Mahommedans of the Konakan (1855-1862)

Konkani Muslims (or Kokani Muslims) are an ethnoreligious subgroup of the Konkani people of the Konkani region along the west coast of India, who practice Islam.[1][2] Nawayath Muslims from the North Canara district of Karnataka have similar origin as Konkani Muslims, but show a distinct ethnolinguistic identity due to geographical isolation of the Canara coast from the Konkan coast.[3]


The Konkani Muslim community forms a part of the larger Konkani-speaking demographic and are predominantly located in the Konkan division of the Indian state of Maharashtra.[4] This includes the administrative districts of Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban, Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg.

There is a diaspora Konkani Muslim community based in Persian Gulf states,[5][6] the United Kingdom,[7][8] and South Africa.[9][10] Some Konkani Muslims migrated to Pakistan during the Partition of India in 1947, and are presently settled in Karachi,[11] as part of the larger Muhajir community.


Since antiquity, the Konkan coast has had mercantile relations with major ports on the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Konkani Muslims can trace their ancestry to traders from Hadhramaut (in Yemen or South Arabia),[12] the North of Indian (Haryana/Punjab) and other parts of Arabia and the Middle East,[13] who visited the Konkan coast between the seventh and eighth centuries AD and fled persecution in North India, during the rule of the Chalukya and Rashtrakuta dynasties.[14] Some Konkani Muslim settlements between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries at the former ports of Dabhol and Chaul have been documented by chroniclers such as Ibn Battuta and Firishta.[15] In the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Konkani Muslims became influential sailors, merchants, and government employees as the port city of Bombay (present Mumbai) began developing.[16]

Portrait of Nawab Saadatullah Khan

Saadatullah Khan I, a Konkani Muslim born into a family of Nawayaths, was the Nawab of the Carnatic under the Mughal Empire.[17]


Ancestry formed the basis for social stratification: Konkani people are direct descendants of Arab traders formed an elite class over those who had indirect descent through intermarriages with local women converts to Islam. The Konkani people have a varied ethnic backgroud as most Muslims within the region [18][19][20] are descendants of people who migrated from the Delhi region, Hadhramaut (in Yemen or South Arabia),[12] Iran and other parts of Arabia and the Middle East. [21]


Konkani Muslims follow the Sunni Islamic jurisprudence with some following the Shia and Sufi demographic. This is in contrast to the Deccan regions, where Muslims adhere to the Hanafi school.[22][23]


Konkanis speak a variety of dialects of Marathi collectively called Maharashtrian Konkani.[22] Some of the dialects include Parabhi, Kunbi, Karadhi, Sangameshwari, and Bankoti. These form a gradual linguistic continuum between standard Marathi in regions around Mumbai and the Konkani language in regions around Goa.

Almost all Muslim Konkanis speak Urdu with some who migrated to Pakistan speaking various dialets of Punjabi. In addition, the Muslims from Sindhudurg, near Malvan, and the former princely state of Sawantwadi speak the Malvani Konkani dialect of the Konkani language, but most Muslim Konkanis opt to speak Urdu.


The cuisine of Konkani Muslims is meat anx seafood. Its staple food is rice and bread made of rice (preferred at dinners) with meat/fish and lentils or vegetables. It is mainly influenced by Kashmiri people who settled in the late 1800s fleeing tensions in the North of India.[24] The southern portion of Konkan region has Malvani cuisine which overlaps with Maharashtrian and Goan cuisines.

Notable Konkani Muslims

Fareed Zakaria, son of Rafiq Zakaria, and CNN anchor


  1. ^ Green, Nile (2011). Bombay Islam: the religious economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840–1915. Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Connecting Konkan with Arabia via Iran: The history of Nawayathi, the language of Bhatkali Muslims". 24 June 2017.
  4. ^ Deshmukh, Cynthia (1979). "The People Of Bombay 1850-1914 (An approach paper)". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 40: 836–840. JSTOR 44142034.
  5. ^ "Kokani Organisations". Archived from the original on 11 March 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  6. ^ Gogate, Sudha (1991). Rao, M. S. A.; Bhat, Chandrashekar; Kadekar, Laxmi Narayan (eds.). Impact of migration to the middle east on Ratnagiri. pp. 371–388. ISBN 978-0-8631-1151-8. ((cite encyclopedia)): |work= ignored (help)
  7. ^ "Kokni Community Luton". Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Kokni Muslim Association Birmingham". Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  9. ^ Parker, Nujmoonnisa. "Kokanis in Cape Town, South Africa" (PDF). Kokan News. Vol. 3, no. 1. pp. 22–24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  10. ^ Green, Nile (2008). "Islam for the Indentured Indian: A Muslim Missionary in Colonial South Africa". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 71 (3): 529–553. doi:10.1017/s0041977x08000876. JSTOR 40378804.
  11. ^ "Kokani Muslim Jamat Societies, Karachi". Archived from the original on 10 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  12. ^ a b Khalidi, Omar (1996). "The Arabs of Hadramawt in Hyderabad". In Kulkarni; Naeem; De Souza (eds.). Mediaeval Deccan History. Bombay: Popular Prakashan. ISBN 978-8-1715-4579-7.
  13. ^ Manger, Leif (2007), Hadramis in Hyderabad: From Winners to Losers, vol. 35, Asian Journal of Social Science, pp. 405–433 (29)
  14. ^ Dr Omar Khalidi. "History". i-konkani. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015. [1] Archived 5 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Nairne, A. K.; Bandora, C. S. (1873). "Musalman Remains in the South Konkan". The Indian Antiquary, Volume 2. pp. 278–283. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  16. ^ Dobbin, Christine E. (1972). Urban leadership in Western India: politics and communities in Bombay city, 1840-1885. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-19-821841-8. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  17. ^ Muhammad Yusuf Kukan (1974). Arabic and Persian in Carnatic, 1710-1960. p. 12. Nawab Saadatullah Khan, son of Muhammad Ali, son of Ahmad, was born in Bijapur on Wednesday the 17th Jamadi I in the year 1061 A.H. = 1651 A.D. in a respectable family of Nawayits
  18. ^ "Thane District Gazetteer, Government of Maharashtra". Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Colaba District Gazetteer, Government of Maharashtra". Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Ratnagiri District Gazetteer, Government of Maharashtra". Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  21. ^ Wink, André (1991). Al-hind: The Making of the Indo-islamic World. Brill. p. 68. ISBN 978-9-0040-9249-5.
  22. ^ a b Nasiri, Md. Jalis Akhtar (2010). Indian Muslims: Their Customs and Traditions during Last Fifty Years (Ph.D.). New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University.
  23. ^ Dandekar, Deepra (2017). "Margins or Center? Konkani Sufis, India and "Arabastan"". In Mielke, Katja; Hornidge, Anna-Katharina (eds.). Area Studies at the Crossroads: Knowledge Production after the Mobility Turn. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 141–156.
  24. ^ "Mumbai Food: Konkani-Muslim pop-up celebrates all things seafood and coconut". Mid-Day. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  25. ^ A. R. Antulay - Official biographical sketch in Parliament of India website. Archived 5 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
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