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World's Second Largest Juma Mosque in India

November 2007
World's Second Largest Juma Mosque in India

Only Indonesia, among all nations, has more Muslims than India, although according to the most recent Indian census, Pakistan comes second in the ranking. This may be common knowledge, but what's not widely known is that India has the second-largest Juma (Friday prayers) mosque in the world. The Cheraman Juma Masjid, located in Kodungaloor, Kerala, dates back to the 7th century A.D., which means it was built during Prophet Mohammed's time. What's more remarkable, the mosque has been used for the last 1375 years. Only the Juma mosque in Medina has had a longer existence.

The Kerala mosque was constructed to honor the wishes of Cheraman Perumal, a Chera king, after he went to Mecca and embraced Islam. What exists now is a rebuilt mosque that was modeled on the original structure. The Cheraman Juma Masjid owes its unique charm to a blend of Keralan and Arab architecture. Unlike a typical mosque, the interior has locally made brass lamps and elegantly crafted woodwork. And this eclectic influence is not limited to the mosque's design. During Vijaya Dasami, reportedly, many Hindus bring their children to the mosque and perform Vidyarambham. Despite its newer look, the Cheraman Juma Masjid retains an ancient connection, given that a block of the marble was brought all the way from Mecca.

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