The historically misapprehended culturally differenced ‘Mappila’ Muslims of Kerala are a little known community in Indian subcontinent, though ‘Malabari’ is more familiar in the Islamic world. The coast of ‘Malabar’ has the first place to host Islam in the country. Since the dawn of Islam in Arabia in the 7th century A.D, the believers carried on the proselytization and the promulgation of the religion along with their maritime activities in different parts of the world. The Muslim community steadily arose in Kerala over centuries through these maritime ties, initially the religious conversion and nuptial alliance of the Arab traders with the native women in the coast. The migration of the Arab Syed and Sufis to the coastal Malabar triggered the rapid changes in the Muslim community of the land. The settlement of the Syed families from the Arab world in early centuries moulded a virtuous Arab settlement in South India. Muslim proselytisers in Malabar: It is a disputed point when Islam originated in Kerala. The conflict of opinions revolves around the emigration of Cheraman Perumal, a Kerala ruler who is believed to be the first native Muslim in the region, to Arabia, and on the period of the arrival of first missionary group under the leadership of Malik bin Dinar. The different versions of the period of Islamic origin and the Perumals conversion in Kerala briefly conclude below. * During A.D 622-632 (In the time of Prophet’s mission at Madeena) * During the Second Period of Islam or at the time of Pious Caliphates. * During Eight and Ninth century.
* Between the 10th and 12th century
How Arab influence on Kerala?
* Attitude and Dissemination of the Arab merchants, and proficient Sufis from the Arab world. * The sustenance and patronage of native rulers and hospitality of its folks to the Arab settlers. * Socio-Religious stratification and persecution among the dwellers of Kerala. Malik Bin Dinar a pioneering Muslim
Analysing the various historical perceptions, it is generally assumed that though Islam arrived in Kerala as early as fifth Hijrah year, the formation of a Muslim community started after Malik bin Dinar and his group landed in port of Muziris (Cranganore or Kodungalur) in 21 AH (641 AD). One can easily assume that the initial missionary group of Malik bin Dinar and his companions would have engaged in educating the new entrants about the religion. In fact, most of the important Sufi Thareeqas that led a spiritual revivalism in the Islamic world starting from the deteriorating phase of its golden period have reached Kerala and attracted many people. Besides, according to one opinion, Malik Bin Dinar, the first missionary leader arrived in Kerala, was a disciple of the famous Sufi, Hasan al-Basari who died in 130 AD. However, only scanty information is available about the Sufi activity in Kerala during the early period, and the available Arabic works, being mainly on theology, have completely ignored their ideologies and activities. This has made scholars like I.H. Qureshi to assert that, “the extensive Sufi missionary activity found elsewhere in Indian Islam is not evident in South India”. The group established the first mosque in India in Kodungallur (Zainudhin, 16th c). Later they travelled north and south of the state and attracted a number of locals to the new religion within a small timeframe through entirely peaceful means, and set up mosques in different parts of the state, like Quilon, Chaliyam, Pantalyini, Dharmadam, Srikantapuram, Madayi, Kasarkod Mangalore and Barkur. According to Rihlatul Milūk they had built about 18 mosques in places between Quilon in South and Mangalore in North. At all the places, they appointed a q̄azi and Imam to lead the prayer, mediate in the social matters of the newly emerged community as well as to engage in educational activities. It is notable that all the nine places where mosques were...