The Dawoodi Bohras of Canada
While we might originally be from any corner of the world, every single Bohra in Canada regards themselves as Canadian first and foremost. We are proud of the role we play in Canadian society as loyal and law-abiding citizens of this wonderful country.
Canadians are known as peace loving, energy conscious, and honest – qualities members of the Dawoodi Bohra faith are known for. The leader of the worldwide Dawoodi Bohra faith, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, preaches respect for nature, harmony with other religions, obedience of local laws and striving to uplift the less fortunate among us.
Toronto has the distinction of being home to the oldest Dawoodi Bohra Masjid in the entire Western world. The Dawoodi Bohra communities of Canada make a significant contribution to all of the cities in which we live. In return, Canadians all across the country have welcomed us with open arms and regard us as good neighbors and friends.
Bohras are renowned for being successful business people. The word “Bohra” means “trade”. It is not surprising that many Dawoodi Bohras in Canada run successful businesses, creating jobs and generating wealth.
“The Dawoodi Bohras are spread across different cities in Canada but they are united by their faith, their desire to live peacefully among people of different backgrounds and of course their love for the country they live in… The Dawoodi Bohras have a very rich culture filled with elements that they wish to share with the rest of Canada. They take seriously the responsibility to care for the environment, they are self-reliant, they are good traders and entrepreneurs. They are committed in their faith but are also ready to accept change and respect the beliefs of other cultures and laws of this land.”
The Bohra Faith
The foundation of the Dawoodi Bohra faith is based on peace, love and humanity. The Dawoodi Bohras follow the Fatimi Ismaili Tayyibi school of thought. Their faith is based on the belief in one deity; Allah Taʿala, in the Holy Quran as the word of Allah and in the sacred mission of the Prophets and their successors. They worship Allah for salvation in the hereafter by following the pillars of Islam and adhering to religious practices ordained by the sharia including reciting the Quran, the five daily prayers and fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Bohras integrate very well into Canadian society. Whilst we might have a very distinctive dress, we are bound by the obligations of our faith to be focused at all times on contributing to the societies in which we live and work. The Prophet teaches us that love of one’s country is part of our faith.
As much as we uphold the values of our faith, we believe whole-heartedly in the principal values of Canadian society: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. We place great emphasis on freedom of speech, women’s empowerment, enhancing the natural environment, engagement with other faiths, helping the less fortunate, and personal health and fitness.
Many of the values at the core of the Bohra faith – including eradicating poverty and hunger, improving health and education, gender equality, avoiding waste, and preserving the natural environment – align very closely with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For centuries, Bohras around the world have been living their daily lives according to these principles, regularly taking practical action to support members of society who most need help.
Women of the Bohra community play an equal role in pursuing an education, raising a family, and having successful careers in a range of professions from healthcare, teaching, IT, finance and business. Amongst our women-owned businesses in Canada are catering companies, pharmacies, interior design studios, and many more.
Nurturing nature is something that Bohra communities everywhere do on a daily basis. Successive leaders of the Bohras – including the current Da`i al-Mutlaq, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin – teach us that everyone has a responsibility to care for the environment and the creatures that dwell within it. For many years, the Dawoodi Bohra community has been leading practical efforts to protect and enhance the environment in Canada and around the world. From worldwide tree-planting programmes to local clean-up drives, Dawoodi Bohras are committed to contributing to a sustainable future.
The Dawoodi Bohra Muslims are renowned all over the world for their culinary skills, and are always more than happy to share a traditional Bohra meal with local friends and neighbors.
Furthermore, Bohras everywhere subscribe to the view that nobody should go to bed hungry, regularly organising food drives to feed the homeless and hungry in cities throughout Canada.
The Masjid and its Significance
For the Dawoodi Bohras, as for many Muslims throughout the world, the masjid is the beating heart of their community. Primarily a place for community members to gather for prayer and spiritual guidance, it also serves as the nucleus of the Dawoodi Bohras’ educational and social activities. Just as the heart is essential to sustain the body, so the masjid is of paramount importance for the Bohra community’s sustenance. Not only does it have great significance throughout each Bohra’s life, but it is where individuals are unified to form a whole.Learn more