Introduction by Dr MK Muneer
Panakkad Syed Muhammad Ali Shihab Thangal is undoubtedly a leading figure in Kerala politics. His personality towers in the social and cultural life of Kerala. All communities see him as a symbol of peace and tolerance.
– When Malik bin Dinar arrived in Kerala, he was received generously by the Non-Muslim brothers. Islam spread here through their peaceful dealings with the native people. We should adopt such peaceful means at the present
– The Sayyid families, traced to Hadramaut in Yemen, have played a leading role in Kerala Muslim community. They showed the beautiful message of Islam to the natives. They also led the community in the Indian freedom struggle. PMSA Pookoya Thangal had to suffer much at the hands of British colonial rule.
– Yemen is a land of historical importance. The origin of the primitive language of Arabicnis associated with this land. Khalil Yahya Nami, the linguist, who taught us, visited Yemen for his studies on Arabic. (He also authored The Origins of Arabic Writing and Its Historical Evolution Before Islam)
– The Saba’ Dynasty was an ancient race who ruled Yemen.Queen Bilqis was engaged in building houses and conservation of rain water for cultivation of crops. The Marib Dam is 170km far from capital city of Sana’a. The dam is built between two dams. Trade flourished including with India. Goods which came from India were sent to Rome, Greece via Egypt on one side and via Syria towards Persia. Many temple’s remains can still be found today.
– After high school education, I studied Arabic for some years. I was interested in going abroad for studies. Upon the visit by a scholars’s delegation from Al Azhar in Calicut, I contacted them for further details. They gave a letter to Cairo’s Islamic Congress. I met with Anwar Sadath (prior to his becoming the leader). The hostel had inmates from Africa, Asia and Europe. I returned from Cairo in 1966.
– Whenever I visit other countries, I collect rare plants for my little garden. Interacting with them is a source of happiness.
– We are all creations of Allah who should live peacefully. But conflicts occur between fellow beings. The are peoples and communities of diverse nature in a land. Everyone should see themselves as creatures of God. This is the teaching of Islam. And this would strengthen the bond between humans.