Akhbaar - Alavi Heritage & Culture
 
 
  Article: Alavi Heritage and Legacy
   
  Vadodara Heritage Walk
2-8-1437/8-5-2016
   
  Alavi Bohras: Vadodara Heritage Walk

Alavi Bohras: Vadodara Heritage Walk Alavi Bohras: Vadodara Heritage Walk Alavi Bohras: Vadodara Heritage Walk
   
 

After becoming the member of the Vadodara Heritage Committee Ra’s ul Hudood Saheb with the help of Heritage Activist and Famous Conservationist of Restorer of Heritage Structures Mr. Chandrashekhar  Sureshchandra Patil organized Vadodara Heritage Walk – Raopura Sector only for Alavi Mumineen and Muminaat on 8th May 2016, Sunday at 7:30 am starting from the compound of Collectorate.

The area is distinguished with the tales of Rich Historical accounts and Heritage Monuments since 2000 years.  It was the first human settlement near the Vishwamitri river that gradually transformed into the beautiful city of Vadodara.  The Heritage walk included the buildings of First Library of Vadodara, First Jail of Vadodara, Archives Building, Pot Museum, GPO and Khari Vav, Tambekar Wada, Kothi Building, Kharchiker Haveli etc.  Many of the participants were enthralled and amazed to know the never heard tales and facts of Vadodara History.

Mukaasir saheb (dm) said that, “By seeing all these things we should always remember our Faatemi Imaams who were the pioneers of conceptualizing and building the Smart City.  In the tenth century AD itself has thrown open the arena of the splendor of Islamic Architecture and shaping the future of Egypt as a Marvelous Heritage and Legacy.  These representatives and Hujjat of Allaah Ta’aala, the gems of Aal-e-Mohammad (sa) Faatemi Imaams were having an outstanding capabilities to exhibit their mastery and vision in Architecture and Art.  Today Cairo is boasting of their Magnificent Monuments.”

“We always remember our Forefathers A’immat of Cairo and Du’aat of Yaman, when we see such type of Heritage buildings.  We too have a rich Heritage and History.  The stretch between Patan and Vadodara was dotted with Isma’ili Taiyebi Bohras settlements even before the foundation of Ahmedabad city.  Our several mohallas existed in the Walled city of Vadodara even before the seat of Da’wat Shareefah shifted to Ahmedabad from Yaman.  Seeing the cultural richness of Bohras Ahmad Shah invited us to get settled in Ahmedabad in the 15th century AD.”

“We must always encourage our new generation to protect and preserve our Heritage and never forget out roots and origin.”

   
 

   
  Monumental Life of Vadodara - Alavi Bohras
Educational and Industrial Transformation
   
 
World Heritage Week - Educational and Industrial Transformation of Alavi Bohras
World Heritage Week - Educational and Industrial Transformation of Alavi Bohras World Heritage Week - Educational and Industrial Transformation of Alavi Bohras
World Heritage Week - Educational and Industrial Transformation of Alavi Bohras
   
 

Vadodara celebrated World Heritage Day – 18th April 2016, with a bang and fervor. Many events and shows were organized across the city and will continue for a week. There is increased sense of awareness among the Barodians as far as Heritage Talks and Walks are concerned and that is a good sign for the coming generations. Through the perseverant efforts of Heritage Lovers, city has undergone a move of Re-exploration and Re-discovery.

In the Heritage wave of change and transformation we also hosted a Alavi Bohra Heritage Walk for the first time in our history by the encouragement and personal interest of His Holiness Saiyedna Haatim Zakiyuddin Saheb TUS – who for the first time opened the doors of Devdi Mubaarak for the netizens to have a look at our rich Heritage.

That was the beginning and we have been at the forefront as far as Heritage events are concerned. A Monumental Life of Vadodara – An Exhibition of Monuments and their Stories through Pictures; was organized by Mr Sachin Kaluskar along with the renowned photographer Mr Fanil Pandya – who approached us to highlight the story of Alavi Bohras too.

Huzoor-e-‘Aali TUS agreed to them and proposed the story of Educational and Industrial transformation of Alavi Bohra Community in the last 50 yrs. The photographer clicked the photos of leading Industrialists and Teachers in Badri Mohalla. However the story was subjected to the selection process by Vadodara Civic Authorities.

