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Vakkom Moulavi

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Vakkom Moulavi

Vakkom Abdul Khadir Moulavi
Born Abdul Khadir
(1873-12-28)28 December 1873
Travancore Princely State, Madras Presidency, British India
Died 31 October 1932(1932-10-31) (aged 58)
Travancore Princely State, Madras Presidency, British India
Nationality India (formerTravancore state)
Other names Vakkom Moulavi
Known for Founder and Publisher of Swadeshabhimani, Muslim Scholar, Social leader and reformer.
Home town Vakkom
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Aamina Ummal
Children Mohammed Eeza, Abdul Kadar ( Junior)
Parents Aash Beevi (Mother)
Muhammad Kunju (Father)

Vakkom Muhammed Abdul Khadir Moulavi, popularly known as Vakkom Moulavi[1][2] was a social reformer, teacher, prolific writer, Muslim scholar, journalist, freedom fighter and newspaper proprietor in Travancore, a princely state of the present day Kerala, India. He was the founder and publisher of the newspaper Swadeshabhimani which was banned and confiscated by the Government of Travancore in 1910 due to its criticisms against the government and the Diwan of Travancore, P.Rajagopalachari.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Early life and family

Moulavi was born in 1873 in Vakkom, Chirayinkil Taluk, Thiruvanthapuram in Travancore. He was born into a prominent Muslim family Poonthran which had ancestral roots to Madurai and Hyderabad, and many of his maternal ancestors worked for the military of the state government.

His father, a prominent merchant, engaged a number of scholars from distant places, including an itinerant Arab savant, to teach him every subject he wished to learn. Moulavi made such rapid progress, that some of his teachers soon found that their stock of knowledge was exhausted and at least one of them admitted that had learnt from his student more than he could teach him. In a short time, Moulavi had learnt many languages including Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Tamil, Sanskrit and English.[8]

Moulavi's son Vakkom Abdul Kadar (Junior) was a writer,journalist and literary critic and another son, Mohammed Eeza was a writer and scholar of Islamic studies. One of his nephews, Vakkom Majeed, was an Indian freedom fighter and a former member of Travancore-Cochin State Assembly and another nephew, P.Habeeb Mohamed, was the first Muslim judge of the Travancore High Court of Kerala.

Journalism and Swadeshabhimani

Maulavi started the Swadeshabhimani newspaper on 19 January 1905, declaring that the paper will not hesitate to expose injustices to the people in any form, but on 26 September 1910, the newspaper and press were sealed and confiscated by the British Police, and the editor Ramakrishna Pillai was arrested and banished from Travancore to Thirunelveli.[3][4][9][10][11]

After the confiscation of the press, Moulavi concentrated more on social and cultural activities, becoming a social leader,[3] also writing several books. Daussabah and Islam Matha Sidantha Samgraham are original works, while Imam Ghazali's Keemiya-e- Saadat, Ahlu Sunnathuwal Jammath, Islamic Sandesam, Surat-ul fathiha are translations.[5]

Social Reformation

Maulavi was considered one of greatest reformers in the Kerala Muslim community, and is sometimes referred to as the "father of muslim renaissance".[12] He emphasised the religious and socioeconomic aspects much more than the ritualistic aspects of religion. He also campaigned for the need for modern education, the education of women, and the elimination of potentially bad customs among the Muslim community.[13] Influenced by the writings of Muhammad Abduh of Egypt and his reform movement, Moulavi started journals in Arabi-Malayalam and in Malayalam modelled on Al Manar.[14][15] The Muslim was launched in January 1906 and was followed by Al-Islam(1918) and Deepika(1931). Through these publications, he tried to teach the Muslim community about the basic tenets of Islam. Al-Islam began publishing in April 1918 and played a pivotal role in Muslim renaissance in Kerala. It opposed Nerchas and Uroos festivals amongst the Muslim community, thereby attracting opposition from the orthodox ulema to the extent that they issued a fatwa declaring the reading of it as sacrilege. Financial troubles and lack of readership led to the closure of the journal within five issues, but it is regarded as the pioneer journal that attempted religious reform amongst the Mappilas of Kerala. While it was published in Malayalam language using Arabi-Malayalam script, Muslim and Deepika used Malayalam in script also.[12][16][17]

As a result of the continuous campaigning of Maulavi throughout the State, the Maharaja's Government introduced the teaching of Arabic in all state schools where there were Muslim pupils, and offered them fee concessions and scholarships. Girls were totally exempted from payment of fees. Maulavi wrote text books for children to learn Arabic, and a manual for training Arabic instructors for primary schools. At the instance of Maulavi Abdul Qadir the State Government soon instituted qualifying examinations for Arabic teachers of which he was made the chief examiner.[18]

There were many other dubious practices in the Muslim community of the time, such as the dowry system, extravagant expenditure on weddings, celebration of annual "urs" and Moharrum with bizarre unIslamic features bordering on idolatrous rituals. Maulavi launched his campaign against such practices with the help of his disciples, and with the co-operation of other learned men who shared his views and ideals.[19][20][21] As the campaign developed into a powerful movement, opposition was mounted by the Mullahs. Some issued "fatwas" that he was a "kafir", others branded him as a "Wahhabi".

