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|Regions with significant populations|
|Tamil Nadu, Kerala|
|Tamil, Malayalam, Urdu|
Rowther or Ravuthar is a Muslim community from the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Together with the Kayalar, Lebbai and Maraikayar communities, they constitute the Tamil Muslims, an Islamic community spread across South India. Rowthers follow the Hanafi school of Fiqh. In Tamil Nadu, the non-muslims often refer to muslims as tulukkar - a term offensive to the muslims - probably derived from turukkiyar, meaning Turkish, owing to their Turkish ancestry and history. They are descendants of a group of Muslim soldiers, a mixture of Arabian and Turkish horse-traders and Rajputs of North India who came to South India in the 12th century as a part of the Turkish armies.
After the fall of Chola dynasty, the newly formed Vijayanagara Empire invited the Seljuk Turks from the fractions of Hanafi (known as Rowther in South India) for trade relations in 1279 C.E.. The largest armada of Turkish traders, soldiers and missionaries settled in Tharangambadi (Nagapattinam), Karaikal, Muthupet, Koothanallur, Podakkudi and Athikkadai. Rowthers, failing to convert Hindus in the Thanjavur region, settled in that area with their armada, expanding into an Islamic community of almost one million. These new settlements were now added to the Rowther community. Hanafi factions, more closely connected with the Turkish than others in South, have fair complexions. Some Turkish Anatolian and Turkish Safavid inscriptions have been found in wide areas from Thanjavur to Thiruvarur and in many villages. Madras Museum displays the inscriptions to the public.
- People of India - Volume 40, Part 3 - Page 1259
- Papers in Anthropology, Volume 18, Issue 2