Category Archives: Historical Landmarks

Cheraman Juma Masjid – The First Masjid in India

Cheraman Masjid - Modern Structure

What??: Cheraman Juma Masjid – The First Mosque in India

Established??: 619 AD (circa 7th Century AD)

Where??: Kodungallur, Thrissur District, Kerala, India

Nearest Railway Station: Irinjalakuda (16 Kilometres)

Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport (28 Kilometres)

Distance from (by road):
Cochin: 43 Kilometres
Bangalore: 512 Kilometres
Mumbai: 1503 Kilometres
Hyderabad: 1094 Kilometres


Cheraman Masjid - Old Structure


Legend of a king abdicating his throne to vindicate his certitude is a glorious chapter in any history. There are a number of regional and tribal variations on the tradition of Cheraman Perumal, his abdication of throne to convert to Islam and subsequent pilgrimage to Mecca. The most accepted and popular version is as follows.

Cheraman Perumal, the reigning King of Kerala, with Kodungallur as its capital, once experienced an unusual dream of the new moon being split into two halves at the horizon. His Court astrologers could not give him a satisfactory explanation. Later when a group of Arab traders on their way to Ceylon met the Perumal, he mentioned about his dream. They explained that this could probably be the miracle Prophet performed at Arabia (see: Holy Qur’an-54:1-5).

This explanation convinced him and he decided to embrace Islam. His decision to leave for Mecca was kept a secret. He divided his land and assigned various territories to local chieftains to ensure smooth governance. He then left for Mecca, met the prophet and embraced Islam. He spent some years there and while returning home, fell ill and died at Dhufar in Oman. Before his death, he wrote letters to local rulers of Malabar and handed them to his friends. Later, when Malik Bin Dinar and his companions reached Kodungallur, the letters were handed over to the ruling chieftains. They were given permission to construct mosques in different places. The first mosque in India was thus constructed at Kodungallur and Malik Bin Dinar himself was the first Ghazi of this “Cheraman Masjid”. After a while he appointed his relative Habib Bin Malik as the Ghazi at Cheraman Masjid and traveled across the length and breadth of Kerala. He established different Mosques in different parts of Kerala. Later, he left for Arabia where he died. It is believed that the old tombs now at Cheraman Mosque belong to Habib Bin Malik and his wife Khumarriah.


Musris as it was called in ancient days; Kodungallur is only an appendix in history today. lt was the cradle of Kerala culture centuries ago. Dating back to even 400BC it was a vibrant emporium of trade with East and West. Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD) called her “Primum Emorium Indiae” – the most important Indian port. Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Persian and Chinese were here in Musiris. Muchiripattanam, referred to in Valmiki Ramayana is just another pointer to its antiquity.

Augustus Caesar (63 BC –14 AD) had built a temple and protected it by two cohorts at Kodungallur to protect his trade interests. St. Thomas landed here in AD52 and Jews fleeing Jerusalem in AD 69 from the pogrom by Caesar Titus found a haven at Kodungallur. For more than 3000 years, Kerala had a flourishing maritime trade. The merchants from all over the then known world flocked in attracted by the spices, condiments, jewels and various flora and fauna of this ancient land. Even before 800 BC navigators of China and Arabia knew the nature and the trade potential of the monsoon winds. Indian maritime traders were using the monsoon winds to reach Babylon as early as 700 BC.

Teakwood from Kerala has been identified in the Moon-Attur temple of Mesopotamia and in the 6th century BC Palaces of Nebuchadnezzar. There are details about the spices of Kerala in the Holy books of Jews. Etymologists have noticed interesting phonetic similarities in mercantile nomenclature of ancient Tamil, Greek and Arabic words. The Malayalam words like ‘Karpooram’ and “Inji” became “Carpion and Ginger”. The Tamil word “Arisi” metamorphosed to rice (English) through Orisi (Greek). William Logan has identified Keralite colonies in Arabia and in the Island of Secrota in the Gulf of Aden. Some historians like Strobow, found close similarities in the social customs of Nairs of Kerala and some tribes of Arabia. It was around 900 BC Queen Sheba presented the spices of Kerala to King Solomon.

