- Surti Muslims
Surti Muslims (Surtees) adhere to Hanafi Sunni Islam. They originated from the districts of
Suratand Ankleshwarin the state of Gujarat, India. Outside of India, Gujarati-speaking Sunni Muslimsare also regarded as Surti or Surtees. A large number of Gujarati-speaking Muslims have immigrated throughout the world, especially to Pakistan, United Kingdom, South Africa, United States of America and Canada. The majority follow Darul Uloom Deobandfor their religious guidance. They have established many mosquesand Islamic schools throughout the world and have produced a large number of well-respected Ālim and Hifz. They are a Gujarati Muslimcommunity.
Surti around the World
Many Surti Muslims live in
Mumbai, especially in the Northern and Western suburbs such as Andheri, Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Malad, Kandivaliand Nala Soparawhere the Muslimpopulation is quite high. They share the living space in Mumbai with Gujarati Hindus and Jains, especially along the busy SV Road. Most of them are Gujarati-speaking and are characterized by writing in the Gujarati scriptrather than in the Arabic script. They are mostly engaged in medium-sized businesses, and some of them are very prominent industrialists while some are very poor people. They still retain the traditional dress - the men wear a white skullcap known as topiand wear a white cotton full-sleeved shirt flowing and reaching down to the knees and sometimes to above the ankles, cut across to the upper thighs. The women still wear the all-enveloping Burqasometimes referred to as the oonghator ghoomto. This usually covers the head and hair, but not the face. Affluent women sometimes wear "designer" Burqas embroidered and sequinned. Many Surti Muslims live in the middle-class residential areas such as Sunder Nagar, Madinah Manzil and Rani Sati Nagar on SV Road. Many Surti Muslims can be found , usually engaged in the Dairy-business, such as owning Milkand Dairyproducts' stores , owning large Milking Centres and Cowand Buffalosheds. Many of them are also professionally qualified Doctors and Engineers , and some have diversified into other business, like the Meat-Processingindustry in Mumbai, and the Pharmaceutical Retailbusiness. Surti Muslims are divided on the lines of Casteand Class like most other Gujarati Muslimcommunities. The Vohra (merchant) Caste is at the top of the social ladder, while the Backward Castessuch as Khalipha(musician), Hajjam(barber) and Dhobiare much lower in the socio-economic ladder.fact|date=February 2008
Further it has been suggested that the Vohra merchant caste are largely descended from the union of
Arabmerchants with Hindu women, who settled in Gujarat in medieval times.
Gujaratthe Surati Muslims reside mainly in the Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Ankleshwarand Bharuchdistricts, and also in the major cities of Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Rajkotand Surat.fact|date=February 2008
Some famous Surti Muslims -
Hashim Amla, Mufti Ebrahim Desai.fact|date=February 2008
urti Muslim Vohras in BURMA (Myanmar)
A large community of
Surti Muslimsespecially Vohras(Sunny) are settled in Burma (now Myanmar). Majority in Rangoon (now Yangon). Mandalayand Molmein- three big cities of Burma but pockets of them can be found all over Burma. Their existence can be traced back to 18 century A.D. to Burmese monarchy period. During the rule of MindonKing in 19th.Century, his financial Minister was Ismail Mulla - a Surti Vohra. It is believed some other Surti Vohras were also King's advisers. On their suggestions, particularly of his minister Mulla, Burmese king Mindon made first ever contact with Hijaz(now Saudi Arabia). Sent a delegation with gifts for the ruler and built a BURMESE RABAT (meaning a free guest house)in Mecca to facilitate Burmese Muslim pilgrims. The seat of Government was then in Mandalay.
After the occupation of Burma by British in 19th. Century (1886~1948) more Surtis migrated from
SURAT, Gujarat, India - their place of origin - to Burma and settled at Rangoon which developed into a city & capital of Burma during British Rule. Among them prominent were migrants from Rander, Variav, Kathore, Waracha, Barbodhan, Bharuchetc. - the villages of Surat District in India. They were religious minded business class of people. They built Madressas (elementary religious schools), Schools, Clinics, Hospitals, Markets and residential cum business buildings throughout Burma, especially at Rangoon & Mandalay. Surti Bara Bazar Companyis notable as this company built Bazars at many big cities and town in early 20th. century. The Surti Bara Bazarat Rangoon & Mandaly were huge consisting of many blocks of the cities. These bazars are still existent though the company was Nationalised immediately after achieving independece in January 1948. These Surti Sunni Vohra though a small community in Burma were in fact the back bone of Burmese economy till 1962 when the military Dictator General Ne Win, took over the country & Nationalised all businesses & industries.
The Nationalisation rendered joblessness and some of the Surti Muslim Vohras migrated to India- their origin, Pakistan and U.K., U.S.A. etc. in search of lively hood.
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