The religious sermon on the ocassion of Muharram in Surat has been a boon to the city. 2.5 lakh Dawoodi Bohras from across the country and abroad are present in the city to attend ‘viaz’, a holy sermon, conducted by 53rd Syedna Muffadal Saifuddin, a spiritual leader of Dawoodi Bohras in the city. Occurrence of Dawoodi Bohras in the city resulted in a remarkable increase in the trade and business during the festive season in Surat. It has given boost to the hotel industry with all five-star hotels, guest houses, lodges, private apartments and bungalow booked till November 4 in the city.
Muharram is the fourth month of the islamic calendar. It is considered to be the most sacred months of the year, excluding Ramadan. The rituals are followed by the Dawoodi Bohras for 9 days. Some Bohras fast during these days. A number of charitable acts and deeds are performed during this period. A holy sermon is delivered by their leader takes which takes place from 10 am to 7 pm. All the Bohras then fall out on the streets of the city to devour the typical Gujarati dishes and non-vegetarian cuisines being offered at the restaurants after their evening prayers and lectures. This has augmented the business of restaurant holders in the city to an echelon they had never imagined of.
Dawoodi Bohra community sources said Syedna Muffadal Saifuddin sahib arrived in the city on October 19. The nine day long devoted sermon on the occasion of Muharram began on Saturday and will continue till November 4. Streets of Surat city are eventful even at nights because the Bohras meet priests and listen to the religious sermon all night long. Various processions start on the seventh day and they continue till the last day of Muharram.
South Gujarat Hotels and Restaurant Association (SHARA) vice-president Sanat Relia says, “It is a glittering Diwali for us. All the hotel rooms in the city were pre-booked 15 days ahead of the Diwali festival, mostly by Dawoodi Bohras from across the country and abroad. There are over 2,400 rooms in the city’s hospitality industry.
All the rooms are booked till November 4.” Sources say that the population of Dawoodi Bohras in the city shoots up to 4 lakh in the last three days. Yusuf Badri, a leader of Dawoodi Bohra community adds, “Around 2.5 lakh have arrived in the city. We expect more than 30,000 members to arrive in the city from abroad.” SHARA president, Arun Shetty, said “Around 40 percent of the residents in the city have gone out on Diwali vacation. But the hotel and hospitality sector is still buzzing with activity due to the arrival of tens of thousands of Dawoodi Bohras in the city.”
It has been an implausible Diwali for the people of Surat with gifted Diwali bonus by the Dawoodi Bohras. The outcomes of religious sermon have nevertheless worked for the residents of Surat. Expectations on Diwali 2015 have risen to a tremendously higher altitude.