DOI link for CALICUT
DOI link for CALICUT
N icolo de C o n ti,6 w hose n a r ra to r , P oggio Bracciolini, describes the city as "a maritime city, eight miles in circumference, a noble emporium for all India, abounding in pepper, lac, ginger, a larger kind of cinnamon, myrobalans and zedoary". Some two decades later in 846/1442-3 4Abd al-Razzaq arrived in Calicut from Bengal and spent five months in the town, describing it in a long and informative passage in his memoirs:7
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The mention of two Jaraf mosques in Calicut is particularly w orthy of attention, as in the early centuries of Islam each city had only one Jam f for the Friday congregation. The smaller towns could have many mosques, but did not have a Jamf where the Friday sermon or khutba was given under the name of the ruler of the time. Indeed cities were distinguished from towns and villages by their congregational mosques, where the official pulpit or minbar was installed. Early Muslim geographers often refer to the status of the city by mentioning that it had a minbar or a Jamf.8 In later periods this distinction was no longer maintained and in pop ulous or prosperous cities sometimes a new Jam f was built, but the old one also remained, as at Kayalpatnam. Again, if more than one sect co-exis ted without one being suppressed by the other, each com m unity could have its own congregational mosque, particularly if the town was out of reach of a dominant Muslim power. In Calicut, according to ‘Abd al-Razzaq, the population was mostly Shafi‘I, as
is the case even today. However, Calicut still has two congregational mosques, one known as the Jam f Masjid, and the other as the Mithqalpalli or the mosque of Nakhuda Mithqal. While the names of the consecutive qadis of Calicut — still preserved locally9 — agree with the account of ‘Abd al-Razzaq that the town had one qddi at a time, for over a century the population has been divided over an old disagreement, and each side has its own qddi, in charge of its own congregational m osque, and exercising jurisdiction am ong that section of the community.