For the representation of the Alavi Bohra Community they selected one photograph – Ra’s o Hudood id Da’wat il Alaviyah Zulqarnain Hakeemuddin saheb in the backdrop of an old building – giving a lucid idea of Badri Mohalla in the yesteryears and the transformation in the recent past. The photograph is displayed at the Citizen’s Information Gallery at the Collectorate Office, Kothi Cross Roads. The exhibition will continue till 22nd April 2016. It is the matter of pride for us that from 17 selected photographs, our community story has been selected and is on the display.

   
 

   
  Vadodara Heritage Walk Training Program
4-5th March 2016
   
 
   
 

Vadodara Heritage Walk Training Program was organized by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation on 4th and 5th March 2016. Heritage conservators and promoters from across the city and state also joined the slow but perseverant movement initiated to educate people and spread awareness about the Rich Heritage of Vadodara. Similar events like Heritage Walks are regularly organized in Ahmedabad and gradually an altogether new facet of Heritage Tourism has gained momentum.  The aim of this program is to promote Heritage Walks in different places of Vadodara too.

Settlement in the Vadodara city dates back to almost 2000 yrs on the banks of Vishwamitri river near Akota and Kothi. We have learned a lot about it when for the first time Huzoor-e-‘Aali TUS, under his personal interest, encouraged us to organize Alavi Bohra Heritage Walk during the Heritage Week in November 2015. With the Raza of Huzoor-e-‘Aali TUS, Ra's ul Hudood Dr. Zulqarnain Hakeemuddin attended the training program of Heritage Walk held in Vadodara.

Though we are born in Vadodara but after attending the two day program we felt that we really know very little about our own Princely City and the mubaarak city of the birth of our respected Da'i Syedna Ali saheb QR.  Alavi Bohras are one of the major contributors to the culture, heritage and literature of Vadodara as far as the rule of Gaekwads is concerned. We are looking forward to actively participate in the similar events in the future. And our goal is to rediscover the history of Alavi Bohra community in Vadodara and connect it to the then rulers of Baroda State.  History and Heritage enthusiastics are very positive and are showing keen interest in unfolding the untouched page of Alavi Bohra history that how they were helped by Miya Mahmood to get settled in the Wadi area.

   
 

   
  Heritage Walk: Alavi Bohras Traditions, Culture and Occupations
Vadodara People's Heritage Festival: 21-22 Nov 2015
   
 

   
 
   
 
'Alavi Heritage Week - Devdi Mubaarak, Masjid-e-Nooraani and Bustaan-e-Badri
'Alavi Heritage Week - Devdi Mubaarak, Masjid-e-Nooraani and Bustaan-e-Badri 'Alavi Heritage Week - Devdi Mubaarak, Masjid-e-Nooraani and Bustaan-e-Badri 'Alavi Heritage Week - Devdi Mubaarak, Masjid-e-Nooraani and Bustaan-e-Badri
'Alavi Heritage Week - Devdi Mubaarak, Masjid-e-Nooraani and Bustaan-e-Badri 'Alavi Heritage Week - Devdi Mubaarak, Masjid-e-Nooraani and Bustaan-e-Badri 'Alavi Heritage Week - Devdi Mubaarak, Masjid-e-Nooraani and Bustaan-e-Badri 'Alavi Heritage Week - Devdi Mubaarak, Masjid-e-Nooraani and Bustaan-e-Badri
   
 
   
 

  Gujarati Newspaper: Gujarat Samachar | Divya Bhaskar
 
 
 

Alavi Bohras – in a Nutshell:

