29 November, 2020

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The Decline Of ‘Arabu-Tamil’ Language: A Great Loss To The Sri Lankan Muslim Heritage!

By Mohamed Harees –

Lukman Harees

“I have four Arabu-Tamil books — Noor Nama (an account of Prophet Muhammad’s life), Simt-us-Sibyan, Mubarak Maalai (poems of the life of our Prophet) and Penn Puththi Maalai (advice for Muslim women). Though nobody wants to learn Arabu-Tamil anymore, I still read these books as they are part of our heritage. We need to preserve our traditions” (View of a Muslim lady)

As Meelad un Nabi, the commemoration of the birth of Prophet of Islam (OWBP) dawns, it is heart-warming to listen to many melodious and emotional songs of praise in his great memory, written in a language which may be quite unfamiliar to today’s younger generation – Arwi-Arabu-Tamil. It is also sad to reflect on the sad decline of a versatile language which once provided a great medium to effectively and succinctly convey many Islamic teachings, poetry and other kinds of knowledge, to the  Tamil speaking Muslims in the subcontinent. Mubarak Maaai- an Ode to the Prophet(OWBP) written in Arwi, is one of the surviving literary masterpieces which is still being celebrated in Sri Lanka.    

Every generation faces a choice about what it wants to preserve and take forward and these are often painful difficult choices but choose we must. Languages and scripts link us with the histories and experiences of our people and keep us rooted otherwise in this era of globalisation where we all claim to be ‘world citizens’, we could be everywhere but really nowhere. True, Muslims of Sri Lanka have played a pivotal role in the promotion and preservation of Tamil language. However, “Arabu-Tamil” or Arwi figures in the past and present identity of the Tamil speaking Muslim communities both in Tamil Nadu and India. Be it the numerous words it has added to spoken Tamil, the rich history recorded in old texts and medieval inscriptions, or the cultural, literary and religious influences, Arwi in its essence will live on in the identity of these communities. Although some Tamil nationalist discourses identified ‘Arabic-Tamil’ as a danger to the unity of the ‘Tamil speaking people’, Muslims celebrate it as the symbol of a separate identity, without sacrificing the beauty of the Tamil language itself.

Mubarak Malai – An Ode to the Prophet: An Arabu – Tamil Poetic Masterpiece – by Poet Cadir Samasudeen of Galle. Sri Lanka (1887 AD)

‘Arwi’, is a combination of Arabic and Tamil and written in the Arabic script. According to historical records, Arwi flourished in the 11th century in coastal Tamil Nadu and Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) as a result of Arab traders visiting in search of exotic spices. Trading over several years, the two ancient civilisations not only engaged in commercial activities, but formed personal relationships and exchanged cultural ideas, language and religion. Arabs spread Islam and strengthened their relationship with the Tamil speaking Muslim traders. What was then lacking, however, was a common tongue that both communities could speak. As Dr. KMA Ahamed Zubair, a professor from New College, Chennai researching Arwi says, “Here were two people united by the same religion, rapidly spreading cultural ideas and engaging in trade. But they were separated by their tongue. This is when the Arab traders decided to learn Tamil and the beginning of Arabu-Tamil was scripted”. 

Arabu-Tamil was then used extensively by the Muslim minority of Tamil Nadu state of India and Sri Lanka.  This language was devised as a means for communication and interaction of the settled Arabs of Tamil Nadu to the Tamil people. Muslim scholars in the Tamil regions asserted the importance of the use of Arwi because it served as a safeguard for people in order to avoid committing potentially major linguistic mistakes through the Tamil transliteration of Arabic terms. 

Arwi or Arabu-Tamil is an Arabic-influenced dialect of the Tamil language written with an extension of the Arabic alphabet, with extensive lexical and phonetic influences from the Arabic language. According to phonetic experts , the Arabu-Tamil alphabet is the Arabic alphabet with the devised twelve additional letters to represent the Tamil vowels and several Tamil consonants that could not be mapped to Arabic sounds. The Arabs and the Tamil speaking Muslims might have played their role equally in the formation of Arabu-Tamil. It is the logical result of their joint efforts. 

It is well known that Muslim poets and preachers from South India helped Sri Lankan Muslims keep the faith at a time when the Portuguese and the Dutch were persecuting them. The religious revival of the Muslims was made possible because of this voluminous literature in Arabu-Tamil produced by the Muslim Savants after the devastating cultural onslaught by the Portuguese in this area in 16th century. Between 1600 and 1900, as many as 2,000 literary works, including epics, reportedly poured out. In the 19th and 20th centuries, literature in Arabic Tamil was produced. In the 19th and 20th  centuries, literature in Arabic Tamil was produced. Four hundred years ago, a particular procedure and a new literary style was adopted in Arabu-Tamil writing. This new literary style was adopted by Hafiz Amir Wali Appa, a saint of Kayalpattinam. He is considered to be the first person who re-introduced Arabu-Tamil after the Portuguese devastation in around 1600. 

In the words of Edgard Thurston, Arabu-Tamil is a literature which was developed for the purpose of the education of Labbai (a distinctive Islamic trading community from Southern India) and Maraikayar (a distinctive Tamil-and Malayalam-speaking Muslim people of the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India) children. The Quran  translations/explanations and other books were published in this language.  The most important book is Arabu-Tamil Dictionary in four bulky volumes written by Hakkim Mohammed Abdullah Sahib. This literature helped the Tamil speaking Muslims to know about their religion and their culture. And in a way this literature also made the Arabic literature simple.

Texts written in Arabu-Tamil thus varied from literary classics to religious jurisprudence and code of conduct for women. Simt-us-Sibyan, written by Maulana Mohamed Yusuf al-Hanafi al-Qadiri, is one of the leading texts on religion written in Arwi. Until the 1970s, Simt-us-Sibyan used to figure in Quran recitation classes for children, according to Dr Zubair. Another notable text was Akhlam-al-Muslimeen, a much published and circulated book based on religious jurisprudence, first written in Arwi. The First commentary of Holy Quran by a Tamil scholar was written in Arabu-Tamil language. It was written by the great Sri Lankan saint Shaykh Mustafa Wali (1836-1887) of Beruwela, leader of the Qadiriyyathun Nabaviyyah Sufi order.. He was also considered a great translator in Arabu-Tamil. Among the Arabu-Tamil Periodicals were Allamat Lankapuri –A Journal which was published in Colombo from 1869, Muslim Nesan-A Newspaper which was published in Colombo from 21-12-1882 and .Kashfurran an Qalbil Jan which was published in Colombo from 1889. 

However, despite a major chunk of Arwi literature being Islamic, non-religious material was also produced during the time. Not only was the script used for everyday affairs, be it for business, property dealings and other correspondence, Arwi literary texts also dealt with a sweeping range of subjects. According to a research paper published by Zubair titled ‘The Rise and Decline of Arabu-Tamil Language for Tamil Muslims’, the texts dealt with subjects such as architecture, astronomy, Quran commentary, logic, Islamic jurisprudence, sexology, sports, elegy, history, etc. Fiction was also an important part of Arwi literature. The first full length novel written in Arwi during the time is called Tamira Pattanam or ‘Copper Town’. This is a full-fledged novel and a not a religious book. ”The UNESCO COURIER” published by the UNESCO, in August –September 1981, has published an article on the life of the Holy Prophet (S), written by Mohammed Yaasin in Arwi..

