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  • DAWOODI BOHRA WOMEN FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

    We, Dawoodi Bohra women, are intelligent, educated and articulate. We speak for ourselves and will not have anyone speak in our name.
    A PIL (Public Interest Litigation) has currently been filed in the Supreme Court of India. against our right to khafz.
    Joining this group gives you the power to challenge it.

our causes

Papers and articles on things we are passionate about

  • By Zainab Juzer

  • 05 Jul,2017

The zikr of Awliyah UllahSA reveals many things, teaches many lessons. We recite them to gain insight into our lives, and to make our lives better. The zikr of Maulatuna Umme SalamaSA, for example, elucidates the importance and significance of the purdah in Fatemi culture and religion, the very same culture and religion that Dawoodi Bohra Women adhere to and abide by today. One day, RasulullahSA was residing in the house of Maulatuna Umme SalamaSA, and someone knocked on the door. RasulullahSA told Maulatuna Umme SalamaSA to open it, to which she replied how can I reveal myself before another by opening the door? Maulatuna Umme SalamaSA was of noble birth and the wife of RasulullahSA. Her desire to not reveal her beauty before another is a direct corollary of her honor and self-respect, her modesty, resulting from her noble lineage and association with RasulullahSA himself.  RasulullahSA told her not to worry, and that the one at the door would not disrespect her, that he would not enter until she had stepped inside, that it was actually Amirul Mumineen Ali ibne Abi TalibSA at the door. Comforted by these words, Maulatuna Umme SalamaSA unlocked the door, and Amirul MumineenSA gripped the edges of the door from the outside, keeping both flaps firmly closed, and waited until the footsteps of Maulatuna UmmeSA grew softer and softer. When Maulatuna Umme SalamaSA had stepped inside, Amirul MumineenSA then entered. The desire of Maulatuna Umme SalamaSA to preserve her purdah was met with equal, if not more, respect by Rasulullah’sSA visitor. Amirul MumineenSA did not step inside the house once the door was unlocked. He did not peek inside to see if Maulatuna Umme SalamaSA had withdrawn. He waited, gripping the doors, keeping them closed, and listened for retreating steps that would indicate her departure. And only after no footsteps were heard, he entered. The scion of Maulana Abu TalibSA, the cousin and successor of RasulullahSA, the husband of Maulatuna FatemaSA, the father of Imam HasanSA and Imam HusainSA upholds, nay exemplifies the tradition of respecting and honoring women. After defeating the King of Persia, Khosrau, in battle, Amirul MumineenSA brings back his daughter Maulatuna Shere BanuSA in a palanquin, veiled and respected and honored. She is then wed to Imam HusainSA. It is the same Maulatuna Shere BanuSA, who is escorted with the other sayyedaat, respectfully and gently, into the tents at Karbala. It is the same Maulatuna Shere BanuSA whose chaadar is snatched, her purdah desecrated by the malevolent hands of Yazeedi soldiers after the martyrdom of Imam HusainSA. It is the same Maulatuna Shere BanuSA who remembers all and weeps, broken hearted, devastated. “Do the principles and practice of respecting women not extend beyond the house of Nabi MohammedSA?” It is a question it has become necessary to ask now. Now,  because malicious and inflammatory rhetoric; popular rhetoric fueled by fabrications and misinformation, has the power to perceive what it wants, judge accordingly, and persecute without knowledge or accountability. When the band of usurpers wrongfully took the garden of Maulatuna FatemaSA, which RasulullahSA had left her as inheritance, she wore her burqa, surrounded herself with her ladies-in-waiting and walked to their gathering. She ordered a veil be pulled between her and the men, and spoke, in an irrefutable voice, against the injustice. Her brave daughter Maulatuna ZainabSA, stood before Yazeed and his court of men, bare-headed, her veil snatched from her on the day Aashura, her modesty desecrated. But she moved to protect her nephew Imam Ali ZainulabedeenSA when Yazeed, ridden with hate, threatened to execute him. She declared that you will have to murder me first, and stayed the hands of the executioner. Does the heart not burn? The modesty of her daughters most brutally devastated in Karbala at the hands of Yazeed and his armies. After slaying the men, the hideous soldiers burnt the tents, ripped the chaadars (burqas) off the heads of the remaining women, and openly paraded them in the market-places of Shaam and Kufa. How can we not burn when we learn of what was done to our sayyedaat, what is still being done? The sanctity of our homes violated. Our mothers and daughters, their veils torn, even snatched; our privacy shattered ever so hypocritically in the name of human dignity; our modesty ever so malevolently undone and paraded in the market places of the world. We speak now, because this body of lies attacks us, violates our purdah in the most brutal way, and deems it justifiable to do away with our very basic human rights. We speak now, because we were mistaken to believe that our right to religion was secure, and protected by the constitution of India. We speak now, because it is a matter of modesty and respect. We speak now because the hand of malevolence and hate, raised above our heads, ready to strike, must be stayed.


