|Vakkom Abdul Khadir Moulavi|
28 December 1873
Travancore Princely State, Madras Presidency, British India
|Died||31 October 1932
Travancore Princely State, Madras Presidency, British India
|Nationality||India (formerTravancore state)|
|Other names||Vakkom Moulavi|
|Known for||Founder and Publisher of Swadeshabhimani, Muslim Scholar, Social leader and reformer.|
|Children||Mohammed Eeza, Abdul Kadar ( Junior)|
|Parents||Aash Beevi (Mother)
Muhammad Kunju (Father)
Vakkom Muhammed Abdul Khadir Moulavi, popularly known as Vakkom Moulavi was a social reformer, teacher, prolific writer, Muslim scholar, journalist, freedom fighter and newspaper proprietor in Travancore, a princely state of the present day Kerala, India. He was the founder and publisher of the newspaper Swadeshabhimani which was banned and confiscated by the Government of Travancore in 1910 due to its criticisms against the government and the Diwan of Travancore, P.Rajagopalachari.
Early life and family
Moulavi was born in 1873 in Vakkom, Chirayinkil Taluk, Thiruvanthapuram in Travancore. His family had ancestral roots to Madurai and Hyderabad, and many of his relatives had worked for the military of the state government. Maulavi was proficient in many languages including Arabic, Hindusthani, Persian, Tamil, Sanskrit and English.
His father, a prominent merchant, engaged a number of scholars from distant places, including an itinerant Arab savant, to teach him every subject he wished to learn. Moulavi made such rapid progress, that some of his teachers soon found that their stock of knowledge was exhausted and at least one of them admitted that had learnt from his student more than he could teach him.
Moulavi's son Vakkom Abdul Kadar (Junior) was a writer,journalist and literary critic and another son, Mohammed Eeza was a writer and scholar of Islamic studies. One of his nephews, Vakkom Majeed, was an Indian freedom fighter and a former member of Travancore-Cochin State Assembly and another nephew, P.Habeeb Mohamed, was the first Muslim judge of the Travancore High Court of Kerala.
Journalism and Swadeshabhimani
Maulavi started the Swadeshabhimani newspaper on January 19, 1905, declaring that `the paper will not hesitate to expose injustices to the people in any form`, but on 26 September 1910, the newspaper and press were sealed and confiscated by the British Police, and the editor Ramakrishna Pillai was arrested and banished from Travancore to Thirunelveli.
After the confiscation of the press, Moulavi concentrated more on social and cultural activities, becoming a social leader, also writing several books. Daussabah and Islam Matha Sidantha Samgraham are original works, while Imam Ghazali’s Keemiya-e- Saadat, Ahlu Sunnathuwal Jammath, Islamic Sandesam, Surat-ul fathiha are translations.
Maulavi was considered one of greatest reformers in the Kerala Muslim community, and is sometimes referred to as the "father of muslim renaissance". He emphasized the religious and socioeconomic aspects much more than the ritualistic aspects of religion. He also campaigned for the need for modern education, the education of women, and the elimination of potentially bad customs among the Muslim community. Influenced by the writings of Muhammad Abduh of Egypt and his reform movement, Moulavi started journals in Arabi-Malayalam and in Malayalam modelled on Al Manar. The Muslim was launched in January 1906 and was followed by Al-Islam(1918) and Deepika(1931). Through these publications, he tried to teach the Muslim community about the basic tenets of Islam. Al-Islam began publishing in April 1918 and played a pivotal role in Muslim renaissance in Kerala. It opposed Nerchas and Uroos festivals amongst the Muslim community, thereby attracting opposition from the orthodox ulema to the extent that they issued a fatwa declaring the reading of it as sacrilege. Financial troubles and lack of readership led to the closure of the journal within five issues, but it is regarded as the pioneer journal that attempted religious reform amongst the Mappilas of Kerala. While it was published in Malayalam language using Arabi-Malayalam script, Muslim and Deepika used Malayalam in script also.
As a result of the continuous campaigning of Maulavi throughout the State, the Maharaja's Government introduced the teaching of Arabic in all state schools where there were Muslim pupils, and offered them fee concessions and scholarships. Girls were totally exempted from payment of fees. Maulavi wrote text books for children to learn Arabic, and a manual for training Arabic instructors for primary schools. At the instance of Maulavi Abdul Qadir the State Government soon instituted qualifying examinations for Arabic teachers of which he was made the chief examiner.
