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A Photo Essay – Keralite Islam: Between Tradition and Modernity

By MK Kasargod

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The Kerala Muslims attribute the presence of Islam in the region to the times of Prophet Muhammad. They believe that Malik bin Dinar, one of the first followers of Prophet Muhammed, and his colleagues began the propagation of Islam in Kerala. In the picture, Hazrath Malik Dinar Gate, Kasargod.

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Malik Deenar Juma Masjid (Kasargod). This is believed to be one of the first mosques in India, built in A.D 603, by the group led by Malik bin Dinar. The structure in the red is a pure Keralite style of architecture, while the green one is a modified part of the mosque. The stones in the rows are grave-stones known as mizan-stones. Most of the Keralite mosques are unique, with an adjacent graveyard.

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This picture depicts the inside of the old mosque at Kasargod.

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Another mosque from Northern Malabar. The local Muslims believe this mosque was built more than one thousand years back. The top-structure shows the traditional Keralite architecture while the rest of the building is completely modern.

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A Sufi-shrine-cum-mosque from northern Malabar built recently.

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Inside view of the Sufi-shrine.

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A local mosque known as srambi. Once this type of mosques were seen across Malabar. But due to the economic boom after the gulf-migration of the Malayalis in the 1970s, most of these mosques have been modernized.

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An alienated Sufi-shrine which hasn’t attracted a wider attention. In the window of this shrine, there is a flag  of Samastha Kerala Jamiyathul Ulama, a leading Sunni faction.

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Markaz Juma Masjid of Calicut. These two pictures show how the Gulf-money had changed the face of Keralite Islam.

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Parappally Makham. Religion is secondary in this saint’s tomb.

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A bannaram into which one has to offer money. If you do so, the people believe that the saint can protect you from road accident. This road passes through a hill-range of the Western Ghats.

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An inside view of a shrine. The oil and lamps. The oil, according to beliefs, cures one’s diseases.

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 [MK Kasargod is a freelance photographer based in New Delhi.] 

[This piece on Cafe Dissensus is protected under Creative Commons License. Once a piece is published in Cafe Dissensus, we will retain the exclusive copyright for a period of 30 days, from the date of publication. Within this period, the piece cannot be re-published elsewhere even in an adapted and modified form.Thereafter, it must be acknowledged that the piece was first published in Cafe Dissensus. Re-publishing articles from Cafe Dissensus in other magazines and newspapers without permission will amount to copyright violation and the publisher is liable to prosecution.] 

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