The small coastal fishing town of Tanur was one of the earliest settlements of Muslim in India. Before the twenty first century, many foreign and native students where visited and studied here. As the historical record, Tanur Valiya Kulangara Palli Dars was the first and well-known religious institution in Kerala which was started by Sheikh al- Imam Muhammed Abdullahil Halrami (R) in 675 AH. It had also a sufi heritage that many sufi scholars like Sayed Hasim Thangal, Sheikh Abdullahil Halrami,  Valiyamkod Umar Qali, Sheik Avukoya Musliyar, Sheikh Abdurahman Annakshabandi, Yusuful Falfari, Aminummantakattu Pareekutti Musliyar, Pangil Ahmad Musliyar, Quthubi Muhammed Musliyar, Shamsul Ulama EK Abubacker Musliyar and Sayed PP Thangal, etc. lived and took service. This paper deals a sufi heritage study of Tanur with the special references on Sheikh Abdurahman Annaqshabandhi.


Key words: - earliest settlements of Muslims in India, Tanur Valiya Kulangara Palli Dars, religious institution, sufi heritage.



Tanur is widely prominent and well-known in the history of Kerala and India especially for its religious institutions, dedication in the freedom struggle and it is also a famous sufi hub in Malabar region. It, one of the earliest settlements of Muslim in India, has an illuminating religious heritage, political awareness, cultural prosperity and communal balance, albeit the majority of its inhabitance is Muslim which approximately 77% of the total population. Muslims has an inextricable role in the development of the Islamic culture in the district and in the sustainable religious harmony of Kerala and particularly in the demonstration of strong belief and patriotism in the freedom struggle against colonial powers. The Muslims community of Tanur is more advanced in the culture, education, social fraternity, political identity and religious vibrancy. Tanur has a sufi heritage that the renowned religious and sufi scholars such as Sayed Hasim Thangal, Sheikh Abdullahil Halrami,  Valiyamkod Umar Qali, Sheik Avukoya Musliyar, Sheikh Abdurahman Annakshabandi, Yusuful Falfari, Aminummantakattu Pareekutti Musliyar, Pangil Ahmad Musliyar, Quthubi Muhammed Musliyar, Shamsul Ulama EK Abubacker Musliyar and Sayed PP Thangal, etc. educate and show the way the community on the spiritual way.



Sufism is the concept that the gratification of God almighty and real truth can be found through the prayers and meditations rather than any other rough reasons and senses. In this way the man who accepts this way should be cleared from all types of carelessness and irregularities. This is the real path of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which he led his whole society to the way of truth from the ashes of backwardness only through his magnanimous personality. So it is the only way to find the path which God almighty Allah instructed to entire world.

Sufis are the real Muslims and real Muslims are only Sufis, also named others in Islam Wali, Murshid, Sheikh, and Darvesh. Only the experiences and hard working lead to this great path. They help the community to get victory in two houses. The eminent scholars discussed and defined about the sufi and Sufism.

Imam Gazali explains the Sufi ways: -“Sufis method is to attain spiritual perfection by means of theory and practice. The Sufism is to mortify the self and acquire freedom from baser passions and evil attributes so that the heart may get rid of the thought of anything save God and to embellish it with divine remembrance”.

Abu Ali Al Rudhbari has defined “a sufi as on who wears wool over (his) purity, gives his costs the taste of tyranny and braving overthrown the world, journeys in the pathway of the chosen one (i.e. Prophet (PBUH))”.

Imam Qushairi, who is an author of famous Sufi book Rasail says “the sufism is the way of purity (Safa) of inner and outer life”.

 Sheikh Ul Islam Zakariyyal Ansari defines sufism beautifully “sufism teaches how to purify one’s life, improve one’s morals, and build up ones inner and outer life in order to attain perpetual bless”. Its subject matter is the purification of the soul and its end or aim is the attainment of eternal felicity and blessedness.

Abul Hasan Nuri says: -“sufism is the renunciation of all selfish pleasures or in other works giving up of all unlawful carnal pleasures”.

 According to Abu Ali Qazwinisufism is good manners”.

Abu Mohamed al Jurayri says:- “The sufism is the building up of good habits and keeping of the heart from all evil desires and passions.

Muhammad bin Ali expressed that the sufism is goodness. Then the sufism nothing but the following things:-

1.      The purification of the senses and the will.

2.      It is the effacement of one’s desires in the will of God.

3.      It is the building up of a solid wall between the pure self and gog and magog of passions and desires

4.      It is the true way living God, scarifying them in his way and avoiding of what is forbidden and the performing of what is ordained by him”.