The Tamil speaking Muslims of Sri Lanka then considered this Arabu-Tamil literature as their most beloved literature.  One major reason for Arabu Tamil gaining popularity among Muslims was that Tamil words lacked the capacity to convey the full significance of the Islamic terms like Rasul, Sahabah, Wajib, Jannath, Jahannam, Iman,Taqwa etc.(their respective meanings are Messenger, Companions of Holy prophet, Obligatory, Paradise, Hell, belief, Piety…etc). Therefore Arabu-Tamil words have been used in these cases for better expression and understanding. Hence the Tamil speaking Muslims naturally preferred the Arabu-Tamil Language. The new language was shaped in a manner that retains all the basic aspects of the finest spoken Tamil, and all of its grammatical forms, put on the beautiful garb of the Arabic script. Arabic letters with suitably added diacritical marks were devised.

Arabu-Tamil Islamic Poetic (Literary) Masterpieces in Sri Lanka

Allama Maapillai Aalim from Tamil Nadu was a popular saint cum poet who wrote many Islamic poetical works. Thalai Fathiha -a well known Arabu-Tamil song devotionally sung by women in ceremonies even today was composed by him. Sheikh Mustafa Wali was also a great poet in this language. Mizan Maalai is an Arabic Tamil poetry book composed by him, which includes 149 poems which is the first printed Tamil (Arwi)book in Tamil printing History in Sri Lanka. This book briefly discuss about the Islamic Aqida. Apart from him, there was also another poet- Sheik Mohammed Lebbai bin Ahmed Kaswatta Alim of Sri Lanka.

Mubarak Malai- An Ode to the Prophet – An Arabu Tamil Poetic masterpiece

As the blessed month of Rabiul Awwal in which Beloved Prophet of Islam (OWBP) was born, dawns, the melodious recital of  Mubarak Malai written in classical Arwi is commonly witnessed in many parts of Sri Lanka specially the South with much devotion even today. This masterpiece, a eulogy on, and an Ode to Our Beloved Prophet (OWBP) was composed in Hijri 1305 (1887 AD) by a renown Sri Lankan Saint and poet Qadir Shamsuddeen Al Makhdoomi (also known as Kaarbaa Lebbe) hailing from Galle. This great work is cited in Tamil Islamic Encyclopaedia as well. This poet also composed another Arwi poetic work -Musthafa Malai among many others, in the name of his spiritual leader, Sheik Musthafa, another great name in this field as stated earlier. Another ‘Arwi’ savant Mapillai Aalim also complimented Qadir Samsuddeen on his poetic achievement. His grandson – renown linguist, poet and educationist Late MSM Harees was my beloved father, who also excelled in commentaries in this field. 

Decline of Arwi and the Need for Revival 

However, after the 19th century, Arwi began to lose its popularity primarily because of its old style and colloquial expression. As a spoken language it is now about to be extinct, though a few Madrasas (religious schools) still teach the basics of the language as part of their curricula.Alas, Arabic Tamil as a literary medium, is now extinct, with modern Muslims preferring to write in standard Tamil. One section of Islamic researchers believe that the script only existed to fill a certain need at a point of time in history and therefore died a natural death as it was no longer required post 19th century. Another set of scholars, including Zubair, believe that widespread dominance of English post-independence led to the decline of Arabu-Tamil. Another important reported reason for its decline has been the lack of competitive printing facilities. Printing of Arabu-Tamil books is a very complicated and tedious process. Therefore, people preferred printing their religious books in Tamil rather than in Arabu-Tamil language.

However, according to scholars, “Arwi safeguarded the interests of the Muslims. It was a panacea for several social diseases for centuries. It was fondly and fervently nurtured by selfless social diseases for centuries. It was fondly and fervently nurtured by selfless savants and holy saints. Its necessity was intensely felt by all the noble minds of the community. And it had been the recipient of the support and assistance of the masses as well as intellectuals. This shows the importance and indispensability of this noble language for the religious life and unity of the Arwi speaking Muslims. If the present generation realises the secret of the importance attached by these foresighted men to Lisanu- Arwi, the community has a great future.”

As Dr. Zubair says, The decline of Arabu-Tamil language is a great loss to the Tamil speaking Muslim community as this was their religious language. It had safeguarded the interest of this community. It was fondly and reverently nurtured by noble savants. Therefore, its necessity must be felt by the present Muslim community. Its revival and renaissance is badly needed. 

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Latest comments

  • 17
    10

    Why feel sad; Muslim gentlemen don’t want to accept that have anything to do with Tamils. Hakeem and Rishard saying their community is Sinhala speaking Arabian. They want the bill boards in their towns in Arabic, Sinhala and as last English. I heard about a restaurant in the way to Airport, issues menu only in Arabic and Sinhala. These are people saved by a Tamil Kandy King and sent to Tamil speaking East like Kaththan Kudi, Kalmunai………..

    • 13
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      Also South Indian Tamil by ethnicity. Arrived from Tamil Nadu into the island The so called Arab blood in them is not worth talking about . Only a few hundred families have a distant male Arab ancestor the rest all Tamil . However now claiming to be Arab and now Sinhalese speaking, despite getting kicks from Arabs and the Sinhalese

      • 13
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        meanwhile in Paris, a muslin fanatic decapitated an old women, and knifed two men; shouting ” god is great ” in Arabic.

        • 6
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          Westham,
          Nazeer who beat up a Navy security Officer and voted for 20A is saying to Lankawe Muslims to boycott French products. I don’t know if France will restrict that Lankaweyan Muslim firms should not exports garments to France. Lankawe trying to hold on exchange rate by cutting imports, until can pay some big loan with good dollar rate. If Muslims stop using French good, Appe Aanduwa will be doubly happy.

          Like in the same way with Lankawe, Iran wants to boycott French goods. It was France manly played intermediator role to implement the atomic deal with America so Iran can normalize the trade with Europe & others. I hear Trump administration is designing some kind of restriction to fully block Iranian trade revenues so that if Biden comes, he cannot undo. The Diplomat reported that Americans were not satisfied with the answer Lankawe gave to vising State Secretary, If you like any American drinks, buy a dozen of them and put in a corner of the house.

    • 16
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      It is wrongly believed in Sri Lanka that the Sri Lankan Muslims (Moors) descend from Moorish Arab merchants who married native (Sinhalese & Tamil) women after having them converted to Islam. The fact is, the Arab traders and missionaries (men) did not come direct to Sri Lanka. They landed in Malabar and Coramandal coasts in South India, married to Tamil women after converting them to Islam and settled in South India. The bulk of the Moor Muslims in Sri Lanka are not Moorish Arab Merchants but Arabu-Tamil Muhammedans who came to Sri Lanka from South India, the reason why they speak Arabu-Tamil as their mother tongue throughout the island (from North to South and East to West) right from the beginning.
      Except for a few visitors like Ibn Battuta, there is no record of any Arab traders or missionaries coming direct to Sri Lanka. If they had come to Sri Lanka directly from the Middle East/North African region and married to Sinhalese women, today their descendants (Sri Lankan Moors) should be speaking Sinhala or Arabic as their mother tongue, but throughout the island even today their mother tongue is Arabu-Tamil.
      In South India, they call themselves Tamil Muslims/Muhammedans but in Sri Lanka, even though their mother tongue is Tamil, they have separated themselves from the Tamils by calling themselves Moor Muslims.

      • 1
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        LC
        A key language of trade at the time was Tamil.
        Have you looked at the physical features of Muslims? There is something unlike Tamils in a good proportion of them.
        But what matters is that thanks to the likes of Sir P. Ramanathan and his likes, the Muslims of the South despite their love of Tamil, hated to be part of a Tamil identity.
        As for those in the North, the LTTE contributed its share.
        *
        The fact is that Tamil nationalists wanted ‘political ownership of the Muslims’ but wit nothing concrete to offer to the Muslim (or even Hill Country Tamils).
        *
        Treat them with respect if you seek their friendship.
        The comments I see here are arrogant insults mostly.