 
  • Alavi Bohras belong to the fold of Muslim-Shi’a-Isma’ili-Musta’alavi-Taiyebi community whose history dates back to 1093 AD/486 AH, in Patan, Gujarat when the missionaries, by the command of 18th Faatemi Imaam Mustansir Billaah, in Cairo, came to the western shore of India to propagate their mission. Gujarat was then ruled by Siddhraj Jaisingh.
  • Missionaries who came from Yemen during this time settled down in Gujarat and started propagating their mission under the Imaam’s command. Gradually people started accepting the faith of the missionaries and the Seat of Da’wat got established by them in Gujarat and the people came to be known as Bohras. The word “Bohra” or “Vohra” is derived from the Gujarati word “Vohorwu” or “Vyawhaar” which means “to trade”. Bohras, since their origins are indulged in the trade. Secondly its name reflects the characteristics of “al Jamaa’at ul Baaherah” which means extraordinary community full of Life and Love.
  • The seat of Da’wat or Mission was then got transferred and Bohras got settled in Ahmedabad for centuries until the 32nd Da’i ul Mutlaq (missionary) Saiyedna Ziyauddin Saheb migrated from Ahmedabad to Vadodara in 1698 AD/1110 AH. Since then, Alavi Bohras have settled in Vadodara.
  • When 32nd Da’i ul Mutlaq migrated to Vadodara he met Shi’a Miya Mahmood who was a landlord and had several orchards (wadi) outside the old walled city of Vadodara. He was impressed by the spirituality and angelic personality of Saiyedna Ziyauddin Saheb and presented one of his orchards where today’s Badri Mohalla is located.
  • The succession of Da’i ul-Mutlaq continued since then in Vadodara – from 32nd to the present 45th Da’i ul-Mutlaq Saiyedna Haatim Zakiyuddin saheb. Alavi Bohra Community is a micro minority consisting of 9000 people worldwide. Its headquarter is in Vadodara. Alavi Bohras have settled in Mumbai, Nadiad, Surat, Ahmedabad, Halol, Umallah and other towns of Gujarat as well. Alavi Bohras are also settled in USA, UK, UAE, and Australia.
 
   

al-Masjid un-Nooraani:

 
  • al-Masjid un-Nooraani which stands tall at the entrance of Badri Mohalla on the place of an old Mosque – Masjid-e-Ziyaai; is an architectural marvel. Masjid-e-Ziyaai, the old mosque of Alavi Bohra Community was built by the 32nd Missionary or Da’i ul-Mutlaq Saiyedna Ziyauddin Saheb who migrated from Ahmedabad to Vadodara in 1110 AH/1698 AD.  The huge task of building this mosque continued for 6 yrs and it was the most sought after destination for sight-seers in Vadodara.
  • The old Masjid was demolished to make way for the new one in 1969 AD. The objective being to make a bigger, better version of the old Masjid. The New Masjid was inaugurated in 1973 AD during the time of 43rd Missionary of the Community.
  • Architecturally, the mosque has several interesting features. For instance, one unique fact about its construction is that the entire building has no pillars in the middle. Apparently, the whole structure is supported by a single girdle, which was brought especially from Kolkata. Then of course, there is the generous use of marble on every floor of the three-storey structure, brought from Makarana in Rajasthan. Also two lofty minarets, (almost 75-80 ft long, among the largest in Vadodara), 12 smaller minarets, and the single huge dome attract the eye on the façade of the mosque. 
  • The use of false-ceiling is done diligently and extensively with different designs in each floors.  To add to the spiritual ambiance and peaceful ambit the entire ceiling is white in colour and the same is treated with blissful designs on the outer wall of the corridor overlooking the main hall of the mosque.
  • The main hall of the mosque contains Qur’anic inscription on the walls, almost 225 ft long, again a unique feature as few other mosque in Vadodara boasts of such a huge collection. While ornate carvings adorn the ceiling one cannot miss the huge chandeliers imported from the erstwhile Czechoslovakia.
  • Inside the first sight that greets the eye are the verses of the Qur’an engraved in the marble in the Gold which is called the Eyes of Qur’an. The huge wooden door leading to the main hall itself is reminiscent of olden times when houses had large doors, enclosed as they were by a fort. Even now it needs at least three persons to open and shut the door, hence it has been kept open all the time.
  • It is the only mosque in Vadodara where the Qur’anic Chapter “ar-Rahmaan” has been engraved in the marble which is called “The Brain of Qur’an” on the top of the walls of the main hall and above it there are 99 Beautiful Names of Allaah described in Qur’an.
  • The purpose of the Masjid is not only limited to offering Namaaz but it is considered as the centre of all Religious Activities may it be offering prayers, religious school (madrasah), delivering religious discourses etc. No religious activities are complete unless the community members gather in the Masjid.
  • It is the main mosque of Alavi Bohras known as “Jaame’ Masjid” where the present 45th missionary Da’i ul-Mutlaq Saiyedna Haatim Zakiyuddin saheb leads prayers and when any person offers congregational prayers he gets 100 times more reward.
 
