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6. Vakkom Moulavi

Died31 October 1932

Vakkom Muhammed Abdul Khadir Moulavi, popularly known as Vakkom Moulavi[ was a social reformer, teacher, prolific writer, Muslim scholar, journalist, freedom fighter and newspaper proprietor in Travancore, a princely state of the present day Kerala, India. He was the founder and publisher of the newspaper Swadeshabhimani which was banned and confiscated by the Government of Travancore in 1910 due to its criticisms against the government and the Diwan of Travancore.

Early life and family

Moulavi was born in 1873 in Vakkom, Chirayinkil Taluk, Thiruvanthapuram in Travancore. His family had ancestral roots to Madurai and Hyderabad, and many of his relatives had worked for the military of the state government. Maulavi was proficient in many languages including Arabic, Hindusthani, Persian, Tamil, Sanskrit and English.
His father, a prominent merchant, engaged a number of scholars from distant places, including an itinerant Arab savant, to teach him every subject he wished to learn. Moulavi made such rapid progress, that some of his teachers soon found that their stock of knowledge was exhausted and at least one of them admitted that had learnt from his student more than he could teach him.

Moulavi's son Abdul Kadar (Junior) was a writer, and another son, Mohammed Eeza was a writer and scholar of Islamic studies. One of his nephews, Vakkom Majeed, was an Indian freedom fighter and a former member of Travancore-Cochin State Assembly and another nephew, P.Habeeb Mohamed, was the first Muslim judge of the Travancore High Court of Kerala.

Journalism and Swadeshabhimani
Maulavi started the Swadeshabhimani newspaper on January 19, 1905, declaring that `the paper will not hesitate to expose injustices to the people in any form`, but on 26 September, 1910, the newspaper and press were sealed and confiscated by the British Police, and the editor Ramakrishna Pillai was arrested and banished from Travancore to Thirunelveli.

After the confiscation of the press, Moulavi concentrated more on social and cultural activities, becoming a social leade, also writing several books. Daussabah and Islam Matha Sidantha Samgraham are original works, while Imam Ghazali’s Keemiya-e- Saadat, Ahlu Sunnathuwal Jammath, Islamic Sandesam, Surat-ul fathiha are translations

Social Reformation

Maulavi was considered one of greatest reformers in the Kerala Muslim community, and is sometimes referred to as the "father of muslim renaissanceHe emphasized the religious and socioeconomic aspects much more than the ritualistic aspects of religion. He also campaigned for the need for modern education, the education of women, and the elimination of potentially bad customs among the Muslim communityInfluenced by the writings of Muhammad Abduh of Egypt and his reform movement, Moulavi started journals in Arabi-Malayalam and in Malayalam modelled on Al Manar The Muslim was launched in January of 1906 and was followed by Al-Islam(1918) and Deepika(1931). Through these publications, he tried to teach the Muslim community about the basic tenets of Islam. Al-Islam began publishing in April 1918 and played a pivotal role in Muslim renaissance in Kerala. It opposed Nerchas and Uroos festivals amongst the Muslim community, thereby attracting opposition from the orthodox ulema to the extent that they issued a fatwa declaring the reading of it as sacrilege. Financial troubles and lack of readership led to the closure of the journal within five issues, but it is regarded as the pioneer journal that attempted religious reform amongst the Mappilas of Kerala. While it was published in Malayalam language using Arabi-Malayalam script, Muslim and Deepika used Malayalam in script also
As a result of the continuous campaigning of Maulavi throughout the State, the Maharaja's Government introduced the teaching of Arabic in all state schools where there were Muslim pupils, and offered them fee concessions and scholarships. Girls were totally exempted from payment of fees. Maulavi wrote text books for children to learn Arabic, and a manual for training Arabic instructors for primary schools. At the instance of Maulavi Abdul Qadir the State Government soon instituted qualifying examinations for Arabic teachers of which he was made the chief examiner
There were many other dubious practices in the Muslim community of the time, such as the dowry system, extravagant expenditure on weddings, celebration of annual "urs" and Moharrum with bizarre unIslamic features bordering on idolatrous rituals. Maulavi launched his campaign against such practices with the help of his disciples, and with the cooperation of other learned men who shared his views and ideals As the campaign developed into a powerful movement, opposition was mounted by the Mullahs. Some issued "fatwas" that he was a "kafir", others branded him as a "Wahhabi".
He also tried to create unity among Muslims, starting the All Travancore Muslim Mahajanasabha  and Chirayinkil Taluk Muslim Samagam, and worked as the chairman of the Muslim Board of the Government of Travancore. His activities were further instrumental in the establishment of "Muslim Aikya Sangham", a united Muslim forum for all the Muslims of the Travancore, Cochin and Malabar regions, and helped guide the Lajnathul Mohammadiyya Association of Alappuzha, Dharma Bhoshini Sabha of Kollam amongst others.In 1931, he founded the Islamia Publishing House, with his eldest son Abdussalam supervising the translation into Malayam and publication of Allama Shibli's biography of Omar Farooq in two volumes under the title Al Farooq.

Last days

In Deepika, he serialized the Malayalam translation of the Quran, together with his brief commentary and the original text written in an elegant calligraphic style by Maulavi himself. It was his life's ambition to produce a translation of the Quran in Malayalam with his own commentary, but he died on 31 October 1932 before the work was completed.

 Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust (VMFT)

The Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust (VMFT) is intended to be a lasting memorial to Vakkom Moulavi, headed by Dr N. A. Karim, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Kerala University heads the team, assisted by the Chairperson, Dr. Sajida Basheer, and the Director, M. A. Azeem.

SOURCE : Wikipedia


  1. Hi
    Thank you for your posts... but here if u could delete the images it will be better since these are not vakkom moulavi's pics.. and the postal stamp is tribute to INA Hero vakkom khader... who hanged by the british in 1940's...
    thank you

  2. Dear Author, appreciate ur quick action on deleting INA Hero Khader Image from this page. I humbly request you to delete all the fake images of vakkom moulavi from your blog. Google's search infobox showing your blog's image when the users search for Vakkom Moulavi. Please check wikipedia article they already removed the fake images from there. Your quick action will be highly appreciated on this. Thank you. :)