Thursday, March 04, 2010


Sri Lanka Muslim Websites

YahooGroups Media Watch

Photo Album

Legislative Council Members 1833-1999

Members of Municipal Councils 1881-1941

Population & Statistics 1981


Consuls 1865-1928

Sri Lanka Genealogy



Mosques of Colombo

from the Nineteenth Century

A L Lebbena Marikar
A L Sesma Lebbe Marikar
Ahmadoe Lebbe Marikar Meera Lebbe Marikar
Ahmadoe Lebbe Tamby
Arasi Markar Mohamedu Lebbe Marikar
Assen Lebbe Shamsudeen
Avoo Lebbe Marikar Sinne Lebbe
Bawa Saibu
C M Avoo Lebbe Marikar
Casie Lebbe Ahmedu Alie Marikar
Casie Lebbe Markar Dorey
Casie Lebbe Periya Thamby Lebbe Sinne Lebbe Marikar
H O L Avoo Lebbe Marikar
J L Assena Marikar
J L Ibrahim Lebbe
J L Idroos Lebbe Marikar
J L Mohammedo Lebbe Marikar
J L Uduman Kany
J Lebbe Tamby
K O L Seygu Lebbe
Kader Kandu Casie Lebbe Marikar
Kader Saibu Naina Marikar
Kassie Lebbe Noordeen
Katoe Bawa Madana Marikar
Kunjee Marikar Colanda Marikar
Lebbe Tamby Marikar Idroos Lebbe
M A Abdul Cader
M C Abdul Rahman
M C Mohamedo Usoof
M L Samsudeen Marikar
M L M Slema Lebbe
M L Rasa Marikar
M T Assen Lebbe
Mohammedu Lebbe Lebbe Kandu Marikar
N M Uduma Lebbe Marikar
Naina Lebbe Kasim Bawa
Naina Lebbe Mohamedu Tamby
Nesma Lebbe Tamby
O L Uduma Lebbe Marikar
Ossen Lebbe Abdul Kandu Lebbe Marikar (late No 42), Consul for the Sublime Port
P T Ahmadu Lebbe Marikar
P T Colanda Marikar (Stamp Vendor)
P T Sinna Lebbe Marikar
Periya Tamby Abdul Karim
S L Junis Lebbe
S L Maamuna Lebbe
S L Wapu Marikar
S Meera Lebbe Marikar
S S S Abbaas
S T Sray Lebbe Marikar
Saibo Ismail Lebbe Hadjiar
Saigu Saibu Meera Lebbe Marikar
Segoe Kandu Hadjie Marikar
Segoe Paridu Ismail Lebbe Marikar
Segu Paridu Pakeer Bawa
Seka Lebbe Casie Lebbe Marikar
Seka Lebbe Wapoo Marikar
Sesma Lebbe Avoo Lebbe Marikar
Seyadu Meera Lebbe Ismail Lebbe Marikar
Seyadu Sinna Koya Mavulana
Sinna Lebbe Pakeer Bawa
Sinna Lebbe Saibu
Sinna Lebbe Sesma Lebbe
Sinna Meera Marikar Tamby
Sinna Tamby Lebbena Marikar
Tamby Marikar Idroos Lebbe Marikar
Tamby Rasa Ahamadu Lebbe Marikar
U N Meera Lebbe Marikar
Uduma Lebbe Wapu Lebbe
Uduma Lebbe Marikar Sultan Marikar
Wapitchy Assen Tamby

Main Street Pettah & Moor Business establishments of old

No. 7 Main Street
Haji Ismail Effendi bin Sahib Doray commenced his business at No.7 Main Street, Colombo 12 with gems, jewellery and curios. He decided to perform the piligrimage of Hajj and also visit some other Muslim countries. Several of his friends decided to join him in this adventure cum piligrimage. They were Yousoof Lebbe Sinne Lebbe Marikar Hajiar (later Haji, Effendi & grandfather of MHM Yousoof Haji), Muhammad Lebbe Marikar Hajiar Zainudeen (later Haji, Effendi MMC and paternal grandfathe of Mrs. MMI Kariappar), Ahmed Lebbe Marikar Shamsy Lebbe Marikar (later Haji, Effendi and father of Al-Haj SLM Abdul Rahman and paternal grandfathe of Rasool Ahmed Rahman), his Arabic student Sinne Lebbe Marikar Mahmood (later Haji, Effendi, Alim and JP, father of MHM Yousoof Haji) and a cook named Rawuthen Hajiar.

