Kerala mosque spreads religious harmony

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Kodungallur, Nov 6: Pledging to wie off terrorist activities from the society, a Mahal Committee here was taking initiatives for organising awareness campaigns, lectures and a seminars on communal harmony by inviting other religious leaders and prominent people.

The Cheraman Juma Masjid Mahal Committee, which is famous for its religious harmony, was conducting various welfare schemes for the poor and needy, irrespective of their religions, once again taking pain to combat terrorism.

The Committee was planning to organise an awareness campaign and lectures by inviting religious leaders to create an awareness on terrorism and its ill-effects.

''We have a moral responsibility to take such a step in the present situation, as terrorism was fast spreading as a disease in the society,'' Mahal Committee Vice-President V A Sayed Mohammad told.

Mr Mohammad said Father Jhonson Pankath would been be visiting the mosque with about 20 Christian priests and religious heads under the Kottayam Diocese to associate themselves with the initatives initiated by the Committee.

Mahal President P M Mohammed Sayeed said though terrorism was witnessed all over the country, there was a tendency to apportion the blame on the Muslim Community. ''We would eradicate the black spot on the community,'' he added.

He said the Committee's motive was to highlight the importance of secularism and also that it is grossly unfair to treat all Muslims as terrorists and caste aspersions on the entire community just because of the unworthy act of a few misguided elements.

Dr Sayeed alleged that some politicians were encouraging the vested interests for their vote bank politics.

The Cheraman Juma Masjid, the only one mosque in the country, where ''Vidyarambhan, was performed on Vijyadasmai Day and many people, including Mulsims were initiating their children into the world of letters at the mosque,'' he said.

Mr Mohammad said the Committee had always focused on secular credentials and was earmarking 30 per cent of their annual budget for health, education and housing to non-Muslims. The Committee was also planning to include them in the mass-marriage programme and in the 15-member Committee, he added. The Cheraman Juma Masjid was considered to be the earliest built mosque in India. The mosque was founded in the seventh century and was believed to be the first Juma mosque in India. It was named after the King Cheraman Perumal. The mosque is located in the Methala village of Kodungalloor Taluk in the state.

The mosque was at first built as a Hindu temple and was designed and built in accordance with Hindu art. The mosque, until recently, was made of wood and was rebuilt with a strong foundation after the unbearable heat took its toll on the ancient mosque.

As the tradition goes, a Chera king, Cheramanperumal of Kodungallure, left for Mecca, embraced Islam, and accepted the name Thajudeen. He married the sister of then King of Jeddah. On his return trip, accompanied by many Islamic religious leaders, led by Malik-ibn-Dinar (RA), he fell sick and passed away.

The king also organised help for the artisans to build the first Mosque at Kodungallur, by converting Arathali temple into a Juma Masjid. It was build in 629 AD, and the area around it had been earmarked for the team's settlement.

The original mosque had undergone extensive repairs, but traces of the original construction were seen in the plinth, the columns and the roof, which are in the traditional style of Hindu temples.

Built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, the Cheraman mosque has finely crafted woodwork especially in the pulpit, and uses a traditional Kerala brass oil lamp, mostly found in Hindu temples.

It was believed that the old two tombs, belongs to Habib Bin Malik, son of Malik Bin Dinar, and his wife Khumarriah. A block of white marble in the mosque was believed to have been brought from Mecca.

UNI

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