THEY CAME ! THEY SAW ! THEY CONQUERED!

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Article’s Origin: http://thegreatrawthers.blogspot.my/ 

 

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As a descendant of the ‘Rawthers, I ventured deep into the annals of history to get a clear description of the Rawther clan. It is also said that Rawthers were horsemen and warriors of the Moghuls who eventually settled in South India. Then, they diverted their attention to become businessmen.

 

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As I said in the earlier post, the community has Turkish ancestry and history. To prove my point, Rawthers follow the Hanafi school of Fiqh like that of the Turks. And they too use the Turkish word ‘Ata/Atha’ for father, just like Turks who called their first president- Mustafa Kemal Pasha as ‘Ata Turk’.

But whatever the dispute, the Rawthers were indeed a credible and proud Islamic community of horsemen.

 

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Going back to Hanafi School of fiqh, it is the fiqh with the largest number of followers among Sunni Muslims. The Turkish rulers were some of the earliest adopters of relatively more flexible Hanafi fiqh, and preferred it over the traditionalist Medina-based fiqhs.
It is predominant in the countries that were once part of the historic Ottoman Empire and Sultanates of Turkic rulers in the Indian subcontinent, northwest China and Central Asia. In the modern era, Hanafi is prevalent in the following regions: Turkey, the Balkans, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, parts of Iraq, the Caucasus, parts of Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of India and China, and Bangladesh.

 

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In Malaysia, many, and even children born to fathers of Hanafi fiqh follow the Shafii fiqh. There are a lot of small differences in the way people pray, and marry between the schools. Asr prayer is calculated an hour earlier in Shafii than Hanafi. Women need a wali as a requirement to marry in Shafii while they need only a witness in Hanafi to get married. 
The majority of Sunni Muslims believe that all four schools have correct guidance, and the differences between them lie not in the fundamentals of faith, but in finer judgments and jurisprudence, which are a result of the independent reasoning of the imams and the scholars who followed them. 
Because their individual methodologies of interpretation and extraction from the primary sources were different, they came to different judgments on particular matters.

 

 

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For example, there are subtle differences in the methods of prayer among the four schools, yet the differences are not so great as to require separate prayers by the followers of each school. In fact, a follower of any school can usually pray behind an imam of another school without any confusion.
So, do not confuse fiqh to sect and let us, as Muslims, not deviate from the actual teaching of Islam. 
I just compared it to show that the Rawthers indeed had Turkish ancestry.

 

Part 2

CONVERSION OF NORTH INDIAN RAJPUT RATHORS TO ISLAM DURING THE TURKISH SULTANATE

 

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JOURNEY OF MUSLIM RATHOR PLATOONS TO MADURAI IN TAMILNADU AND THEIR EVOLUTION AS TAMIL-RAWTHERS.

At a time when the Pandiya kingdom at Madurai in Tamilnadu became week due to internal conflicts among the descendants, Army of the Turkish sultanate from the north established their rule in Madurai. Turkish rule in Madurai was short lived. It began in 1355 A.D and collapsed in 1378 A.D with the coming in of the Vijayanagar Dynasty. During the Turkish rule in Madurai, platoons of Muslim Rathors as well had been arrived and settled at Madurai and nearby places. Muslim Rathors were in the elite Horse Corps of the Turkish Army and they began to be known as ‘Rawthers’ in Tamil.

Koothanalloor was a prominent early center of inhabitation of Rawthers in Tamilnadu. This was a religious place as well. There were a number of copper plates with Turkish inscriptions in the Periya Mosque of Koothanalloor and some of them are still available at the Madras Museum. It deserves further research.

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SPREAD OF RAWTHERS TO DIFFERENT PARTS OF TAMILNADU
The Turkish rule in Madurai remained only for around fifty years. Fall of this kingdom witnessed much blood shed and migration of people as usual. Rawther people who were basically associated with the Turkish rule got shattered and they migrated to many a parts of Tamilnadu including Tirunelveli and Coimbatore areas. It is interesting to see that even after such a flee from power at Madurai, groups of those migrating population established their own hubs of inhabitation as local Chiefdoms in many parts of Tamilnadu. They were in fact moving as self-sufficient units of society with all inherent structures and hierarchy as in a mini state. At the helm were Shahs of Turkish origin. Rawthers were military men on horses. Mawthers lead Elephant corps.Labbas performed priest duties. There were certainly low cast Muslim workforce as well in those moving republics. Such hubs of inhabitations though with only limited traditions still exists in many parts of Tamilnadu. 
I understand that the popular story of seven brothers and a younger sister, prevelant universally among the Rawther community as a hereditary anecdote had its origin at the time of the aforesaid flee from Manamadurai near Madurai. The seven brothers on their own put to death their adolescent and beautiful sister apparently to rescue her from the impending captivity of the approaching enemy forces. They escaped with their clan dignity intact though the life of their beloved sister had to be terminated !. However, the spirit of this sister, perhaps innumerable sisters so annihilated over the long historical sojourn, continue to haunt the genetic mind of the Rawthers still.

 

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MIGRATION OF RAWTHERS TO KERALA AND EASTERN COUNTRIES

During the last three centuries, innumerable Rawthers from Tamilnadu have migrated to the nearby state of Kerala. Malaysia and other eastern countries as well were their prominent destinations of migration.

 

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Rawther is basically a genetic baggage of rich inheritance. His human history spread far beyond the Muslim identity of eight centuries. He is basically a dignified tribe with unique mental features. He has in his blood hundreds of battles of survival he had fought, innumerable terrains he surpassed and plenty of spiritual encounters he underwent.

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