Mappila Muslims of Kerala: A Study in Islamic Trends

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Orient Longman, 1976 - Moplahs - 350 pages

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Mappilas are those Muslims who are living in the coastal area of south west India. When we discuss Muslims, we usually talks about the Indian Muslims. The unknown Muslims’, Mappila, populated more than some of Arab countries. In general history Mappila got a space in ‘Malabar and Its Folks’ a book edited by TKG Panikkar in 1921. Mappila must discover them and they must critically know their own history and attitude and relationship with society around them. The traditional Islamic tenets must read in terms of contemporary situation. Mappila exploration into self discovery is a journey has just begun. The Mappilas have suddenly emerged as a new force to be contended within Indian Islam, and they emerge with their hazy image carrying the burden of past caricatures. Some place they seem a progressive society, but they can only go with the orthodoxy believes. In Kerala we may separate the idea of ‘Mappila’ and Islam in Kerala.
The sea has been the permanent and decisive factor in the history of Kerala. Such religion as Judaism, Christianity and Islam come to Kerala by sea. The recorded history of trade between west Asia and Malabar may be traced back as Phoenician times. In the course of time malayalees developed their own culture, in the process extensively absorbing Aryan elements from the north, as well as Arab and European elements from the west. Their influences affected most noticeably the language and religion of the malayalees.
The Kerala political history prior to the coming of the Portuguese is a mass legends and dreams and the ‘authentic’ Keralolpathi is very unrealistic. The chief characteristics of early period appear to be: dynastic struggle among the traditional Chera rulers, shifting hegemonies of external powers, and the advent of Nambutiri Brahmins, Christians and Muslims into Kerala social life. The Brahmins were able to gain effective control over the religions and social system of Hindus, while the coming of Christian and Muslims eventually resulted in the changed in the changed religious status of the 40% of the indigenous populations. Kerala political divisions surface more clearly after the abdication and possible conversion of one the ninth century rulers, Cheruman Perumal. Interreligious living in Kerala is not only a possibility but it is an everyday fact of life. The relative success of that effect has symbolic value both for the nation and the world. The idea of family has been broadly interpreted traditionally. The older system of joint families and joint owned properties the tarawad system, found especially in the Brahmin and Nayar communities, but also followed by some Muslims, reflects this tradition. The traditional expression of malayalee art, music, and architecture reflected the variegated nature of the people’s background. They were representational, and emphosized rather than briodged the cultural barriers. Kathakali could not be appreciated by the vast majority of Muslims.
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The Origin of Islam
The Cheraman Perumal Tradition
The Incursion of the Portuguese and

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