Muscat: While it is common knowledge that there were frequent Omani sailings, to and fro, between the major ports of Oman and northern Kerala since the first century, few would know that 139 years ago, a Keralite ruler was the Emir of Dhofar, a post he held for five years.
A paper will be presented by a Keralite expatriate in Muscat on the life of Sayyid Fadl bin Alawi, who was the Emir of Dhofar from 1874 till 1879. The paper will be presented next week at Kerala Muslim Heritage Conference in Kerala, India.
"Even though many Omani historians and universities have studied the Emirship of the Keralite ruler in depth and have presented papers in several conferences in the region, it might be for the first time that a paper on Sayyid Fadl is going to be presented in India," Rahmathulla Magribi, the researcher who has prepared the paper, told the Times of Oman.
According to the researcher, who has prepared his paper based on presentations by Sayyid bin Omar Al Omar, an Omani scholar based in Saudi Arabia, and references made by historian Philip Windel, Sayyid Fadl, a son of Sayyid Alawi and Fatima was born at Mampuram in 1823 in Malabar, a northern
"Sayyid Alawi, father of Sayyid Fadl, had arrived in Malabar in 1767 AD from Hadramawt, Yemen at the young age of 17 and settled down at Mampuram where his maternal uncle, Sayyid Hassan Jifri Thangal had already been established as a prominent religious scholar," Rahmathulla said. The family established by Sayyid Jifri Thangal in 1755 AD is called Mambram Thangals in Kerala.
"In Malabar, Sayyid Fadl inherited his father's spiritual and social status and the legacy of political activism legitimised in religious terms. Playing a role in the anti-British rebellion, Sayyid Fadl expanded his sphere of influence among the native Muslims, which irked the British rulers. As a result, in 1852, he was 'deported' to the Holy City of Makkah," Rahmathulla added.
Sayyid Fadl stayed in the Holy City of Makkah and became involved in Ottoman-Arab politics. Later, from the Holy City of Makkah, he moved to Istanbul.
"Meanwhile, history says that after accepting a request from the sheikhs in Dhofar who met Sayyid Fadl in the Holy City of Makkah, he came to Dhofar and became the emir in 1874. For five years, he was the emir. Later, as he didn't have good relations with British, he had to move out from Dhofar. But, he was called by Ottoman Sultan, and became adviser to Abdulhamid II. He continued in that position until his death in 1901," Rahmathulla said.
"In the 45-page paper, I have tried my best to give an account of all three dimensions of his life in three different countries," Rahmathulla said, while adding that the curiosity to know about Oman-Kerala relations led him to prepare the paper.