        • 8
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          SJ
          Please use your common sense. The trade language may have been Tamil (it’s a guess) but do you think that the ‘language of trade’ will turn into a mother tongue of a community if those Arabs traders married Sinhalese women? In that case, their mother tongue should have been Arabu-Sinhala and not Arabu-Tamil.

          Regarding the physical features (a good proportion of them) of Moor Muslims, please read my comment above. Not only their language but their DNA is also Arabu-Tamil. The bulk of the Moor Muslims in Sri Lanka are South Indian Muhammedans (Tamil & Arab mixed) who came to Sri Lanka from South India (not direct from any Arab country).
          If you need further evidence to prove their (Sri Lankan Moor Muslims) original identity, please read the book ‘Economic, Political and Social Geography of Maritime Asia’ written by Barbosa. In his account of the Island (Ceylon) in 1519, he says, a large number of ‘Moors’ from the South Indian Malabar and Coromandel coasts resorted constantly to Sri Lanka. They lived primarily in coastal trading and agricultural communities, preserving their Islamic customs and the South Indian language/culture.
          Also, if you read Anagarika Dharmapala’s quotations about Ceylon Moor Muslims, he refers to them as South Indian Muhammedans.
          Continued…

          • 8
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            Continued from above…
            You are right about Sir P. Ramanathan and his likes, they made the Tamil speaking Moor Muslims to hate/reject the Tamil Identity and separate themselves from the Tamils (the Tamils lost their Muslim brethren). The LTTE issue is very recent and different, has nothing to do with the above but it should be condemned.
            You are right again, the Tamil political leaders (Vellalar supremacists) wanted ‘political ownership of the Muslims’ but with nothing concrete to offer to the Muslim (or even Hill Country Tamils). The Tamil minority would have been very strong if not for their idiocy.
            What I commented above were actual facts (not insults).

          • 2
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            LCV
            Thanks you for the advice, but I always and already do.
            *
            A trader community would tend to use the dominant language of their activity even among themselves when they settle for long periods. Tamil was dominant in the entire region.
            I did not dispute the origin of a sizeable number in South India. But one cannot miss physiological factors hinting at racial mixing pointing to Arab and Persian ancestry. (While they are not Arabs or Persians, they have claimed such ancestry well before Sir PR insulted them.)
            *
            How does a Sinhala racist Anagarika become a reliable source of history? The man hated Muslims and wanted to present them as aliens of recent origin.There were two categories of Muslims in his time: Indian Moors and Ceylon Moors.
            *
            I see here that Sir PR has true successors to his attitude towards Muslims among Tamil nationalists of today.
            *
            The point is that the Muslims assert a separate identity and do not want to be considered with Sri Lankan or Hill Country Tamils.
            Why cannot we respect that feeling?
            The Muslims of Bosnia are ethnically Serbs, but they were recognized as a distinct nationality.
            The Sikhs, Muslims and Hindu Panjabis are ethnically the same, but they are distinct nationalities.
            The Parsis of India are Zoroastrian Iranians, but they have always asserted a distinct identity.

            • 0
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              SJ,
              *****A trader community would tend to use the dominant language of their activity even among themselves when they settle for long periods. Tamil was dominant in the entire region.*****

              From your above comment it is very clear that ‘common sense’ is not very common. First of all, if Tamil was the dominant language in the region (you are only guessing, no evidence), then the Arab traders who were doing business, mostly spices/cinnamon (only grew in the South), gems, steel, etc., are you saying that the Arabs spoke Tamil with the Sinhala South? LOL! Please don’t make yourself a laughing stock, try to update yourself. Duarte Barbosa’s account of the Island (Ceylon) in 1519 is a good read. Also, refer ‘Portuguese Encounters with Sri Lanka and the Maldives’. They talk a lot about the Ceylon Moors.

              • 1
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                LC
                A person of academic repute recently ‘proved’ that Arumuga Navalar’s role in translating the Bible to Tamil was minimal.
                When one is subjective and has decided on a conclusion, it is not hard to find selective evidence.
                It is a waste to debate based on improvised sentimental theories .
                *
                I have read a few scholarly works on Sri Lankan Muslims, the last beings “Sri Lankan Muslims: ethnic identity within cultural diversity” by M.A. Nuhman.
                I am aware that reputed historians like Prof. Arasaratnam among others have commented on the very early arrival of Arabs in the west coast of Southern India and Ceylon.(Arasaratnam, S. (1964). Ceylon. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.)
                *
                Why Arabs chose Tamil may have its explanation in their settling in the above said regions, not just this island.
                The following among other comments by serious historians may enlighten people with an open mind:
                “the origins of the Muslim community of Sri Lanka are plainly continuous with the pre-Islamic seaborne trade between South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Not only Arabs, but Persians too, were frequent early visitors to the island (Ali 1981a: 71-76; Effendi 1965; Kiribamune 1986).
                (from; “Arabs, Moors and Muslims: Sri Lankan Muslim ethnicity in regional perspective” by Dennis B. McGilvray ,
                *
                (continued below)

                • 1
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                  The Mappila community [of Kerala] originated primarily as a result of the West Asian contacts with Kerala, which was fundamentally based upon commerce (“the spice trade”).
                  As per local tradition, Islam reached Malabar Coast, of which the Kerala state is a part of, as early as the 7th century AD.
                  [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mappila]

                  Malabar too saw Muslim settlements very early. In fact the very name Malabar (mali, mountain; bar, country) was given by the Arabs.
                  It was also known as Balad al-filfil (land of pepper) because pepper was exported from here to all countries of the world.
                  Arab travellers refe to the presence of a very large number of Muslim merchants in Malabar. These Arab merchants later came to be known as Moplahs and Nawayats. At Kolam (in Travancore) also there was an Arab colony and a mosque.
                  (Source: Early Arab Contact with South Asia – Oxford Academic Journals )
                  *
                  It is not easy to set aside prejudices and research honestly. But it is a worthwhile exercise.
                  Oversimplification of the Ceylon Moor as a descendant of Tamil converts to Islam is as absurd as the exaggeration of the Arab component of their descent by some.
                  *
                  BTW
                  You can do with a slightly more civilized reference to people.

                  • 2
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                    The Mappila are considered the native Muslims of Kerala and they predominate in northern and north central Kerala. The Muslims found further south in Kerala like the Marikar , Lebbai, Rawthers , Kayalars, Thambi etc are ethnic Thamizh Muslims who had come and settled down in Kerala for trade.. They have been here for centuries and now many speak Malayalam as their mother tongue and not Thamizh. However they are still not considered native. Like the Mappila.
                    The Mapillas have a different way of life and customs from them. The word Mappila is derived from the Thamizh word Mappilai meaning the bridegroom. In Kerala you get Muslim Mappilas and Nasrani Syrian Christian Mappilas.

                    • 2
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                      The Mappilas have the most amount of Arab amongst all the Indian Muslim people. However even amongst these people the Arab element is only around 15% the most. Their DNA has shown that they are around 85% of Indian descent( Dravidian or Indo Aryan, as many of the Mappila are descended from forced upper caste Hindu conversions during he Tippu Sultan reign. Nampoothiri Brahmin, Nambiar and upper Nair .These people are largely of Indo Aryan ancestry) and 15% Arab. Arabs traded extensively but never came in their thousands and settled but a few over span of centuries . Please again stop posting rubbish.

