Syedna delivering the Ashara sermons in a previous Moharram in Mumbai

Jyoti Shelar Mumbai

Lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of Dawoodi Bohra members from across the world are expected to descend on Indore for the 10-day Moharram sermons by their spiritual leader, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, starting September 11. The event is being held in India after a three-year gap — the last one being held in Surat.

The 10-day-long Ashara Mubaraka is observed in remembrance of Prophet Mohammed and his progeny, especially his grandson Imam Husain, who was martyred along with his family and companions in Karbala and became a symbol of truth, loyalty and unwavering fortitude in the face of oppression. Every year, community members from across the world request the Syedna to host the event in their cities. This year too, local jamaats from Marol, Pune, Godhra, Chennai and Mombasa had requested the spiritual leader to allow them the opportunity to be the hosts. However, after much contemplation, he announced Indore as the venue. “Over 100,000 Dawoodi Bohras from different countries are expected to join the sermons. We are arranging for a large number of them to be accommodated in the homes of local community members, as well as trying to negotiate fair rates with hotels,” said Khuzaima Petiwala, local public relations coordinator. “Our teams are coordinating with local authorities regarding matters such as traffic and sanitation in order to minimise inconvenience to our neighbours,” he added.

A large majority will listen to the sermons in around 13 centres in Indore and about four centres in neighbouring cities through live telecast. A rotation system will be implemented to ensure that every guest is able to attend at the main centre in Saifee Nagar at least once.

Community member Rashida Iqbal Hussain, 51, said she is very happy that the venue is in India this year. “There is nothing like being present for His Holiness’ discourse. We not only get his best teachings, but we also make so many friends from the community for a lifetime,” said Ms. Iqbal, a resident of Bahrain, who is temporarily settled in Mumbai. She had flown from Bahrain to Houston and Karachi to attend the sermons over the past two years. This is also the first time Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin will hold the sermons in Indore. The city had witnessed his father, the late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s sermons in 1986 and 2002 respectively.