First Mosque in India
January 26, 2023
Cheraman Juma Majsid or Malik Deenar Juma Masjid located in Kerela is the first mosque of India, built during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad in 629 AD.
The historic mosque was built in the typical Kerala style and is one of the best-kept architectures in the district.
Malik Ibn Deenar was a companion of Prophet Muhammad and is considered the first to bring Islam to India. In 624 AD, Malik Ibn Deenar and twelve of his trade associates landed in Kerala. The delegation consisted of Sharaf Ibn Malik, his brother Malik Ibn Deenar and his nephew Malik Ibn Habeeb Ibn Malik. Their distinct way of trade and the practice of Islam soon attracted the attention of the then ruler Cheraman Perumal. Over time the king was fascinated by the doctrines of this new religion and he embraced Islam.
According to another oral tradition, Cheraman Perumal, the Chera king, went to Arabia where he met Prophet Muhammad and embraced Islam. From there he sent letters with Malik Ibn Dinar to his relatives in Kerala, asking them to extend their hospitality to the latter.
The mosque is believed to have been erected on 13th Rajab, 22 Hijra (A.D.642). Malik Ibn Deenar’s son Malik Ibn Muhammad was nominated as the Qazi of the mosque. It contains the grave of Malik Ibn Mohammed, one of the descendants of Malik Ibn Dinar.
The mosque was renovated in the 11th century and again in the 18th century with generous help from the local people. The front portion was expanded in 1974 and further expanded in 1984. The older part of the mosque including the Sanctum Sanctorum is left untouched and is still preserved. Its grandeur is kept alive by the wooden steps and ceiling.
People of all religions come to this mosque. The Hindus bring their children to the mosque to conduct their Vidyarambham Ceremony which introduces them to the world of knowledge, letters, and the process of learning.
A festival is celebrated here every year to commemorate the arrival of Malik Ibn Dinar. Another festival is held once every three years, in memory of the death anniversary of Malik Ibn Dinar. Thousands of pilgrims gather for this festival, called Uroos, during the festival, food and clothes are distributed to all those who are in need.