Total absence of reliable historical records makes early history of Kerala a bundle of myths and legends. The intense dynastic struggle that existed then, culminated in the election of a ruler called Perumals. The political scene in Kerala is clearer only after the abdication of the last of the Perumals, Cheraman Perumal. The European period (1498-1947) begins with the landing of Vasco de Gama at Kappad near Kozhicode in 1498. Hyder Ali’s invasion of Malabar in 1766 had tremendous influence in the socio-political scene of Kerala. The reign of Tipu Sultan was the beginning of the long and torturous road to the empowerment of the common man. The fall of Mysore in 1792 placed India into the colonial hands and the Kerala society into yet another period of social and economic “Dark Age” forcing Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), a century later, to utter his famous observation on Kerala as “a lunatic asylum “. The upper caste atrocities with the connivance of the British were so suffocating that there were about 300 anti-British peasant rebellions between the fall of Tipu (1750-1799) and the Malabar Rebellion (1921).

Malabar rebellion of 1921 had great impact in Kerala Islamic history especially that of Kodungallur Muslims. The Ulemas of Malabar found a perfect haven at Kodungallur to escape police atrocities during the rebellion. The receptive minds of the affluent Muslims of Kodungallur amalgamated with the progressive and intellectual brains of the Ulema created a chain of events resulting in the formation of an organization called “Muslim Aikya Sangham” in 1923 at Eriyad, Kodungallur. .

Aikya Sangham and its ideologies were well accepted by the community. Thus under the aegis of Aikya Sangham a total of 1497 schools were started in Muslim dominant areas of Cochin and Malabar. They reformed Madrasa syllabus and modernized Madrasas with benches, desks, black boards. They supplied books, slates and pencils and other study materials free to all students. Mid-day meal at a regular basis was started and all these were open to students of all castes and creed. They encouraged the Muslim community to accept government scholarships and established scholarships of their own. Female literacy was promoted with great emphasis. They were instrumental in establishing a system where Arabic Munshis (teachers) were to be appointed by the government in Muslim dominant areas. The result had far reaching effects. By the time the nation became independent the general literacy of Muslims of Kodungallur was almost at par with that of general population and Muslim female literacy was far ahead of the national Muslim average. It is interesting to note that the village of Eriyad, Kodungallur from where Aikya Sangam originated, has the largest number of Muslim lady doctors now. It is also to be noted that when only a few affluent families were literate in Muslim Community, the general and secular literacy has percolated to the grass root level at Kodungallur even at the beginning of the 20th century. To this great achievement the community is indebted to the vision, courage, and commitment of leaders like, Kottapurath Seethi Mohammed Sahib, Manapat Kunhumohamed Haji, Janab Seethi Sahib and other leaders of Aikya Sangham.Janab Mohamed Abdurahman Sahib was a great leader of Freedom movement and Janab K.M. Ibrahim Sahib son of Seethi Mohamed Sahib and younger brother of Seethi Sahib was a great parliamentarian. Dr P.K. Abdul Gafoor, the founder President of M.E.S is also from Kodungallur.


The Oral tradition is that Cheraman Perumal, when he was convinced of his imminent death, wrote letters to his relatives in Kerala among whom he had partitioned his kingdom before leaving for Mecca. These letters were handed over to his companions. After a while, when Malik Dinar came to Kerala, he brought the letters written by Perumal. In his letter he had asked his relatives “to receive the bearers of the letter and to treat them well”. The rulers of Kerala honoured the letter and permitted Malik Ibn Dinar and his fellow Arab Muslim traders to establish mosques at different places of Kerala. This mosque at Kodungallur is the first to be established. Kerala Vyasan Kunhikuttan Thampuran (1864-1913) is of the opinion that a defunct Buddha vihar was handed over to the nascent Muslims to establish a mosque there.

Inside the Cheraman Juma Masjid

It is believed that the mosque was first renovated or reconstructed sometime in the 11th Century AD and later again 300 years ago. The last renovation was done in 1974 when, as a result of increase in the population of the believers, an extension was constructed demolishing the front part of the mosque. The ancient part of the mosque including the sanctum sanctorum was left untouched and is still preserved. Another extension was made in 1994 to accommodate the ever increasing number of believers. When yet another extension to the mosque was needed in 2001 it was decided to reconstruct this in the model of the old mosque.