        • 6
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          Oh here comes the self hating Thamizh and the eternal apologist to Chingkallams and Thullkans. Always criticizing and attacking any Thamizh and constantly coming the defense of any Chingkalla racist or Thulluka opportunists. Yes I have carefully looked at all the faces of the Thullkans and more than 95% of them resemble no one else but South Indian Thamizh Dravidian , who they really are. 90% of the rest of the 5% largely look like light skinned South Asians and this can be anyone. Lots of Thamizh also are very light skinned . Go to Thamizh Nadu and look at the Thamizh Brahmin, Pillais, Mudaliars , Goundars and Chettiars , especially the ones from the northern and western parts , many very light skinned and Indo Aryan looking .

          • 6
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            The Sri Lankan Muslims, especially the southern variety, denying their Thamizh heritage and origin has nothing to do with the LTTTE or the attitude of the Eezham Thamizh but it was sheer opportunism , backstabbing , selfishness . Their elite , especially the ones down south had decided for their own benefit that it was far better to make their religion their primary identity and to justify this claimed an imaginary Arab identity , that they hardly have. A small number of families having a distant male Arab ancestor of two does not make them or the rest of the Muslims Arabs . They are still Thamizh. This was encouraged by the British and after independence by the Chingkallams. The British may have classified them as Moors but did not take this Arab origin seriously and lumped with the Thamizh for everything else. It was the Chingkallams to divide and rule the Thamizh who really encouraged them. The Jaffna/Eastern Thamizh may not have accepted them, as one of them but never scorned or discriminated them This does not justify these people denying their origin and language , The Indian origin Thamizh are the most marginalized but they do not do this. Stop posting nonsense.

            • 0
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              PK
              A good proportion of Sri Lankan Moor Muslims have Arab nasal features, they are South Indian Muhammedans (Arab & Tamil mixed). The Portuguese in South India classified them as Moors because the first whom they know were from Mauritania. (Refer the book ‘Portuguese Encounters with Sri Lanka and the Maldives’ pg. 48). (https://books.google.lk/books?id=xc8oW6pedrwC&pg=)

              • 1
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                Lanka Canuck and a very high proportion of Arabs especially the ones from the Gulf, even Iraq and North Africa do not have the Arab nasal features but have sub-Saharan African looks. These people are heavily mixed with African blood. If the Sri Lankan Moors or Muslims have a lot of Arab in them , they should display this African , nasal features , thick lips, and the crinkly hair that many Gulf Arabs and North Africans display. Even the light skinned ones. Full blooded Arabs in these regions are a minority. This sharp nasal features may have come from North Indian Muslim traders and Pathan Muslims who migrated to South of India and married with the local Thamizh Muslims. The Nawab of Arcot was a Pathan. The Pattani make up a segment of the Thamizh Muslims in Thamizh Nadu, however they unlike the rest of the Thamizh Muslims castes , they largely speak Urdu and not Thamizh.

                • 1
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                  These sharp Nasal features are more found amongst the rich trading Muslim families living in Colombo , Galle and Kandy who have selectively married and only make up a very small proportion of the so called Sri Lankan Moors, Go to the east, Puttalam or to Slave Island and Maradana and look at the Muslim masses , how many of them have these so called Arab features . Hardly any. They make up the majority. The former British Cricket Captain Nazeer Hussain is from this Tamil Pattani Muslim community. 90% of the Muslims in Thamizh Nadu look like AR Rahman or the former Indian President Abdul Kalam and these Sri Lankan Moors are descended from them. Lastly how many Sri Lankan Muslims suffer from Thalassemia a common middle eastern disease? Hardly but lots of Sinhalese do due to some Portuguese ancestry. The DNA tests on Sri Lankan Muslims have revealed they have far below average Arab DNA and are very similar to the Muslims of South India and other South Indian people. They did not like it and have edited it out of the Wikipedia, just like what the Sinhalese and Malayali do about their Thamizh origins.

                  • 0
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                    PK,
                    Almost all the Ceylon Moors I have come across in Sri Lanka do have sharp Arab nasal features. They are Arabu-Tamils (Arab-Tamil mixed). They are not 100% converts like AR Rahman or late Abdul Kalam. You may be talking about Indian Moors. Only thing is they came to Sri Lanka from South India (Malabar/Coromandal coasts). Coming direct from Middle East/North Africa to Ceylon and marrying Sinhala women and then their future generations speaking Tamil as their mother tongue because Tamil was the dominant language (including trade language) in the Sinhala South (kotte Kingdom) where they first settled is not true. They were already Tamil speaking Arab-Tamil Muhammedans when they settled in Ceylon.

        • 2
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          LC
          Have you heard of Monsoon Steel?
          Arabs came here to buy that steel for over a few centuries.
          It was their dominance of spice trade that forced the Portuguese on us.

          • 2
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            SJ,
            I did not expect comic relief from you! Must be a bitter pill to swallow eh???

            Unlike Kandy and Jaffna, the Kotte kingdom was always under a Sinhala king and all kind of trade (spices/cinnamon, gems, elephants, etc., etc.) was taking place from the South (Colombo port) under the Sinhala Kingdom of Kotte. Even the export products from other kingdoms were brought to the Kotte kingdom. When and how did Tamil become the dominant language in the Sinhala South Kotte Kingdom? When and where did the Arabs and the Sinhalese learn Tamil to do trading and how did the Arabs who married the Sinhalese women adopt Tamil as the mother tongue of their future generations???

            When did you start concocting illogical folktales from thin air? LOL!

            By the way, I am talking about the Tamil speaking Ceylon Moors who were in the island long before the Portuguese came and not the Indian Moors who arrived recently during the British period.

            • 1
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              LC
              Your language hardly suits serious discussion.
              The point is that Arabs have been in this region (SL + Kerala & Tamilnadu coasts) as early as 7th Century and had settlements. I have given some examples elsewhere on this page.
              *
              “When did you start concocting illogical folktales from thin air?”: the day after you underwent a brain transplant.
              (Being nasty is not your prerogative. Others too can and do better, but it does harm to serious comment.)

              • 0
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                SJ,
                C’on, I am not being nasty here but it’s a good excuse to avoid discussions when you make blunders.
                Let me correct you again,
                The Arab traders had come to the Malabar Coast (NOT SL) as early as 7th Century. Malabar region in South India was a link between them and the ports of South East Asia to trade. They also intermarried with the Malabar ladies and settled in Chera/Kerala. The first Indian mosque (Cheraman Juma Masjid) was built in 621 CE by one of the last kings of the Chera Kingdom, Shankara Varman/Chenkal Perumal who got converted to Islam and facilitated the proliferation of Islam in Malabar.
                The settlement at Beruwala (South-West Sri Lanka), which the Ceylon Moors generally admit to be the very first of all their settlements, had taken place not earlier than the 14th century. Ibn Batuta (Arab explorer from Morocco) visited the Island in 1344, but makes no mention of any Muslims in any part Ceylon (Beruwela lay directly on his route from Galle to Colombo).
                It was the Malabar Muslim merchants who traded in cinnamon with Ceylon and sold them to the Portuguese in Calicut/Kozhikode (before the Portuguese came to Ceylon). Later, it was from Malabar that the Portuguese came to Ceylon when they found out that premium quality spices (such as cinnamon) was grown in South-Western Sri Lanka.