No. 42 Main Street
John Capper in his "Old Ceylon – sketches of life in the olden time" pp154-161 dealing with Ceylon Moor shopkeepers in main Street, Pettah, in the year 1848 describes Sulaiman Lebbe Naina Marikar as "Number 42" based on the address of his business located at No 42, Main Street, Pettah. Many of the Moor businessmen were thus called by the assessment number of their respective businesses in the Pettah as their names were too complex to be remembered and pronounced by the Colonial rulers (British). Capper describes Sulaiman Lebbe as follows:-
"The most flourishing of these gentry is certainly Number Forty Two, a portly oily-skinned, well conducted Moorman with a remarkably well shaved head surmounted on its very apex by a ridiculously little colored cap like an infantive bee-hive. His bazaar is admitted on all hands, especially amongst the fair sex to be "fi……chop". Yet a stranger would imagine that the fiscal had possession of the place and was on the point of selling off by auction the entire contents; so confused and motley an appearance do they wear.

The doorway, narrow and low, is jealously guarded by a pile of grindstones, surmounted by a brace of soup-tureens on the one side and by tools and weapons of offence on the other"
Number Forty Two directs your attention, in the most winning manner, to a choice and very dusty collection of hanging lamps of the most grotesque fashion. Hos fowling pieces are pointed out to you as perfect marvels.

If you require any blacking brushes or padlocks or Windsor soap or smoking caps or tea kettles, he possesses them in every possible variety, just out by the very latest ship.
No. 47 Main Street

John Capper describes No. 47 as follows:- "For instance there is Number 47, a remarkably well conducted man, very steady, very civil and exceedingly punctual in settling his accounts with his merchants who esteem him accordingly. This worthy Moorman transacts his business much on the principles as his neighbors, but unlike Forty Two and one or two other active numbers, he is given to indulge in certain siestas during the heat of the day, which no influx of customers can debar him from enjoying. As the hour of high noon approaches he spreads his variegated mat upon the little, dirty rickety, queer looking couch under the banana tree at the back courtyard by the side of the well, and there, under the pleasant leafy shade, he dozes off, fawned by such truant breezes as have to venture within such a cooped-up, shut-in of a yard, dreaming of customers, accounts, and promissory notes. During this slumber it is in vain for anyone to attempt to coax a yard of muslin, or a fish-kettle out of the inexorable Forty Seven.

The somniferous spell has descended upon his dwarfy deputy, who rather than wake his master, would forfeit his chance of Paradise, and he no less drowsy himself opens one eye and his mouth only to asure you that the article you require is not to be found in the shop. You insist that it is. You know where to lay your hand upon it. The deputy Forty Seven shakes his drowsy head in somniferous unbelief. You seek it out from its dusty murky hiding place and produce it before his unwilling face. He opens another eye, smiles and nods to you and is away again far into the seventh heaven. There is no help for it but to appropriate the article and pay for it on your next visit."

No. 48 Main Street
John Capper describes No. 48 as follows:- "Number Forty Eight is a small bustling variety of Moorman making vast show of doing a large stroke of business. But as far as I could perceive, doing next to nothing, he bought largely, paid as regularly as most of the other numbers, was constantly opening huge packing cases and crates and sorting out their contents into heaps, but I never remembered to have seen a single customer within his shop. How the man lived was, was for a long time, a perfect mystery to me; But I learnt at length that he disposed of his purchases entirely by means of itinerant hawkers who armed with a yard measure and a pair of scales, and followed by a pack of loaded coolies groaning under huge tin cases and buffalo-skin trucks, perambulated from town to village, from house to hut, and by the dint of wheedling, puffing, and flattering, succeeded in returning with a bag full of coins."

No. 62 Main Street
John Capper describes No. 62 as follows:- "For Number Sixty Two, I entertained a more than ordinary respect. Unlike his Moorish brethren he possessed a remarkably rational name - Saybo Dora. Originally a hawker, he had by his steady conduct won the confidence of the merchants who supplied him with goods wherewith to open a store, of a time when such places did not exist in the town. From small beginnings he rose to great transactions; and now beside a flourishing trade in the bazaar, carried on pretty extensive operations in many smaller towns throughout the country.