  • By Rashida Mustafa

  • 04 Jun,2017

With all the things being written about female genital circumcision and the astonishing opposing claims of its alleged benefits or alleged harm, one would think we were living in the dark ages. It seems we know a great deal about the brain and the body, even the individual names of a million DNA, but a woman’s body and a woman’s sexuality is still in the area of the Great Unknown. At the heart of the discussion, is sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is easier to measure than other forms of pleasure, because it has a definite, visible, unmistakeable and known end. It’s not as nebulous as happiness, because it ends with a biological bang, and yet, despite that, a woman’s orgasm is as mysterious and unknown as ever. A great many women don’t even know it exists. Some may even read about it, but wonder if it’s the Most Closely Guarded Women’s Conspiracy and everybody’s really faking it and not letting on. This article intends to examine this whole business, because given everything that is being written about it, with one group insisting that circumcision is the route to sexual pleasure, and another group alleging that circumcision kills it forever, it’s clear, a discussion is in order. Let me begin by admitting that yes, the female orgasm is indeed elusive. It requires a human body, but doesn’t occur just by having one. Like all good things, there’s one component that’s physical and there’s another that’s mental. The mental component is called romance. Fantasy can sometimes substitute for romance, but nothing brings it on like a person to be in love with. This is vitally important because love in itself sorts so many things out, that the mechanics of consummation and sexual bliss can almost be taken for granted when love happens. But love, love, love, love! Who can expect, demand, ask for love from life? A flutter at ten, a crush at fourteen, and after that, only if one is profoundly lucky, can one hope to find that other who you break your heart for. It may be the stuff or every song and every film, elusive, tantalising, a thrill that sears your body, but everybody who has crossed that threshold into the marital bed, knows there is more to sexual relationships than that. Couples need to work at sex perhaps in the same way as you work at cooking or building. If you go into a kitchen without a plan, without thinking, what am I making here? How do I make it happen? Which ingredients do I need? What is this doing? How is this supposed to turn out? chances are you will make a curry when you set out to make a cake or a stadium when you wanted a home. In the same way, you need to figure out, how is this encounter in bed meant to turn out? It’s not meant to be a bore, it’s meant to be pretty cosmic. And that’s not going to happen without head, heart and body. So, yes, while the mind needs to be engaged, there are body parts you need to reach and move, but so tricky is a woman’s body, so personal is her private love life, so elusive is her heart, that just like her hidden inner self, there are hidden parts of her body where her thrill lies that are as private, mysterious, wonderful and orgasmic. Hidden? Hidden. Deep deep inside. There is one organ, the clitoris, exactly like the male penis, in which a woman’s orgasm lives. A tiny bit of it, like the knob of a man’s penis, is exposed. The rest of it is subcutaneous with a spot inside the vagina called colloquially, the G spot. That means that a woman can have orgasm from the stimulation of either end of her clitoris, the external and the exposed, which can be touched; or the hidden and the inner which can only be reached by intercourse. Neither however, will yield any pleasure, without her complete consent, and therein lies the role of love. Hidden? There’s more. A woman is born with a hood over her external clitoris. In every country in the west, women have the option of an hoodectomy - removing this hood over their clitoris to ensure that the wonderful clitoris, full of nerve endings of pleasure are exposed when they have sex.  In other countries when some Muslim women are circumcised at seven, a tiny slit or about 2 mm of this hood is nicked to achieve the same sort of result in a more natural way by the time the child matures and the organs take shape. That essentially, is a circumcision. So? So, sex is more fun for both partners. The external clitoris is open and easily stimulated to get you in the mood, and the internal clitoris has always been ready and waiting for more. So? Now, the funny thing is, that given that both a circumcision and a hoodectomy exposes the clitoris, it is biologically impossible for a woman who has been circumcised not to have a heightened sense of sensitivity in her clitoris. It is true that some women claim that they have been “mutilated” for life, but given that it is biologically impossible to expose the clitoral glans and not have more feeling therein, one wonders what is going on. Whether these problems are indeed physical or mental or accidental, only independent examinations would be able to establish. In the meantime, all women can use the opportunity of the media interest and discuss these issues that have opened up to improve their own sex lives. How’s that? There are several resources on the net that teach women how to achieve orgasm, though these are generally clitoral orgasms. It’s not the full Monty, but it’s a starting point. The aim of these are to help you figure your body out because once you know what you are looking for, it’s easier to find it. Are you missing out because you have a biological problem? A mental problem? A deprived life? There was a time when sexual fulfilment for women wasn’t considered important because you could still have babies with or without the perks. But now, no woman wants to be without an opportunity to find love and sexual fulfilment just as certainly as she wants children from that activity. On the other hand, if you are sure that you’re happy in your relationship but still don’t find sexual pleasure, do consider visiting your gynaecologist to check whether or not you would be better off with a circumcision or hoodectomy, because if you are hooded over, sexual pleasure is a needlessly difficult job. A circumcision is generally enough to sort out normal women; a hoodectomy is more definitive. Nevertheless, if you pluck up the courage and go for the procedure, you can be sure that after that, you may find it hard to deal with everyday vibrations, such as, for example, riding pillion on a motorbike; such is the power of the unhooded clitoris!  And this is worth doing because being happy in bed, will then lend itself to an ability to receive other pleasure from life. On the other hand, if you are circumcised and feel brutalised, try to ascertain whether it wasn’t an accident at the event or a mental trauma connected with the whole delicate process of childhood sexuality that harmed you in some way. Because even if, by some accident at the time of the procedure, much of the clitoris was hurt through a genuine act of circumcision, it should in no way impact on the capacity for sexual pleasure or orgasm twenty years later – simply because a part of it lives inside your vagina; and an old mental trauma of whatever nature, related to the circumcision, or another, can be vanquished through the thousand opportunities real life offers for healing. If you are a young girl, be patient. There’s a lot one has to learn about oneself before you can relax enough with a person you love to let it happen. In the old world, this used to be called marriage. If he loves you, it will get better for you and then as a result, better for him, too. It’s not going to happen the first time because you are distracted by the fireworks in your head and heart, and that’s the way it should be. Just being in his arms is worth the whole universe. Real sex like real love has its own music and its own rhythms and takes its own time. Orgasms are real. They get better with age. That’s the way nature compensates for maturity. Older women are indeed, better in bed. But when you’re young, your head is rockin’. That’s not something to dismiss either. Gentlemen, marry young and grow old together and you have a win-win through your lady’s entire life. Ladies, be happy. Half of this is biology. There is no way that part can’t work.   About the author Rashida Mustafa is a clinical and psychoanalytic psychologist. If you are intrigued by this article, write to us at info@dbwrf.org and we will direct you towards a greater self-awareness.                    