The spirituality is the focal point and the back born of Islam and it has a lot of unavoidable and un-forgettable roles in the multi-faced development of the Muslim community. It has been undergone for a lot of discussions as well as criticism. William. C. Chittick observes “the spirituality or the sufism as the life giving force of the Muslim community”. Reading the vast and wide meanings of Sufism or spirituality, we can see the both observations and opinions. While Mr. Robert Grave observes “the spirituality is as the isolated face of Islam”. Sadiya Dehlavi sees the same spirituality as the real face of Shari’a. When Robert Grave illustrates the sufism as the significant minus point of Islam, Sadiya Dehalavi elucidates the sufism itself as the significant plus point of Islam. The serious conflicts between these plus-minus observations are the power of spirituality and its importance in the history.

Nowadays, there are many orders in sufism to make glory the life and death of mankind here and hereafter. Qadiri, Chisthi, Suhrawardhi, Shadhuli, Naqshabandhi, etc are some orders exist nowadays in this world. All of these orders have different views and concepts on behalf of the Quranic and Prophetic verses. The psychological methodology of these orders attracts mankind to the wide world of sufism.




2.1 Qadiriyah Order

It is born in 6th centaury at Iraq. It had an significant standard amidst all thariqahs. It is known in the name of Abdul Qadir Jeelani. He had many super human activities. So many people attracted in it and converted to Islamic religion. This thariqah took place after departure of Abdul Qadir Jeelani, his some students and followers established a community to go on path of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani.


2.2 Naqshabandi Order

Nakshabandi order is branded in the name of Bahaudin Naqshabandh. It has a special methodology. Through this way sheikh leads the followers to the right path which is the unconditional remembrance about God Almighty Allah. Holy verses of Holy Quran: “Be afraid of him, and then He will teach you”. That is why one who will be taught by almighty Allah, will get more knowledge to lead their society and followers to the right way of success. Sheikh will protect this disciple carefully. Everyone he cannot do nothing evils without his moral permission. Then, it is understood that this is the way and life of prophet (PBUH) and his companions.


2.3 Chishthiyah Order

This is one of the main sufi brotherhoods of south Asia. Chishthiyah takes its name from the village of Chishth at Hearet in western Afghanistan. It is related to seventh caliphate Mueenudheen Chishthi. It is characterized by an extreme enthusiasm for ecstatic listening to music and poetry. Abu Ishaqu Shami was founder of this thariqah. The Chishties follow five basic devotional practices

1.      Reciting the names of Allah loudly, sitting in the prescribed posture at prescribed times.

2.      Reciting the names of Allah silently.

3.      Regulating the breath.

4.      Absorption in mystic contemplation.

5.      Forty days of spiritual confinement in a lonely corner or cell for prayer and contemplation.




2.4 Suhravardi Order

Master of Avariful Maarif sheikh Shihabudheen Omar Assuhravardi was the sheikh. Its main axis is to division times on its appropriate term to peoples from fast, standing and industrious on stimulated prayers, faction and rituals and on telling isbath and nafye as it is a practice in heart. This order reached to Indians by the hands of Sheikh Bahaudheen Zakariya Multhani, his succession was from Shihabudheen Sheikh.


2.5 Rifae Order

This thwariqahs main growth centre is Iraq. Ahmadubnu Aliyyu bnu Yahiya, famous scholar of Shafei-jurisprudence, is one of the prominent khalifas from Rifaiyah. This order is mating to his grandfather Rifayathul Hasanil Makkiyyi. This order never receipted any contradictive theories or ideas from Quran and Hadith. His sufi life was fully included in shari’a laws.


2.6 Shaduli Order

This is called on the name of Imam Abul Hasan shaduli , they say if anyone want hereafter life he must avoid this world life, because this world have not any connection with after this world. If anyone to get here after life then he will be avoid the hereafter. One who acts for henceforth is woman and one who acts for this world is bisexual. One who perform for Allah, he is the man and he must go forward through the Vahjathul Vujood this is the pledge of Shaduli order. The mureed will perform the ritual ablution after he face the sheikh, sheikh will instruct la ilaha ill allah and after the mureed will go for repentance.



Like any other religion, Islam found its footsteps in Kerala early years through the Arabian traders and companion of prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Tajudhin and Abdu Rahman Samiri, it was in prophetic era In Mecca. Coastal areas have utmost position in the spread of Islam because it was epicenter of all transactions. The caravan under the leadership of Malik bin Deenar (R) arrived at Kodungalloor and they establish mosque as first in Kerala. The Kodungalloor was the first centre of Islamic revelation in Kerala.

