Tuesday, 19 July 2016

1400 old Cherman Perumal Mosque, Kerala - Many remarkable facts

Cherman Perumal Mosque, Kodungaloor, destinationsdiary.com
Above image: Cherman Perumal Mosque, second oldest mosque in the world, Kodungaloor, Kerala.destinationsdiary.com

1400 year old Cheraman Juma masjid..www.indiatvnews.com

Cheraman  Juma  Masjid at  Methala  in Kodungalloor taluk, near Thrissur city, Kerala is a historical place of veneration and has carved a niche for itself in the annals of history of Indian mosques. It is a blend of local Hindu and Muslim culture and tradition and this blending continues unabated for centuries. A fine example of religious perseverance and harmony existing in this highly literate Indian state.

Cheraman Perumal Mosque, old picture. varnam.nationalinterest.in

The following are the amazing facts of this historical mosque:

01. Considered to be India's oldest mosque -1,400-year-old; our country's first and oldest mosque.

02. An amazing  fact is it is the world's second oldest Juma mosque, where the Juma (Friday) prayers have been held for the last 1375 years, since the days of Prophet Mohammed (570-634 A.D.).

03. Islam arrived in India, particularly, on the coastal Malabar  long  before the  invasion of Muslim rulers from the NW regions who established their rule In Delhi and later in other parts of India.

04. Arab traders who  were main traders in spices and other items for export, had close rapport with the local Hindu rulers -Zamorins (local parlance: Samudris) trades with the local rulers.

 05. Christians and Jews were also living in some other parts of Kerala in the Musuris region and for centuries there existed a perfect harmony among them. It was in this region Apostle St. Thomas arrived in 52 AD and established  seven and half churches.

06.  The mosque is believed to have been constructed in 629 AD by Malik Bin Dinar, a contemporary of Cheraman Perumal.

07. Cheraman Perumal (Cheraman Perumal Bhaskara Ravi Varma) , the Hindu ruler, who took keen interest in Islam, went to Mecca, where he was fortunate to have met Prophet Mohamed.  After this great event, he at last embraced Islam. On his return journey, he died midway at Dhufar in Oman and  Malik Bin Dinar, an Arab  and a good wisher of the ruler  and a few others,  upon reaching  Kodungallur, with permission from the expired ruler's successor (they carried letter from the diseased king)  built the mosque.  

08. Malik Ibn Dinar, was also a "sahaba" or a companion of the Prophet.  He was the mosque's first Ghazi and  nephew Habib Bin Malik took over the management of the mosque when Dinar took the Haj trip to Mecca. 

09. Malik Dinar was  one of the 13 followers of Prophet Mohammad who reached the ancient port of Musuris on the spice route in Malabar in 629 A.D.

10. The mosque  is  named after the the Chera ruler in recognition of the help extended by the  ruler's family. hence the name: Cheraman  Juma masjid.

11. This mosque,  designed and constructed based on Hindu  architecture, has a unique feature that is not found in other mosques. While  other mosques  world over  face the direction of Mecca, but this  one faces East. Because it was built originally as a Hindu shrine,

12. The mosque was first renovated in the 11th Century AD, and later in 1974, according to Mr. Sayed, a member of the historical mosque committee. In 1996 and in 2003 renovation took place without disturbing the heritage parts including the sanctum. However. the minarets and a dome are  modern-day additions and On  June 29, 2011 at an estimated cost of Rs 10 crores, major renovation was done.

13. The Cherman Perumal Mosque retained its facade as a typical Kerala structure   for 1355 years . Unfortunately in 1984, the local Muslim Jamaat, which took up the  renovation work and  wanted the new building built like an Islamic shrine with minarets. Consequently the front part that was built in Kerala type of architecture, was replaced with minarets, etc.

14. The mosque has an oil lamp that has been continuously burning for more than 1000 years without any break whatsoever. Open to non Muslims,  people bring oil as an offering.

Cheraman Juma masjid.  theislamshow webly.com
Cheraman Juma masjid. kerala. an oil lamp, 6yes.net

15. The mosque has two tombs - that of Bin Dinar and his sister inside the mosque, where preachers light incense sticks, yet another Hindu tradition.

16. Blending of local culture is confirmed by the  presence of a traditional  Kerala - style lamp hanging from the ceiling. This lamp also has inscriptions in old Malayalam script Vattezhuthu. Sometimes, it may even pass off as a Hindu temple. The mosque has a pond or water tank, as one will find in many Hindu temples.

17. A fascinating aspect of this unique place is, Hindus, fairly understanding the sanctity of this place of worship, bring their young kids for Vidhyarambam (very first initiation of learning alphabet, etc) on the  mosque premises. Indeed a rare thing one would rarely find in other parts of India.

18. The mosque has a museum that has centuries old artifacts. Brass donation box that is more than three centuries old is an interesting piece of exhibit.