  • By Mohammed Zakir

  • 04 Jun,2017

This paper discusses WHO’s stance and the criminalization of female circumcision: Is it the protection or violation of human rights? Zakir establishes without a shred of doubt, how the World Health Organisation has no data and no evidence to back their legislation. 


  • By DBWRF

  • 01 Jun,2017

Dear MinisterManeka Gandhi, Some of us are as old as you. We remember when you first burst upon the Indian political scene. You were quite an inspiration. You had a powerful mother-in-law and you matched her step for step. Surely you remember the integrity that this country stood for. Surely you remember the integrity for which she died. This country guarantees to all of us, the right to practice our faith. Our preamble was written by the great Ambedkar and the words are enshrined in our hearts. WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation... And the great Ambedkar went on to say, "Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many," asserting the democratic nature of our nation. Today, ten thousand women, rich and poor, urban and not, have gathered here to ask you, before you accused us, before you were both judge and jury, before you decided to go to the press and announce that you would denounce us, did you stop to consider whether what you were being told by a dozen individuals was true? Where is our right to equality? To have our vote weighed in with theirs? Where is our right to liberty? To be able to practice our faith? Where is our right to fraternity? To live harmoniously without persecution and objectification? Or are we living in a country in which the ministry for women and children does not need to hear the voice of the majority for the hidden agendas and personal motivations of a few? Be scientific. Come and ask us, what is khafz? Hear about the experiences of the thousands of us. Check our procedures. Assess if there’s any harm. Be objective. Try to find out whether the complaints you hear have any basis. Have the women been independently examined before they were allowed to demand legislation against an Indian community? Be wise. Is this how this nation was founded and the principles on which it runs? Be old and new. India was multicultural before the rest of the world knew what it meant. India is the original seat of harmonious co-existence. India guarantees for each citizen a freedom from racism and persecution that was built into its bones by this very constitution. Today Dawoodi Bohra women with their traditional clothes have been splashed across every paper by women who have disowned our garb and our identity and bear none of the ensuing stigma of what they have done. Where should we go if our own Ministry for Women is complicit in this attack? We urge you to reconsider your position. We urge you to consider what you see before you. We urge you to count our numbers. We stand before you, citizens of India, and demand that you give us the justice, the equality, the freedom and the fraternity that we are promised by being, the people. Dr. Alefiya Bapai, Rashida Diwan, Batul Ratlamwala, Nafisa Kagalwala, Dr. Fatema Jetpurwala: Founding Members of the DBWRF for the 10,000 and more that we speak for. founders@dbwrf.org 




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