By the coming of Arabian traders was started Islamic propagation. The Islamic belief handed over to indigenous residents they embraced Islam with the nature of openness. The hospitality of regional rulers to Muslim traders and propagators was noticeable they helped them to make Islamic ambiance in Kerala. They helped also in the building of mosques and other Islamic institution with financial assistance and mental support.

The prominent historians’ views that Islam was reached in Tanur by the hand of Malik bin Habib (R), who is son in brother of Malik bin Deenar (R). The first Qali (Islamic Jurisprudent Judge) was Ali bin Jaleel and the first mosque was Punnakkara Masjid, which was situated in the north side of Tanur town Juma Masjid and it was destroyed by the havoc.



Islam has very deep influence in Tanur. It is being a very leading religion, the cause of influence related to religious scholars, religious institutions and sufis because of their propagation. So they have very well influence among Muslims in Keralates. The prime cause of reverence of Muslims is that they helped Muslims to embrace Islam through their works and deeds. Mainly, Islamic education and its activities are based on Tanur Valiya Kulangara Palli, which is situated in Tanur town. Here a traditional education which is started by Sheikh Abdullahil Halrami in 675 AH.

The Muslims has a peculiar culture and tradition in Kerala mainly in Tanur. Sufi respect is one among them. They help to spread of Islam in every region. As other region, sufis of Tanur are on different ways some sufis hail from overseas, somewhere indigenous scholars and some sufis appear for their service as a visiting teacher all are followed the different sufi orders.


4.1 Indigenous Sufis

1.      Sayed Muhsin Tangal,

2.      Muchikkal Arabi Uppapa,

3.      Aminummantakathu Pareekutti Musliyar,

4.      Tanur Umar Qali

5.      Paravanna Muhyadeen Kutti Musliyar and

6.      Sayed PP Tangal Kananthalli, etc.


4.2 Migrant Sufis

1.      Ali bin Jabir, who is the first Qali of Tanur

2.      Sayed Hashim Tangal,

3.      Sayed Attakkoya Tangal,

4.      Sayed Kunchu Seethi Tangal,

5.      Sheik Abdullahil Halrami, who is the first mudarris of Tanur Valiya Kulangara Palli Dars

6.      Sheik Abdurahman An Naqshabandhi and

7.      KK Abubacker Hasrath, etc.


4.3 Sufi Mudarris in Tanur

1.      Veliyangodu Umar Qali,

2.      Sheikh Avukoya Musliyar,

3.      Sheikh Yusuf al Falfari,

4.      Pangil Ahmad Kutti Musliyar,

5.      Karingappara Muahammad Musliyar,

6.      Velliyppuram Saithalavi Musliyar,

7.      KC Kunchu Muhammad Musliyar,

8.      KPA MoideenKutti Musliyar,

9.      Pathi Abdul Qadir Musliyar,

10.  Quthubi Muhammed  Musliyar,

11.  P Ibrahim Musliyar,

12.  KV Muhammad Musliyar,

13.  EK Abubacker Musliyar Shamsul Ulama,

14.  Beeran Kutti Musliyar and

15.  CM Usthad, etc.



As far as Muslims concern, the sufis admiration is a ritual they expecting gain from God from it. However, to Keralates they have traditional history also in sufis reverence. Because, almost all saints had helped local Muslim Community convert those to Islam from traditional religion. Those tireless and earnest efforts caused Islamic growth in Tanur. Hasim Thangal is one of the sufi saint of this type; he caused to much more persons to be Muslims. Another important faction that facilitates the growth of Islam in Tanur was the work of sufis and Divine, who have greater popularities and influences among the common folk; their accessibility to commons generated much enthusiasm and inspiration earning many voters to the new faith and ideology. Various mosques found in different parts of Tanur are in one way or other associated with some sufis or Divines.



All sufi saints were led Muslim community through the spiritual way. They gave spiritual foods to materialistic appetite. Some were intervened in all problems. They kept vigil over the community in Tanur and Kearala, whether they Muslim or non-Muslim. Moreover they socially and culturally flourished by giving them timely instructions and feedbacks. So that, some Saints remembered as social reformers rather than spiritual leaders, all people pays their reverence to saints as a reformist. Once colonial hands upheld in Kerala, especially in Tanur, when some saints played crucial roles against colonial invaders. They encouraged locals to fight against imperial powers as much as possible way. Aminummantakatthu Pareekutti Musliyar and Pangil Ahamad Kutti Musliar were played a crucial role in this time. They fought against them through the spiritual power. Therefore, those, reminiscence remain alive everywhere and in all minds.



Sheikh Abdurrahman Naqshabandhi, the greatest Naqshabandhi Sheikh in Kerala, is also hail from Yemen. His family was famous in the country and its neighbors. Some of his family members migrated to India under the Imam Ahmed al Yemeni and they stayed at Kunthapuram. The grandsons Sheikh Ahmed al Yemeni travel in to Mahi and settled there and built a mosque. His son Ali al Yamani was the father of Sheikh Abdurrahman An Naqshabandhi.

