Kerala is having a healthy Muslim community and Kerala Muslims are just second in terms of population, the first being the Hindus. The Muslim community is mainly and densely found in the northern part of Kerala such a Malabar. The muslims in Kerala are believed to be those who have settled in Kerala from the Arab countries, as Kerala was a major trade center for the Arabs in the ancient time. The Muslims in Kerala are one of the ancient Muslim community that exists in India. Thus Kerala is also home to some of the ancient mosques in India and most of them are important pilgrimage centers for Kerala Muslims.
Some of the major Mosques in Kerala are given below:
This famous ancient mosque in Kannur was built by a Muslim preacher Malik Iban Dinar in1124 AD and is situated about 22 kms from Kannur town. It is beleved that the marbles used to built this Mosque were brought from Mecca by its founder, who came to India to spread the word of the prophet. This mosque is one of the major attractions in Kannur. Madayi mosque is also one of the major Muslim pilgirmage destination in Kerala.
The 500 year old Pazhayangadi Mosque (Kondotty mosque), in north Kerala is one of the prominent pilgrim centre of the Muslim community in Kerala. Pazhayangadi Mosque is located 18 km east of Manjeri on the way to Malappuram. Pazhayangadi mosque is situated at Kondotty on the Malappuram - Kozhikode route. This mosque is associated with the Muslim Saint Muhammed Shah, who is popularly known as Kondotty Thangal. The 'Valia Nercha' festival at this mosque is celebrated for three days in February-March and is an important festival which draws a flock devotees.
Cheraman Juma Masjid
The Cheraman Juma Masjid was built by Malik bin Dinar, one of the 13 followers of Prophet Mohammad who reached the ancient port of Musuris(modern Kodungallur), in 629 AD. Legend has it that Cheraman Perumal, a Hindu ruler of Musuris embraced Islam and abdicated his throne and left for Mecca to meet the prophet. Perumal is reported to have died at the port of Zafar in Yemen, where the tomb of the "Indian king" was a major attraction to Muslim pilgrims for over many centuries. It is also believed that Perumal's followers built the mosque after returning from Arabia. "Cheraman Perumal gave a letter saying that the land should be given to build a mosque here and hence the Mosque is known as Cheraman Juma Masjid. Cheraman Perumal died when he was in Oman. Perumal gave a letter to Malik Dinar who had accompanied him and said if the letter was given to the ruler, the land would be allotted and that a mosque should be built, Unlike any other mosques in India, this mosque uses a traditional brass oil lamp, mostly found in Hindu temples in Kerala. The pulpit from where the chief priest gives Friday sermons is made of rosewood which has carvings similar to those in temples. The architecture of Cheraman Juma Masjid also resembles Hindu temple style. There are two tombs in Cheraman Juma Masjid. One is that of Bin Dinar and his sister inside the mosque, where Muslim priests light incense sticks, which is also yet another Hindu practice.
Kanjiramattom Mosque, is believed to have been built as a memorial to Sheikh Fariduddin. The famous Kanjiramattom Mosque is about 25 km from Kochi. The Kanjiramattom mosque is the right example of antique beauty of mazhars and dargahs. The festival of ' Kodikuthu' which commences on the month of December - January every year, is the major festival of Kanjiramattom Mosque.. During the ' Chandanakkudam' ritual held at night, the pilgrims carries pots covered with sandalwood paste and proceed in a procession to the mosque. Six caparisoned elephants and folk performances accompany this grand procession. Traditional Muslim art forms like Oppana and Mappilappattu are also staged during the Kodikuthu festival. It is believed that the great muslim saint Baver has prayed in this Mosque and attained eternal bliss. The Mosque is easily accessible from Cochin and Cochin is well connected to the other major Indian cities by air, rail and road.