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Uroos Festival, Bekal Overview

The Uroos festival is celebrated after every three years in the Malik Dinar Mosque to commemorate the day of the Tabi'in's visit in Kerala. The Uroos is celebrated with much enthusiasm by the followers of Islam in the state, and people from other parts of the country who visit Bekal on this occasion.

Uroos Festival Dates

The Uroos festival at Bekal of Kasaragod in Kerala in celebrated after every three years. It is celebrated to remember the day when the Tabi'in, Malik bin Dinar set foot in India. The date is decided according to the Arabic Al Hajri calendar, and thus the festival falls on different dates of the Gregorian calendar each time. The festivity is celebrated with much enthusiasm by the Muslims of the land all this while, even attracting people from other parts of the country on occasion. The next Bekal Uroos festival is going to be held from 13th February 2020 to 24th of February, 2020. 

Malik Denaar Uroos - Venue

The ceremonial stage of the Uroos festival
The Ceremonial stage of the Uroos festival
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The Bekal Uroos festival is celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala in general, and the Kasaragod district in particular. Although celebrations occur throughout the land, the center of festivity is the Malik Dinar Juma Mosque in the Thalangara village, where the grave of Malik bin Dinar is also located.

About Malik Deenar Mosque

The small old town of Bekal is located in the Kasaragod district of the south Indian state of Kerala. The town stands in the northern-most part of the state and is home to some of the oldest attractions, such as the Bekal Fort, which is the most massive fort in the state, spread over an area of 40 acres, built in 1650. The town has its beaches on the Arabian Sea and is a beautiful destination to visit. The nearby village of Thalangara, within Kasaragod, houses the famous Malik Dinar Juma Mosque, said to be founded by the first Muslim, Malik bin Dinar, who belonged to the group of Tabi'in generation, to land on the Indian soil. Malik bin Dinar's shrine is within the campus of the Malik Dinar Juma Mosque.

The Tale of Malik Bin Dinar

Grave of Malik bin Deenar in Kerala
Grave of Malik bin Deenar in Kerala
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There is a tale about a certain Chera ruler called Cheraman Perumal, who saw the moon split one night. He asked a seer about the event, who confirmed in the reality of its happening. Upon the confirmation, the Chera ruler got to know that it was a miracle performed by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad who was to be found in Arabia. He went on a journey to meet the prophet of Islam, and could not return to his land. He wrote a letter to Malik bin Dinar, asking him to construct a mosque in India. Thus the first mosque in India, named as the Cheraman Juma Mosque, was constructed by Malik bin Dinar, which is in the Thrissur district of Kerala today. However, other sources state that the story of the miracle is a later day interpolation, and indeed the Cheraman Juma Mosque was built by a Chera ruler, but for the Arabian traders who had accepted Islam and visited the kingdom for trade.

Malik bin Dinar was from the group of people of the generation of Tabi'in, the successors or the followers of the companions of the Prophet. He came to the shores of present-day Kerala with his companions. He is considered as the first and a significant propagator of the religion of Islam in India, especially in the southern part. He founded the Malik Dinar Juma Mosque in Kasaragod, where he was buried too after his death. However, some sources state that he did not die in India but returned to Arabia and the tomb in the Malik Dinar Mosque is not his. The mosque and the shrine are destinations where Muslims of the Sunni traditions visit with the fervor of a pilgrimage.

How is the Malik Deenar Uroos festival Celebrated?

Ziyarat of the Malik Dinar Shrine
Ziyarat of the Malik Dinar Shrine
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The Uroos festival in Bekal is celebrated in the memory of the day of Tabi'in, Malik bin Dinar's visit in India. The Uroos in Bekal is a type of Uroos celebrated across the Indian subcontinent, at shrines of various Muslim saints and seers, on different dates.

The Malik Dinar Juma Mosque is adorned brightly with lights and decorations. The whole campus shines most brilliantly on the Uroos days. Malik bin Dinar is remembered in the religious meetings that are organized on occasion.

A stage is set with much décor, upon which singers of the religious songs are called to perform their mystic pieces. Different categories of spiritual songs are performed, which are roughly divided into three groups, Hamd, which are sung in praise of the Almighty God; Naat, which is sung in praise of the Prophet Muhammad; and Nazms, which are sung in praise of saints and seers. The method is followed in all different Uroos festival celebrated across the Indian Subcontinent.
A glimpse of the Uroos festival in 2013
A Glimpse of the Uroos festival in 2013
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Sweet drinks are distributed among the visitors by the organizers and well-wishers of the Uroos festival. The festival lasts almost for a month long, and people from different parts of the country pay a visit and join the celebrations. The fact that Malik bin Dinar is considered as the first propagator of Islam in India draws many devotes to his shrine and in the celebration of his remembrance.

Religious sermons are delivered inside the mosque, and people come to listen to the preachers. A flag hoisting ceremony is also carried out within the mosque to mark the occasion. Annadanam is a ritual associated with the Uroos in which people feed the poor and the needy. 

How to Reach Bekal

The nearest railway station from the center of festivities is the Kasaragod Railway station, which is situated at an approximate distance of 13 kilometers from the destination.

However, going through the airways, the nearest airport is the Mangalore International Airport, which is located at an approximate distance of 70 kilometers from the destination in Kasargod.

Congregational prayer at the Uroos festival
Congregational prayer at the Uroos festival
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The Bekal Uroos festival at Kasaragod in Kerala is a celebration of arguably the most significant event in the context of the spread of the religion of Islam in India. A festival in honor of Malik bin Dinar is indeed a celebration of the highest regard, for the person is a highly revered figure at least in South India among the Muslims. Thus, the commemoration of Uroos at Bekal draws devotees from far distances. 

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