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Who Are Khoja Shi'as?

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I'm a Khoja, my grandparents migrated from India to Pakistan (or maybe they just lived in the pre-Pakistan part of India before they split, I forget), but my mother says that our early ancestors were Hindus. My grandparents and father speak Gujarati. I'm kind of biased, but I think we're pretty nice, though some say we are kind of nosy :) 

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On 1/23/2017 at 2:18 PM, Hassan Y said:

If you're a virgin that sunni boy needs your father's permission to marry you, unless you're desperately in need of marriage and there is no other qualified man to ask for your hand.

I m not virgin m divorcee ... 

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15 minutes ago, Syeda Urooba said:

I m not virgin m divorcee ... 

Than the sunni boy does not need to obtain your father's permission to marry you. However to be on the safe side, send the marjas your question in detail and they will answer it based on your situation.

Sayed Ali Khamenei - http://leader.ir/en/istifta (answers within 4-8 days)

Sayed Sistani - http://www.sistani.org/english/send-question/ (answers within 7+ days)

Edited by Hassan Y

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15 minutes ago, Hassan Y said:

Than the sunni boy does not need to obtain your father's permission to marry you. However to be on the safe side, send the marjas your question in detail and they will answer it based on your situation.

Sayed Ali Khamenei - http://leader.ir/en/istifta (answers within 4-8 days)

Sayed Sistani - http://www.sistani.org/english/send-question/ (answers within 7+ days)

Thnks #Hassan :-) 

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You will find many Khojas on this forum and one among all is myself. My Grandfather's grandfather was Hindu. I do not live in Gujarat but I can speak Gujarati. I'm more comfortable in local language i.e. Hindi/Urdu.

Someone here said that khojas are less religious, less knowledgeable, etc...I would rather say that it depends upon individual and the society as to how much religious he is.

Khojas are more of a race/cultural thing and has nothing to do with religion.

Be it Iraqi, Irani, lebanese, sayyed, khoja, etc. we all are shia and united on Wilayat-e-Ali (a.s.). Any other difference doesn't matter.

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Man we've been praised too much on this forum! Care to hear some negatives about us, of course no ill intent just some light-hearted honesty? I could write a book but I'll keep it brief if you're interested, you might have a little laugh too. 

Edited by Mohamed1993

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I am not Khoja, I have always found the Khoja community to be the most charming and charitable Shia communities.

Incredibly well organised Shia events timed to the minute. Under the leadeship of the late Mullah Asghar ( God bless his soul and raise him to the highest station) the Khoja community has gone from strength to strength establishing Imambargahs and Madrassahs where ever there is a sizeable Shia community.

It is reported that they were originally Hindu and converted to Sunni Islam under the influence of Muslim Sufi saints whose names are still revered in their books.

The British gave their area to the Agha Khan ( at that time) who converted them to Ismaili ( while it was still fairly mainstream Islam). From their a group split off enduring financial and social boycotting to become Shia Ithna Asheria  

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4 hours ago, A true Sunni said:

I am not Khoja, I have always found the Khoja community to be the most charming and charitable Shia communities.

Incredibly well organised Shia events timed to the minute. Under the leadeship of the late Mullah Asghar ( God bless his soul and raise him to the highest station) the Khoja community has gone from strength to strength establishing Imambargahs and Madrassahs where ever there is a sizeable Shia community.

It is reported that they were originally Hindu and converted to Sunni Islam under the influence of Muslim Sufi saints whose names are still revered in their books.

The British gave their area to the Agha Khan ( at that time) who converted them to Ismaili ( while it was still fairly mainstream Islam). From their a group split off enduring financial and social boycotting to become Shia Ithna Asheria  

Most converted from Hindu to Khoja Ismaili to Khoja Itnasheri. I don't recall my ancestors ever being sunni, at least not that my parents have ever told me. They mostly converted because Ismailis no longer mourned for Imam Hussein and my great great grandparents were put off by that and decided that any religion where they don't commemorate Kerbala, is not right. We are generous with wealth in donating to good causes, but we are also very spendthrift I think. Khoja weddings are too much man.

Edited by Mohamed1993

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19 hours ago, Mohamed1993 said:

Man we've been praised too much on this forum! Care to hear some negatives about us, of course no ill intent just some light-hearted honesty? I could write a book but I'll keep it brief if you're interested, you might have a little laugh too. 

:salam:

Very nice and friendly communities, which I tend to think are still organized like ismailis (this and that jamaat).

Two Mosques in my area,

First one I have been going to for almost 10 years and remarkably open to all ethnic groups with a friday khutba in local language so everyone can understand. Beautiful place and peope with wonderful akhlaq.

The other is completely closed to non khoja, I have heard they come and tell you it's ok for this time but please do not come back. Only exception is when the rep. of Ayatollah Al Sistani visits them - he never misses to do so. They say it is the mosque of the wealthy ones. 

