An estimated 40,000 Dawoodi Bohras – over 31,000 from overseas – have converged on Dubai to hear the Muharram (the first month of the Muslim New Year) discourses by their leader Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin.

Most of the hotels in Dubai, Sharjah and even Abu Dhabi have been booked for visitors who have come for the nine-day annual Majaalis Al Waaz, which started with the new Hijri year. It will continue until March 1.

The Bohra leader has been holding his discourses at the newly-opened Mosque Al Burhani in Ghusais to the 40,000 community members who have come from the U.S., Canada, Europe, East Africa, the Gulf region, Indian subcontinent, the Far East, and Australia. Around 8,000 community members residing in the UAE are also present.

Dr Burhanuddin said Islam means peace and the message of Muharram is universal peace. He urged his followers to remain committed to Islam and Sharia, respect human values, and work for the welfare of fellow beings.

He said: "Your presence in this masjid is an expression of your love and affection for Allah. You have travelled thousands of miles to Dubai this year to participate in this Majaalis Al Waaz, which is a solemn and sacred occasion."

Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin was earlier received as a state guest of the Government of Dubai. He thanked the UAE leadership for the facilities and support provided by the government.