The Sulaymani branch of Tayyibi Isma'ilism is an Islamic community, of which around 70 thousand members reside in Yemen, while a few thousands of Sulaymani Bohras can be found in India. The Sulaymanis are headed by a da'i al-mutlaq from the Makrami family.[1]


The Sulaymanis split off from the Tayyibi community, following a succession dispute upon the death of Da'ud bin Ajabshah in 1589. While most of the Tayyibis in India recognised Da'ud Burhan al-Din as his successor and thus forming the Da'udi Bohras, the Yemeni community followed Sulayman bin Hassan. Starting from 1677, Sulayman's successors almost always came from the Makrami family. The da'is made Najran their headquarters and ruled the area, supported by the Banu Yam, until their power waned under the successive rules of the Ottomans and Saudis.[1] The leadership of the Sulaymaniyah, whose Indian community was small, reverted to the Yemen with the succession of the thirtieth dai al mutlaq, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Fahd Al-Makrami, in 1677. Since then the position of the dai al mutlaq has remained in various branches of the al Makrami family except for the time of the forty-sixth dai, an Indian. The Makrami daees usually resided in Badr in Najran, Saudi Arabia. With the backing of the tribe of the Banu Yam they ruled Najran independently and at times extended their sway over other parts of the Yemen and Arabia until the incorporation of Najran into Saudi Arabia in 1934. The peak of their power was in the time of the thirty-third dai al mutlaq, Ismail ibn Hibat Allah (1747–1770), who defeated the Wahhabiyah in Najd and invaded hadramawt. He is also known as the author of an esoteric Qur'an commentary, virtually the only religious work of a Sulaymani author published so far. Since Najran came under Saudi rule, the religious activity of the daees and their followers has been severely restricted. In the Yemen the Sulaymaniyah are found chiefly in the region of Manakha and the haraz mountains. In India they live mainly in Baroda, Ahmadabad, and Hyderabad and are guided by a representative (mansub) of the dai al mutlaq residing in Baroda.

Sulaymani da'i al-mutlaqs[edit]

The following is a list of religious leaders (da'i al-mutlaq) of the Sulaymani Isma'ilis.[2] For the 26 predecessors, see List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra. See Sulayman bin Hassan for more information.

  1. Sulayman bin Hassan
  2. Ali bin Sulayman
  3. Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin al-Fahd al-Makrami
  4. Muhammad bin Isma'il
  5. Hibat-Allah bin Ibrahim
  6. Isma'il bin Hibat-Allah
  7. Hasan bin Hibat-Allah
  8. Abd-al-Ali bin Hasan
  9. Abd-Allah bin Ali
  10. Yusuf bin Ali
  11. Husayn bin Husayn
  12. Isma'il bin Muhammad
  13. Hasan bin Muhammad
  14. Hasan bin Isma'il
  15. Ahmad bin Isma'il
  16. Abd-Allah bin Ali
  17. Ali bin Hibat-Allah
  18. Ali bin Muhsin
  19. Husam-al-Din al-Hajj Ghulam Husayn
  20. Sharaf-al-Din Husayn bin Ahmad al-Makrami
  21. Jamal-al-Din Ali bin Sharaf-al-Din Husayn al-Makrami
  22. Sharafi Hasan bin Husayn al-Makrami
  23. Husayn bin Isma'il al-Makrami
  24. Abdullah bin Mohammed

History of the Imāmī Sūlaymānīs[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ismaʿilism III. Ismaʿili History". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  2. ^ Daftary, Farhad (2004). Ismaili Literature. I.B. Tauris. pp. 448–449.

Further reading[edit]

  • Daftary, Farhad (1990). The Ismā‘īlīs: Their History and Doctrines. Cambridge University.
  • Fyzee, Asaf A. (1940). "Three Sulaymani Dai's". Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society: 101–104.
  • Hollister, John Norman (1953). The Shi‘a of India. London: Luzac.
  • Lokhandwalla (1955). "The Bohras, a Muslim community of Gujarat". Studia Islamica. 3.