THE OBJECTIVES OF THIS STUDY
a) To analyse the cultural transaction of the Shia
elements among the Kerala Sunni Muslims;
commonly known as ‘Mappila’ society.
b) To examine that how the Shia followers
preserved their cultural identity among the
majority Sunni Muslim society.
K E R A L A
A small strip of land
lying at the south-west
corner of India.
British colonial period-a
division of madras
MALABAR COST: A MIGRATION HUB
The foreigners made use
of this area strategic
location as a stopover on
their onward sailing to
the South-East Asia.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE
Religion Wise Population In
Population: of 3.34 crores
3 geographical regions.
Known as “God’s own country”
Communally one of the most
Significant agricultural sector.
K E R A L A M U S L I M S O C I E T Y
I S L A M I N K E R A L A
Its advent: by Arab in early periods of the Islam
The tradition on the King Cheraman Perumal
Spread peacefully largely through the Sufi missionaries.
SOCIAL LIFE OF KERALA MUSLIMS
the northern part of
Kerala, such as:
THEOLOGICAL & POLITICAL CONDITIONS
90% of Kerala Muslims are
Sunni & following the Shafi
school of law (Madhab).
Jamiyyathul Ulama’,- the
largest traditionalist group
The Salafi sympathizers,
‘The Nadvat-ul Mujahideen
Islamic organization -
‘Jamaat-e-islami Hind (JIH)’
The Indian Union Muslim
Socialist& Democratic Parties
SDPI, CPI and CPI(M)
SHIAISM IN KERALA: THE SOCIO-HISTORICAL
THREE PHASES OF SHIAISM IN KERALA
I. The formation period, which started in the
last decades of 17th the century to early 20th
II. The first decade of the 20th century until the
Iranian revolution held in 1979 C.E
III. The present situations of the Shi’ites
community since 1979 C.E.
THE FORMATION PERIOD
The introduction by Shaikh Muhammad Shah
(d.1766 C.E) of Kardan near Bombay.
His migration to Kerala.
Arrived at Cochin & settled in the Kondotti
SOCIAL CONTROVERSY AND ITS OUTCOME
The loyalty to Tipu Sultan, the British and Shia
practices made some disturbances among the
It compromised at the first decades of the 20th
century. & Shi’ites underwent to the ‘Taqiyya’
THE SECOND STAGE: ‘THE STAGE OF TAQIYYA’
The Mappila revolt in 1921- a turning point.
Formation of reform organizations:- the ‘Kerala
Muslim Aikya Sangham’,-1924. The Salafi-wahhabi
The ‘Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama’ 1926- a
reaction of the traditional Ulama.
The face of controversy among the Sunni-Shia
Islam changed into the Sunni- Salafi dialogues.
T H E T H I R D P H A S E S
‘Islamic revolution’ of 1979 and Imam Khomeini’s
The new atmosphere of the intellectual supports.
Widely discussion on the thoughts of Khomeini, Ali
Shariati & Ayatullah Mutahhari.
Formation of new organizations:
The Aal-e-Rasool Foundation of Cochin
the Thaqalayn Foundation of Kerala.
THE SHIA COMMUNITIES
400-500 Imamiyya Shias in the city of cochin and
around it. Migrants from Kashmir &Maharashtra.
150 families of the Bohra Shia sects in different
regions of the Calicut, Malappuram and Alleppy
districts. Migrated from the Gujarat.
A sub-divination of Ismaili Shias the eastern
Ismailis or the Nizaris known as Khojas.
SHIA ELEMENTS AMONG THE SUNNI
MULTICULTURALISAM IN KERALA
The Kerala Muslim culture is a amalgam of the
Arab- Islamic and Malayalam culture.
The customs & practiced of the Mappilas were
derived from countries, Persia, Oman &Yemen.