I guess I like Khojas when they are modest, just like any community actually :)

Oh yeah, you look like good businessmen.

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2 hours ago, Mohamed1993 said:

Most converted from Hindu to Khoja Ismaili to Khoja Itnasheri. I don't recall my ancestors ever being sunni, at least not that my parents have ever told me. They mostly converted because Ismailis no longer mourned for Imam Hussein and my great great grandparents were put off by that and decided that any religion where they don't commemorate Kerbala, is not right. We are generous with wealth in donating to good causes, but we are also very spendthrift I think. Khoja weddings are too much man.

You have to go a little deeper into your history brother. The Agha Khan tried to wipe out the history of your origins.

The Hindu Khojas of that time who converted were to Sunni were close to the Ahlul bait and so the Agha Khan found it easy to change them to Ismaili. However it was not the Ismailiism that we see today but one that was more akin to Bohra practices

It is felt that the Syeds who came to India and converted your ancestors were Shia Ithna Asheri but kept their true mazhab secret due to persecution. The feeling was that they would reveal the truth once the time was ripe.

Nothing wrong with spend thrift and yes I have been to Khoja Weddings :)

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21 minutes ago, realizm said:

:salam:

Very nice and friendly communities, which I tend to think are still organized like ismailis (this and that jamaat).

Two Mosques in my area,

First one I have been going to for almost 10 years and remarkably open to all ethnic groups with a friday khutba in local language so everyone can understand. Beautiful place and peope with wonderful akhlaq.

The other is completely closed to non khoja, I have heard they come and tell you it's ok for this time but please do not come back. Only exception is when the rep. of Ayatollah Al Sistani visits them - he never misses to do so. They say it is the mosque of the wealthy ones. 

I guess I like Khojas when they are modest, just like any community actually :)

Oh yeah, you look like good businessmen.

I have never heard of any Khoja Imambargah asking Shias to not return. Khojas tend to ask you not to interfere in the smooth running of the Imambargah ie. attend pay your voluntary dues but dont interfere.

Many people get upset at the strict administration of Khoja institutions and become anti-Khoja. Dont fall into that trap we all could learn from them

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9 minutes ago, A true Sunni said:

It is felt that the Syeds who came to India and converted your ancestors were Shia Ithna Asheri but kept their true mazhab secret due to persecution. The feeling was that they would reveal the truth once the time was ripe.

Not sure brother, my family has been in Tanzania for 4 generations now, actually some of my Mom's side is from Oman but also Khoja.

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1 hour ago, A true Sunni said:

Khojas tend to ask you not to interfere in the smooth running of the Imambargah ie. attend pay your voluntary dues but dont interfere.

This is very true. I went to Khoja mosques in UK, and there would be Pakistanis and other non-Khojas who would attend, but I got the feeling the Khojas didn't want any non-Khoja involved in administration of the centre and handling the funds and everything.

Some other flaws about Khojas, as a Khoja myself, I am reporting on my own experiences from back in Tanzania;

(1) Khojas and Gossip are like inseparable. We just love it. If some khoja sees you somewhere, the next day the whole town will know about it, the whole town its mother, father and ancestors too. If you get married, got divorced, had a kid, got robbed, you won’t need to tell nobody, they’ll know before even you know what’s happening to you. If other non-family member Khojas lived at your house, I’m sure the town would know when you use the toilet everyday. Mind you the city I grew up in Dar-es-Salaam has around a community of 12-15000 Khojas, but literally every one knows each other.

(2) We love food too much- This may seem like its not a huge deal but picture yourself on Ashura, after everything is over and Tabaruk is being served, Khojas will be impatient to get the first serving. Often all this haste will lead to someone toppling something, or spilling excessive amounts of food on the mat. Occasionally, you might hear someone call someone a very offensive name (think enemies of Ahlulbayt) if they delay their food. 

(3) Our obsession with money- We have very expensive weddings, and we toss in unnecessary functions into the wedding which are really more in line with the hindu tradition of our forefathers. Everyone gives each other unnecessary gifts, everyone needs new clothes for each wedding, the obsession with jewellery, the list goes on. That said, we are known to be generous when donating toward imambarghas, mosques, shrines, charity for various causes.

(4) Drama- We turn every little matter into a drama contest. During Ramadan, in Tanzania, we used to have sports competitions, and I never played any team sports, because people would get so worked up about mistakes you’d make, I would just avoid them all together. I played tennis, pool and other individual stuff. Once they even bribed referees to let their team win, against another team of Khojas at a freaking sports festival, which was worth nothing really, but yeah, we make mountains out of molehills.

(5) Nicknames- We seem to have an obsession with calling people by their last names and sometimes, by nicknames that have to do with nothing really. 

