KOZHIKODE: For every Muslim in Kozhikode, and the people associated with the historic Mishkal Mosque at Kuttichira, the 22nd day of Ramadan fasting is a poignant occasion. It marks another anniversary of the Portuguese attack on the mosque, on January 3, 1510. Though the mosque still bears traces of the assault, it now stands as a prime example of communal harmony. For it was the Zamorin, a Hindu king, who soothed the nerves of his Muslim subjects by repairing the mosque.
In remembrance of this great harmony between the two communities, the representatives of the Khasi Foundation of Kozhikode visited the residence of the current descendants of the erstwhile Zamorin kings’ as a mark of respect. They presented the family head with a painting of the Mishkal Mosque, along with a ponnada. Made of wood, the mosque had five-storeys initially but was damaged in arson during the Portuguese attack.
The major highlights of the mosque are the Italian-tiled entrance, 24 engraved wooden pillars that support the entire structure, 47 carved doors and a big prayer hall capable of accommodating around 300 people. The over seven-centuries-old mosque is now the headquarters of the Khasi Foundation of Kozhikode.
History has it that the Portuguese force, led by Alfonso de Albuquerque who came to Kozhikode as the successor of Vasco da Gama, entered the town via the Kallai river and set the Mishkal Mosque on fire. The attack destroyed the mihrab (pulpit) of the mosque and damaged the first floor partially.
During the counter-attack, the Portuguese fort was demolished by the Zamorin’s army and the Muslims, and its timber was used to rebuild the mosque. Sheikh Zainuddin Makhdoom Tuhfatul Mujahideen reports that more than 500 Nair-Muslim soldiers fought against the Portuguese soldiers, many of whom were killed, and that it took 100 years to rebuild the mosque in various stages.
The Khasi Nalakath Mohammed Koya Foundation commemorates this event by thanking the ‘Zamorin King’ for his solidarity with Muslims and mosques at the time. The delegation led by Ramzi Ismail and Mishkal Mosque Secretary Naduvilakam Ummer, was received by Zamorin family members Govind Chandrasekhar, Sarasija, Shanthi and Maya.