People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Mappila in India


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Mappila in India map

Flash Map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
10,352,000 Malayalam Islam 0.00 % 0.00 %   

Mappila in India

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The Laccadive Mappilla live in the Lakshadweep Islands off the southwestern coast of India. Malayalam is the state language of Kerala and its script has been significantly influenced by Arabic. The term mappilla is a combination of two words: maha, which means great and pilla, which is an endearing term that means child.

The people of the islands migrated from the Kerala coast around the seventh century. They came as Hindus, but later converted to Islam. The Laccadive Mappilla attribute their conversion to the work of an Arab missionary. The Muslim communities resulted from the unions of Arab sailors and merchants with native women. The islanders have been in contact with the mainland Mappilla through trade and sporadic migrations. The Laccadive Mappilla are unique in that they have maintained a matrilineal society (line of descent is traced through the women) in spite of their Islamic beliefs.

What are their lives like?
The Lakshadweep Islands are covered with coconut trees, which provide the basis of the Laccadive Mappilla's economy. The coconut supplies coir (the husky fiber, which can be used to make ropes or mats) and copra (coconut meat). These products provide the main industries on the islands. Vinegar is also derivative of coconut sap and is sold on the mainland. Breadfruit (an evergreen timber tree with edible fruits) runs a distant second to coconut in economic importance. Other foods that are raised include papayas, plantains (banana-like fruits), yams, sweet potatoes, maize, and beans.

Each island has various mosques and one or two schools for religious education. Within the last ten years, the government has made efforts to establish high schools and primary schools for girls.

Since 1956, the Laccadive Islands have been a Union Territory with the headquarters of administration at Calicut on the mainland. The local administration of each island is carried out by an Amin, who is appointed by the Administrator of the Laccadive Islands. He is usually selected from the Island Council of Elders, which consists of the heads of lineages.

The common matrilineal unit in the islands is called Taravad, in which individuals trace their descent by a common ancestress in the female line. For example, the right to share in property passes through female members. This system began centuries ago when the men were needed to manage negotiations in trade. Their periodic absence from the island facilitated the adoption of matrilineal blood lines. Maintenance of individually owned property was only possible if the women who stayed behind could officially speak for the family on the man's behalf.

Monogamy (one husband, one wife) prevails among the Laccadive Mappilla, in spite of the fact that Islam may allow a man to have as many as four wives. Cross cousin marriages are preferred, and marriages usually take place shortly after puberty. The man has true authority over his wife only if he stays with her until after all of her male relatives have died. He is then able to manage her property. A man has little authority over his children. Divorce is easy and common; over half of their marriages end in divorce.

What are their beliefs?
The Laccadive Mappilla belong to the Shafite School of the Sunni branch of Islam. Their religion has the typical characteristics of Islamic beliefs and practices, in addition to certain local features that have developed according to their particular way of life. Every child has to read the Koran completely in Arabic at least once, but the meaning is not explained to them. Priesthood is inherited through the females.

What are their needs?
The Bible, the Jesus film, and some Christian broadcasts are available in the Malayalam language; however, very few of the islanders have responded to the Gospel. Prayer is the key to reaching them for Christ.

Prayer Points
Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to India and share Christ with the Laccadive Mappilla.
Pray for the effectiveness of the Jesus film among these people.
Ask God to use the few Laccadive Mappilla believers to share Christ with their own people.
Ask the Lord to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
Pray that God will open the hearts of India's governmental and religious leaders to the Gospel.

View Mappila in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-09-27
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-08-24
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-07-15
Global Prayer Digest: 2015-09-08
Global Prayer Digest: 2016-10-14
Global Prayer Digest: 2017-10-27
Global Prayer Digest: 2019-09-03
  Submit Update:
Country: India
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:11 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:10,352,000
Largest States:
Kerala (10,003,000)Tamil Nadu (109,000)
Karnataka (92,000)Maharashtra (43,000)
Puducherry (15,000)Delhi (2,500)
Andhra Pradesh (1,900)West Bengal (1,300)
Lakshadweep (1,200)Uttar Pradesh (1,100)
Submit Map:
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Mappila
People Name General: Mappila
Alternate People Names:
Jamma MappilaKaka
ROP3 Code: 112857
Joshua Project People ID: 17452
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 10,352,000
Population all Countries: 10,363,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
People Name General: Mappila
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Malayalam (8,712,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): mal    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Urdu (18,000)Konkani (1,000)
Tulu (800)English (400)
Konkani, Goan (400)Tamil (70)
Total Languages: 7
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam100.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 1811-1968
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1841-2022
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsLove letter to you from scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline Audio Scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoFollowing Jesus video
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Malayalam
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGospel resources links
GeneralGospel website in this language
GeneralGospel website in this language
GeneralGospel website in this language
GeneralGospel website in this language
GeneralZume Resources
GeneralZume Training
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app from Google Pla ...
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app from Google Pla ...
Mobile AppDownload Bible from Google Play Store
Text / Printed MatterBible Gateway scripture
Text / Printed MatterBible: Malayalam
Text / Printed MatterChildren and youth resources
Text / Printed MatterLiteracy primer for Malayalam
Text / Printed MatterOnline New Testament (Bibles India)
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Mappila in India

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Muslim - other     Asia, South    
      Mappila India    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Mappila in India          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Malayalam  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: