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Holy Du'a

Holy Du'ā (archaically transliterated Doowa)[1] is the mandatory Nizari Isma'ili prayer recited three times a day: Fajr prayer at dawn, Maghrib prayer at sundown and Isha prayer in the evening. Each Holy Du'a consists of 6 rakat, totaling 18 per day, as opposed to the 17 of Sunni and Twelver salat (namaz).

Only Nizaris are permitted to enter the prayer house, the Jama'at Khana, during the recitation the Holy Du'a; however, prayers can be performed at home or other places.

Nizārī prayer performed at Jama'at Khana

Jama'at Khanas are usually built with a qibla facing Mecca although Ismāʿīlīs believe that "to God belongs the East and the West" (Quran 2:142).

The Du'a contains two positions of prayer: qu'ud "sitting" and sajada "prostration", the latter done at the end of each rakah. In Khoja tradition, Ubhi Tasbih is recited during tahajjud. Tasbih (prayer beads) are used at various points during the Du'a. At the end of prayers one turns to one's neighbour and offers peace, saying Shah-jo Deedar "may you be blessed with the vision of your Lord". A major difference with other forms of Islamic prayer is that a male or female Ismāʿīlī of any age who knows their Du'a may lead the ceremony, this emphasizes the equality of male and female in Nizārī Ismailism.

The Holy Du'a is recited in Arabic. Historically, approximately prior to the establishment of Pakistan, Nizaris from India and Pakistan would recite the prayer in an Indian vernacular.[2]

How to conduct the Nizārī Holy Du'a

The Holy Du'a starts with Surah al-Fatiha and then various verses from Surat an-Nisa, al-Ma'ida, al-Fath and al-Anfal are recited and the last part of the rak'ah contains Surah al-Ikhlas. At the end, after the utterance of Shah jo deedar to both sides, as a gesture of humility one takes the dust of the place where the murid has done sujud and rubs it on their face three times, following the example of Muhammad while simultaneously reciting the shahada.

Towards the end of the Du'a, a list of all the Imāms is read, beginning with Ali and ending with the current Imam.

Youtube Link to Ismaili Dua

See also


  1. ^ "Bombay High Court:Haji Bibi vs H.H. Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah 1 September, 1908". Russell, High Court of Bombay. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Asani, A. S. (1987). "The khojahs of Indo‐Pakistan: The quest for an Islamic identity". Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs. Journal 8: 31–41. doi:10.1080/02666958708716015. 

Further reading