it in banks and properties over the world. In Africa he owns a diamond mine.

Mr. Leslee Komaiko, you are lucky in comparision with Bohras. If you were a Bohra and had hesitated paying to Syedna, his surrogate would have insulted and kicked you out and made you an outcaste.