After the demise of his father, Sheikh Abdurrahman Nqshabandhi travelled to Tanur. From the childhood, he was an accepted and eminent personality among teachers, friends and common people. He expert in all knowledge and imbibed what he can do in his short life.

He received twareeqath from the great Sheikh Abu Abdullah Ahmed bin Sufi Annuncheri (R). After this noble and notable position, he sunk in the depth of spirituality and spent most of his life sacrificing all of his luxuries and comfort abilities in favor of God almighty Allah. He earned throughout his life many more disciples in various parts of the world.

Within the short period of his propagation, Sheikh Abdurrahman Naqshabandhi was influenced by people for their relief from sick and tensions. Parappanangadi, Tanur, Tirur and its neighboring places have witnessed his magnanimous personality. After the fabulous and influential life, He passed away on Shawal 20 on Friday 1322 AH. He was 80 years old that time. His tomb is located here by his mosque in Tanur.

He has written many more specious and noble books like Sharh Qaseedathi Allafal Alif, Dikrul al Mouth, Sharhun ala Thuhfathil Mursalath, Kithab Ifalathul Kudhusiyya. The last book Ifalathul Kudsiyya is a torchbearer in to the specialty and fidelity of Naqshabandhi order.



Abdullah, T.K (ND), Islamika Viknhana Kosham, Calicut, IPH.

A'wn, Dr.Faisal Badeer (1978) Athasawuful Islami. Cairo: Maktabathu Saeed Ra'fath.

Bahaudheen, Prof. K.M (1998). Kerala Muslimkal: Cheruthunilpinte Charitram, Calicut, Islamic Publishing House.

Dahlavi, Sadiya (2009). Sufism: The Heart of Islam, New Delhi, Hyper Collins Publishers, India.

Dale, SF and MG Mann (1989) Neercas: Saint Martyr worship among the Muslims of Kerala, in CW Troll (Edition) Muslim shrine in India, Mumbai Oxford University Press.

Dale. SF. (1980). Islamic society on the South Asian frontier, the Mappilas of Malabar 1498-1922.Oxford, Clarendon press.

Dr. KKN Kurup and Prof. Ishmael (2008), Emergence of Islam in Kerala in 20th century, New Delhi, standard publishers.

Dr. Kunjali (2004). Sufism in Kerala, Calicut University.

Eesa, Abdul Khader (2010) Haqaiqun Ani Thasawuf. Suriya, Halb: Dharul Irfan.

Faizy, M.P.Musthafa (2008). Sunni Jilla Sammelana Souvanir, Malappuram, Samasth Malappuram District Committee.

Gazali, Abu Hamid Muhamed Al. Minhajull Abideen . Cairo, Egypth : Makthabathul Jundi.

Gazali, Abu Hamid Muhammed Al. Ihya Uloomu Dhin. Cairo, Egypt : Daru Ihyail Kuthubul Arabiyya.

Hava, Al Usthad Saeed (1981). Tharbiyathuna Al Ruhiyya. Beirut: Darul Fikr.

Kareem, K.K Muhammed Abdul (1951). Cheraman Perumal, Calicut, Genius Publications.

Logan, Sir William (2000). Malabar Manual, Kozhikode, Marthrubhumi press.

Muhammed Hisham (2004). Classical Islam And The Naqshabandhi Sufi Treaditions,Islamic Supreme Council Of America.

Musliyar, K Alikkutty, Editor (1423 AH) Muslim Lokham Year Book, Calicut, data net for Islamic propagation.

Qadiri, Dr. Shamsullah (1954). Pracheena Malabar, Translated to Malayalam: Abdul Qayyum, Eranhippalam, Kozhikkode, Bushra Publishing House.

Tanur. CK (2008). Pattayam, sammelana souvenir, Islahl Uloom Arabic College, Tanur IUAC press.

Tanur. CK (2011). Velicham, sammelana souvenir, Islahl Uloom Arabic College, Tanur IUAC press.



Muhammed Naseel NP is a master student in the department of Arabic in Madras University, Chennai, India. He is obtained his degree and master in Islamic Studies from Darul Huda Islamic University, Kerala, India. His PG thesis was on ‘Maharashtra Muslims: A study on their socio-religious life’. During this period he is completed degree in Sociology in IGNOU, India. His areas of research interest are socio-religious life of Indian Muslim, Muslim women studies and Hadith and Related Science. He had written many articles on national international magazine and journal. He welcomes communication through email:




Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post