There were many other dubious practices in the Muslim community of the time, such as the dowry system, extravagant expenditure on weddings, celebration of annual "urs" and Moharrum with bizarre unIslamic features bordering on idolatrous rituals. Maulavi launched his campaign against such practices with the help of his disciples, and with the cooperation of other learned men who shared his views and ideals. As the campaign developed into a powerful movement, opposition was mounted by the Mullahs. Some issued "fatwas" that he was a "kafir", others branded him as a "Wahhabi".
He also tried to create unity among Muslims, starting the All Travancore Muslim Mahajanasabha  and Chirayinkil Taluk Muslim Samagam, and worked as the chairman of the Muslim Board of the Government of Travancore. His activities were further instrumental in the establishment of "Muslim Aikya Sangham", a united Muslim forum for all the Muslims of the Travancore, Cochin and Malabar regions, and helped guide the Lajnathul Mohammadiyya Association of Alappuzha, Dharma Bhoshini Sabha of Kollam amongst others. In 1931, he founded the Islamia Publishing House, with his eldest son Abdussalam supervising the translation into Malayam and publication of Allama Shibli's biography of Omar Farooq in two volumes under the title Al Farooq.
In Deepika, he serialized the Malayalam translation of the Quran, together with his brief commentary and the original text written in an elegant calligraphic style by Maulavi himself. It was his life's ambition to produce a translation of the Quran in Malayalam with his own commentary, but he died on 23 August 1932 aged 82 before the work was completed.
Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust (VMFT)
The Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust (VMFT) is intended to be a lasting memorial to Vakkom Moulavi. Dr N. A. Karim, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Kerala University is the President of the Trust and Er.A.Suhair is the Chairman and Managing Trustee.
- Vakkom Moulavi — (1981) Haji M. Muhammedkannu.
- Vakkom Maulaviyute tiranduthutta kritikal ( The Collected Works of Vakkom Maulavi — Malayalam) Published by Vakkom Maulavi Publications, 1979
- Muhammad Abdul Khader Moulavi, Pg 314, Modernist Islam, 1840-1940: a sourcebook By Charles Kurzman
- Mappilas of Malabar: Studies in Social and Cultural History. Sandhya Publications. 1983. p. 80.
- "Vakkom Abdul Khader Moulavi". Retrieved 2008-11-24.
- "VAKKOM MOULAVI". Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- Ende Naadukadathal (5 (2007) ed.). D C Books/ Current Books, Kottayam. 1911. ISBN 81-264-1222-4.
- "Vakkom Complex Opened". Retrieved 2008-11-24.
- "Kerala poets and writers". Retrieved 2008-11-24.
- "WHEN THE KERALA MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT IS HISTORICISED". Retrieved 2008-11-24.
- "Literary Criticism: Western Influence". PRD, Kerala Government. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- Constitutionalism in Travancore and Cochin. Kerala Historical Society. 1972. pp. 18, 19.
- In Quest of Kerala. Accent Publications. 1974. pp. 65,160.
- Pg 239, Pg 345 - Proceedings of the 19th Annual conference, South India History Congress, 2000
- "Leaders of Renaissance ( Social Studies Textbook,Standard X,)". Department of School Education, Government of Kerala. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
- Pg 67, Islam in Kerala: groups and movements in the 20th century- M. Abdul Samad,Laurel Publications, 1998
- Kerala Muslims: The Long Struggle. Sahitya Pravarthaka Cooperative Society ; Modern Book Centre. 1992.
- Pg 134, Journal of Kerala studies, Volume 17,University of Kerala.,1990
- Malayalam Literary Survey. Kēraḷa Sāhitya Akkādami. 1984. p. 50.
- Pg 36, Pg 56-58,Educational empowerment of Kerala Muslims: a socio-historical perspective By U. Mohammed, Other Books, Kozhikode
- Social and Cultural History of Kerala. Sterling. 1979. p. 210.
- A Short History of Kerala. Pai. 1966.
- Social and Religious Reform Movements in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Institute of Historical Studies, Calcutta, Institute of Historical Studies. 1979. p. 389.
- Educational Development in India. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. 2002. p. 23. ISBN 81-261-1039-2, 9788126110391 Check
- "The following biographies are available at the KCHR archives".