Cheraman Masjid Old Pulpit

It is a matter of great pride that devotees and substantial number of pilgrims are from non-Muslim communities. The Mohalla Committees have encouraged this and the secular credentials of the mosque are dearly preserved. Offerings of Iftar during the fasting month of Ramzan are being made by the non-Muslim communities. Many non-Muslim devotees are conducting “Vidhyarambham” of their children at the mosque. .


There are about 1500 families registered as members with a total population of about 10000 members. The management of the affairs of the Mosque is vested in a Committee elected by the general body of the adult members of the Mohalla as per its bye-law for a period of two years..


The site where St. Thomas landed in 52 AD is just 5 kms from the mosque and the famous Bhagavathy temple is only two kms. The Mahadeva temple and the old palaces of the Chera kings are just 250 yards away. Kodungallur (10.3N-76E) is now the headquarters of the Kodungallur taluk of Thrissur District. People are friendly and helpful. There are long stretches of clean sandy beaches with vast areas of backwaters at Kodungallur. Hotel beds are comfortable and affordable. Most people can manage English.


Prophet Nooh’s (alaihissalaam) (Biblical Noah) Ark Discovered

[By Dan Eden/]

I’m often amazed at our lack of knowledge about history. Ordinary people are hungry for this information, yet the organizations responsible to disseminate these facts seem to have an agenda to keep us in the dark. This is especially true when it comes to our ancient human history.

I won’t hold you in suspense with this article: The Ark of Noah (Nooh Alaihissalaam) has been found. It’s real. I’ll describe the evidence in some detail and end with the historical and religious implications.

How It Was Discovered

In 1959, Turkish army captain Llhan Durupinar discovered an unusual shape while examining aerial photographs of his country.

The smooth shape, larger than a football field, stood out from the rough and rocky terrain at an altitude of 6,300 feet near the Turkish border with Iran.


Capt. Durupinar was familiar with the biblical accounts of the Ark and its association with Mount Ararat in Turkey, but he was reluctant to jump to any conclusions. The region was very remote, yet it was inhabited with small villages. No previous reports of an object this odd had been made before. So he forwarded the photographic negative to a famous aerial photography expert named Dr. Brandenburger, at Ohio State University.

Brandenburger was responsible for discovering the Cuban missile bases during the Kennedy era from reconnaissance photos, and after carefully studying the photo, he concluded: “I have no doubt at all, that this object is a ship. In my entire career, I have never seen an object like this on a stereo photo.”


In 1960 the picture [above ] was published in LIFE magazine under the heading of Noahs Ark? That same year a group of Americans accompanied Capt. Durupinar to the site for a day and a half. They were expecting to find artifacts on the surface or something that would be unquestionably related to a ship of some kind. They did some digging in the area but found nothing conclusive and announced to the anxiously waiting world that it appeared to be a natural formation.

Most of the global media turned away from the find and it became a non-story.

In 1977 Ron Wyatt visited the site. Obtaining official permission, Ron and others conducted more thorough research over a period of several years. They used metal detection surveys, subsurface radar scans, and chemical analysis — real science — and their findings were startling. The evidence was undeniable. This was the Ark of Noah (Nooh alaihissalaam).

The Visual Evidence

The first part of the survey was to examine the object and take its measurements. The shape looked like hull of a ship. One end was pointed as you would expect from bow [below: D] and the opposite end was blunt like a stern. The distance from bow to stern was 515 feet, or exactly 300 Egyptian cubits. The average width was 50 cubits. These were the exact measurements mentioned in the Bible.


On the starboard side (right) near the stern there were four vertical bulges protruding from the mud [ B], at regular intervals, that were determined to be the “ribs” of the hull [see below]. Opposite to these, on the port side, a single rib [A] protrudes from the mud. You can see its curved shape very clearly. Surrounding it are more ribs, still largely buried in the mud, but visible upon close examination.

Remember that this object, if it is the Ark, is extremely old. The wood has been petrified. Organic matter has been replaced by minerals from the earth. Only the shapes and traces of the original wood remain. Perhaps this is why the expedition in 1960 was disappointed. They anticipated finding and retrieving chucks of wood, long since eroded.


