Goan Muslims

Goan Muslims
Urdu and Konkani
Related ethnic groups
Goans, Nawayath, Konkani Muslims

The Goan Muslims are a minority community who follow Islam in the western Indian coastal state of Goa. They are native to Goa, unlike recent Muslim migrants from Karnataka. They are commonly referred as Moir (Konkani: मैर) by Goan Catholics and Hindus.[a] Moir is derived from the Portuguese word mour (Moors). The Portuguese called them Mouros because they (and the Spaniards in contact with the Muslims of Mauritania, who had conquered the Iberian Peninsula) were called Mouros and later generalized as Mouros.[1]


Although the advent of Muslims in Goa occurred later in history, Arab geographers referred to Goa as Sindabur and believed that Goa had one of the best ports in western India. In 554 CE, Sidi Ali Kodupon wrote the Turkish-language book Mohit. In the book, Goa is referred to as Kuvah-Sindabur: a combination of the names Kuvah (Goa) and Sindabur (Chandor).[2]

The copper plate of Kadamba Jayakesi I refers to the Muslim Minister named Chadma. While Kadamba ruler Gullhadeva I was sailing towards Somanath, his ship got involved in a naval accident and the mast of his ship broke. His grandson Jayakesi I gave Chadma, the privilege of levying the taxes on small and big boats. The amount collected by way of taxes was utilized for the maintenance of the mosques built in Goa at Laghumorambika (modern Merces).This copper plate goes to the extent of saying that Jayakesi I made him the Chief Minister.[3] Later Arab Muslim commercial traders migrated to Goa by force of conquest and established their society; this was the first forceful influx of Muslims into Goa, which led the local Hindus to migrate elsewhere.[4] After Malik Kafur invasion and subsequently during the rule of Sultanate, there were Muslim Officers in Goa like Malik Bahadur. After the downfall of the Goa Kadamba, some Muslims might have migrated to Bhatkal and Honavar. The Nawayaths of Bhatkal are the descendant of Muslim community and once lived in Goa.[5]

The Delhi Sultanate took over Goa in 1312, destroying the city of Govapuri and demolishing shrines.[6][7] In turn, they were forced to surrender Goa by 1370 to Harihara I of Vijayanagara. The Vijayanagara monarchs ruled Goa for the next hundred years (until 1469), before it passed to the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga. After the Bahmani Sultanate collapsed the Adil Shahis of Bijapur took over, making Velha Goa their ancillary capital. During this era, Muslim pilgrims from all over India embarked on their journey to Mecca from Goa.[8] Thus by this time Muslim community evolved in Goa as a combination of forceful conversions and intermarriage with local converts.[9][b]

A permanent settlement was established by the Portuguese in 1510 in Velha Goa (Old Goa), when the Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling Bijapur king Yusuf Adil Shah. Efforts to suppress Islam were made by the Portuguese. From 1540 onwards, Goa Inquisition was established. The Muslims were persecuted and forced to convert to Catholicism, killed or exiled. Many mosques were destroyed and churches were built on them. The inquisitor's one of the first act was to forbid any open practice of the Islam on pain of death. Most of the Goa Inquisition's records were destroyed after its abolition in 1812, and it is thus impossible to know the exact number of those put on trial and the punishments they were prescribed. From 1560 to 1774, a total of 16,172 persons were tried and condemned or acquitted by the tribunals of the Inquisition.[10]


Muslims are concentrated in Sattari, Bicholim, Sanguem, Ponda and Vasco da Gama. Their language parallels Dakhini of the Deccan Plateau. This dialect, self-referred as "Urdu", does not resemble standard Urdu has a heavy Konkani influence and may be considered the "Konkani slang" of Goan Muslims.[11] Goan Muslims are bilingual (speaking Konkani outside the home); some are educated in Marathi,[12][13] and they use the Perso-Arabic and Devanagari scripts for written communication.[12] The Muslims constitute nearly 7% of Goa population.


