Posted on: 25 September 2015

Mosque in Kerala dates back to the Prophet's time
Times News Network | Jul 20, 2015

KODUNGALLUR (Kerala): One will find nothing unusual about this place of worship for Muslims as one drives past this town in central Kerala, just 30km north of Kochi. But it's when you go in and chat up with the volunteers and office-bearers that the enormity of its legacy actually hits you.

For Cheraman Jum'ah Masjid in this town, also known by its anglicised name Cranganore, is not just the oldest in India and the subcontinent but one built during the lifetime of Prophet Mohammad in 629 AD by an Arab propagator of Islam, Malik Ibn Dinar.

It is also testimony to two facts. One, Islam came to India long before the Mughals came in from the northwest. Two, the entry of Islam was smooth and Muslims enjoyed the full patronage of the locals irrespective of their religions - a facet that is still visible and cherished here.

This mosque stands proud with two other landmarks of Kodungallur, also known as Muziris. The first is the Saint Thomas Church, also said to be among the first in India built by the Apostle himself around 52 AD. He had arrived here in India and the church has some holy relics from the olden days. The second is the Bhagavathy Temple of Cheran ruler Chenguttavan, also known as Vel Kelu Kuttuvan, around 150 AD.

In fact, in a manifestation of India's cultural syncretism, many non-Muslims are its devotees and hold "Vidhyarambham", or the commencement of education ceremony for their children at this mosque. During Ramadan, iftaar offerings are often made by the non-Muslim communities in the area. There are several legends surrounding the Cheraman Jum'ah mosque.

As one goes: It was built under the patronage of the last Chera king, Cheraman Perumal, who is also believed to have abdicated his throne and embraced Islam upon meeting the Prophet at Mecca.

Link to the Cheraman Juma Mosque site:

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This was the second mosque ever built, the first being the one at Mecca. What I find surprising is that no one goes here for Ziarat, everyone heads to Mecca. This was built when the Prophet was alive, he died in June 632 AD.

Basidth Rizwana Fazil

Sushil Talwar ji very interesting...this should be made a world heritage site...

Rahul, it bloody well should be and it is in our back yard! How disrespectful can we be? The Arabs are Arabising Islam, we Indians had Islam while the Arabs were still swinging from trees.

Sir totaly agree

excellent information.... but I am surprised Rare Book Society of India, that you mention that Islam did not come to India with Mughals. I assumed all Indians/historians knew that.

A Wandering Mind I think I first saw this in a post of yours. Am I correct?

Yes Kasturi. It is the same one.

The Mughals came centuries later.

Very impressive lesson from history here

This is so awe inspiring!

Rita Raina: we have only posted this article.

Rare Book Society of India ...Ha.... I missed that 'Times News Network' part. Sorry. But that raises a question in my mind.....does this mosque really exist? I trust what you post, so take for granted that you check the facts.

Sushil Talwar Yes, Mughals came centuries later, 16th century I believe, and Islam arrived in India (Sindh) in the 7th.

Islam came to India in around 629. In about 732 when the folks were baying for the blood of the Prophet's family, they came to Sindh and the Hindu King Raja Dahir gave them refuge. It was then Mohd Bin Qasim was called and told the location of the family, that's when he attacked India, burned Lahore and defeated and killed Raja Dahir, killed his sons and took both his daughters away.

thanks for the info..

Rita,Mughal are very late comers to India.TheMughal gave usthe Ganga-Jamani cultural.The composite culture.Which is being attacked now in our present days.A great shame

Excellent piece of information, except that Islam came to North West India almost 800 years before the Mughals did in 1526 ! First significant foray happened with Muhammad Ibn Qasim. Then came Mahmud Ghajni, followed by Muhammad Ghori who defeated Prithviraj . Mentioning the Mughals in this context is way out of way.

The mosques came along India's western coast that early because the trading Arabs, who came to source spices from as far as Indonesia, spent a significant amount of time off the Indian Western coast, anticipating favourable tides and waiting for the monsoon to end before they can make their way back to the Gulf. The ruling Hindu kings permitted them to dock their ships, build storage houses and construct mosques for their personal worship. The conversions of Hindus to Islam happened after the advent of Mughals, who did that by force. The story surrounding Thomas' visit to Kerala, and the construction of a church in 52 AD has no historical basis. It is a story propagated by people with an agenda who wanted to prove Dravidian Christianity predated the Bhakti cults of India.

Sourced from: The Indian empire : its peoples, history, and products by Hunter, William Wilson, Sir, 1840-1900. The copy is available on

Excellent! Thanks!

I did not realize there was so much time between when Christianity and when Islam came to India.