Discussions under the three different sub-
titles which related to their beliefs, rituals, arts
The Influence of Shia Ideology in The
A) CONCEPT OF LEADERSHIP
The legitimate leader (Imam) of the Islamic community
are just the family of the prophet Muhammad (Ahl Al-
The orthodox Mappila Muslims followed same beliefs
that the Thangals (Sayyids) are well accepted as socio-
E.G.: In a political sector: the patronal leadership of the
‘Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)’
The religious oriented organisation: the ‘Samastha Kerala
Jam'iyyathul-ulama, has also followed this pattern.
B) SOCIAL STRUCTURE
The matrilineal (mother right) system, as
known in Malayalam: ‘Marumakkathayam’ of
the early Malabar Muslims.
It was a by-product of the ‘Nikah al-mut’a’
THE REFLECTION OF THE SHIAISM IN THE
CUSTOMS AND RITUALS OF MALABAR
THE SAINT WORSHIP (NERCHAS/URS)
Sheikh Muhammad Shah introduced the customs and
usages related to the Shia practices and Persian
The local Muslims had received it as religious practices
in the name of ‘popular Islam’.
Example of Shi’ite rites practices:
The spreading of flowers on the grave, lighting of the
lamps, distribution of Nazr (Prasadam), placing the flags
(Alam), decorating the tombs, Tabut, Qubba,, Jukiya Panja
The conventional Sunni
the tragedy of the
Karbala in their own
Observe the fast.
Practises of the ‘Nahs
In old times, the
`Pulikali' was a part of
P u l i k a l i : A F o l k D a n c e
SHI’ITE ELEMENTS RELATED TO THE
MAPPILA ARTS AND LITERATURES
A) IN THE LITERATURE
A hybrid literary language known as the ‘Arabi-
Moin Kutty Vaidyar (1852-1892)- the court of poet
Sheikh Muhammad Shah. Stronger focus of Shia-Persian
themes and ideas.
E.g.: Master piece ‘Badarul Muneer - Husnul Jamal’ by
Khaja Nizamuddin Shah Shirazi.
B) EXAMPLES FROM MAPPILA FOLK ARTS
The Arabanamuttu, a
popular musical art
Closely associated with
‘Adil Shahi Sultans’.
The Rifai’ Tariqat
introduced it in
worshipping form of
There are the different Shia paradigms
prevalent in Malabar's Sunni Muslims thoughts
and practises which developed during the
early relationship with the ‘Persio- Shia’
REMARKS: B (SURVIVAL OF SHIA IDEOLOGY)
Early generations of the Shi’ites were
openly engaged with the common society
and later of them underwent the
observance of the ‘Taqiyya’ (faith
concealment) with diplomatically.
REMARKS: C (CURRENT STATUES)
The orthodox Muslims were absorbed the practise
and rituals of Shiaism as a ‘popular Islam’.
The Neo- Islamist groups welcomed its socio-
political ideas as a ‘political Islam’.
The social integration and coexistence among the
Kerala Muslim society are some time has lost its
old glory due to the repeated propaganda of the
Salafi organizations based on the Wahhabism.
R E F E R E N C E S
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Ph.D Thesis. Kerala: Department of History, Univesity of Calicut.
Abdu Sathar, K. M. (1999). History of Ba-Alawi In Kerala. Kerala: Deparment of
History University of Calicut.
Abdul Karim, K. M. (1995). Hazrath Muhammad Shah Thangal. Kondotti: Islamic
Bevinji, I. (2005). Pakshippattu Oru Punarvayana. Kasargod: Mogral Mappila Pattu
Ilias, M. (2007). Muslims And The Cultural Content Of Trading Arab Diaspora On The
Malabar Coast . Asian Journal Of Social Science, 35(4/5).
Miller, R. E. (1976). Mapila Muslaims of Kerala. Madras: Orient Longman.
Randathani, D. H. (2007). Mappila Muslims Astudy on Society and Anti Colonial
Sturggles. Calicut,Kerala: Other Books.
Thanveer, F. V. (2011). Mappila Subculture, Literature, Song and Pakshipattu. Project
Thurston, E. (1909). Castes And Tribes Of Southern India (Vol. IV). Madras: Madras
ANAS P. A
Ph.D. RESEARCH FELLOW
DEPARTMENT OF ISLAMIC STUDIES
ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY. INDIA.
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