                • 0
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                  THIS is what I said:
                  “The point is that Arabs have been in this region (SL + Kerala & Tamilnadu coasts) as early as 7th Century and had settlements.”
                  What are you trying to correct in my statement?
                  *
                  Islam reached Malabar Coast and Arabs had settled in Kerala in the 7th Century. Which means that Arab presence (not necessarily Arab Muslims) would have preceded it; and also would not have been confined to a part of Kerala. (Trade was there from pre-Islamic times. Please see:
                  “the origins of the Muslim community of Sri Lanka are plainly continuous with the pre-Islamic seaborne trade between South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Not only Arabs, but Persians too, were frequent early visitors to the island (Ali 1981a: 71-76; Effendi 1965; Kiribamune 1986).
                  [from; “Arabs, Moors and Muslims: Sri Lankan Muslim ethnicity in regional perspective” by Dennis B. McGilvray]
                  You can challenge these authors with the evidence you have.
                  *
                  Arab ancestry of Kerala Muslims is an established fact.
                  My position concerned the Arab ancestry of Muslims here. No more.
                  I repeat:
                  Oversimplification of the Ceylon Moor as a descendant of Tamil converts to Islam is as absurd as the exaggeration of the Arab component of their descent by some.

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                    SJ,
                    The Arab traders had come to the Malabar Coast (NOT SL) as early as 7th Century. Persians (were not Muslims then) of course were early visitors to the island but Arabs came much later.
                    *****You can challenge these authors with the evidence you have*****
                    I don’t need to do that because Dennis McGilvray, et al are already being challenged by several others. Even Senarat Paranavitana once said to McGilvray; “Do your homework son” (not that I am praising Paranavitana). Stupidity is no stranger to academia.

                    • 0
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                      SJ,
                      *****Your language hardly suits serious discussion*****
                      This statement when simplified says, “I am looking for escape routes after bluffing irrationally” (like a cat that crapped on the rock). Don’t judge me wrong, facts are stubborn, not nasty.
                      What happened to our ‘smart aleck’? Still looking for evidence to prove Tamil was the ‘Dominant’ language in Sinhala South (Kotte kingdom) when the Arabs were trading? You keep asking others to cite the source reference (authentic source), scientific evidence, etc., but for all your bigoted illogical comments and ideas, when others ask you from where you got them, you look for escape routes or blabber more and more nonsense like ‘Oversimplification’, etc.,etc. (“IF YOU CANNOT DAZZLE THEM WITH BRILLIANCE – BAFFLE THEM WITH BULL SHIT”).
                      By the way, we are NOT talking about Arab or Persian travellers or visitors or those who came for a short stay (for many other reasons). We are talking about Tamil speaking Ceylon Moor settlements in Sri Lanka. From where and when did they come, where did they first settle, what were they trading and in what language, how Tamil became their mother tongue and so on.
                      Ibn Batuta (Arab explorer from Morocco) visited the Island in 1344, but makes NO mention of any Muslim/Moor/Arab settlements in any part Ceylon in his famous book called, ‘Al Rihla’.

                    • 0
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                      LC
                      If Senarat Paranavitana, a man who willingly distorted Southern Brahmi inscriptions to claim them to be proto-Sinhala is your expert witness, I rest my case.

                    • 0
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                      LC
                      Do not pretend otherwise. I have contested each of your so called ‘facts’.
                      What I objected to was uncalled for phrases, because I thought that you were slightly more civilized than the likes of the ‘piglet’ and a few more.
                      *
                      I normally ignore such when they come from the gutter.

                    • 0
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                      SJ
                      Dennis McGilvray’s credibility is as good/bad as Senarat Paranavitana, so I also rest my case.
                      Please show me where I used uncivilized phrases?
                      When someone is bluffing illogically, asking them to use their common sense is not an uncivilized act. I do not know about you but many in this forum ignore you because you nitpick on tiny details/slips of others and consider your bigoted views as ‘facts’.
                      BTW, I am not pretending but still waiting for you to cite the source reference as evidence to show when and how Tamil became the ‘Dominant’ language in the Sinhala South and the Arabs were trading with the Sinhalese in Tamil (language of trade).
                      You can ignore me (will not be surprised) if you thing you cannot find the authentic source.

                • 0
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                  Lanka Canuck,
                  There are a few -very few- people who use different yardsticks, – one for others and another for themselves, on this platform.
                  You are dealing with one of them!

                  • 0
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                    Nathan
                    There is a Sinhalese adage when translated says, “When one feels like eating even the water monitor (poisonous Kabaragoya) it appears like the relished iguana (Talagoya)”. How well it fits the scholastic circles represented by the likes of these -very few- people you mentioned.
                    Also, they never accept their own short comings and weakness but always have the urge to do the nitpicking on tiny details/slips of others. With their traditional (sometimes obsolete) thinking, they cannot digest different/alternate views. Fortunately, they are only a very few.

                  • 0
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                    N
                    Really?
                    What are your two yardsticks?

            • 3
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              “An ancient wind-powered iron smelting”
              [https://www.nature.com/articles/379060a0]
              *
              “The earliest confirmed crucible steel site is located in the knuckles range in the northern area of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka dated to 6th −10th centuries CE.[26] In twelfth century the land of Serendib (Sri Lanka) seems to have been the main supplier of crucible steel, but over the centuries production slipped back, and by the nineteenth century just a small industry survived in the Balangoda district of the central southern highlands.
              Source: “Monsoon Steel” by Dr Gill Juleff
              [https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/archaeology/research/themes/materialculture/monsonsteel/]
              *
              The following book has a full chapter on Lankan monsoon steel.
              “History of engineering in Sri Lanka : a brief overview” by Dr. Premala Sivaprakasapillai Sivasegaram, Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 2006
              *
              Ignorance is understandable; but ridicule based on ignorance is pathetic.

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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

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      Mallaiyuran,
      Muslims who faced persecution by Portuguese were saved by King Senerath who ruled the whole country from Kandy and he was a Sinhala Buddhist. There were few Demala people in the East who came from Hindusthan and settle down in coastal areas. That does not mean East was a Tamil speaking area.

      “These are people saved by a Tamil Kandy King and sent to Tamil speaking East like Kaththan Kudi, Kalmunai………..”

      • 6
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        Small correction Eagle,

        Not Senerath……… It is Senathirajah

        • 6
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          Mallaiyuran

          Regarding King Senarat of Kandy who settled the fleeing Moors in up-country and in the North-Eastern Coasts of Sri Lanka due to the Portuguese persecution was a close ally of Jaffna Kingdom.

          When the Portuguese invaded the Jaffna Kingdom and was engaged in a fierce battle with the Jaffna king Cankili II, King Senarat of Kandy sent an Army (as an extra force) to fight against the Portuguese because the upcountry kandyan kingdom and the Northern Jaffna kingdom were longtime allies against the low country Kotte Kingdom. King Senarat, the Buddhist King of Kandy even gave his two sons Prince Kumarasingha and Prince Vijayapala in marriage to the daughters of the Singai Aryan dynasty of the Jaffna Hindu Kingdom establishing a strong relationship between the two kingdoms (Kandy and Jaffna).

          The upcountry Kandyan Sinhala royalty always thought it is better to marry from Tamil royalty than from the low country Sinhala kingdom. This thinking was not confined to the royalty but was common to almost all the high caste groups. Even until recently, such thinking existed in spite of Sinhala vs Tamil national clashes.

  • 9
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    Lukman Harees
    “True, Muslims of Sri Lanka have played a pivotal role in the promotion and preservation of Tamil language.”

    A pivotal role? really?

    wow I must be from a different Sri Lanka

    • 1
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      Rajash
      The Muslims rank among the most remarkable writers in Tamil, and are much better Tamil orators than Tamils.
      Please take some trouble to go study a list of good Tamil literature in this country before denouncing them.

      • 1
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        SJ – you failed to quote any of them in your post!

