Cheraman Juma Masjid


Cheraman Juma Masjid, in Kodungallur town of the Thrissur district, Kerala. is considered as the oldest mosque in India and the second oldest mosque in the world to offer Juma prayers. The mosque is believed to build by Malik Bin Deenar and Malik bin Habib and a group of Arabs in 629 AD. The mosque was constructed during the era of Mohammed and it is believed that the bodies of the followers are buried here. The mosque faces east when compared with the other mosques in Kerala which face the western side.

There are several accounts about how the mosque came to being. The most accepted and popular version traces back the history to an unusual dream seen by Cheraman Perumal, the then king of Kerala.

Cheraman Perumal, the reigning King of Kerala, with Kodungallur as its capital, once experienced an unusual dream of the new moon being split into two halves at the horizon. His Court astrologers could not give him a satisfactory explanation. Later when a group of Arab traders on their way to Ceylon met the Perumal, he mentioned about his dream. They explained that this could probably be the miracle Prophet performed at Arabia (Holy Qur’an-54:1-5).

This explanation convinced him and he decided to embrace Islam. His decision to leave for Mecca was kept a secret. He divided his land and assigned various territories to local chieftains to ensure smooth governance. He then left for Mecca, met the prophet and embraced Islam. He spent some years there and while returning home, fell ill and died at Dhufar in Oman. Before his death, he wrote letters to local rulers of Malabar and handed them to his friends. Later, when Malik Bin Dinar and his companions reached Kodungallur, the letters were handed over to the ruling chieftains. They were given permission to construct mosques in different places.

The first mosque in India was thus constructed at Kodungallur and Malik Bin Dinar himself was the first Ghazi of this “Cheraman Masjid”. After a while he appointed his relative Habib Bin Malik as the Ghazi at Cheraman Masjid and traveled across the length and breadth of Kerala. He established different Mosques in different parts of Kerala. Later, he left for Arabia where he died. It is believed that the old tombs now at Cheraman Mosque belong to Habib Bin Malik and his wife Khumarriah.

Unlike other mosques, Cheraman Juma Masjid has a structure that resembles a temple in Kerala. The pulpit which serves as the place of the recitation of the Friday sermon by Imam is made of rosewood featuring beautiful carvings. The mosque also houses a block of white marble which is believed to have been brought from Makkah or Mecca. There is a thousand years old oil lamp which always remains lighted in the mosque. The lamp is believed to be more than thousand years old.

The mosque allows people from other religions to enter the mosque, and devotees offer oil for the lamp as an offering. Many non-Muslims conduct initiation ceremonies to the world of letters  ‘Vidhyarambham‘ of their children here.

Though several renovations had happened at the mosque, the original hall and the internal structure are preserved till date.





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