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Traditionally, the name Memon is an adaptation of the Arabic word "Momin", meaning faithful. This was used when this community converted to Islam.

More than one hypothesis has been forwarded about the origins of the Memon community. one of the main school of thought is that they are jatt of lohana tribe. These hypotheses, although similar, differ in their details. This could be because Memons have had to rely on oral history in order to determine their origins.

According to Anthovan, those Lohanas of Thhato who converted to Islam became Memons and were invited by Jarejho Roa Khanghar, ruler of Bhuj (1548–1584) to settle in Bhuj. It is from there that Kutchi Memons migrated to Kathiawar and Gujarat. Surat in Gujarat was an important trading center from 1580 to 1680 and Memons made their bounty there. Later, the Memons reached Bombay. Diwan Bherumal M. Advani writes that all the Memons of Bombay, Gujarat and Kutch are Lohanas from Sindh. (A volume written by Mr. Anthovan, part 2, pages 52 and 53)

Another theory states that Memons originated in 1422 CE from Thatta in Sindh. The converts were first called Momins or Mumins and the term, with the march of time, changed to Memons. The story related therein states that some 700 Lohana families, (inclusive, perhaps of some earlier convert and neo-Muslim converts) comprising of some 6178 individuals, converted to Islam at the hands of one Yusuffuddin Qadri and finding themselves forced to migrate. This was also stated by Hussain Kassim Dada from his Presidential Chail at the first ever All India Memon Conference in Rajkot in the year 1931.

Branches of Memons

Memon community may be divided into three main groups. Those who traced their ancestors from Kutch region are identified as Cutchi Memon and they speak Kutchi dialects. Those who traced their ancestry to Kathiawar are identified as simply Memon or Dhoraji memons, Kathiawadi Memons or Halai Memons and they speak the Memon language. Those Memon who remained in Sindh (their ancestor never migrated to neighboring regions such as Kutch and Kathiawar) are identified as Sindhi Memon and speak the Sindhi language.

Many Memons, especially Kathiawadi Memons, further distinguished themselves into various sub-groups which generally refer to their ancestral villages or towns such as Kutyana Memons, originated from Kutyana in Junahgarh (now India).Bantva Memons, Jutpur Memons, Dhoraji Memons, Rajkot Memons with other 18 jamats are now collectively called Halari Memon which is the largest jamat in Pakistan, Bombaywala Memon (whose ancestors used to live in the main city of Bombay and its suburbs) and Deeplai Memon. It is estimated that the number of Kathiawadi Memon, other than Cutchi and Sindhi Memon, worldwide are over one million.

Generally a Memon is a Muslim person born within a Memon family which traces its ancestry back to the descendants of the community originating from Sindh whose members first embraced Islam, including Halai Memon, Okhai Memon, Sindhi Memon, Kutchi Memon, Kathri, Tharati, Nasarpuria and others.

* To view further information on the history of Memons, kindly visit the following links:

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