Almost all Daudi, Alia, and Sulaimani Bohras live by trade. Some are merchants with large dealings with the Middle East, China, Thailand, and Zanzibar, and many are local traders in hardware, silks, hides, horns, and cattle. Most, however, are traditionally town and village shopkeepers, selling hardware, cloth, stationery, books, groceries, and spices; a few—especially in the larger cities like Bombay, Surat, Ahmedabad, and Baroda—are confectioners; and many are also in government service. Many Jaafari Bohras are also traders and silk weavers. Traditionally, most of the Sunni Bohras are peasant farmers and landholders. All the Bohra groups have a high proportion of college-educated people in the professional classes as well. As Muslims the Bohras abstain from alcohol or other drugs and pork or pork products. The Bohras are noted for their rich beef, fowl, and fish curries. The preferred cooking medium is ghee (clarified butter).
In accordance with Muslim tradition, women work mainly in the home running the household and caring for children. The poorer peasant farmers and their womenfolk work in the fields side by side. With increased education some Bohra women have moved into academia and the professions. Men still head the family business, however.