The thangals (also spelled tangals) are a social group[3] among the Muslims of Kerala, south India.[1] The thangals are often regarded as roughly equivalent to the more general Sayyids or Sharifs, or The Blessed Descendants Of The Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله تعالى عليه وآله وسلم , of the wider Islamic culture.[2][3] Most members of the community practices endogamy and rarely marry outside from their community.[4][5]

The thangal families are numerous in Kerala, all receive recognition, but some are considered as saints.[2] The thangal identification brings much 'reverence and attention' in the Kerala Muslim community (which predominantly identifies with Shafi'i madhab).[6] Some individuals take advice from the thangals on crucial matters.[3] A number of thangals in Kerala 'treat' people for illness and to 'ward off evils'.[3]

Shihab, Mashoor, Hirdh, Bafaqi, Jifri, Jamalullayli are some of major thangal families have many gradations of status on social and economic scale. Influential of the thangals generally come from prominent business families. They usually exercise their influence through commerce and politics.[2][verification needed]

Notable Thangal in north Kerala

Syed Muhammedali Shihab Thangal (1936 - 2009)


1.^ Only some scholars consider the thangals as a 'community' among the Muslims of Kerala.[1]


  1. ^ a b Kunhali, V. "Muslim Communities in Kerala to 1798" PhD Dissertation Aligarh Muslim University (1986) [1]
  2. ^ a b c d Miller, Roland E., Mappila Muslim Culture. New York, State University of New York Press, 2015. pp. 268-271.
  3. ^ a b c Meethal, Amiya (25 April 2016). "Thangals All Set to Test Popularity in Malappuram". Deccan Chronicle.
  4. ^ Lang, Claudia (1 December 2014). "Muslim Thangals, Psychologisation and Pragmatic Realism in Northern Kerala, India". Transcultural Psychiatry. 51 (6): 904–923. doi:10.1177/1363461514525221. PMID 24637733. S2CID 30638105.
  5. ^ Kunhali, V. "Muslim Communities in Kerala to 1798" PhD Dissertation Aligarh Muslim University (1986) [2]
  6. ^ "Caste system exists among Muslims though not overtly". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 12 October 2020.

Further reading