   

Badri Mohalla:

 
  • Mohalla, better called as “Mahallah” is a Arabic word which means “a part of city”. It is a place where people belonging to certain community reside in the Row Houses.
  • Since there was no concept of Societies in the past, people preferred to stay together in a street with all basic amenities around – in the form of Mahallah – also called as “Pole”.
  • Typically a Mohalla consists of Row houses joined together by a common wall; a Masjid (Mosque) and a chowk – an open space in the Mohalla used for common gathering of the residents of Mohalla.
  • Badri Mohalla, situated in the Wadi area is one of the most ancient settlements of Alavi Bohras dating back to 1700 AD. It served as an epicenter of the Development of Alavi Bohras
  • The entrance of the Badri Mohalla, in the past, had a gate in the front. But it was pulled down when the Mosque was reconstructed. Still the community members refer the entrance of Mohalla as “Darwaza”.
  • The other end of the Mohalla had a closed corner and it is still referred to as the “Corner”. Though the Mohalla is now open at both the ends.
  • Old age architecture is still preserved in some row houses. Majority of the old houses have been pulled down for the re-development. Concrete has replaced the Heritage
  • It is named after the title “Badruddin” of 31st missionary (da’i ul-mutlaq) of Ahmedabad who instructed the 32nd missionary Saiyedna Jivabhai Ziyauddin to migrate to Vadodara and settle there in 1110 AH-1698 AD
  • Every member of Alavi Bohra community still has an ancestral home in the Mohalla
  • Every member of Alavi Bohra community visits Badri Mohalla once in a year in the first month of Islamic year i.e. Moharram ul-Haraam to observe Mourning in the remembrance of Martyrdom of Imaam Husain – grandson of Prophet Mohammad (saws); and attend the Religious Discourses for first 10 days of the month
 
   

Devdi Mubaarak (Residence of Saiyedna saheb - The Spiritual Head of Alavi Bohras):

 
  • Devdi Mubaarak-also known as Daar us-Salaam, the official residence of Saiyedna saheb is situated in the centre of the Mohalla to oversee the activities in each nook and corner of the Mohalla.
  • Typically, the building of Devdi Mubaarak was built at the centre of the Mohalla such that it oversaw all the row houses. The balconies of the Devdi Mubaarak were purposefully protruded outside the building limits so that the Saiyedna Saheb could keep vigil over the activities of the Mohalla
  • Devdi Mubaarak is called the Place of Paradise and the room where Saiyedna saheb stays is called the Room of Paradise as it houses the Sublime Spiritual person who is also the temporal and spiritual head of an Alavi Bohra.
  • It is the tradition that when an Alavi Bohra passes by the Devdi Mubaarak he salutes in respect i.e. does salaam keeping in mind that it is the place where Angels descends from the Heavens and showers blessings whoever comes under the holy shadow of Devdi Mubaarak.
  • Every member of Alavi Bohra community visits the Devdi Mubaarak (the residence of Saiyedna sahib – the religious Head of the Community) in the month of Ramazaan to pay respect and religious obligations
  • This place has remained the hub of religious and social activities as each and every customs, traditions and practices of Alavi Bohra community is accomplished by the permission of Saiyedna saheb right from the birth till death.
  • Every Alavi Bohra insists that his family function involving obligatory customary religious rituals be performed in the presence of Saiyedna saheb at Devdi Mubaarak as it is the only place on this globe to be blessed and graced by the blissful stay of 13 missionaries after the migration where they all have performed rites of purity and devotion since generations.
  • The foundation of Devdi Mubaarak was laid by the 32nd missionary Saiyedna Jivabhai Ziyauddin when he started constructing the mosque Masjid-e-Ziyaai situated on the western corner of the Mohalla in 1110 AH-1698 AD.  From this time onwards those Alavi Bohras who migrated from Ahmedabad following the command of the Saiyedna saheb, they all got settled in Badri Mohalla.
  • Before the formation of Badri Mohalla, some of the families of Alavi Bohra were already staying in the walled city area of Gendi Gate and Ladwada, the birth place of 28th and 29th missionaries who later went to Ahmedabad for the purpose of the Holy Mission.
  • Devdi Mubaarak was renovated in 1322 AH-1904 AD by the 41st missionary Saiyedna Jivabhai Fakhruddin and from that time it has remained in the same style and shape.  Saiyedna saheb has written in Arabic the holy name of Allaah Taala “Yaa Hafeez” which “The Guardian” and carries the numerical value “1322”, thereby equating it with the year of renovation.
  • During this time in 1322 AD, the same missionary himself wrote different Qur’an verses and Prophetic traditions on number of Paper-cuttings praising the Household of Prophet Mohammad and reminding the visitor about the realities of his life and worldly bounties.  Thereafter he got it embossed on the outer wall of Devdi Mubaarak and also in the Room of Paradise reserved for Saiyedna saheb.  These writings were painted with Gold Water and till date it is preserved and maintained.  Every visitor is blessed with these valuable inscriptions.
  • Devdi Mubaarak houses the oldest personal sectarian Arabic MSS library comprising of the books related to all the sciences of Shi’ah Isma’ili Taiyebi Alavi Bohra literature covering from the beginning of Islamic Era till today.  It remained the centre of learning and research since its inception and during the time of each and every Saiyedna, he himself has promoted and copied the manuscripts and made new copies from the older ones.  This tradition is still in its place.
   