From the position of the object in the middle of an obvious mud flow, it is obvious that the object slid down more than a mile from its original location. Geologists believe it was originally over 1000 feet higher in the mountain and encased in a shell of hardened mud.

They think that an earthquake in 1948 cracked the mud shell and revealed the structure. This is confirmed by stories from the surrounding villagers who tell of its “sudden appearance” around that time.


Biblical accounts of the Ark describe it as having as many as six levels. The assumed shape of the Ark seems consistent with the bulge [ C] in the middle of the object. In fact, as we will soon learn, radar scans of the structure suggest that this bulge is the collapsed debris of these levels.

Although most people think of the Ark as being rectangular, that only applies to the top decks. The sleek shape of the hull is necessary to enable the huge ship to remain stable in the water and survive tremendous waves.

Ground Penetrating Radar

The human eye needs to see reflected light to recognize an object. To visualize what remains below the earth, scientists use microwaves which can penetrate the ground and bounce back when they hit something solid. This technique is commonly used to locate oil and other minerals. Called Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), the apparatus us made from an antenna that transmits, then listens to receive the “echo” and prints the result on a piece of paper. The delay and strength of this echo tell the geologists how solid and at what depth the objects are under the earth.


The team of geologists didn’t scan the entire object. Instead, they marked out lines that crossed the object with yellow tape. Then they dragged the antenna (about the size of a lawnmower) over the lines and watched the output on the paper recorder. When they got a strong “hit” — meaning there was something solid underneath — they would record the position on the tape [above ]. Later, when they made a map of the object, the tape and the location of the “hits” they realized that there was indeed a structure underneath the mud.

“This data does not represent natural geology. These are man made structures. These reflections are appearing too periodic… too periodic to be random in that type of natural pace.” – Ron Wyatt of SIR Imaging team


The radar cans revealed this structure [above ] under the mud. The symmetry and logical placement of these objects shows that this is unmistakably a man made structure, most likely the Ark of Noah.

Artifacts Retrieved From The Ark

Using the GPR, Ron Wyatt discovered an open cavity on the starboard side. He used an improvised drill to make core sample inside this cavity and retrieved several very interesting objects. Below you can see the artifacts which were sent for laboratory analysis. On the left is the bore hole [see below], followed by what turned out to be petrified animal dung, then a petrified antler and lastly a piece of cat hair.


Perhaps the most significant find from the Ark itself is a piece of petrified wood. When this was first found it appeared to be a large beam. But upon closer examination it is actually three pieces of plank that have been laminated together with some kind of organic glue! This is the same technology used in modern plywood. Lamination makes the total strength of the wood much greater than the combined strength of the pieces. This suggests a knowledge of construction far beyond anything we knew existed in the ancient world.


Tests by Galbraith Labs in Knoxville, Tennessee, showed the sample to contain over 0.7% organic carbon, consistent with fossilized wood. The specimen was once living matter. Photo:
Examination reveals the glue oozed from the layers. The outside of the wood appears to have been coated with bitumen.

Even more surprising were laboratory analyses which not only revealed that the petrified wood contained carbon (proving it was once wood) but there were iron nails [above right] embedded in the wood!

We like to imagine that humanity evolved in a neat sequence of eras, each named after the technology that was discovered. We have the Stone Age (where man developed arrows and stone tools), the Bronze Age (where metals were combined and heated to make tools and household items) and lastly the Iron Age (where iron and steel objects were made by heating iron ore and adding other material — like charcoal — to strengthen it). The Iron Age is usually placed at 1200-1000 BC, yet we have iron nails being used in this extremely old construction.

But Wait… There’s More!

The most surprising find was discovered with sensitive metal detectors. The team located several strong “hits” that, when dug up, revealed large disc shaped rivets. From simple observation of the metal it was possible to see where the rivet had been hammered after being inserted through a hole [below].


If rivets being used in ancient construction doesn’t impress you, this surely will.

