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Thangals are the various Muslim communities of Yemeni Arab origin found scattered and isolated in the state of Kerala, India.[1] They migrated to Kerala during the 17th century to expand their business, and propagated Islam as they are Muslims,[2] and do not belong to the Mappila Muslim community of Kerala. In Malayalam, thangal is an honorific Muslim title almost equivalent to the Arabic term Sayyid (Arabic: سيد‎‎) which is given to males believed as descendants of Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, who were the sons of his daughter Fatima Zahra and son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib. It has two basic divisions called ba-hassan and ba-alawi. Jamallulaily, Al-Jifri, Al-Bafakhy, Al-Saqaf, Bukhari,bahabooth are considered as important Sayyid families (Khabeelas). Thangals residing in Panakkad, Malappuram district are often regarded as the most powerful and influential Thangals of Kerala. The Thangal of Panakkad is the supreme leader of the Sunni faction of Muslims of Kerala and the hence plays an important role in local politics.


Thangals are supposed to be descended from Sayyid families, who migrated from the historic city of Tarim, in Hadramawt Province, Yemen, during the 17th century in order to propagate Islam on the Malabar Coast. The Bukhara family in Kerala is migrated from Bukhara in the former USSR. This family started with the arrival of a scholar Sayyid Ahammed Jalaludheen Bukhari in early 16th century. He is buried at Kannur. Sayyids selected coastal areas like Kannur, Koyilandy, Kappad, Mampuram, Vadakara, Ponani and Kochi to settle.

Bukhari Sayyid family migrated from Bukhara in Uzbekistan and now these families are living throughout India. The Delhi imam is one of the famous personality coming from the Bukhari family. Bukhari family have played an important role in spreading 'Sufism' throughout India. A town, Nizamuddin near New Delhi is known by the name of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah who comes from this family. sayyids are widely spread in various regions of India such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka Lakshadweep etc. In Kerala sayyid family members are located mainly in Thrissur district (Chavakkad Bukhara, Padoor, Mathilakam), Malappuram district, Kozhikode district, Kannur district and Kasargod district


Panakkad Pookoya Thangals are considered as the supreme leader of the E. K. Sunnis of Kerala. Also, Panakkad Pookoya Thangal is usually the President of Kerala state unit of Indian Union Muslim League.


  1. ^ Modern Asian Studies. Vol. 42, Parts 1–4. Cambridge University Press. 2008. 
  2. ^ NK Singh; A Samiuddin (1 March 2004). Encyclopaedic Historiography of the Muslim World. Global Vision Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-87746-54-6.