Samastha Jam’iyathul Ulama

Samastha Kerala Jam’eyyat ul-Ulama (Ulama Organization), known as Samastha, is an association of eminent Sunni scholars who enjoy the highest support base among South Indian Muslims. The formation of Samastha was the response of these traditional Ulama to the conditions of post-1921 period in which South Indian Muslim community generally witnessed a radical shift from the folds of individual leadership to the folds of organisations. When they became equally disturbed by the ongoing modernisation trends in western style, and in the first public circulation among South Indian Muslims of the fundamentalist and puritanical views of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab (1702-1793), Salafism of Rashid Rida (1865-1935), Islamic modernism of Muhammad Abduh (1819-1905), pan-Islamism of Jamaluddin Afghani (1939-1897), and the Tahreek e-Mujahideen in North India.

The new ideologists first came out through the Kerala Muslim Aikya Sangham, which was founded at Kodungallur of Cochin state in 1922 by leaders like KM Seethi Sahib, KM moulavi and EK Moulavi. It tried to bring the scattered and unorganised reformist activists together. Later, they formed a Ulama organisation, Kerala Jam’eyyat ul-Ulama, at a two-day conference of Aikya Sangham held at Alwaye in 1924 where a large number of scholars were invited. It is a fact that the outstanding members of the traditional Ulama did not openly reject the Kerala Jam’eyyat ul-Ulama at first. However, gradually, the platform of the organisation started to be utilised to attack the traditional Islam that was followed unopposed for centuries and which was nurtured under the guidance of eminent scholars headed by Makhdums of Ponnani. They declared a host of Islamic cultural traditions as Shirk and Bidaa, and alleged the centuries-old scholarly and intellectual tradition of Kerala Muslims with deviations and alterations.

The Ulama felt the need to organise to defend and protect Islamic tradition and to wage a revivalist movement against the new interpretations. Moulana Pangil Ahmed Kutty Musliyar, who had already started counter campaigns against the ‘Wahhabi ideology’, along with some other scholars met Marhum Varakkal Sayyed Abdurahman Ba Alawi Mullakkoya Tangal, who was a Sufi Sheikh, renowned religious scholar and a prominent figure of Sayyed family (Ahlu Bayth – The Family of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu aleyhi wa sallam), to discuss the need of an organisational movement to defend the true spirit of the religion. Tangal suggested convening a meeting of the eminent scholars to discuss the suitable solution.

In 1925, some major ulama and other society leaders gathered at Calicut Valiya Juma Masjid (Calicut Grand Mosque) and formed an Ulama organisation after prolonged and serious discussions. KP.Muhammad Meeran Musliyar and Parol Hussain Moulawi was named the President and Secretary of the organisation respectively. The newly formed Ulama organisation convened within a year many popular conferences, mainly at places where the new ideologists had received big attraction, and directed the masses to be aware of the leaders and followers of the ‘Bida’i sects’. They also travelled throughout the state to convey the message of the ulama organisation to maximum religious scholars who were living in the mosques or religious centres serving the Islamic knowledge.

A year later on June 26, 1926, a bigger convention was called at Calicut Town Hall, where eminent scholars from across the state participated, under the chairmanship of Sayyid Shihabuddhin Cherukunchikkoya Tangal. The convention reorganised the previously formed temporary organisation and adopted a full-fledged organisational set-up in the name of Samastha Kerala Jam’eyyat ul-Ulama. The convention nominated Varkkal Mullakkoya Tangal as Samastha’s first president, while Pangil Ahmed Kutty Musliyar, Muhammed Abdul Bari Musliyar, KM Abdul Qadir Musliyar and KP Muhammad Meeran Musliyar became vice presidents, and PV Muhammad Musliyar and PK Muhammad Musliyar became secretaries in the first committee.

Mushawara, The Consultative Body:

Samastha’s supreme body, including the working committee, is called Mushawara, and it is consisted of 40 eminent scholars of the time who are drawn purely on the basis of their scholarship in Islam, religious piety, faithfulness and devoutness. The word Mushawara, consultation, is drawn from the Quranic order to seek scholarly advices in matters. From its inception Samastha often convenes the Mushawara meeting to discuss various issues concerning the religion and community, and almost all the meeting deal with a host of questions received from across the state and from outside where Malayali Muslims reside seeking Fatwas on a variety of issues. Later Samastha formed a Fatwa Committee from within the Mushawara to specially look in to the increasing queries on religious issues.

Presently the Office bearers are:

Kalambadi Muhammad Musliar. (President)

C. Koyakkutty Musliyar (Vice President)

Cherussery Zainudheen Musliar. (General Secretary)

Kotta Abdul Qadir Musliar. (Secretary)

Sayid Hyder Al;i Shihab Tangal. (Treasurer)


Samastha was officially registered on November 14, 1934, as the government approved its bylaw, which was agreed upon after deep and wide scholarly discussions held in various Mushawara meets and in consultation with law experts. It promulgated the propagation of true Islam, impart of religious education and activities against superstitions and un-Islamic traditions as its primary and supreme objectives. Its bylaw also included encouragement for secular education compatible with religious beliefs, and calls for religious tolerance, interfaith friendship, peaceful existence and national progress.

Aims and Objectives:

According to the bylaw, the main aims and objectives of the organisation are,

(a) To propagate and spread the rites and beliefs of Islam according to the real view of Ahlu Sunnah Wal-Jama’a,

(b) To legally prevent the organisations and campaigns which are against the rites and beliefs of Ahlu Sunnah Wal-Jama’a,

(c) To look after all rights and powers of Muslim community,

(d) To promote and encourage religious education and do the needful for the secular education that will be compatible with religious beliefs and culture,

(e) To work for the welfare and progress of the Muslim society in general by eliminating superstitions, anarchy, immorality and disunity.

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