        • 2
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          R
          The list is very long, and anyone interested in Tamil literature will know at least a few names. They are not hard to find.
          Someone has already mentioned Umarup pulavar; he was perhaps the starting point.
          In contemporary poetry Nuhman & Solaikkili are well known. There are many of the younger generation.
          Ilankeeran was among the best known Tamil novelists in the 60s & 70s.
          The editors of the Tamil journals of both wings of the Communist Party were Muslims.
          The publisher of the well known Kurumpaa of Mahakavi (Rudramoorthi) was Ilampirai Rahman.
          Even today Adayalam is one of the few quality publisdhers in Tamilnadu.
          The first Tamil novel in Sri Lanka was by a Muslim. (If that is disputed it would be the second).

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    The Muslims promoted themselves through Tamil Language and forgot about the language there after. Similar to some one climbing a ladder to reach the top and there after pushing down the ladder hoping to stay on top for ever. Unfortunately, for the Muslims when the situation changes they have no way of getting down step by step and expect the Tamils to provide the ladder to get down safely.
    Despite this mentality of some Muslims, one cannot rule out the fact that there are
    Muslim Tamil scholars who have contributed immensely to the language both in India and Srilanka. When you read the Sunday Tamil News Papers, we see a lot of ‘Tamil Muslims’ rather than ‘Muslim Tamils’ who seem to have contributed a lot to the Tamil Language ,like the Tamil Christians .

    • 4
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      KV
      The Muslims of the North and East are more committed to Tamil than Tamils, who are increasingly happy with English.
      BTW
      By what clever method do you distinguish ‘Tamil Muslims’ from ‘Muslim Tamils’?

      • 2
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        ‘Muslim Tamils’ give priority to their Religious Identity rather than to their Tamil Ethnicity. The ‘Tamil Muslims’ give priority to their Tamil Ethnicity rather than to their Muslim Identity. Similar to Tamil Catholics and Christians.

        • 2
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          I know Muslims who are not at all religious coming from very religious families.
          So it is not identity but personal attitude.
          What will one do with someone who places them on an equal footing– like Aarumuka Naavalar’s ‘Saivamum Thamizum’ approach?

        • 1
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          Dear KV

          What is this identity issues and why we impose that on others please?

          In a democracy there should never be a Language identity nor a religious identity.

          Language is for people to communicate and for an efficient admin and we should have focused on finding suitable arrangements accordingly. The concept of single only act was all about making the language available to majority of the people who needed them but not about telling others they are not…specially those who fought for the Tamil identity was more into English than Tamil too??

          For majority Tamils English was as align as Tamil when it comes to education??

          And I “believe” given the number of people and breakdown of population then more Tamils spoke Sinhala than English??

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            English would be better for education overall & being a language of global communication put us in par with the rest is a “secondary” event could have only happened after the primary?? FP forced this on Sri Lanka just as it was confronting the Indian citizenship act for all the FP flowed socialism that could not even deliver basic human dignity to fellow Tamils solving caste problems?? And further undermined and exposed the Tamil people of Sri Lanka to issues they would otherwise ‘never’ have exposed to etc??

            As the people up North aware of this FP folly consequently loosing it popular base up “North” they further sold even our children of Jaffna to foreign squanders?? who under the name of Language further raped our children??

            Language does not identify anyone nor can it develop itself when the people themselves are not evolving…when we evolve then the language will grow is a prove by “Arabu-Tamil” too. One day we may all be speaking Arabu-Tamil in the entire world you never know let alone in Jaffna?? Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world even in the west??

  • 8
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    Umaru Pulavar is one of the greatest Tamil Muslim poets and is work Seerapuranam is considered one of the best works in Tamil Islamic works

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umaru_Pulavar

    https://www.rediff.com/news/interview/i-am-a-tamil-speaking-muslim-i-wanted-to-know-my-roots/20150615.htm

  • 4
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    I’ve been reading CT lately and this is the first time I’m commenting. These bits of contemporary history is quite interesting.

    • 1
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      It is interesting that Malay was also written in Arabic script till not so long ago.

      • 0
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        OC
        Malay was written in a script akin to South Indian scripts until Islam entered. It was colonial rule that imposed the Roman script in the region.

        • 0
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          S.J
          Same story in the Philippines.

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    Going through all these mediums the real pure message of Islam was diluted and corrupted. This process is called Chinese whispers. It is always good to relay on original teachings in Arabic and their direct translation.

    • 2
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      “It is always good to relay on original teachings in Arabic and their direct translation.”
      Are there reliable translations?
      If so, why do scholars quarrel?

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    And don’t forget, this is Allah’s (PBUH) wish and that is the universal command.

    • 1
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      Where did Allah (PBUH) express such wish and command?

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    I will not be surprised if Tamil Muslims demand that Arabu-Tamil
    should be made an official language in Sri Lanka.
    If they made that demand during ‘Jadapalana’ Government, probably they could have got it because Ranil was ready to do anything for Muslims to save his Premiership.

    • 1
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      EE
      Do you know what Arabu-Tamil is?

      • 1
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        “Do you know what Arabu-Tamil is?”

        Obviously not.

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      Eagle Brain DEad Blind Eye

      “I will not be surprised if Tamil Muslims demand that Arabu-Tamil
      should be made an official language in Sri Lanka.”

      Why not?

      “If they made that demand during ‘Jadapalana’ Government, probably they could have got it because Ranil was ready to do anything for Muslims to save his Premiership.”

      If Demela descendant Pandaranayakam could force Sinhala as the only official language of this island within 24 hours from winning the elections why not Ranil?

      Apart from being a public racist what are the other problems do you suffer?

      • 0
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        Fake Vedda,
        Sinhala was made the official language because it was the official language of Sinhale before Europeans colonized the country. Sinhala is the language developed by Sinhalayo who are the native people in Sinhale. Demala language was brought by Dravidians from Hindusthan who invaded this country from 3rd century BC.

        • 1
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          Eagle Brain Dead Dumbass Blind Eye

          “Sinhala was made the official language because it was the official language of Sinhale before Europeans colonized the country. “

          Let us have some proof.

  • 1
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    Dear Lukman

    Very educational article thank you.

    Is Arabu-Tamil spoken with the same accent in Tamil Nadu/Malaysia/Singapore etc?

    Even in Jaffna I had Muslim friends spoke Tamil beautifully with certain accent and wondering is to do with the Arabic influence historically or is locally influenced etc.

    I am referring to the accent not the words etc.

    The reason I ask this is because in Sri Lankan Hindu Tamil is different from Tamil Nadu Hindu Tamil….in Tamil Nadu self it varies in accent and vocabulary etc. When I was in Malaysia I noted Tamil Muslims and other tamils who are for example Malaysians spoke differently may be influenced by the Malay language is the official language.

    • 2
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      Arabu-Tamil is at best a dialect with a script designed to write both Arabic & Tamil correctly.

      • 0
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        Thank SJ and is cool.

        Am I correct in thinking in this context we are seeing a language evolving based on history/religions/languages/culture mixed over time?? fascinating.

        In addition to all the rich heritage of poets.writers etc A.R.Rahman bring the music so much?? is there any correlation here??

        I love arabic music is so rich in melody and am sure meaning too that I do not understand:(

        The Pakistani Ghazal singers are amazing too as i am into Indian Carnatic music. The Hindustani music in-between these two/ enriched with history….Amazing things/diversity we can celebrate yet we spend time hurting each other?? very strange.

