|about 1 Million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Singapore, Malaysia, Middle east, UK & USA|
Rowther or Ravuthar (Tamil: ராவுத்தர்) is a distinctive Islamic community from the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Together with the Kayalar, Lebbai and Maraikayar communities, they constitute the Tamil Muslims along with Urdu speaking migrants from hyderabad areas settled in north Tamil Nadu(vaniyambadi,ambur,vellore), a cultured Islamic community spread across South India and South East Asia. Rowthers follow the Hanafi school of Fiqh.
The etymology of the word "Rawther" റാവുത്തര്)) is probably Rathore, which is still a common surname among Muslim Rajputs in India and Pakistan. It used to be the common surname among Rawther Muslims. Rawther Muslims probably comprise of the Turkish and Rajput rulers and soldiers who invaded and established vast Muslim empires in South India. After the Dravidian movement's call to give up surnames to abolish caste discrimination based on names, Rawther Muslims abandoned its use, and it is now rarely used as a surname. But the community still identifies itself as Rawther. Large number of Rawther's are migrated from Tamil Nadu to mainly South Kerala districts such as Trivandrum, Kollam, Pathanamthitta,Kottayam,Idukki, Palakkad and Ernakulam districts. Places such as Chithara, Nedumangadu, Pudunagaram, Koduvayur, Chittur, Vadakkenchery, Thattamangalam, Kaliyikkavila, Pathanapuram,Vaipur,Thodupuzha,Ranni,Muvattupuzha,Changanacherry,kangazha,Manimala,Thazhathangady, Kummanam,Illikkal, Erattupetta Kanjirappally and athikkattukulangara have a majority of Rawther-Hanafi Muslims more than Shafi Muslims
The community is believed to have descended from Rajputs, Arabs and Turks along with the converts they made. Many in this community still bear physical characteristics which are more akin to those from the Mediterranean and Pakistani region. The community also retains customs and traditions which appear to have Turkish origins. It would not be surprising to find blue/ grey/ hazel-eyed members of this community. Further study needs to be done before any conclusion could be drawn as to the definitive origins or mixtures of this community. The Rowthers often intermarry with the Maricars and the Lebbays.
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