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What is Kothar?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

I often read about the `kothar`. Who are they and what exactly do they do? 


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What is Kothar?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


‘Kothar’ is predominantly an Urdu or Gujrati term which means a ‘court’ in reference to the royal court of a ruler or a king.


The ‘kothar’ term is generally used by the Bohra sect to mean the ‘court’ or the army of civil staffs employed by their undisputed spiritual leader, the Syedna, to administer the affairs of the Bohra sect wherever they may reside in the world; and the term used for this army of civil staff of the royal court of the Syedna is ‘kothari’.


This army of the ‘kotharis’ administer the affairs of the one million plus followers of the Bohra community throughout the world. Because every religious rite and ritual and every aspect of the lives of the Bohra followers, from their birth, to the advent of puberty, to their marriage, and until their death revolve around the dictates of the ‘kothar’, this army of civil servants is employed to administer every aspect of their lives and keep them in accordance and submission to the dictates of the ‘kothar’ or court of the Bohra spiritual leader.


Although some of the ‘kotharis’ are genuinely dedicated and good workers, most of them are despised and hated by the community for their high-handedness and arrogance in their dealings; but they are tolerated as these people have immense power to humiliate anyone amongst the community who dare to cross paths with them. They dress, walk, and talk in a particular and specific manner and are generally considered to be of a higher rank than the common followers.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your Brother in Islam,





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