Abstract
Pragmatic Borders and Broadways of Malabar:

Paradigm shifts from Qissat to Rihla.

Dr. Abbas Panakkal

Director, International Interfaith Harmony Initiative

Dr. Abbas Panakkal is the director of International Interfaith Harmony Initiative, which has been organising the International Interfaith Conferences in collaboration with United Nations initiatives, the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Department for Unity and Integration and the International Islamic University Malaysia for the past six years. Abbas was awarded a fellowship by the Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue from Griffith University, Australia.

Abbas, as Project Coordinator of G20 Interfaith Summit, is actively involved in the coordination of G20 Interfaith Summits and co-organised pre-conference summits in Middle East and South Asia. He has organized intercultural engagements and adoption programmes for interreligious enrichment with the support of governmental and non-governmental agencies. He is a columnist and poet, and contributes to various newspapers and magazines. He also writes and directs documentaries to promote peace and harmony. Abbas has presented at various interfaith events and dialogues in America, Australia, France, Germany, India, Jordan, Morocco, U.A.E, the UK, the Vatican, etc.

Abstract

Pragmatic Borders and Broadways of Malabar:

Paradigm shifts from Qissat to Rihla.

This article   explores the shifts of borders and broadways of Malabar  from the descriptions of the  British Library manuscript   Qissat  Shakarwati  Farmad    to the narrations in  Rihala of Moroccan  traveller  Ibn Batutta(1304-1377). Malabar borders and broadways were relocated time to time for various physical and political reasons. It is important to analyse the   hierarchical fame  of  early port towns and  their reputation based on  the chronology of the first Waqf  lands and natures of the Mosques, relying on the  Qissat manuscript and their sequential swings during the time of Rihala.  The chronology of  inception of mosques  in different port towns of Malabar conspicuously showcases  the succession  status  and   orderly prominence  of the port towns.   According to Qissat   Kodungallure was the most important port  of the time, whereas this place was not the foremost in the era  of Rihala. Kollam, the second important port town mentioned in Qissat  , retained all control and influence during Ibn Batutta’s time.  Kozhikkode  was as famous as that of Alexandria port  in fourteenth century, but it    was  seldom  existed in the scenario of seventh century Qissat. The nearest town Chaliyam was categorically the  least important because it was  chosen  to build the last  mosque. The Chronological order of the mosques mentioned in Qissat can also be defined as   the order of eminence of the port towns in seventh century  Malabar, which diplomatically changed during the time of Rihala.  The badges like Shahbader (Chief of the Port) and  Qazi, (Muslim Judge)   had been  introduced in the manuscripts of Qissat along with the inspectional chronicle of   mosques. These outfits  were also widely discussed in Rihala and considered as the prestigious positions in the trade and traditions of port towns.   Intercultural exposure and interreligious coexistence of the port towns will also be analyzed in the light of these two documents.  The first mosque of South and South East Asia was  established in Malabar and   was built with generous Waqf property from non-Muslims. The  story  of co-existence  was unveiled by Ibn Batuta, who  introduced Calicut as the safest port town of the world with better interreligious and intercultural  relations between Muslim businessmen and the Hindu king. The paradigm shifts  are seemingly seen  throughout the wider time span of these two  documents.