An analysis of the metal used to make the rivets revealed that they were a combination of iron (8.38%), aluminum (8.35%) and titanium (1.59%). Remember these trace metals have survived petrification and so do not indicate the exact content in the original material. (see Report from Galbraith Labs )

We know the aluminum was incorporated in the metallic mixture because it does not exist in metallic form in nature. This implies an extremely advanced knowledge of metallurgy and engineering. Characteristics of an iron-aluminum alloy have been investigated in The Russian Chemical Bulletin (2005) and reveal that this alloy forms a thin film of aluminum oxide which protects the material from rust and corrosion. The addition of titanium would provide added strength. This seems to have worked. The rivets have survived from antiquity!

The Surrounding Areas

Several miles from the location of the Ark, huge stones were discovered, some standing upright while others lying on the ground. These stones, weighing many tons, have holes carved in them.

Scientists have determined that they were anchors and the holes would have been their attachment to a ship with hemp rope.


Often these stones will have crosses carved in them, from centuries ago when pilgrims made the journey to visit the Ark. Yes, the Ark was well known in the Middle Ages and even before. And its location was recorded in many historical documents

In Old testament:
“And the Ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.” – Genesis 8:4-5

The Gilgamesh Epic (650 BC) gives Mt. Nisir as the landing place of the Ark. The local name for the town where the Ark was found is Nasar.

The annals of Ashurnasurpal II of Assyria (833-859 BC) places it south of the Zab river (correct).

Theophilus of Antioch (115-185 AD) said the Ark could be seen in his day in the Arabian mountains. Later Church Fathers also mention the Ark as late as the mid 7th century.

In the 13th century, Willam, a traveler, stated for the first time that Mt. Masis was the Ark location (present-day Mt. Ararat).

Ptolemy’s Geographia (1548) mentions the mountains of Armenia as the place of landing. So does the traveler Nicolas de Nicolay (1558).

Pilgrims to the site would gather bits and pieces of the petrified wood which would be used as charms to ward off evil. When they encountered the anchors, they had no doubt about their association with the Ark. They often carved one big cross to represent Noah (Nooh alaihissalaam) and smaller crosses representing his family.


The huge anchors would have been suspended from the keel of the ship. This was a common practice among ancient mariners to stabilize a heavy ship and ensure that the bow is always facing the on-coming waves. A “top heavy” ship, such as the Ark, could easily be capsized by a wave approaching from the side. This is yet further proof that Noah’s Ark was a reality and that it has indeed been found in Turkey.

The Quran and Nooh’s (alaihissalaam) Ark


The Quranic verse detailing about
the exact resting place of the Nooh’s (alaihissalaam) Ark is found in Chapter Hood, verse 44 (Qur.aan 11:44). The verse says:

{When the word went forth: “O earth! swallow up thy water and O sky! withhold (thy rain)!” and the water abated and the matter was ended. The Ark rested on Mount Judi and the word went forth: “Away with those who do wrong!”}

The 49th verse of the same Chapter says:

{Such are some of the stories of the Unseen which We have revealed unto you: before this neither you nor your people knew them. So persevere patiently: for the end is for those who are righteous}

Nooh’s (alaihissalaam) Ark was found on the Turkish-Iranian border, 32 kilometres from Mount Ararat, according to the leader of a team of scientists that has been investigating the site for six years.


It appears in the newspaper on the left (above) of confirmation of the Turkish Government that the Durupinar site is the fossil of the Ark of Nooh (alaihissalaam) (Biblical Noah) while on the right side is the Nooh’s (alaihissalaam) ark visitors centre set up by the Turkish Government for tourist attraction.

The Turkish government is so convinced by the findings that, after years of intransigence, it has designated the site one of special archaeological interest and agreed to its excavation.

The remote site contains a buried, ship-like object, resting an altitude of 2,300 metres. At 170 metres long and 45 metres wide, it conforms almost exactly to the 300 cubit by 50 cubit boat that God told Noah to build, according to Genesis 6 in the Bible.

On surrounding terrain, the American and Middle Eastern scientists have identified huge stones with holes carved at one end, which they believe are “drogue-stones,” dragged behind ships in the ancient world to stabilise them. Radar soundings indicate unusual levels of iron-oxide distribution.

