The First Muslim of India


Junior Member
Cheraman Perumal Bhaskara Ravi Varma

Cheraman Perumal Bhaskara Ravi Varma was a king of the ancient Tamil-speaking Chera Dynasty in the late eighth Century CE. He is said to have ruled from the seat of the Chera Dynasty; Karuvur Vanchi (modern Karur), on the Amaravati River over Kongu Nadu, the Koduntamizh (deviant Tamil) regions of Kuttanadu (Malabar), Venadu (later Travancore) and Tenpandinadu, the first two being north and south modern Kerala and the third in the extreme south of Tamil Nadu.

It is believed that in 644 AD [1] Malik bin Deenar and 12 of his trade associates landed in Kerala, a state at the southern tip of India and continued the trade between India and Arabia. Their way of trading however was distinctly different from that of earlier Arab traders and the populace was wooed to Islam.

The King of the time, Cheraman Perumal, came to know of the surprising trade practices of these Arabs and had them brought to his palace. On enquiry, Malik Bin Deenar and his comrades related the reason for their honest trade practices to be their recent conversion to Islam.

The king asked them to explain Islam. They discussed the tenets of Islam and talked about Muhammad S.A.W. The king then wanted to know if there was any proof that Muhammad S.A.W was a prophet. The traders said Muhammad S.A.W had performed supernatural deeds, including the Shaqq Al Qamar or the splitting of the moon into two.

The King then summoned his Hindu Astrologers who consulted their almanacs and reported a similar phenomenon recorded by them. The King forthwith abdicated his throne and left with Malik Bin Deenar R.A for Arabia where it is chronicled that he met the Prophet Muhammad and performed the famous Last Hajj with him. On his journey back, he was drowned in a tempest which destroyed his ship and his body came ashore at Salalah, Oman where his grave is a famous landmark today.

A Chera king, Cheramanperumal of Kodungalloor, left for Makkah, embraced Islam, and accepted the name Thajudeen. He married the sister of then King of Jeddah. On his return trip, accompanied by many Islamic religious leaders, led by Malik-ibn-Dinar (RA), he fell sick and passed away. But he had given introductory letters for the team to proceed to ‘Musiris’ (Kodungallur, the Chera capital. The visitors came to Musiris and handed over the latter to the reigning king, who treated the guests with all respect and extended facilities to establish their faith in the land. The king also organised help for the artisans to build the first Mosque at Kodungallur, by converting Arathali temple into a Juma-Masjid. It was built in 612 A.D., and the area around it had been ear-marked for the team’s settlement.


Cheraman Juma Masjid