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Total population
about 1 Million
Regions with significant populations
Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sri Lanka, UAE & US
Tamil, Malayalam, Urdu

Labbay ( Labbai, Labba, Labbabeen, Tamil: லப்பய்) is an Islamic community in southern India. They constitute a trading community located throughout the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Identity and origins[edit]

The community's name is derived from the Arabic phrase Labbay'k (Arabic: لبیک‎), which translates to "here I am."


Labbays are said to have descended from traders who originated in the Persian Gulf,[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.

Today, the Labbay community is based in towns including Bangalore , Chennai, Kilakarai, Kayalpatnam, Adiramapattinam, Pazhaverkadu, Thondi, Nagore, and Erwadi. Labbays constitute a substantial percentage in the coastal villages and towns from the border of Andhra to Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu, from Kanyakumari to the Karnataka border, and all over Sri Lanka. Tamil and Malayalan 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.

Lebbay families are settled more than 450 years ago in Bangalore, Kacharkanna Halli Village, S A Samad Sahib & Family, and in Kerala, Aleppuzha district, Chunakkara village, and old family houses still remain at Theruvil Mukku, Chunakkara Panchayath, and kollam district, vilakkudy village, kunnicode, padinjattinkara family and vayaluveedu family also.


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

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