Excerpts from the address delivered by the Secretary, Kerala Ulama Conference in Ottopalam on 25 May 1921. The conference was attended by scores of leading scholars and eminent personalities of Kerala
“All are aware of the fact that our rulers, the British, and their allies fought unjustly and unlawfully against the Sultan of Turkey, our Khalifa, who had been for the past several centuries protecting our sacred religion as well as the holy places like Mecca, Medina, Baithulmukadeez…sanctified by our religion, wrested those places from his Majesty and divided them amongst themselves and their allies. They have done all this with the wicked intention of wiping out from the face of the world the religion of Islam which stands in opposition to Christianity. It has been proved, at the recent Paris and London Conference, etc., that it is our British rulers that are striving hard to carry out this wicked intention with a tenacity that put the other governments in the background. We, of course, consider our religion to be dearer than our lives….All the important Ulamas and Ulama associations in India have therefore with one accord issued fatwas calling upon all Muslims to strive , sacrificing their ll, including their lives, to save the Khilafat which is the basis of the Islamic religion. This is the time when it will be tested whether we Muslims have the least tinge of iman left in us.
“Please hear a little about the hardships which our Turkish brethren suffer at Symrna in Asia Minor. Having being engaged in the successive Tripolian, Balkan and the European wars, all the adult Muslims there were either killed or crippled. The Greeks with the support of the allies are fiercely persecuting and oppressing the widows and the children in that place who were already deprived of those who were able to eke out a livelihood for them and their persecution is carried out in a manner that will make one’s hair stand on end to hear of it….As a result of these devilish deeds, which not even brutes which have no understanding will commit, lakhs of muslim widows and children there, are undergoing misery which passeth verbal description….Muslim brethren, lakhs and lakhs of your brethren, not having a place to live in a benumbing climate, without food to eat, without clothes to put on and without water to drink are suffering wretched misery….They are dying in hundreds everyday. Subhan Allah! Does this not move your hearts? Do you pretend not to see it because it is at a distance beyond the reach of your eyes? No. I cannot admit that. Lo! I place that pitiable picture before you . If you open your eyes, you cannot help seeing it. And as for this misery, it is within your power to remedy it. Only your purse strings must loosen. If your eyes will be opened, I am sure that your purses will open themselves. May those eyes which on account of miserliness, are closed with the object of not seeing such a condition, never open again.
“It is during the Ramadhan festival that has just begun that we perform our duty of sakkath. It is requested that for these two purposes all the rich muslims of Kerala will remit at once to my address two eights of the sakkath which they give. It is trusted that even those who are not rich enough to set apart anything for sakkath will, as soon as possible, contribute that they can. On receipt of money separate receipts will be issued to each person. During this month of Razan which has been specially set apart for the performance of good deeds may the Almighty Rabul Alamin grant each muslim wisdom of heart to do all in his power for the maintenance of religion. Ameen.”
(Source: Public Department, G. O. No. 491, dated 3.8.1921, as quoted in Peasant Protests and Revolts in Malabar by K. N. Panikkar, Indian Council of Historical Research and People’s Publishing House, March 1990)