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Mappila Tribe (Kerala)

Mirza Firuz Shah
Family Pictures
Umayyad Caliphate 661-750 AD

Mappila Tribe (Kerala)



Photo: A model of the old structure of the Kodungallur Mosque. According to the Cheraman Perumal tradition, the first Indian mosque was built at Kodungallur. Mappila, also known as a Mappila Muslim, formerly anglicized as Moplah/Mopla and historically known as Jonaka/Chonaka Mappila or Moors Mopulars/Mouros da Terra and Mouros Malabares, in general, is a member of the Muslim community of the same name found predominantly in Kerala and Lakshadweep Islands , in southern India. Muslims of Kerala, of which Mappila community make up a large majority, constitute 26.56% of the population of the state (2011), and as a religious group they are the second largest group after Hindus (54.73%). Mappilas share the common language of Malayalam with the other religious communities of Kerala. According to some scholars, the Mappilas are the oldest settled native Muslim community in South Asia. In general, a Mappila is either a descendant of any native convert to Islam or a mixed descendant of any Middle Eastern — Arab or non Arab — individual. Mappilas are but one among the many communities that form the Muslim population of Kerala. No Census Report where the Muslim communities were mentioned separately is also available. As per some scholars, the term "Mappila" denotes not a single community but a variety of Malayali Muslims from north Kerala (Malabar District) of different origins. In south Kerala Malayali Muslims are not called Mappilas. The Mappila community originated primarily as a result of the West Asian contacts with Kerala, which was fundamentally based upon commerce ("the spice trade"). As per local tradition, Islam reached Malabar Coast, of which the Kerala state is a part of, as early as the 7th century AD.[10] Before being overtaken by the Europeans in the spice trade, Mappilas were a prosperous trading community, settled mainly in the coastal urban centers of Kerala. The continuous interaction of the Mappilas with the Middle East has created a profound impact on their life, customs, and culture. This has resulted in the formation of a unique Indo-Islamic synthesis — within the large spectrum of Kerala culture — in literature, art, food, language, and music. Most of the Muslims in Kerala follow the Shāfiʿī School, while a large minority follow movements such as Salafism. Very much unlike other parts of South Asia, the caste system does not exist among the Muslims of Kerala (all Muslims are allowed to worship in all Kerala mosques). A number of different communities, some of them having distant ethnic roots, exist as status groups in Kerala. Etymology Mappilas are but one among the many communities that form the Muslim population of Kerala. Sometimes the whole Muslim community in former Malabar District, or even in Kerala, is known by the term "Mappila". Portuguese writer Duarte Barbosa (1515) uses the term 'Moors Mopulars' for the Muslims of Kerala. "Mappila" ("the great child", a synonym for son-in-law[2]/bridegroom[12]) was a respectful, and honorific title given to foreign visitors, merchants and immigrants to Malabar Coast by the native Hindus.[12] The Muslims were referred to as Jonaka or Chonaka Mappila ("Yavanaka Mappila"), to distinguish them from the Nasrani Mappila (Saint Thomas Christians) and the Juda Mappila (Cochin Jews). [20] Demographics and distribution Demographics According to the 2011 census, about one-quarter of Kerala's population (26.56%) are Muslims.[2] The calculated Muslim population (2011) in Kerala state is 88,73,472. The number of Muslims in rural areas is only 42,51,787, against an urban population of 46,21,685. Distribution The number of Muslims is particularly high in the northern Kerala (former Malabar District). Mappilas are also found in Lakshadweep islands in the Arabian Sea. A small number of Malayali Muslims have settled in the southern districts of Karnataka and western parts of Tamil Nadu, while the scattered presence of the community in major cities of India can also be seen. When the British supremacy on Malabar District was established, many Mappilas were recruited for employment in plantations in Burma, Assam and for manual labor in South East Asian concerns of the British Empire. Diaspora groups of Mappilas are also found in Pakistan and Malaysia. Furthermore, a substantial proportion of Muslims have left Kerala to seek employment in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


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