UAE | Society

Bohra community in UAE mourns leader’s death

18,000-strong community will observe 10-day mourning period for spiritual icon

  • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 January 17, 2014
  • Gulf News

Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin
  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
  • Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin

Dubai: The Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community in the UAE is mourning the loss of their spiritual leader, Dr Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin, who they considered as their father and a beacon of light.

When the community in the UAE heard news of their leader’s passing on Friday morning, they flocked to their respective masjids and, following Friday prayers, recited the Quran and offered prayers.

“All are in mourning. Thousands of people are leaving for Mumbai to pay their last respects,” an officer in the community told Gulf News on Friday. He said he managed to book a flight to Mumbai for Saturday afternoon since all the flights to Mumbai had been fully booked since Friday.

“In him, we have lost our own father. It was he who blessed me 35 years ago to travel to the emirates to earn a living. He was a beacon of light to all,” the officer said.

“In his 50 years as our leader...the relationship between him and his members has been like that of a father to his children. Everyone regards him as his spiritual father,” Kinana Mudar Jamaluddin, his representative and a community member in Dubai, told Gulf News.

Jamaluddin said the estimated 18,000 members of the Bohra community in the UAE will observe a 10-day mourning period and all Bohra-owned shops will be closed for three days, as is the case in Mumbai.

Jamaluddin said Dr Syedna’s leadership was marked by the advancement of the Bohra community, particularly upgrading their standard of living.

Whenever Dr Syedna visited his one million followers around the world, he donated a sizeable amount as “Qardhan Hasanah” or interest-free loans. In the UAE, the community received a gift of Dh21 million in 2012 for this purpose.

But what stands out for Jamaluddin is the leader’s warm-hearted spirit.

“The position that he holds as a spiritual leader fills us with awe and reverence, which we cherish in our hearts. But when we come to speak to him about our troubles or achievements, his personal nature — his smile and warmth — puts us at ease.”

Jumana Broachwala, who grew up listening to Dr Syedna’s sermons, said she is grateful for the leader’s guidance in her life.

“He was a very spiritual soul. He guided on us how to lead a healthy and honest life. Not everyone is privileged to show you the right path. This is a great loss for us.”

Gulf News
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