It was by no means an unusual thing for this simply-clad mean looking trader to purchase, in one day from one merchant, muslins to the value of a thousand pounds, crockery for half that amount, and perhaps glassware for as much more. For these he would pay down one fourth in hard cash and so great was the confidence reposed in him that his bags of rupees, labelled and endowed with his name and the amount of their contents, were received and placed in the strong-room of the Englishman without being counted - Saybo Dora's name on the packages gave them currency."

W.M. Hassims No. 77 Main Street
Wapu Marikar Hassim, affectionately known as W.M. Hassim, son of Sheikh Marikar, was born on January 26, 1880. His birth was registered by C.L.M. Abdul Majeed (son of Shekadi Marikar Cassim Lebbe Marikar), who was his mother’s sister’s husband. Hassim attended Wesley College, Colombo, and was preparing to appear for the Notary’s examination when his elders recommended that he take up to trade and business. His eldest brother, W.M.Abdul Jabbar, was, at this time, the Manager of his uncle’s (I.L.M. Noordeen Hajiar) hardware business. Another brother W.M. Thaha was also involved in the same establishment. Abdul Jabbar assisted his younger brothers, Thaha and Hassim to start a separate business, in 1906, at No. 77, Main Street, Pettah. Being an netreprising young man, Hassim’s buisness flourished. Thaha left Ceylon in search of greener pastures in the Far East.

Zitan Stores No. 228 Main Street
During the early years of their life, Y.M. Naina-Marikar and his brother, Yousoof, lost their father and came under the care and guidance of of a close relative named Minna Marikar Lebbe Marikar who had no issue. They were absorbed into the business of Minna Marikar who traded in laces and embroidery of local make. When Minna Marikar became ill and decrepit the two brothers became the custodian of the small business and after his death they ventured out into a business of their own which later became one of the most famous of Moor businesses titled Zitan Stores. It was established at No. 228, Main Street, Pettah.

YM was a very philanthrophic and kind gentleman who spared no pains in alleviating the hardship and suffering of his community. He was the only Muslim to be marked out for recognition on the occasion of the Coronation of King George VI, for his philanthropy and public spiritedness, as a Justice of Peace, Western Province.

He built a palatial home at No. 76, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7, using only imported Burmese Teak wood for the entire woodwork. He lived there with his wife, Muhsina until their death.
Hameedia Buildings Main Street

Muhammad Lebbe Marikar Zainudeen, MMC, was the son of Idroos Lebbe Muhammad Lebbe Marikar, a leading merchant in the Pettah. He resided in a house in Grandpass and received his English education at Wesley College, Colombo. He, together with his brother Ismail, joined their father’s business of Commission Agency and General Merchants. They had their showrooms at Hameediah Buildings, Main Street, Pettah, in the year 1880.

In 1883, Zainudeen, under the leadership of Sahib Doray Ismail Lebbe Marikar Alim, later known as Haji Ismail Effendi, together with a few other Muslims, visited several Muslim countries. It is said that they carried a petition to the Khedive (Viceroy) of Egypt from the Egyptian exiles in Ceylon, namely Arabi Pasha and his colleagues.

Muslim Personalities in Sri Lanka

Saturday, March 04, 2006

To those great days of thrills and spills
Zacky Deen

I was shocked and saddened to learn of the untimely death of my good friend Zacky, who was residing in Oklahoma U.S.A, a month ago.

We both started motorcycling (racing) together at the Ratmalana air strip. Katukurunda came much later on. His brother Rally who was in England came to Sri Lanka a little later on and the three of us raced together.

In those days, the Saturday morning papers carried the head line in the Sports page: Dean
Brothers and Chandra de Costa to do battle once again.

Those days the circuit was full of spectators, nothing less than 40,000.

I am proud to mention here that Zacky was a great rider and the riders who were selected as the very first team to India in 1956 comprised Zacky Dean, W.D.P. Indraratne, Trim Seneviratne, A.A. Jinadasa and myself. These riders were selected purely on merit and they were managed by the late Andrew P. Mirando often considered the "Father" of the CMCC.(?)
Zacky Dean won the 350CC and the 500CC on his Manx Norton in exemplary fashion to thrill the Bombay crowd. The other riders also brought credit to Sri Lanka in their respective categories. Zacky participated in the Isle of Man (England) in 1953 on his 350 Manx.

After returning from the Isle of Man he used to win almost all the races because he had the distinction of having the only Manx and it was such a powerful machine that the others had no chance.

I was riding a Triumph Tiger 100 and I was always behind him and I was called the Shadow of Zacky. There are plenty of more things I could write about Zacky, But I guess the above speaks volumes for him. I will certainly miss him very much.

