Malabar Muslim History

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titleThe Spread of Islam

Gradually, the pioneers established Muslim colonies and built several other mosques in other places such as Southern Kollam,Srikandapuram, Dharmadam, Panthalayini etc . Islam grew as it began, peacefully and steadily in sharp contrast with the spread of Islam in the Northern India. There were mutual economic interest and and religious tolerance.

Malabaris were a martial set of people ,brave and dynamic. The 11th to the 16th century of the Malabar Muslim history is intimately linked to the rise of the Zamorin of Calicut among the other kings of northern Kerala such as the Kolattiri Raja, Cochin raja and the Walluvanad Raja. The rise of the Zamorin was aided by its coalition with the Malabar Muslims , which benefited both parties. The navy of the Zamorin  was mostly manned by them.

Kunjalimarakkar was the muslim family who build naval defense to Malabar. It was during the time of Samuthiris (Zamorins), that the title of 'Marakkar' was created. During the reign of the four marakkars played significant role in trade. The Muslims succeeded in totally controlling the trade in the Arabian Sea  while the Zamorin whose main source of income was the custom duties were able to  monopolize the trade outlets. In addition to that the zamorins did not oppose to conversion to Islam and occasionally supported it. The Zamorin desire to build up his Navy, one that would have a good working relation with the Arabs encouraged this  conversion especially of the fisherman who lived along the Cochin coast.

During the time the second Marakkar Muslims spread from port areas to hillsides of Valapattanam, Theekkodi, Pandalayani, Kakkadu, Kozhikodu & Ponnani. From there many migrated to Palakkadu. Muslim influence reached its peak at the time of Kunjali Marakkar (4th). After Kunjali Marakkar and Samuthiri parted company Muslim influence declined. Kunjali Marakkar would be the first well known personality in Malabar who became martyr by fighting against colonialism.

Later reports show that other low castes  also converted to Islam partly due to the wealth of the Muslims, also because they were subjected to less  restrictions  in trade and social life. They were also readily accepted into the Muslim  community.

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