Oldest Mosque kodungaloor

The Cheramaan Juma Mosque is a mosque in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk, Thrissur District in the Indian state of Kerala.A legend claims that it was built in 629 AD, which makes it the first mosque in India and the oldest mosque in the Indian subcontinent. It was built by Malik Deenar, Persian ex-slave and a companion of Muhammad, on the orders of Cheraman Perumal, the Chera King of modern-day Kerala.

The mosque was completely destroyed by the Portuguese in 1504 when Lopo Soares de Albergaria attacked the port of Kodungallur. The old building was built some time after the 1504 de Algabaria attack (i.e., from mid-16th to the early 17th century). Modern corridors and halls were built in 1984. The 1984 extensions, which surround the old building, conceal almost all of the exterior features of the old building.

According to some legends, Cheraman Perumal ("Cheraman Perumal" being the title held by Chera kings) witnessed the splitting of the moon, a supernatural event mentioned in the Quran as a miracle performed by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad when asked for one by Meccan unbelievers. The bewildered King confirmed with his astrologers that the incident had taken place, but didn't know what to make of it. Arab merchants who had arrived at a Malabar port, a bustling global marketplace, sought audience with the King to have his permission to visit Ceylon. In conversation with them, the King learnt about Muhammad, made his son the regent of his kingdom and travelled back with the Arab merchants to meet the man himself.

The story goes that Cheraman Perumal arrived in Arabia with a gift of ginger pickles for Muhammad and his companions and converted to Islam "at the feet of Prophet Muhammad".

The oral traditions of the legend differ greatly, another story goes that Cheraman Perumal was visiting the King of Maldives and they discussed the splitting of the moon, both men deciding to visit Mecca to find out the truth. S. N. Sadasivan, a social historian, believes that it wasn't the Cheraman Perumal of Malabar in the tale at all, but instead the King of Maldives, whose capital city "Malé" was confused for "Malabar".

According to historian M.G.S. Narayanan, "there is no reason to reject the tradition that the last Chera king embraced Islam and went to Mecca, since it finds its place not only in Muslim chronicles, but also in Hindu brahmanical chronicles like the Keralolpatti, which need not be expected to concoct such a tale which in no way enhances the prestige of the Brahmins or Hindu population."

The history of the mosque has given it many architectural quirks including that since it was a repurpose Buddhist shrine, until its reconstruction in 1000 A.D. the mosque faced East instead of towards the Kaaba. Even today the mosque still includes some remnants of the shrine, including a traditional pond and a lamp that is said to have been burning for a thousand years, with oil that is brought for it by visitors and pilgrims of all religions.

Back To Top