      • 3
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        The late AMA Azeez, scholar and once senator, wrote a nice exposition of Arabu-Tamil which was published as a booklet.
        Arabu-Tamil has historical significance but it was given up by the Muslim community for lack of any special benefit. The Muslims still retain many Arabic words that relate not just to the faith, but also family bonds and social functions. Interestingly there are Tamil words like ‘thozukai’ which Tamils have lost but Muslims use regularly.
        There is also pronunciation derived differences with standard Tamil in many words that transcend region within Sri Lanka.
        The dialect known as Jaffna Tamil too is bound go the same way before long, thanks to Indian TV and movie culture.

      • 0
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        Don’t make a deal for just anything. Don’t be chaff again and again by trying to show that you know everything. We all know how and where the Tamil Brahmi used and it is matched at its best to Tamil by sages level pundits for the last 2500. If one just learns Tamil 12 Vowels and 18 consonants, basically it is done. For that, why one have to learn biology additionally, to figure out that kikiliyage kakula (That is how my old office’s Sinhala office mate girls tell me that script)? Urdu is the Hindi written in Arabic script instead of Devanagari. So some Old Muslims tried to create a new Islamic Language based on Tamil called – “Curdu”; it didn’t work. Hindi 500 years old, born after Muslim invasion. So creating Urdu parallel to Hindi was possible. Tamil is 5000 years old. Further, now anything is available in Google. Just have the transliteration done on it by selecting Tamil to Arabic. Why do you have to have a Curdu Tamil?
        https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/arabu-tamil-one-of-the-many-hybrid-languages-that-are-dying-out-in-india/article27235670.ece. Read it to understand your fake marketing, not knowing but always going to google and back with the stale, rotten fishes to resell in CT. That is called plagiarism. CT should tell plagiarism.

    • 3
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      TV
      The quality of Muslim Tamil in Jaffna was on par with scholarly Tamil speech in Jaffna. (AMA Azeez was an outstanding Tamil scholar at the Jaffna Hindu College in the 1920s. He outdid all Saivaites in an essay competition in Saivaism, but the prize was not awarded to him because he was not a Hindu, according to a schoolmate who was later a professor in the University of Ceylon.)
      *
      Batticaloa Tamil is distinct from Jaffna Tamil and Batticaloa Muslim Tamil is very close to it.
      *
      Tamils of Singapore and Malaya were influenced by Malay speech in their surroundings. Their English too shows a regional accent. Such things happen, and are not bad at all.

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    It is basically a Tamil dialect that was influenced by Arabic written in an Arabic alphabet registered script. Largely used by Tamil Muslims

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arwi#:~:text=Arwi%20was%20an%20outcome%20of%20the%20cultural%20synthesis,and%20sexology%2C%20of%20which

    The closest comparison is Urdu and Hindi. Urdu now the mother tongue of most Indian Muslims ( Largely from the north ) and the official language of Pakistan , is basically Hindustani that is written in the Persian script and the vocabulary highly influenced by Arabic, Persian and Turkish. This developed during the Mughal rule of India . The word Urdu is derived from the Turkish word for the Army or cantonment Urdun( the English word Horde is also derived from the same root. Corruption of lots of Ottaman Turkish troops ( Urdun) at the gate way to many European cities ). During the Mughal rule, lots of Arab, Persian, Turk and other Central Asian soldiers were employed and the language in the barracks was Hindustani mixed with all these languages .

    • 3
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      Don’t you think that Mughals had a distinctly strong cultural identity (regardless of its varied sources) that made a lasting impact on North Indian culture in many walks of life?

      • 0
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        Are the Hindians accepting it also some form of Arabu-Tamil?
        What is your point? Are you wearing a pants? Is that a Arabu – Tamils? Tamil is a language in Tholhapim , grammatically accepting Greek & Arabic words as Thisai Sol. Idli is a food Tamil brought from somewhere, South East Asia, during Chola time and natured to their taste with Undu- used only by Tamils.

        (It is not just Tamil, but) Tamils culture is accepted as the only Classical culture still remaining not changed. I don’t know if it is proud or backward. But Tamil are not copy cat.

    • 1
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      Just like Manipravalam ( Tamil mixed with a higher proportion of Samskrthm ) was born in South India to facilitate the Brahmans to express themselves better without having to find or create equivalent Tamil words for many Sanskrit words.
      Manipravalam (Mani+Pravalam meaning gems and pavalam or red coral) was a creole that became or made the branching out of Malayalam from Tamil possible.
      it is true the Muslims loved the Tamil language as theirs literary language and produced a lot of excellent writers and poets especially in the eastern province in the past. there were more muslim poets writing good poetry in Tamil in the newspapers and literary magazines than maybe Tamils proportionately. it is no wonder because their cultural and linguistic basis is Tamil and south asian rather than Arabic. it is recently that some of them are trying to sacrifice their original identity for an Arab identity. you can see that in Kaththan kudy (it might not be too long before that old Tamil name is also arabized).
      it is better to have your own identity than a borrowed identity. because in the end you would neither be there nor here.

      • 4
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        There is a subtle difference though.
        Manipravalam was an exercise by Brahmin scholars conversant in Sanskrit to ‘enrich’ Tamil through its Sanskritization. If at all, it is akin to people mixing English in Tamil speech, to impress others about their fluency in English.
        Arabu-Tamil emerged from a popular need to express Arabic words with precision, and there was no desire to Arabize Tamil.
        *
        All good literature emerges from real life; and writers draw on experience. As much as a ‘Hindu’ Tamil would use Hindu Tamil classical imagery, a Christian would draw on Christian tradition as would a Muslim on Islamic tradition. (The latter two rarely use imagery relating to Chera-Chola-Pandiya narratives.)
        *
        Jinnah Sheriffdeen, a prolific creator of modern day ‘epics’ uses Islamic themes for his works. They have been well received by non-Muslims as well.
        Solaikkili and a more agnostic Nuhman too have drawn on Islamic tradition.
        *
        Culture is a multi-faceted thing and should be celebrated for that.

  • 0
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    Dear SJ

    What an elegant truth you stated above.

    I also learned (somewhere not sure where though) that the Indian Muslim rulers were the most liberal rulers in India historically?? they did not try to convert their subjects yet ruled them all justly too??

    Is it true?

    • 3
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      TV
      Not all of them.
      Akbar’s was the most tolerant to all religions in India. One could say Asoka’s. But Asoka did not face religious animosity the way Akbar did. He too was a mass killer at one time.
      Akbar improvised on Islam to the annoyance of conservative Muslims.
      There have been several terrible rulers like Muhammad bin Tughluq (who, however, had some favourable points according to some historians).
      Then there were Muhammad of Ghazni and others.
      Tippu Sultan, despite his tough regime, was the most remarkable opponent of the British colonialists.
      The worst ruler of India of all time, someone aptly said, was Queen Victoria.
      The third most powerful Empire of the subcontinent before colonial rule was Rajaraja Chola’s.
      The Pallavas cruelly persecuted the Jains. The Pndiyas did it to the Buddhists. And Cholas did it to Vaishnavaites, many of whom fled to Andhra.
      Sadly post-Sangam Tamils had not the nicest of rulers, despite a claim to arguably the most ethical and secular classical work to their credit.

      • 3
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        As for conversion, there was.
        But many willingly converted to escape caste oppression.

        • 1
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          I thank you for the insight SJ. I am sure all CT readers also thank Mr Harees for a wonderful article celebrating our enriched diverse history further enhanced by souls like SJ care to share more facts so the context is not lost.

          Super Super tq.

        • 0
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          There must be a reason why Muslim religion is the fastest growing religion in the world including in the west.

