Madras Halai Memon Association

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Origin of the Community

 The History of community begins with the first question i.e.  “What is the origin of community?”. The most common answer and the one which is believed by most of the elders of the community is the story published in Gazatter of Bombay Presidency published in 1899. According to this story, the “Lohanas” a Hindu cast who lived in fourteenth century in Sindh was converted to Islam by Pir Yusufuddin Qadri, a disciple of Pir Abdul Qadir Gilani of Baghdad.

The new converts were given the name Momins which later on with passage of time, came to be known as Memons. Some of the recent historians have however other thoughts in the matter but we do not have time to go into details. I will only mention the theory of Karim Baksh Khalid, a Sindhi Memon Scholar. According to his theory, Arabs of Qatif near Taif who were weavers came alongwith Muhammed Bin Qasim in Sindh. They belonged to a tribe of Banu Tasmim and constituted the right wing of his army – which in Arabic is known as “Mymenah” – the right wingers. They settled in Sindh and later on came to be known as Memons. If this theory is accepted, then the Memons were original Arabs. Later on these Memons migrated to Katch and Kathiawar due to various reasons.

This new Muslim community was distinguished by great religious zeal and piety. This feature is even today characteristic of the Memons. The reputation for being pious Muslims which has been attached to the Memon contributed greatly to their commercial success. When a Memon moves to a locality, his first action is building a Mosque.

 The present population of Memon community according to a rough estimate is one million, 500,000 in India, 400,000 in Pakistan and 100,000 in rest of the World including South Africa, U.K., U.S.A., Canada and U.A.E.