He also tried to create unity among Muslims, starting the All Travancore Muslim Mahajanasabha[22] and Chirayinkil Taluk Muslim Samagam, and worked as the chairman of the Muslim Board of the Government of Travancore. His activities were further instrumental in the establishment of "Muslim Aikya Sangham", a united Muslim forum for all the Muslims of the Travancore, Cochin and Malabar regions, and helped guide the Lajnathul Mohammadiyya Association of Alappuzha, Dharma Bhoshini Sabha of Kollam amongst others. In 1931, he founded the Islamia Publishing House, with his eldest son Abdussalam supervising the translation into Malayam and publication of Allama Shibli's biography of Omar Farooq in two volumes under the title Al Farooq.

Last days

In Deepika, he serialised the Malayalam translation of the Quran, together with his brief commentary and the original text written in an elegant calligraphic style by Maulavi himself. It was his life's ambition to produce a translation of the Quran in Malayalam with his own commentary, but he died on 23 August 1932 aged 59 before the work was completed.

Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust (VMFT)

The Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust (VMFT) is intended to be a lasting memorial to Vakkom Moulavi. Dr N. A. Karim, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University is the President of the Trust and Er.A.Suhair is the chairman and Managing Trustee.

See also

Further reading

  • Vakkom Moulavi – (1981) Haji M. Muhammedkannu.[23]
  • Vakkom Moulaviyude thiranjedutha kritikal(വക്കം മൗലവിയുടെ തിരഞ്ഞെടുത്ത കൃതികള്‍) (The Collected Works of Vakkom Moulavi – Malayalam) Published by Vakkom Moulavi Publications, 1979
  • Muhammad Abdul Khader Moulavi, Pg 314, Modernist Islam, 1840–1940: a sourcebook By Charles Kurzman
  • സ്വദേശാഭിമാനി വക്കം മൗലവി (ജീവചരിത്രം) ഡോ. ജമാല്‍ മുഹമ്മദ് (2013), കോഴിക്കോട്: ഇസ്ലാമിക് പബ്ലിഷിംഗ് ഹൗസ്, പേജ് 216.

ചരിത്രത്തെ സമ്മര്ദ്ദaത്തിലാക്കുന്ന ജീവചരിത്രം by പി. ശ്രീകുമാര്‍


  1. ^ Mappilas of Malabar: Studies in Social and Cultural History. Sandhya Publications. 1983. p. 80. 
  2. ^ a b "Vakkom Abdul Khader Moulavi". Retrieved 24 November 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c "VAKKOM MOULAVI". Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Ende Naadukadathal (5 (2007) ed.). D C Books/ Current Books, Kottayam. 1911.  
  5. ^ a b "Vakkom Complex Opened". Retrieved 24 November 2008. 
  6. ^ "Kerala poets and writers". Retrieved 24 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "Articles on Vakkom Moulavi". Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Literary Criticism: Western Influence". PRD, Kerala Government. Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  10. ^ Constitutionalism in Travancore and Cochin. Kerala Historical Society. 1972. pp. 18, 19. 
  11. ^ In Quest of Kerala. Accent Publications. 1974. pp. 65,160. 
  12. ^ a b Pg 239, Pg 345 – Proceedings of the 19th Annual conference, South India History Congress, 2000
  13. ^ "Leaders of Renaissance ( Social Studies Textbook,Standard X,)". Department of School Education, Government of Kerala. Retrieved 24 November 2008. 
  14. ^ Pg 67, Islam in Kerala: groups and movements in the 20th century- M. Abdul Samad,Laurel Publications, 1998
  15. ^ Kerala Muslims: The Long Struggle. Sahitya Pravarthaka Cooperative Society ; Modern Book Centre. 1992. 
  16. ^ Pg 134, Journal of Kerala studies, Volume 17,University of Kerala.,1990
  17. ^ Malayalam Literary Survey. Kēraḷa Sāhitya Akkādami. 1984. p. 50. 
  18. ^ Pg 36, Pg 56–58,Educational empowerment of Kerala Muslims: a socio-historical perspective By U. Mohammed, Other Books, Kozhikode
  19. ^ Social and Cultural History of Kerala. Sterling. 1979. p. 210. 
  20. ^ A Short History of Kerala. Pai. 1966. 
  21. ^ Social and Religious Reform Movements in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Institute of Historical Studies, Calcutta, Institute of Historical Studies. 1979. p. 389. 
  22. ^ Educational Development in India. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. 2002. p. 23.  
  23. ^ "The following biographies are available at the KCHR archives". 
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