  • 1
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    LC I totaly agree with what PK states. The vast majority of the Sri Lankan Muslims are Dravidian coverts to Islam and not Arab /Tamil mixtures. Even many of their own blogs now admit to this . They state 70% of the present day Sri Lankan Muslims are descended from Dravidian Tamil converts to Islam. If they now reluctantly admit to this 70% it will be 90% or more. Even many British public servants had commented that most Sri Lankan Muslims look very Tamil and only around 5% display some sort of Arab features . A. R Rahman is a convert but not the late Dr. Abdul Kalam , he belonged to a prominent Marikayer family from Ramanathapuram. What is an Arab Nasal feature ? I have worked for 6 years in the Gulf and what PK states is true. Most of the so called Arabs themselves do not display this so called nasal feature as many are heavily mixed with Africans , Indians and others but some tribes that have remained pure do.

    • 2
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      Siva Sankaran Sharma,
      Please do not underestimate the basic intelligence of the members of this forum. Right from the beginning, almost everybody in this forum are very well aware (except you) that Siva Sankaran Sharma has two different Troll names, Pandi Kutti and Rohan25 and the reason for having them is also very obvious. If you had used different writing styles, at least some members would have not identified you. Nobody bothers to reveal this open secret but when it exceeds the limit (making others fools all the time), I could not ignore anymore, have no choice, SORRY!
      SSS praising/quoting PK/R25 or vice versa is like the famous saying “Monkey praising its own tail”. I like and appreciate some of your well researched detailed information (other than abuse).

      Regarding the original subject, I am not convinced by your comment. Look at all the Moor Muslim politicians in Sri Lanka. They all have some percentage of Arab features, they are not pure Tamil (Malabar) converts to Islam. They are all Arab-Tamil mixed.
      Mohamed Lukman Harees should be commended for writing this wonderful article about ‘Arabu-Tamil’.

      • 1
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        Some one is getting very nasty and touchy when challenged. You can insult me as much as possible and I do not care but the fact is stubborn. The Arab or western Asian contribution amongst them is minimal and most of them are Tamil converts to Islam. Most Sri Lankan Muslims have only a minor contribution of Middle Eastern genes and not half like what you state indicating many Tamils converted to Islam and this is where their major contribution comes from. Looking at the so called Muslim politicians some have these features and many others do not and look very Tamil. and these people do not represent the larger population..

        • 0
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          These rich families selectively marry , many choosing light skinned , fine featured partners and due to their wealth obtain them , especially females. If you selectively marry a certain type of people within fee generations your descendants look different. This is what these rich trading families have done . It is obvious to any one with some knowledge of genetics. People with slightly mixed heritages , if they want to highlight certain looks selectively marry. This has been done by many Burgher and Anglo Indian families in South Asia ,selectively choosing partners who look more European . Any one with a knowledges of genetics can explain this to you. For Sri Lankan Muslims Arab looking is prestigious so many rich families select partners with these looks to highlight this , For many Burgher/Anglo Indian families European looking was prestigious. Many rich Pakistani Muslim families love to choose partner’s who look Iranian. Few swallows so not make a summer. No one denied there is some Arab element in some these families, just like there is some Indo Aryan element in lots of South Indian upper castes . When you loose an argument you resort to nastiness.

        • 0
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          SSS aka PK aka R25,
          Nothing personal regarding the original subject because what we are exchanging is just opinion (nothing scholastic). Nobody has done an extensive academic research on this subject.
          However, when SSS quote PK/R25 or PK quote SSS as you have mentioned above and in several other threads (please don’t underestimate others). You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. SJ was trying to be ironic, he know this very well.

  • 1
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    Many North Indians upper castes , Pakistanis and even South Indians ,especially from the upper castes have sharp nasal features
    https://thefederal.com/the-eighth-column/why-tamil-speaking-muslims-in-sri-lanka-broke-away-from-tamil-identity/

    • 3
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      SSS
      Do you, Pandi Kutti and Rohan25 have identical physical/emotional features as suggested by someone here?

      • 0
        1

        Dear SJ since you have asked politely I will reply . I may or may not share identical physical features and emotional attributes with these two but not sure , as I have not met them. Physical features I doubt . As I am a typical very light skinned Tamil Brahmin. Most probably Rohan25 is a male, however Pandi Kutti ( It is a strange name but each to their own) I some times wonder, as at times the postings are petulant and even like some annoyed child. Don’t know if this is done deliberately. At other times funny and sarcastic. Addressing people Kunju Kutti, Thatta ETC and what is this obsession and posting in the Malayalam language? Not sure whether this person is a male or a female . However I have noticed both have posted a lot of things I have previously posted in the same gist but this does not bother me , as they may be sharing the very similar view to me and if they use what I post good on them. I was here and in other forums long before these two appeared. I rather have others using my posts and spreading my views , which by the way is similar to most Tamils here, than that idiot who was using my name and identity to post many anti Tamil views not only here but at various other forums, magazines and newspapers. That is dangerous , as they are stealing your identity to post something you do not represent or share.

        • 2
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          SSS
          Why do you tell me all of this and not the person who challenged you about the identity of these three names?
          Is it because you think that I am more tolerant and receptive?
          Thank you.
          BTW
          Do you say that the piglet and Rohan25 are downright plagiarists?
          Shame on them.

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            SJ,
            I did not know that you also use Satire. Your tongue-in-cheek comment above is very sarcastic but witty. LOL!

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      Dear SSS

      If you have been in my village in Hindu families specially in the arranged marriage sector they were always looking for fairskinned man or a woman for that matter.

      Funny part is this is in a village most of us are competing with all our African Brothers and Sisters for who got more pigment competition?? (I admit I win this competition hands down and was written off even in my village unable to impress any families with girls to offer even then.. now I am 57 and understand is a life long challenge and nothing going to change..when I was in Houston the Black guys ask me if I am from Somalia..was very proud too:)

      I have no idea how this fair skin issue come from I even watch adverts selling bleached makeups for woman in Malaysia in early 2000 that promoted fair skin and better opportunities etc…aimed at all our Ceylonese and Indian heritage Malaysians..many were my color too made me happy:).

      It is true our Brahmin families are very fair…may be because they do not have to work in the fields etc??

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        VenuGopalan I am not from Vaddukottai area but very familiar. Yes many Tamils including my own family are very obsessed with skin colour and me being a Brahmin they are even more obsessed with this , as dark skin means that you have some Shudra ancestry, which is not done . However there is a difference these Tamils wanting light skinned females is not pass of as North Indians or Western Asians, whereas these Sri Lankan Muslims family deliberately select them with the sole intention to claim and pass of of Arab ancestry. Many Arabs in the Gulf are dark skinned . This is Nizwa market in Oman , I been there many times and lived and worked there for 6 years , Look at the different facial features and looks . Some very Semitic, others Indian and many African mixed. Even now I can still speak basic Arabic and quite fluent Hindi/Urdu.

        https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=YId9B3y3&id=24272991CF2A198A62F03C6DF993B1B698CA50E6&thid=OIP.YId9B3y3kOHE-EbaMTT2tg

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          Cool….Omanis are not ARABS and are very down to earth people and very humble.

          Oman and India go a long way…they say Omani’s used to work for the Indians and now the Indians work for Omani’s etc. I find their historical boat building skills amazing and was used for the Indian-Oman trade historically. The king was educated in India too I understand.

          Are you a Sri Lankan??

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            You are right, the Omanis even though they speak Arabic, they have very little Arab blood in their veins. They are mixed, mostly Indian (Hyderabadis), Pakistan (Balochistanis), African (Zanzibar), Iran (Persians), and so on. The Sri Lankan Tamil speaking Moors have more Arab blood than the Omanis.

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