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     History of Shia Khoja Ithna Ashri.  

The beginning: Some 600 years ago a missionary by the name of Pir Sadruddin arrived in Sind in India.  There are a number of myths about his origin.  The most common consensus among historians that he was DAI  (representative or emissary) of the NIZARI branch of the Islamili sect.  Some have suggested that he was a Sufi teacher from Iran.  There is even a story that he was a Hindu Priest by the name of Sahdev then he left the place and changed his appearance and took on the name of Sadr Din.and gradually, the beliefs crystallized to those of the Ismaili Nizari faith; particularly after the arrival of the Aga Khan I from Iran to India in the first half of the 19th Century.  By this time the Khojas had spread all over the Kutch and Gujarat.  Some had also moved to Bombay and Muscat.  They paid their dues to the Ismaili Jamat Khana and lived quite harmoniously within their society. The main place of worship was the Jamat Khana (Community Centre) was organized round the Jamat Khana-which served as a religious as well as a social center.

    Departure from Ismailia Jamat Khana  

With the arrival of the Aga Khan I in India, greater control was exercised by the Aga Khan in the affairs of the community. This led to certain groups dissenting and being ousted from the Jamat Khana.  The most celebrated one was the case of the Bar Bhaya where an influential family by the name of Habib Ibrahim refused to accept the dictate (firman) by the Aga Khan that all the property that belonged to the Jamat would now vest in the Aga Khan.  Eventually this group was out casted and influenced by Sunni Aalims they became Sunnites.


This was followed by several courts cases and much commotion in the community; in the early 1800 some Khojas went for Ziarat of Ali A.S. and while in Najaf they met the Mujtahid of the time, Shiekh Zainul Aabedeen Mazandarani.  During their discussions they realized that there was need for a teacher to come to India to teach the community about Deen-e-Islam, Soon after, at the behest of Sheikh Mazandarani, Mulla Kader Hussein arrived in India and some Khoja families left the Ismaili sect and learnt and studied under Mulla Kader the principles of Shia Ithnaasheri faith.


From these few families the community has now grown to well over 100,000 Khoja Shia Ithnaasheries.  The overall number is still very small when considering that there are an estimated 60-90 million Shia Ithanasheries in the world today,

  Source: dated .09.2000  

Our khojas are particularly spread around the world i.e. Asia, European Union, Middle East, Gulf, Far East, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Former USSR, Honking and Singapore.  In African Continent offcourse our Khoja Brethern have established themselves very earlier with chequered history and frequently changes of fortune and with heritage of ventured enterprises, self-sacrificing and mutual concerns for the less privilege in other parts of the world.


It is delightful and encouraging to note that our Khoja are largely business community leaving their mark wherever they have settled with progress and prosperity.


The World Federation of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslim Community of UK, Nasimco and Sajjadia Trust of Canada, Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Jamat of Africa, Supreme Council of Africa, Shia Ithna Asheri council of Europe, JIBA Chamber of Commerce and Industry and all other local based Khoja Institutions and Khoja Philanthropist around the world are successfully spreading a revolution of Welfare as such like any other communities Shia Ithna Asheri Community has its share of weaker sections needing help and co-operation for basic education, employment, housing and healthcare. These noble philanthropist, Trusts and Institutions have been spearheadingly running education centre, hospital, orphanages and providing opportunities and all other benefits to our community, now there is no doubt every where our Khoja Brotherin have felt this resurgence towards unity and progress.


The new Era has dawned, it is bound to be landmark or rather a golden period in the history of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri as it is not a Jamat or a religion but a global moment of Khojas let us all encourage this process of coming nearer and work together by improving and growing in co-operation.


We Khajas have rich heritage and love for our Kith and kin and our community with broad mindedness, secularism, tolerance, enterprise and initiatives. Having business acumen are our main trait and characteristics of Khoja culture.  Fairness of Character has been further strengthened by our practicing of Shia Ithna Asheri faith, having followed this great and true religion we have now come to be more sympathizing and sacrificing and fore bearing with more patience more truthful and dependable. 

However limited in its size and influence the Khoja Community has paid its toll in earlier days in Sait laljee Bhai Sajan and Sait Hirjee Bhai Allahrakiya scarified their lives during their campaign for establishing of our Mosque at our parent Jamat of Bombay and they are called “KAUM KA SHAHID”.  The other two gentlemen who risk their lives for the Jamat are Sait Abdullah Bhai laljee and Sait Kasam Ali Bhai Nanjee Miami, they earned the title of KAUM KA FIDAI i.e. those who dedicated their lives for the good of Khoja Community.
It is the fine quality of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri that have help progress wherever they have gone and settled, as being trust worthy and dependable they have inspired to come together and work for the welfare and common good which has gathered momentum every where, due to this the Khojas everywhere are identified in high esteemed and have been recognized as a Jamat of peace loving and patriotic citizens.
Our Jamat is found out of the blood and sweat of our forefathers and ancestors who wanted us to follow our faith in total independence and freedom with our own identity, the martyrs of the Jamat and all other charitable benevolent whose love and care for their community and their ever readiness for any charitable action whenever called upon are always in our prayers let us all held this precious heritage in high spirit may Allah elevate them all to the highest level of paradise making their journey to the last destination easy and easeful.

  Please recite Sur-e-fateha for all beloved Marhoomin.


Sources (Extracted) Khoja Isna Ashri Jamat Bombay Directory 1993.

Designed and Developed by Brother Mohammed Ali Banatwala in Co-ordination with Brother Abbas Ali Lalani