Cheraman Juma Masjid is a mosque in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk in the Indian state of Kerala.The Cheraman Masjid is said to be the very first mosque in India, built in 629 AD by Malik lbn Dinar. It is believed that this mosque was first renovated and reconstructed in the 11th century AD. Many non-Muslims conduct initiation ceremonies to the world of letters of their children here.
Kerala Vyasan Kunhikuttan Thampuran is of the opinion that a piece of land was gifted to the Muslims to establish a mosque. Since ancient times, trade relations between Arabia and the Indian subcontinent were active. Even before Islam had been established in Arabia, Arab traders visited the Malabar region, which was a major link between the ports of South and Southeast Asia. With the advent of Islam, the Arab merchants became carriers of the new religion and they propagated it wherever they went. Numerous Indians living in the coastal areas of Kerala accepted the principles of the new religion and converted to Islam. The Brahmin King Cheraman Perumal was the first Indian that convert to Islam based on a popular historical event.
The event was that a group of The Islamic prophet Muhammad’s Sahaba (companions) visited Kodungallur. The Chera ruler witnessed a miraculous happening — the sudden splitting of the moon, the celebrated miracle of Muhammad — and learned on inquiry that this was a symbol of the coming of a Messenger of God from Arabia. Soon after, Perumal traveled to Makkah, where he embraced Islam and accepted the name Thajudeen. On his way back to India he died at Salalah in the Sultanate of Oman. On his deathbed he is said to have authorised some of his Arab companions to go back to his kingdom to spread Islam. Accordingly, a group of Arabs led by Malik Bin Deenar and Malik bin Habib arrived in north Kerala and constructed a Masjid at Kodungalloor. As the construction of masjid was sponsored by the King Cheraman, it was named the Cheraman Juma Masjid.
The mosque has an ancient oil lamp which always burns and which is believed to be more than a thousand years old. People of all religions bring oil for the lamp as offering. Like most mosques in Kerala, this mosque allows entry for Non-Muslims.
The mosque is built in the traditional Hindu architectural style using brass oil lamps. The rosewood pulpit, from where the imam recites the Friday Jumu’ah, is covered with carvings. A block of white marble in the mosque is believed to have been brought from Makkah.
Knowledge galore is now to be ready to Islamize the Indian sub-continent through all 250000 compatible mosques in India by setting up library and the internet connection in the coming year 2011. Another 150000 mosques in the rural and un-facilitated areas are in the list of upgradation, where arrangements of solar energy are being ready very fast to run the basic internet, at least to cover all the mosques.
“Every mosque in the country that has space to spare may soon have a library and a reading room”- as resoluted by the Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI), a Delhi based NGO. The library initiative has the support of all leading Muslim organizations, including the Jamiat Ulema, Jamaat Islami and the Milli Council as surfaced in a Delhi programme of Zakat Foundation on 1st Dec. 2010, in presence of many dignitaries from the Indian Muslim community.
Talking to TwoCircles.net, a internet web-community and news portal for Muslims, Syed Zafar Mahmood, president of ZFI said that “the organization wants to sponsor a reading room with a computer and books to every mosque which is ready to provide ZFI with just some space. ZFI will also provide money to build the room.”
“There can be many benefits from these information centers. For instance it will become a center from where it will be very easy for Muslims to take information regarding several welfare schemes of the government,” said Mr. Mahmood.
Mr. Mahmood said that usually a mosque is open for 5 hours at the maximum and in this situation it will be a great idea to use the space for the overall welfare of the community.
“We also want to furnish these information centers with books and newspapers so that a habit of reading can be started among the Muslim youngsters and they can become up to date with the latest happenings around the world,” he further added.
Mr. Mahmood appealed to the management of all mosques in the country to co-operate with ZFI in making this plan successful.
The president of ZFI also informed that they got many calls from Imams (priest) of Mosques wanting to implement this proposal in their mosques.