Salih Bayraktutan, head of geology at Turkey’s Ataturk University, estimates the age of the ‘vessel’ at more than 100,000 years. “It is a man-made structure and for sure it is Noah’s Ark.” The site is directly below the mountain of Al Judi, named in the Koran as the Ark’s resting place.

David Fasold, an American shipwreck specialist with no religious affiliation, has led the investigation. He says subsurface radar surveys of the site have produced “very good pictures.”

“The radar imagery at about 25 metres down from the stern is so clear that you can count the floorboards between the walls.”

He believes the team has found the fossilised remains of the upper deck and that the original reed substructure has disappeared. But the findings have infuriated the scores of Christian Ark-hunters who travel to Turkey, convinced the Ark will only be found on Mount Ararat.

Fasold, who calls himself an “Arkologist,” also argues that it was not a great flood that pushed the Ark into the mountains. He says it was “an astronomical event causing a tectonic upheaval, a tidal bore causing gravitational pull in the ocean waters that forced the boat into the mountains.”

The Minaret of Prophet Isa (Alaihissalaam)


The minaret viewed from the rear of the Umayyad Mosque

This minaret, which is on the left side of the Umayyad Mosque is also known as the Jesus (Nabi Isa) minaret. It is from here that Hazrat Isa (Alaihissalaam) will descend back to earth towards the end of time.

Muslims believe that Isa (Alaihissalaam) did not die on the cross but Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) raised him to heaven and he will return one day to defeat the Dajjal (Anti-Christ). According to a Hadith, he is on the second heaven. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) mentioned, “During the Me’raj (Ascension), I met Isa (upon him be peace) on the second heaven. I found him of medium stature, reddish white. His body was so clean and clear, that it appeared as though he had just performed ghusal (ablution, cleansing of the entire body) and come.”

In another Hadith, the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) mentioned, “Allah will send Maseeh ibne Maryam (Messiah son of Mary). Thus he will descend near the white eastern minaret of Damascus, clad in two yellow sheets, leaning on the shoulders of two angels .” [Sahih Muslim]


Aerial view of the Umayyad Mosque


The physical features of Isa (Alaihissalaam): He will resemble the famous sahabi Urwa bin Masoodi (radhiyallahu anhu). He will be of average height and red and white in colour. His hair will be spread to the shoulders, straight, neat and shining as after a bath. On bending his head, it will seem as if pearls are falling. He will have armour on his body. He will be wearing two pieces of cloth light yellow in colour.

He will descend on a Jamaat (group) that will be righteous at the time and comprising of 800 men and 400 women. The people will be preparing for war at the time against Dajjal. It will be time for Fajr prayers, and Imam Mahdi will be the Amir (leader) of the Muslims. From the darkness of the dawn, a sound will suddenly be heard that “one who listens to your pleas has come” – the righteous people will look everywhere and their eyes will fall on Isa (Alaihissalaam).

Briefly, at the time of Fajr, Isa (Alaihissalaam) will descend. When descending, Isa (Alaihissalaam)’s hands will be on the shoulders of two angels (according to another source (Kab bin Ahbar Rahimahullah), a cloud will carry him). On their insistence Isa (Alaihissalaam) will introduce himself. He will inquire about their enthusiasm and thoughts on Jihad against Dajjal. Isa (upon him be peace) will descend on the eastern side near the minaret in Damascus. At the time Imam Mahdi will have proceeded forward to lead the Fajr Salaat. The Iqamat of the Salaat will already have been recited and Imam Mahdi will call Isa (Alaihissalaam) for Imamat (to lead the prayer), but he (Isa (Alaihissalaam) will instead tell Imam Mahdi to lead the prayer since the Iqamat of that Salaat has already been said for him. Thus Imam Mahdi will lead the prayer, and Isa (Alaihissalaam) will follow him. After Salaat Isa (Alaihissalaam) will search for Dajjal (Anti-Christ) and kill him.

Isa (Alaihissalaam) will subsequently kill Dajjal and a great era of peace and harmony will come to the world. Isa (Alaihissalaam) will marry and have children and will live for 19 years after his marriage. He will then pass away and be buried next to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) in Majid-e-Nabwi, Madinah.