May his soul Rest in Peace.

Chandra de Costa (Former All Ceylon and All India Champion)
Sunday Times - June 18 2006

First Ceylon Moor Doctor

"The Ceylonese" of Thursday, January 25, 1917, published a news item under the heading "Death of a Ceylonese Doctor in Scotland: Dr CMM Zubair". It read,

"News has been received in Ceylon that Dr CMM Zubair, who passed the MB ChB, at Glasgow recently and was about to leave for Ceylon in about a fornights time, died of meningitis.
He was the first member of the Mooirsh community in Ceylon to obtain British medical qualifications. He left Ceylon a few years ago, having put in a course at the Ceylon Medical College, where he passed the Junior final.

The sad news has been cables to Mr CMA Hassan of Dematagoda by Mr Gunaratne, a medical student in Edinburgh. Mr Hassan has wired back requesting that the remains of Mr Zubair be buried according to Mohammedan rites.

Considering that at present there are many Egyptians and other of the Muslim faith in Edinburgh there should be no difficulty in according the late Mr Zubair a Mohammedan burial.
We extend our sympathies to the members of the bereaved family."

Thus the Ceylon Moor community's first Western qualified doctor was fated not to return to Ceylon and to his family with the unique distinction he had gained.

This old boy of St Joseph's College, Colombo, was one of its outstanding cricketers, excelling in bowling along with C Horan. He helped St Joseph's College to beat both Royal College and St Thomas' College, to emerge schools champions in 1905.

His best feats were 4 for 18 vs Royal, 2 for 31 vs Wesley, and 3 for 23 vs St Thomas'. Describing the schools match against Bloomfield C and AC, the press reported: "Zubair for St Joseph's College bowled with remarkable success, taking 5 wickets for 16 runs."

That year he was picked as twelfth man for the Combined Colleges team, that played the Colts. The Combined Colleges team comprised the following:-

ROYAL COLLEGE: F Fonseka, HW Pieris, E Ondaatje
ST THOMAS' COLLEGE: CA Perera, W Don Abraham, S Gunasekera
St JOSEPH'S COLLEGE: LS Mendis, B Ohlmus and CMM Zubair (12th man)

The "Ceylon Sports Annual" (edited by PL Bartholomeusz of the "Times of Ceylon: with cricket notes by EW Foenander) said of the 1906 St Joseph's College cricket team:-

"There were three thoroughly reliable bowlers in S de Silva, C Horan and CM Zubair (sic). The trio presented the variety that is so udeful in cricket. Zubair was hardly as effective as in 1905, but Horan, a left handed medium to slow bowler was more so and de Silva did some remarkable performances at times.

Still, with these three, the bowling was hardly strong enough on the good run getting matting wickets on which most of the college matches were played... In batting, Zubair occasionally came to the rescue of the side at a pinch..."

His mentors at St Joseph's College followed his scholastic career right to the end. When he was successful in the preliminary examination to enter Medical College, the Rector of St Joseph's College, in a letter dated January 28, 1909, counselled him:-

"My dear Zubair, I was very glad to hear from you again and especially to hear that you have passed your prelim. I am sure you will get on excellently at the Medical College. It is very wise to work up your science subjects before joining. That will give you a good start. I wish you every success and very many Happy New Years...

Have you given up your cricket altogether? I don't know what we are going to do this year. Well, I hope."

After his death, the St Joseph's College magazine, "Blue and White", No 13 of October 1917, had this "In Memoriam" citation:-

"Dr CMM Zubair died in Edinburgh almost on the eve of his expected return to Ceylon. he left for England on March 31, 1912, and had a career of uninterrupted success at the University of Edinburgh until he passed the final degree of MB and ChB, in July 1916.

He was the first Ceylonese Mohammedan doctor with British qualifications and was Vice President of the Ceylon Students' Union in Edinburgh.
The news of his untimely death was a severe shock to his relatives and many friends who were looking forward to his return home as a distinguished doctor.

He fell ill about the beginning of January at a seaside place some miles away from Edinburgh. He completely underrated the serious nature of his illness, until, on the pressing advice of a friend, he called in a doctor. As Typhoid was suspected he was removed to the city hospital where he was attended to by several famous doctors.

Finally, it became evident that his case was one of meningitis and in spite of all possible attention and the best treatment, he expired on 22nd January 1917, at the age of twenty four years."
After Zubair, followed Dr SM jabir, MRCS (England), LRCP (London) in 1917, and Dr MCM Kaleel, MB ChB (Edinburgh) in 1926. Dr M Shafi Hassen was also a contemporary of Dr kaleel in Edinburgh.

