Asian Ethnology 81 1&2 | article Contested Devotion The Praise of Sufi Saints in Three Māla Pāṭṭŭs

M. Keely Sutton

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Kerala Māppiḷa pāṭṭŭ Mappila Muslims Sufism Arabi-Malayalam devotion folklorization

This article examines three Sufi devotional songs (māla pāṭṭŭs), from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, from the Mappila Muslim poetic corpus (māppiḷa pāṭṭǔ) of Kerala, India. Close examination of the Mappila song literature provides information and historical detail about a community for which there are limited noncolonial sources. More specifically, an examination of the content, poetic features, and changing mediums and performative contexts of these particular māla pāṭṭŭs foregrounds the Mappila community’s multivocal and complex religious development and history. The article also highlights the ways in which the process of folklorization is both transforming Mappila songs into commodities and simultaneously keeping the māla songs available via the internet, thus preserving these practices as cultural heritage and a living practice.