Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jinnah's religion - 8

Wolpert (Jinnah of Pakistan, chapter 2, covering the period 1896-1910 ) writes, without citations:

Though religion never played an important role in Jinnah's life - except for its political significance - he left the Aga Khan's  "Sevener" Khoja community at this stage of his maturation, opting instead to join the less hierarchically structured Isna 'Ashari sect of "Twelver" Khojas, who acknowledged no leaders.  One of Jinnah's most admired Bombay friends, Justice Badruddin Tyabji (1844-1906), first Muslim high court judge and third president of the Indian National Congress, was an Isna Ashari.

Jaswant Singh (Jinnah - India - Partition - Independence) explains in endnote 2 in Chapter 2:

Khoja in a strict sense is the name of an Indian caste consisting mostly of Nizari Ismailis and some Sunnis and Twelver Shias split off the Ismaili community.   In a larger sense, the name commonly refers to the Indian Nizaris in general, including some minor communities like the Shamsis in the area of Multan and some Momnas in Northern Gujarat.  Most Nizari activity seems to be centered around Sindh.

The Khojas had been active in commerce between India and East Africa since the seventeenth century but could only settle in large numbers in East Africa after the eighteenth century.   The coming of the Aga Khan Hasan Ali Shah to India in 1840 led to an aggravation of earlier conflicts within the Khoja community about the rights of the Imam.   In 1866, a judgment in a law suit brought against the Aga Khan by ex-communicated members of the community ended up fully upholding the rights and authority of the Imam.  This resulted in the dissidents separating from the community; the Sunni Khojas.  The later dissidents, seceding in 1877 and 1901, formed Ithna Ashari Khoja communities in Bombay and East Africa.

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