Dr Zubair, who was the son of Mr and Mrs Hassen (Assen) Lebbe Colenda Marikar of Dematagoda, Colombo 9, had four brothers and three sisters - CM Abdul Hassan and CMM Salih (businessmen), CMM Maharoof (who took to medicine but later became a proctor), CMMS Mackeen (shroff at Apothecaries Ltd), Fathima (Mrs ALM Mohideen), Nafeesa (Mrs Hassan bin Ibrahim) and Razeena (Mrs SLM Mohideen).

It was Mackeen's only daughter, Mufthiha, who emulated her paternal uncle's pioneering achievement in 1970 by being the first Ceylon Moor woman to obtain a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya. While being a Senior Prefect at Bishop's College, Colombo 2, she won prizes in science, zoology and chemistry and also took the coveted Dr GH Soysa Memorial Prize for Science. Like her uncle she too excelled in sport, playing in the university's tennis and hockey teams.



Muhammad Lebbe Marikar Zainudeen, MMC, was the son of Idroos Lebbe Muhammad Lebbe Marikar, a leading merchant in the Pettah. He resided in a house in Grandpass and received his English education at Wesley College, Colombo. He, together with his brother Ismail, joined their father’s business of Commission Agency and General Merchants. They had their showrooms at Hameediah Buildings, Main Street, Pettah, in the year 1880.

In 1883, Zainudeen, under the leadership of Sahib Doray Ismail Lebbe Marikar Alim, later known as Haji Ismail Effendi, together with a few other Muslims, visited several Muslim countries. It is said that they carried a petition to the Khedive (Viceroy) of Egypt from the Egyptian exiles in Ceylon, namely Arabi Pasha and his colleagues.

Zainudeen and group travelled extensively in Egypt and proceeded to Constantinople (Istanbul) before arriving in Makkah to perform the piligrimage of Hajj. On returning to Ceylon, Zainudeen exported large consignments of Ceylon produce, viz hides, cocoa, corn, fibre, oil, coconuts etc. to those frims with whom he had made arrangements with during his stay in Africa and Europe.
Zainudeen was elected a member of the Pettah Ward in the Colombo Municipal Council in 1900.

The following account of the election appeared in the "Crescent" of Liverpool dated October 10, 1900:-

"The election of a councillor for the Pettah Ward took place on Saturday, the 24th August last, at the Town Hall. At first there were two candidates in the field - Mr. Zainudeen and Mr. John Clovis de Silva, but the latter withdrew his candidature a few days previous. The election took place at 8 a.m. the appointed hour. Mr. Herbert White, acting Mayor and Chairman, presided, and there were besides, a few Muslim and Sinhalese householders of the ward present.

The proceedings commenced by Mr. C.B. Brodie, the well-known Fort merchant, formally proposing the name of Mr. M.L.M. Zainudeen as a fit and proper person for election as member to the Pettah Ward. Mr. I.L.M. Ismail Marikar seconded, whereupon Mr. C.P. Dias, MMC handed in 850 proxies in favour of the nominee. The Chairman examined the lists, and declared Mr. Zainudeen duly elected councillor for the Pettah Ward. Mr. Zainudeen briefly returned thanks, and in turn proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman, the latter acknowledging the compliment briefly. Mr. Zainudeen was "At Home" to his friends and well-wishers during the whole of Saturday, when a large number of people called and congratulated him on his election. Among them were members of the Council".

The Muslims of Ceylon, along with the Muslims of the World, celebrated Sultan Abdul Hameed Khan’s Silver Jubilee with grand illuminations and decorations of the Mosques and houses on the day previous to the election of Zainudeen to the Council.
The Muhammadan community in the vicinity of Zainudeen’s residence repeated the decorations and illuminations on his election.

Zainudeen was subsequently re-elected for the Pettah Ward and served as such till 1907. An account of his life appears in the "Twentieth Century" impressions of Ceylon edited by Arnold Wright and published in 1907 by Lloyds Great Britain Publishing Company Limited.

He was the paternal grandfather of Mrs. M.M.I. Kariappar.


Yusuf Lebbe Idroos Lebbe Marikar Hajiar was General Merchant and Landed Proprietor. He was the Trustee of the Grand Mosque and had donated a valuable property in Pettah for the Mosque.

