Cheraman Juma Mosque
|Cheraman Juma Masjid|
The renovated Cheraman Juma Masjid
The Cheraman Juma Masjid (Malayalam:ചേരമാൻ പള്ളി) is a mosque in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk, Thrissur District in the Indian state of Kerala. Built in 629 AD, it is the first mosque in India. It was built by Malik Deenar, an Arab propagator of Islam and a follower and contemporary of Islamic Prophet Muhammad. It is believed that this mosque was first renovated and reconstructed in the 11th century AD. Many non-Muslims conduct initiation ceremonies to the world of letters of their children here.
Since ancient times, trade relations between Arabia and India were active. Even before Islam had been established in Arabia, Arab traders visited the Malabar region, which was a major link between the ports of India and Southeast Asia.
With the advent of Islam, the Arab merchants became carriers of the new religion and they propagated it wherever they went. It is believed around the history of the mosque is that, Cheraman Perumal, the Chera king, went to Arabia where he met Muhammad and embraced Islam and changed his name to Tajuddin. However, this legend does not fit into the history of the 63 Nayanmars (Saiva Saints) and there is no historical account of this. As per the legend, once there, the king sent letters with Malik Ibn Dinar to his relatives in Kerala, asking them to be courteous to the latter. According to Burnell he was a contemporary of Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Sadasivan, in his book A Social History of India, argues that it was the king of Maldives, Kalimanja, who converted to Islam. Mali, which was known to seafarers then, might have been misunderstood as Malabar (Kerala) and this might have given rise to the tale of Tajuddeen in the Cochin Gazetter. In the 7th Century, a group of Arabs led by Malik Bin Deenar and Malik bin Habib arrived in Thrissur District constructed a Masjid at Kodungalloor, naming it after king Cheraman Perumal under whose patronage the mosque would have been built.
The mosque has an ancient oil lamp which always burns and which is believed to be more than a thousand years old. People of all religions bring oil for the lamp as offering. Like most, this mosque allows entry for Non-Muslims. The then president of India Abdul Kalam is among the notable visitors to this mosque.
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