Islamic History Malayalam: Introduction To Islamic History and Culture

Hadaanallah.com – BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF HISTORY’S MOST FASCINATING REGIONS, STUDYING KERALA HAS BECOME AN INTERESTING FIELD OF STUDY IN ITS OWN RIGHT.

Over time, Kerala has proven itself as a haven for cultural excellence; it hosts some of India’s most renowned arts and literature traditions today.

It is truly a land synonymous with imagination and creativity!

According to the findings of radiocarbon dating, the earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation in Kerala is from 90,000 years before the present era.

The region was then under water and was later reclaimed by the waters of the Indian Ocean.

When sea levels began to recede during the Ice Age, a land bridge emerged between India and Africa- which is now known as the Malabar coast.

Over time, this became a landmass itself and eventually became known as Asia Minor.

The Portuguese went to Kerala to create their trading posts and stop competing with each other.

They came all the way from Europe by sailing around Africa.

At that time, Kerala was a part of the local kingdoms under Cochin in Kerala province today’s Kerala state in India.

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The first Portuguese trading post in Kerala was established at Mattanchery in 1592 AD by Pedro Álvares de Andrade with 140 men under Captain João Penhasco e Silva as its captain-major.

The Dutch went to Kerala to create their trading posts and stop competing with each other.

They came all the way from Holland by sailing around North Africa and then stopping at Le Havre France to collect their men and material before arriving at their trading post at Kochi in 1661 AD.

Before the arrival of Alexander, India was part of the Mauryan empire.

When Alexander reached the shores of India in 326 BC, he found a prosperous country weakened by internal discord but full of potential.

He chose to bypass India and establish his trade ports in Alexandria, Egypt.

After that, his men returned home while his ships carried his men and goods to Greece and Italy.

When these returning ships passed through Alexandria, they brought back Greek and Roman culture to their countries of origin.

As a result, many countries now have an educated populace because of these overseas missions.

The land now known as Kerala was once a fishing village called Kera, where the Bay of Cr@sus once existed.

The name ‘Kerala’ originates from the Malayalam word ‘Keraal-am,’ which means the land of elephants.

The name Kerala is also derived from the word ‘kula,’ which means way or path in Sanskrit.

So, the name Kerala means land of wisdom on two levels: one geographic and the other metaphorical.

The history of Kerala has many intriguing aspects.

Muhammad bin Qasim conquered parts of Kerala during the seventh century.

Later, Queen Vijaya established a Malayalam language as the official language of her kingdom.

Islamic influences spread to Kerala through Arab traders and writers.

Malayalam literature is the oldest spoken South Indian literature.

The Nambudiri order of priests and monks in Kerala is the only surviving Hindu practice in India.

The region of Kerala is also home to one of the most famous spiritual paths- Advaita Vedanta.

Several influences led to the development of Malayalam literature, which is the oldest spoken South Indian literature.

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Malayalam started emerging as a distinct language in the third century AV at many literary academies in present-day Kerala.

These academies were influenced by Sanskrit literature and other literary traditions from different parts of India.

Some Malaya Literary congresss were held in different parts of Travancore region in 1930s, which brought together people with different interests to discuss Malayalam literature and culture.

Several works were published, including children’s magazines and literary anthologies.

Modern literary works now emerge from this long history of experimentation with language and form in Malayalam literature.

Muhammad founded Islam in the seventh century and his followers conquered much of the world by the middle of the eighth century.

The Islamic empire stretched from Spain to Afghanistan, allowing travelers to cover a significant portion of the earth.

The ships they used were called ‘dromes,’ which are still used today.

Along with their military conquests, Muslims introduced valuable trade connections that have become central parts of the world economy.

They also founded major universities such as Al-Qarawwiyya in Syria where important texts were translated from Arabic into Latin and copied onto sheets of paper for the first time.

The Nizam ruled the region of Kerala for 400 years, establishing a strong and independent kingdom.

During his reign, Kochi (now known as Kochi) became an important trade port.

The port attracted many Arab traders who eventually established a vibrant trading community there.

The relationship between these traders and local people was friendly, which led to many Arabic customs being adopted locally by both traders and locals.

This resulted in an Arabic-speaking community with its own culture that is distinct from that of its adopted homeland- Arabia.

Muhammad founded Islam in the seventh century and his followers conquered much of the world by the middle of the eighth century.

Several influences led to the development of Malayalam literature, which is the oldest spoken South Indian literature.

The Nizam ruled the region of Kerala for 400 years, establishing a strong and independent kingdom.

‘AL-YASAF’ IS STILL HAILED AS A HERO AMONG EARLY MUSLIM CONVERTS IN KERALA TODAY.

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His arrival is seen as marking the acceptance of Islam into mainstream culture in Kerala for many decades to come.

While there has been some success recently with increasing conversions among non-Muslims, there has not been enough interest among non-Muslim converts about joining Islam in Kerala for this plan to work effectively yet.

The bitter religious wars between Hindus and Muslims that characterized Islamic history in Kerala from the 14th to the 18th centuries had a profound impact on contemporary Muslim demographics.

These wars were primarily fought between Travancore and another neighboring kingdom: Kolathunad.

The most notable battle between these two kingdoms took place at Kurupilakkavala near Pathisseri, Kottayam district.

This battle is believed to have lasted for 60 days and resulted in a huge death toll among both sides.

In addition to being physical fights, these wars also had an emotional impact on both sides and were fought with zealotry fueled by religious extremism.

As a result, bitter inter-religious wars left their mark on both Hindu and Muslim communities alike.

The history of Islam in Kerala dates back to the 14th century when Malayalam writer and scholar Ali Sahib introduced the religion to his native state.

At that time, the state was under the sway of the neighboring kingdom of Travancore.

Muhammad, as he was then known, came to Travancore as a merchant and won over the local king.

Within a few years, Muhammad became the king’s mentor and converted him to Islam.

Hence, the religion of Islam was first accepted in Kerala by the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century.

In addition to the conversion of the local king, Muhammad also helped establish an Islamic institution in Travancore: Al-Madrasat.

The earliest account of Islam gaining acceptance in Kerala comes from one of Muhammad’s companions who arrived here in the 7th century.

He is referred to as ‘Al-Yasaf’ in contemporary writings and is believed to be a native of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

The arrival of ‘Al-Yasaf’ was followed by many other Muslims from different parts of India.

They settled down in different parts of Kerala and established Muslim communities known as ‘khavilats’.

The largest such community still exists in Walachivattam, Kollam district.

It is called Rasheed Khavilat and has a substantial population.

In addition to being merchants, many Muslims from Kerala played a significant role in expanding Travancore’s economy.

Over time, their economic success led to greater religious acceptance of Islam among the general public.

There are over 2 million Muslims living in Kerala today- comprising 14 percent of the total population of Hindus and Sikhs living in the state.

In comparison, Hindus make up 70 percent of all residents in Kerala- with Sikhs making up another four percent of all residents in that state.

Despite this recent growth, there has been little interest among non-Muslims about converting to Islam in Kerala- perhaps because there is already so many Islamic believers in that state.

A few years ago, there was an effort among Islamic believers to increase Muslim population growth in Kerala by making it easier for non-Muslims to convert to Islam.

However, efforts like these have not resulted in any recent conversions.

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