His male ascendants in reverse chronological order are:- Yusuf Lebbe (Jemmi) - Uduma Lebbe - Idroos Lebbe (Batiar) - Ismail Lebbe.

His ancestors migrated to Colombo from Weligama. He had four sons and one daughter as follows:- Idroos Lebbe Marikar Haji - Muhammad Lebbe Marikar Haji - Sinne Lebbe Marikar Haji - Marikar Haji - and Mrs. Wappu Marikar Haji.

Idroos Lebbe Marikar Haji had two sons and a daughter by his first marriage to Fathumuthu Natchia. They were, Noordeen Hajiar (Saapu Wappa), Mohideen Hajiar and Zulaikha. He also had four sons and two daughters by his second marriage to S.M. Assena Natchia. They were, Sulaima Lebbe Haji, YYusuf, Abdul Rahman, Abdul Hameed, Amsa and Safia.

I.L.M. Noordeen Hajiar succeeded his father Idroos Lebbe Marikar as Trustee of the Grand Mosque in 1900 and donated properties in Hultsdorf for the upkeep of the Mosque. he built the Hameedia School building, within the grounds of the Colombo Grand Mosque, at his own personal cost and named it after Sultan Hameed of Turkey. He took an active part in public life and was a member of the Fez Committee.

During the early stages of the first Great War (WW-I), 1914-1918, he would, with the aid of a wall map of Europe and Asia hung in his office room at "Muirburn", Turret Road, Colombo 3, where he lived with his son-in-law, S.L.Naina Marikar Hajiar, intensely follow the the fortunes of Turkey in the battle field.

Noordeen Hajiar had some knowledge of Unani medicine and would practice it on his family. There was a favourite decoction of his made from shoe flowers which was frequently given to the children.

He was stern disciplinarian who drilled in religion to his children and grand-children who invariably attained high proficiency in the recital of the Quran.

His eldest son, H.N.H. Jalaludeen Hajiar was one of the few Ceylon Moors who qualified as a Hafiz, at that time, and also accompanied his father on piligrimage to Makkah and at the Masjid-un-Nabaviya in Madinah where he had the rare privilege of reciting from memory, at a single stretch, the full thirty chapters of the Holy Quran. Jaludeen Hajiar was a bosom pal of Haji Muhammad Macan Markar Effendi and inspite of his illness worked actively and whole-heartedly in 1924 for the election of his friend as first member for the all-Island seat in the Legislative Council. His sons are Thahir, Maruzook, Mohideen and YYusuf and his daughters are Noorul Hidaya, Sithy Fathuma, and Ummul Khair.

The eldest daughter of Noordeen Hajiar - Zohara Umma - married S.L.Naina-Marikar Hajiar while the youngest daughter - Ummu Nafeesa - married N.D.H. Abdul Caffoor Hajiar and the intervening daughter - Ummu Su’ooda - married I.L.M. Abdul Cader. His youngest son, Mohideen married Haseena Umma, daughter of P.T. Meera Lebbe.

Noordeen Hajiar seemed to have known the exact moment of his death. He took his ablutions meant for prayer (Wudhu), prayed two rakaats and the laid himself to rest on his bed in the direction of the Ka’aba. He brought his arms across his waist in the position of prayer (Thakbir) while reciting "Allahu Akbar" before breathing his last.

I.L.M.H. Mohideen Hajiar was a full brother of Noordeen Hajiar. He was a crockery merchant, equally philanthrophic and pious. He was also the Trustee of the Colombo Grand Mosque. He married Safiya Umma - granddaughter of Sekadi Marikar Cassie Lebbe Marikar (Mudaliyar). He had five sons, Gheyas Mohideen, Ghouse Mohideen (also Trustee of Grand Mosque), Zahir, Lahir, Abdul Hai, and Idroos, His daughters were, Faleela (mother of Ummu Jamala), Jameela (mother of M.I.A.Azeez - Engineer, Electrical Department and A.A.M. Thowfeek), Juwaila and Hafila.Their sister, Zulaikha, who married S.L. Abdul Rahman, had five sons and three daughters, one of whom was Ummu Suroora, mother of Ahmed Salih Abul Mawahib.


