Bohra - Sociopolitical Organization

The traditional head of the Daudi Bohras is the mullah of Surat. Sometimes even claiming a divine status, the head mullah is the absolute authority in all issues of religious and civil importance. Discipline in religious matters generally is enforced by fines; cases of adultery, drunkenness, and other serious offenses traditionally were punished by fines, flogging, and excommunication or ostracism. Every settlement of Daudis has its mullah or a deputy of the head mullah. In addition there are four grades of mullahs: Mayan, which means literally "the permitted" (to rule); Mukasir, "the executor"; Mashaikh, "the elder"; and Mullah, "the guardian." They earn their livelihoods as schoolmasters or by some craft. Traditionally mullahs are trained for their duties in a college in Surat. Every Daudi settlement has its school taught by the local mullah and a Muslim lay teacher. Much of the absolute authority of the mullahs, however, has in recent years been challenged by a reformist movement, which has led in some instances to social boycott of the reformers by the orthodox followers.

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