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Continuing to talk about the traditions of the Isma’ili Khojas, we reach their divorce, organization, and ‎business that we are going to discuss in this article. ‎



In the Isma’ili Khoja community, divorce is not allowed without the jamaat’s permission, and the ‎jama’at usually requires the consent of both parties to permit the divorce. A second wife is not ‎allowed during the lifetime of the first without the jamaat’s permission, which is only granted if 2,000 ‎rupees are deposited for the first wife’s expenses. ‎



The Isma’ili Khoja community has a fiscal centralization form of organization around a sacred person ‎called Agha Khan, but there is complete congregational independence in administrative matters, ‎including even questions of ex-communication. Every congregation has its own jama’at khana, which ‎is a meetinghouse and a mosque as well. The officers of these Jama’at Khanas are usually appointed ‎by the Agha Khan, but they are often elected by the members of the community. The offerings that are paid by the community members for their ‎imam are collected through these officers. These comprise the fixed dasandh or tithe and various ‎minor dues on special occasions, either recurring or occasional. ‎



Khojas enjoy a good business reputation and are believed to have a keen sense of competition. They ‎are described as neat, clean, sober, thrifty, ambitious, enterprising, cool, and resourceful in trade. ‎They are great travelers by land and sea, visiting and settling in distant countries for trade purposes. ‎They have business connections with the traders of Punjab, Sind, Calcutta, Sri Lanka, Myanmar ‎‎(Burma), Singapore, China, and Japan; ports of the Persian Gulf, Arabia, East Africa, England, the ‎United States, and Australia. Khojah youths go as apprentices in foreign Khojah firms on salaries of 200 ‎to 2,000 rupees a year with board and lodging. Nowadays, the Khojas enjoy powerful positions in ‎ivory, horn, cotton, hide, mother-of-pearl, grain, spice, fish maws, shark fins, cottonseed, furniture, ‎opium, and silk trades. They have also gained high places in the professions like doctors, engineers, ‎and lawyers in societies. ‎


Source: ‎

Enthoven, Reginald E. (1921). “Kojah.” In The Tribes and Castes of Bombay, edited by Reginald E. ‎Enthoven. Vol. 2, 218-230. Bombay: Government Central Press.‎



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