Peace Officer Unus of Nelumdeniya
He had been appointed as a Peace Officer (Muladeni), but neither the date of appointment nor the area for which he was appointed is known. However it is assumed that he would have been appointed for the same area for which his eldest son (Peace Officer Ismail) was appointed as the Peace Officer. i.e. For the Colombo-Kandy Road from the 35th to 45th mile post, that is from Warakapola to Galigamuwa and for the Warakapola-Ruwanwella Road upto 7 ¼ mile post, that is from Warakapola to Galapitamada in the Kegalle District of the Sabaragamuwa Province.

Peace Officer Ismail (1867 - 1923) of Warakapola
Unus Ibunu Muhammad Ismail was appointed as the Peace Officer (Muladeni) on the 24th of May 1898 for the Colombo-Kandy Road from the 35th to 45th mile posts, that is from Warakapola to Galigamuwa and for the Warakapola-Ruwanwella Road upto 7 ¼ mile post, that is from Warakapola to Galapitamada in the Kegalle District of the Sabaragamuwa Province.

Usman Ralahamy (1899 - 1957) of Warakapola
He started an Institute close to his parents home in 1932 together with Mr. Muhammed Lebbe Abdul Raheem of Marikar Villa Kandy Road Pasyala (paternal grandfather of Mrs Mafaza Mihilar-2a3e4b), Mr. Usuf Lebbe Abdul Hameed (paternal grandfather of Mr. Rilwan 2a3d4b5c) and Mr Zubair of Dippitiya, at the location where Al-Madhrasathush-Shareefiyyah of Warakapola stands today, to educate the children of the area. In 1944 this institute was shifted to Horagolla Warakapola to the land donated by Al Haj M.A.M.A. Hassan (JP) of Hassan Villa Kandy Road Wewaldeniya and presently it is known as Babul Hassan Central College.

Shareef Ralahamy (1913 1968) of Warakapola
The property of Al-Madhrasathush-Shareefiyyah of Warakapola which was owned and administrated by the family was Wakfed by his two sons, that is by Dr. M . S . M . Mihilar JP (2a3e4b) and Mr. M . S . M . Fareed (2a3e4e) in December 1999 (21st Ramadhan 1420) to the Warakapola Grand Jummah Mosque.
He was a registrar of Muslim marriages upto 1965.

Thawoos Ralahamy JP (1930) of Thulhiriya
He succeeded his uncle (Shareef Ralahamy) as the registrar of Muslim marriages in 1965.
He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace for the Judicial District of Kegalle in 1978.

Dr. M . S . M . Mihilar JP (1946) of Warakapola
He is the founder President of the Horagolla Mosque which is now known as Masjid Al Hudha in Horagolla, Warakapola. In 1975 when he was putting up his house in Horagolla Warakapola he had the intention of building a mosque as there wasn’t a mosque in that area. In order to accomplish his desire, with the generous contribution of the community a small plot of land was purchased in 1977 and the mosque was built in 1979
He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace for the Judicial District of Kegalle in 1983.
Lakariya JP (1945) of Eheliyagoda
He donated land at Kalavitagoda Eheliyagoda in 1995 to build Masjidul Muthkeen and was appointed as its founder president.
He also has donated a roadway in 1995 named as Asgangula Mawatha to the adjoining Village Asgangula South.
He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace for the Judicial District of Ratnapura in 1984.

JP - Justice of the Peace
Dr - Doctor
ACA - Associate Chartered Accountant
d. - died.


Poothan Boothil Umbichy was a business magnate in Colombo. He started life in a small way hailing from the coast of Malabar. He spent his earnings very lavishly for the progress and development of the country, especially for the Muslims.

HS Izzadeen Hajiar, Arabic teacher at Zahira College, Colombo and later Khatheeb of the Marada Mosque, requested Umbichchy, who was then appointed as a JP, to construct a series of buildings for Zahira College on the Maradana Mosque land. He put up the Kindergarten block at a cost of Rs 25,000.

Umbichchy contributed a large sum of money towards the purchase of Jiffriyathul Alaviya Thakkiya at 156 New Moor Street, Colombo 01100. He endowed two large substantial buildings called, Nafsiya Building and Misriya Building, in Pettah for permanent charity and the income of this was annually distributed, during the month of Ramadan, to the local Muslim widows, orphans, and needy.

He also built a Mosque at Wolvendhaal and added buildings thereto as a source of revenue for its upkeep and maintenance. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace (JP) in recognition of his many charitable acts.

He lies buried in the compound of the Mosque he built.


ILM Sultan Marikar received an elementary education but could converse in English fluently. He was able to read and write in Sinhala and Gujarati.

