Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama Profile

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Samastha Kerala Jam’iyyathul Ulama (S.K.J.U)

 

Samastha Kerala Jam’iyyathul Ulama (S.K.J.U) is the religious organisation of the Sunni Muslim scholars and clerics of the Indian state of Kerala.Samastha is the one of the major Muslim faction in Kerala in terms of number of followers and is known widely after the cleric E.K. Aboobacker Musliar, the former leader of the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama. Samastha Kerala Jam’iyyathul Ulama’s supreme body and the working committee is called the Mushawara. Kumaramputhur AP Muhammed Musliyar and Prof. K.Ali Kutty Musliyar are the current President and General Secretary of Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama respectively.Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama was formed in 1926 at Kozhikode, under Varakkal Mullokoya Thangal, to resist the emerging Salafi organizations.

 

Kerala Muslims, who constitute 26.56% of the total population of the state, have their own characteristics and peculiarities that distinguish them from other Muslim communities in India. Islam entered South India much early compared to the Northern parts of the country. Arab traders and missionaries propagated their faith by their own ideal manners, persuasion and example. The direct relation of Kerala Muslims with Arabian Islam alienates them from what is called Indo-Persian Islam. In contrast to the rest of Muslims in India, Kerala Muslims observe the Shafi’i school of law. They never enjoyed ruling power unlike in North India, but remained as self-reliant merchants, fisherman or peasants throughout the centuries. There were no linguistic barriers to alienate Muslims from their non-Muslim counterparts, as the entire Keralites speak the Dravidian language of Malayalam, and Muslims never used Urdu as their mother tongue.

 

With the onset of the 20th century and the introduction of modernist as well as Western trends in all walks of life, Kerala Muslims also saw waves of changes sweeping them along with other communities. The tragic incidents of 1921 Malabar Rebellion, which was culmination of almost four centuries long repression and anti Muslim cruelties by the colonial powers and which had made Muslims condition worse and pathetic in all fields, expedited the modern trends. However, the responses to the present situation led to influence by the modernist and reformist movements within the community thus calling for a reformed Islam rejecting the entire traditional heritage.The traditional spiritual leaders and Ulama’s realized that they had to protect the Muslim community from the infiltration and influences of western un-Islamic culture on one hand and the defend the traditional Islam from being absorbed by the modernist, fundamentalist and puritanical as well as reformist versions of religion on the other hand. To face both the challenges simultaneously, the spiritual leadership thought of reinvigorating the Islamic education, of spreading the grand heritage of knowledge, of organizing to protect the traditional rites and rituals and of making the public more religious and more sensitive towards new interpretations. Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama was the result of this traditional response.

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