Bustaan-e-Badri (Mausoleum of 7 missionaries, the oldest graveyard of Alavi Bohras):

 
  • “Bustaan-e-Badri, means “The Garden illuminated by the Moonlight”, derived from the name of the 42nd missionary Saiyedna Fida’ali Badruddin who is the last one being buried in this place. It is located in Maru Falia near Wadi Tower.
  • In this mausoleum, the oldest tomb is that of the 32nd missionary Saiyedna Jivabhai Ziyauddin who was the first to be buried in 1131 AH-1719 AD.  The marble inscription is there on each tomb depicting the name of the missionary with the verses of Qur’an on Death and its reality.  One can also find the date of death.
  • When 32nd missionary Saiyedna Jivabhai Ziyauddin was buried in the place known as Maru Falia locally, one can witness the Didaar of the holy tomb directly from the corner of the mosque situated in Badri Mohalla.  This entire stretch was occupied by the families of Alavi Bohras.
  •  Till 1370 AH-1951 AD there was a huge beautiful garden having different fruit-bearing trees where Alavi bohras used to spend time after the Morning Prayer.  As the place became overcrowded and due to frequent riots, the maintenance became difficult and it was ultimately floored with Kota Stone.  44th missionary Saiyedna Taiyeb Ziyauddin took this initiative for the renovation in 1395 AH-1975 AD.
  • By the efforts of 43rd missionary Saiyedna Yusuf Nuruddin, minor renovation took place but the major work in this place was the construction of Darbaar Hall known as “Bustaan us-Sawaab” that was completed in 1358 AH-1940 AD.  It is beautified with the writings of Qur’anic verses referring to the Holy Rightly Guided Mission (Da’wat-e-Haqq).  This hall is used frequently for the assemblies-majlis during different occasions.
  • Till 1388 AH-1969 AD, a beautiful brass canopy used to adorn different tomb which created a deep spiritual ambiance, but due to the communal flare-up during those year the entire place was burnt to ashes and canopies along with expensive chandeliers were looted.  Since then Alavi Bohras residing between the mosque and mausoleum gradually moved out from the riot-prone area to safer places.
  • There are 7 tombs in this twin domed mausoleum where both were built in different times.  The right one under which there are 6 graves was built before 30 years and the left one with single grave was built recently.
  • Not only Alavi Bohras but those who are residing nearby the mausoleum are deeply attached with the miraculous status of this place and they often visit here to pay respect to the tomb whenever there is function of yearly commemoration known as Urs.
  • It is the tradition that during the Urs, when a huge number of Alavi Bohras gather to remember the Holy Sacrifices and Services of Saiyedna saheb, the entire history surrounding the life of Saiyedna saheb is narrated which helps the younger generation in knowing their originality and roots.  This tradition is passed since years and it has been nurtured by the present Saiyedna saheb 45th missionary Haatim Zakiyuddin.
  • On the inner walls of the mausoleum, the heart of the Qur’an known as “Surah Yaa-Seen” meaning the chapter of Yaa-Seen and the light of the Qur’an known as the “Aayat un-Noor” meaning the Sign of Light has been engraved in Marble in Sulus style.
   
   
 
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