India’s Cheraman mosque: A symbol of religious harmony

April 23, 2017

Kerala’s Cheraman mosque points to a time of peaceful co-existence in an era when that seems increasingly under threat.

According to a foundation stone on the premises, the Cheraman mosque was built in AD629, although that has been disputed [Hui Zhong/Al Jazeera]
Kodungallur, Kerala – On India’s western coast, facing the Arabian Sea, there once lived a Hindu king who had a vision of the Moon splitting into two halves. Concerned that the dream was a warning, he immediately asked his court astrologers to interpret what he had seen.

They couldn’t provide an explanation that would satisfy the king so the problem remained unsolved until a group of Arab traders arrived at his port, in what is now India’s southern state of Kerala. The traders explained that the king’s vision was most likely a reference to one of the miracles performed by the Prophet Muhammed.

Convinced, the king converted to Islam and set off to Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. He died before he could return to his kingdom, but left instructions to build what would become India’s first mosque.