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Total population
(about 1 Million)
Regions with significant populations
Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sri Lanka, UAE, US and Worldwide
Tamil, Malayalam, Urdu and languages in the diaspora as part of the Muslim Non-Resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin ethnicity.

Labbay (Labbai,LEBBE, Labba, Labbabeen,Labbe), are an Islamic families in southern India located throughout the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are also found in many other parts of the world where they reside as Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin emigrants and their descendants.

Identity and origins[edit]

The community's name is derived from the Arabic phrase Labbay'k (Arabic: لبیک‎‎), which translates to "here I am."But this can not be confirmed.


Labbays are said to have descended from traders who originated in the Persian Gulf through mixed unions of themselves with the local Tamil and Malayali population,[1] as well as many converts from the southern states of India. Since the late 13th century, Labbays specialized in the trade and manufacture of leather, tobacco, grains and spices from as far away as China and Southeast Asia.

In Kerala there are lot of Labba families settled in different locations, Alappuzha, Chunakkara is one of the oldest(approx.AD-1350)settlement of this kind and later spread to nearby.

Today, the Labbay community is based in towns including Bangalore, Chennai, Kilakarai, Koothanallur, Kayalpatnam, Adiramapattinam, Pazhaverkadu, Thondi, Nagore, and Erwadi,and sizeable population of Urdu speaking in vellore district. Labbays constitute a substantial percentage in the coastal villages and towns from the border of Andhra to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, from Kanyakumari to the Karnataka border, and all over Sri Lanka. Tamil and Malayalam Muslims share a common culture and words in a regard such as vappa (father), umma (mother), and ikkaka (elder brother).

There is a large Labbay community in Vellore district, with a large population of traders and leather manufacturers. They live in large numbers in Vellore, Melvisharam, Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Pernambut. These people have a distinct culture and earn a decent living. These community members may have migrated from Pondicherry, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli and from other coastal districts about 200 years ago.

Some of the most famous families are Alliangyam, [kanniyambadi], [kunna], [kanana], [punaaki], and many more.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thurston, Edgar; Rangachari, K. (1909). Castes and Tribes of Southern India. 6. Madras: Government Press. p. 151.