Ancient Mosque Sites
(i) Methala (Cheramaan Juma Mosque)
- The Cheramaan Juma Mosque is a mosque in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk, Thrissur District in Kerala. ©selfstudyhistory.com
- It is known by various other names also such as Cherman Perumal Masjid, Cheraman Palli, Cheraman Mosque.
- It was built in 629 AD (during the last years of the life of Prophet Mohammed), which makes it the oldest mosque in the Indian subcontinent which is still in use.
- It was built by Malik Deenar, Persian companion of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, on the orders of the successor of Cheraman Perumal, the Chera King.
- The mosque was constructed in Kerala style with hanging lamps.
- Ancient Kerala-style oil lamp is said to have been kept burning continuously since the inception of the Masjid.
- It was rebuilt in 11th century.
- The mosque was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1504 when Lopo Soares de Albergaria attacked the port of Kodungallur.
- The old building was built some time after the 1504 attack.
- The restoration of this historic mosque is being carried out as part of the Muziris Heritage Project.
(ii) Malik Dinar Mosque
- Malik Dinar Mosque is one of the oldest mosque in India, situated in Thalangara in Kasaragod town of Kerala.
- It was supposed to be built in A.D.642.
- It is believed to have been founded by Malik Deenar, who was Persian scholar and traveller.
- He was one of the first known Muslims to have come to India in order to propagate Islam in the Indian Subcontinent after the departure of King Cheraman Perumal.
- The mosque contains the grave of Malik Deenar. It is believed that Malik Dinar was died at Thalangara.
- It was built in the typical Kerala style
- It is a prominent pilgrim center.
(iii) Palaiya Jumma Palli (Old Jumma Masjid) or Meen Kadai Palli:
- It is a mosque in Kilakarai (an ancient port town), Tamil Nadu, India.
- Built in about 628-630 AD
- Constructed by the Yemeni merchants and trade settlers in Pandiya kingdom ordered by Baadhan (Bazan ibn Sasan) Governor of Yemen at the time of Prophet Muhammad, after they accepted Islam.
- The mosque is one of the greatest examples of Dravidian Islam architecture.
- The mosque looks like a temple from outside and inside, but does not have any idol carving on the pillars or walls.
- There is the Mihrab on the wall like all mosques for identifying the direction of prayer, which is the only proof that it is a mosque.
- Elaborate carvings are present on the surfaces of the walls of the mosque and lofty beams are also present in the ‘pallavasal’ of the mosque.
(iv) Juni Mosque or Barwada Mosque:
- Situated on the northern edge of the ancient port town of Ghogha, on the Gulf of Kambhat in Gujarat.
- Barwada Masjid in Gujarati translates as outsider’s or foreigner’s mosque.
- It is still in original form.
- Some historians contend that it predates the Cheraman Mosque and the Palaiya Jumma Palli or the Old Jumma Mosque of Kilakaria in Tamil Nadu.
- The reason to consider this 15×40 foot structure as the oldest mosque in India lies in the Muslim custom of offering namaz during the times of Prophet Muhammad.
- One tradition says that Muslims prayed facing Jerusalem, for the first 13 years of Islam from AD 610 to 623.
- In AD 623, while offering namaz in Medina, Muhammad had a revelation and declared that Muslims were to dace the Kaaba during prayers.
- From then on, Muslims stopped facing Jerusalem and the qibla has faced the Kaaba.
- At Barwada mosque, the qibla, indicated by the position of the mehrab is towards Jerusalem which reflects that this stone structure was erected much before the Prophet’s declaration that the direction to the Kaaba be treated as the qibla.
- The historic mosques in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have their qibla towards the Kaaba.
- There are archaeological evidences that corroborate the presence of Arab traders in Ghogha as early as 7th century CE.
- Ghogha is also the only archaeological site where stone anchors have been found with Islamic glazed pottery.
- Ghogha may have been a manufacturing hub of Indo-Arabic anchor stones.
(v) Jamia Masjid of Banbhore:
- Bhanbhore is a city dating to the 1st century BCE in Sindh, in Thatta district, Pakistan.
- Remains of one of the earliest known mosques, called Jamia Masjid are found in this city which dates back to 727 AD, sixteen years after the conquest of Sindh Region by Arab warrior Muhammad Bin Qasim.
- It has an inscription dating to 727 AD.
- Remains of houses, streets, and other buildings have been found both within and outside the citadel.
- Oldest mosque in Pakistan
- A UNESCO World Heritage site