|Goripalayam_Mosque, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. www.tripadvisor.in|
Many people are not aware that Islam came to India more than 1000 years ago, particularly in Kerala and later In Tamil Nadu where pretty old mosques exit even to day. Muslim mercantile traders had close contact with the Hindu rulers on the coastal Kerala and engaged in spice and other trades. Further, Arab shipping merchants had their ships built near Kozhocode, presumably near Kappad beach Where Da Gama landed in May 1498. Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungaloor, Kerala is India's oldest Islamic shrine. Islam was popularized in the northern parts of India after Muslim invasion from the NW regions. The Goripalayam Durgah in Goripalayam, which is part of Madurai city, is one of the oldest mosques in South India. It is located near the banks of Vaigai river. The name Goripalayam comes from the Persian word 'Gor' which means grave. This area is called Goripalayam because the graves of
|Goripalayam Durgah, Madurai.www.goroadtrip.com|
An interesting feature about the structure is that, the tomb which is 70 feet in diameter and 20 feet in height is made of a single block of hard rock which was brought from the nearby Azhagar Hills - abode of the Hindu God Lord Vishnu. People with all kinds of problems from all over Tamil Nadu come here to seek the saints' blessings to be relieved from pain and sufferings and return home with contentment.
Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin Radiyallah of Kazimar street, Madurai was the state Govt. Kazi (Islamic Legal advisor and jury) to them.
|Goripalayam Durgah, Madurai. credit: etownmaduraimcom|
There is an interesting story about the lands on which the Durgah stands now and the lands owned by it in the neighboring villages. According to an ancient Tamil inscription, on the outer campus of the Maqbara of the Dargah campus, "the descendants of Sultan Alauddin Badusha, and Sultan Shamsuddin Badusha (called as Sultans of Delhi) purchased from the then King Koo(n) Pandiyan of Pandya dynasty the land of Goripalayam Dargah and other six villages (namely Bibi Kulam, Chokkikulam, Cholikudi, Chirudoor, Kannanendal, Thiruppalai) for 14,000.00 gold pieces for the maintenance of Goripalayam Dargah. During the reign of King Veerappa Nayakkar, a legal dispute cropped up between the Huqdars of the Durgah and the employees of the Nayakkar Government regarding six villages and their legal ownership. Since six villages were tied up in the legal wrangle, obviously the case was taken to the court of King Veerappa Nayakkar, who was a man of justice, wisdom and integrity. To him law was supreme and above every thing. As it was his wont, he carefully enquired and verified the authenticity of the legal title documents written by King Koo(n) Pandiyan related to the lands under litigation, and gave his final verdict in the year 1573 A.D. He mentioned, ''The Six villages and the Dargah land belong to the descendants of Sultans and they should be in their enjoyment till the existence of the Sun and Moon and who violates this will be liable for the sin of slaughtering a cow in the bank of river Ganga."
This inscription is considered as one of the evidences to prove the existence of the Dargah here since 13th century and at the same time time it reflects on the justice and fairness of then Hindu rulers, who were mostly secular in nature; religion never stood in their way of governance. The anniversary Urus festival of this Dargah is held on 15th night of the Islamic month of Rabi al-awwal every hijri year.
Kazimar Periya Pallivasal or Kazimar Big Mosque in Madurai is yet another oldest mosques in Tamil Nadu and, perhaps, the oldest one in Madurai city. Kazi Syed Thajuddheen's descendants (Huqdars of this mosque called as Syeds) have been living with out a break for more than 700 years on the Kazimar street!!
(minor modification done:July19, 2016)