(6) Cowards- Man we pretend we’re all brave when it comes to fist fights and drama, but we are such cowards. When I was in Ziyarat in Iraq, we were outside a shrine and firecrackers went off, people started thinking crap this is ISIS, and they thought we need to run. I’ll admit I got scared too, it was at that point I realised my faith needed a lot of work.

That said despite all our flaws, I am glad to be Khoja. We got some problems, but we’re extremely warm, welcoming, if you visit a Khoja home, we’ll make sure to feed you well, make you drinks loads and loads of chai/tea (which we make with evaporated milk usually), and we’ll invite you to play carom with us, and we’ll easily beat you, because that’s one semi-sport we can claim authority over. We’re far too unfit and lazy to have a real go at real sports, too much oil in everything we eat, and like I mentioned we love food way too much.

 

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11 minutes ago, Mohamed1993 said:

 

(3) Our obsession with money- We have very expensive weddings, and we toss in unnecessary functions into the wedding which are really more in line with the hindu tradition of our forefathers. Everyone gives each other unnecessary gifts, everyone needs new clothes for each wedding, the obsession with jewellery, the list goes on. That said, we are known to be generous when donating toward imambarghas, mosques, shrines, charity for various causes.

 

(6) Cowards- Man we pretend we’re all brave when it comes to fist fights and drama, but we are such cowards. When I was in Ziyarat in Iraq, we were outside a shrine and firecrackers went off, people started thinking crap this is ISIS, and they thought we need to run. I’ll admit I got scared too, it was at that point I realised my faith needed a lot of work.

 

Couple of points that made me laugh when I read them. i will only pick out 2.

The Khoja weddings I have been to have been very simple functions under the guidance of Mullah Asghar who insisted on its simplicity due to the wild extravagant spending on weddings.

I once asked a very close Khoja friend in jest why they didnt do 'Zanjeer' and he remarked laughing because we are 'cowards' we don't like pain. He was of course joking, however if you look at the history of the Khoja Ithna Asheria you will see a lot of bravery faith and fortitude.

When your ancestors became Shia Ithna Asheria they were excommunicated from the Ismaili Jamaat.

That was not just a social boycott by Ismaili. This was a religious,business social, family boycott. To the extent no Ismaili could attend a Khoja Ithna Asherias Janaza total boycott.

It split families forever and caused massive financial hardship.

I know you were jesting about cowardice but the sacrifices of your elders should be recognised  

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2 hours ago, A true Sunni said:

The Khoja weddings I have been to have been very simple functions under the guidance of Mullah Asghar who insisted on its simplicity due to the wild extravagant spending on weddings.

 

That's good, man the khoja weddings back home are ridiculous, they last an entire week and we have random functions like the groom being given gifts and being made to drink milk and we turn that into an entire function on its own, so boring and unnecessary.

2 hours ago, A true Sunni said:

I know you were jesting about cowardice but the sacrifices of your elders should be recognised  

Yeah I acknowledge this, and I didn't grow up in the west, but a lot of khojas did and their parents made enormous sacrifices to manage to get a centre, to organise majalis, to get lecturers to come. In fact some of them used to go slaughter halal meat themselves because at one point in some cities, there was nowhere you could find it. So of course, those sacrifices should be recognized. I just wonder how useful we'll be on a battle field. 

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9 hours ago, A true Sunni said:

I have never heard of any Khoja Imambargah asking Shias to not return. Khojas tend to ask you not to interfere in the smooth running of the Imambargah ie. attend pay your voluntary dues but dont interfere.

Many people get upset at the strict administration of Khoja institutions and become anti-Khoja. Dont fall into that trap we all could learn from them

Hey, I am telling what is a very well know fact here.

All the community here visit the same centers - this one for thursdays, that one for Jumuah, that one for Eid... - and when it comes to that particular place, everyone knows that's a no-no.

I tended to be doubtful about this but when I heard it from several  people unrelated to one another, I started to think that could be right. Later I saw a few videos about events done there, I saw litterally only people who looked south asian, unlike all other places which are very mixed here. 

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1 hour ago, realizm said:

Hey, I am telling what is a very well know fact here.

All the community here visit the same centers - this one for thursdays, that one for Jumuah, that one for Eid... - and when it comes to that particular place, everyone knows that's a no-no.

I tended to be doubtful about this but when I heard it from several  people unrelated to one another, I started to think that could be right. Later I saw a few videos about events done there, I saw litterally only people who looked south asian, unlike all other places which are very mixed here. 

Which country are you talking about. 

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Assalam-O-Allaiykum,

Well some Khojas members have already elaborated on their ethnicity and roots so I dont think anything more required to add to that.

Just for information I would like to add that the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a Shia Muslim from the Khoja community. Given the titles "Quaid-e-Azam" meaing "The Great Leader" and "Baba e Qoum" meaning "Father of the Nation".

 

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