The majority of Goan Muslims follow Sunni Islam,[12] the predominant groups being that of Mullas/Mujawars, Sayeds, Shaikhs (Xec in Portuguese), Khans/Pathans, Khojas, Bhatiars (cooks), Bhoras (merchants) and Manyars (bangle-makers). They observe all Muslim holidays and festivals. Goan Muslims as well as people from other religions are governed by a Uniform civil code based on the progressive old Portuguese Family Laws; unsuccessful attempts were made for a change to Muslim personal law.[14] Personal law of Hindus and Muslims is not recognized in Goa. Goans have a history of peace and harmony, without religious violence; one exception was a Hindu-Muslim riot on March 3–4, 2006.[15]

In common with all Goans, rice and fish are the Muslims' staple foods; sea food is preferred to goat meat, and biryani is a delicacy during festivals like Eid.[16]


  • ^ ...Hindu Kristao Moir sogle bhau- Hindus,Christians and Muslims are all brothers...[17]
  • ^ ...अरबांशी विवाह्....बळजबरिने बाटवून...स्वेच्छेने इस्लाम स्विकारुन...[18]


  1. Śiroḍakara,Mandal, Anthropological Survey of Indi, Pra. Pā ,H K. (1993). People of India: Goa. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 167. ISBN 9788171547609.
  2. "Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay,". Asiatic Society of Bombay. 11: 292.
  3. Moraes, George M. (1995). The Kadamba Kula. Asian Educational Services. p. 400. ISBN 9788120605954.
  4. Kurzon, Dennis (2004). Where East Looks West: Success in English in Goa and on the Konkan Coast Volume 125 of Multilingual matters. Multilingual Matters. p. 76. ISBN 9781853596735.
  5. Mitragotri, Vithal Raghavendra (1999). A socio-cultural history of Goa from the Bhojas to the Vijayanagara. Institute Menezes Braganza. pp. 74–75.
  6. De Souza, Teotonio R. (1989). Essays in Goan History. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 13–14. ISBN 9788170222637.
  7. Bradnock, Robert W.; Bradnock, Roma (2000). Goa handbook. Footprint Handbooks. pp. 214, 253. ISBN 9781900949453.
  8. Kurzon, Dennis (2004). Where East looks West: success in English in Goa and on the Konkan Coast. Multilingual Matters. p. 76. ISBN 9781853596735.
  9. D'Souza, Bento Graciano (1975). Goan Society in Transition: A Study in Social Change. Popular Prakashan. p. 54.
  10. "Goa was birthplace of Indo-Western garments: Wendell Rodricks". Deccan Herald. New Delhi, India. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  11. Śiroḍakara, Pra. Pā (1992). Goa's external relations: seminar papers. Rajhauns Vitaran. p. 12.
  12. 1 2 3 Śiroḍakara, Mandal, Pra. Pā , H. K. (1993). People of India: Goa. Anthropological Survey of India. pp. 167, xviii. ISBN 9788171547609.
  13. Fatihi, A. R. "URDU IN GOA". LANGUAGE IN INDIA. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  14. Siddiqi,Zuberi, Zakia A., Anwar Jahan (1993). Muslim women: problems and prospects. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. p. 31. ISBN 9788185880044.
  15. "Communal violence in Goa". Gomantak Times. 3–4 March 2006. p. 1.
  16. Chapman, Pat (2009). India: Food & Cooking: The Ultimate Book on Indian Cuisine. New Holland Publishers. p. 38. ISBN 9781845376192.
  17. Furtado, A. D. (1981). Goa, yesterday, to-day, tomorrow: an approach to various socio-economic and political issues in Goan life & re-interpretation of historical facts. Furtado's Enterprises. p. xviii.
  18. Gomantak:Prakruti ani Sanskruti-Goa:Nature and Culture,volume I,by Satoskar B.D
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