Sultan Marikar moved among Europeans in the commercial circle and was also well-known to the Borah merchants, such as TAJ Noorbhai, Carimjee Jefferjee, EG Adamally, MSH Abdul Ali Bhai, MSH Hibthulla Bhai, in the export and import trade. He was closely associated with Dodwell & Company in his export business.

Sultan marikar was a well-known and recognized planter in the 19th century who had most of his business transactions in Tea & Rubber with Bartleet & Company, Auctioneer’s & brokers, and also with JL Ross & Company, of Captains Garden, Galle. He was a landed proprietor and owned a number of estates among which were, Noorani at Padukka, 200 acres planted with tea and rubber and coconuts, Meepilawa in Puwakpitiya, 160 acres with tea and rubber purchased from Lady De Soysa. In 1902, some of his rubber fetched Rs 15/- per pound which was considered a record prize for the commodity.

Sultan Marikar was said to have transferred in trust a tea, rubber and coconut estate of 250 acres, near Galle, to the late Al Haj Ahamed Ismail.

He was a Trustee of two famous Thakiyas in Ceylon, Bukhari Thakkiya or Beruwela and Mubarak Thakkiya of Talapitiya in Galle. He played a prominent role in the Fez issue in 1905 along with ILM Abdul Azeez, MC Siddi Lebbe, and SL Mahmood Hajiar, when Advocate Abdul cader of Kattankudi was not allowed to appear before the bench wearing his Fez Cap. Abdul Cader politely refused to carry out the behests of the Chief Justice and withdrew from the Court.

Sultan Marikar founded a company with JL Ross in England, the prospectus of which was issued on the very day of his death in 1911.


The death of Muhammad Uvais Sideek Sultan Bawa on May 7, 1999, remopved from our midst the foremost chemist of post-independent Sri Lanka. A son of Ruhuna, born and bred in Galle,, Sultanbawa showed hos scholarship and promise in his early days at St Aloysious’ College, Galle.
He entered the University of Ceylon and while progressing towards his degree in Chemistry, cruel fate downed him with sickness just before his final examination. Undeterred by this, a characteristic courage which he was to display on many occasions in later life too, Sultanbawa took the London University Examination and netted a First Class Degree. He joined the then Industrial Research Lasboratory established by D.H. Balfour and for a time served as one of the “Balfour boys”.

His preference for academic life soon brought him to the Department of Chemistry of the University of Ceylon. He went to the Imperial College London for his PhD and worked for Professors E A Braude and L N Owen. He returned to his native land in 1945. A batch of young chemistry (special) students, did not take too kindly at first to the new lecturer in the blue suit, who at that time failed to appreciate his new approach to chemistry teaching, with the accent on literature reading. It may even be stated that he was not the best of communicators. However, his great enthusiasm for the subject did rub off on some. He laid the foundation for a research-based university course and encouraged the investigative mentality in students.

Sultanbawa launched himself into the work of the Chemistry Society of Ceylon, now the Institute of Chemistry, and the Ceylon Association for the Advancement of Science, later the SLAA, as its General Secretary. He enthused students at that time and many of them assisted him and his good friend and colleague the late Professor Stanley Wijesundera and his research partner Jinapala Alles, in the organization of a series of islandwide school science exhibitions under the wing of the CAAS. Sultanbawa’s interaction with the chemistry students of the time in this endeavor brought out the best in him.

Professor Eric Fonseka, the then head of the Chemistry department following the death of Professor Kandiah, left the organization and moved to Peradeniya with Sultanbawa. Indeed, this writer feels strongly that the University of Peradeniya would do justice by naming the department after him, “the Sultanbawa Department of Chemistry”. For many years Peradeniya Chemistry was synonymous internationally with the name of Sultanbawa. He built its research tradition. The tribute paid by his colleagues, on his 75th birthday anniversary a few years ago bears testimony to his incomparable contribution to the teaching of Chemistry in Sri Lanka, and in particular to the Peradeniya campus.

Both in his career as a research scientist and in his role of a scientific leader in his country many honors came his way. He was conferred with a Vidya Jothi by HE the President of Sri lanka. Sultanbawa was made a Fellow of the Indian National Academy, and was a winner of the Guinness Award for Scientific Achievement in 1978. He and his research team at Peradeniya also won a Presidential Award for their research work, besides being recognized worldwide as one of the leading schools of research on natural products. Sultanbawa was a dynamic man with skill, dedication, and a philosophy that helped him keep his sense of dignity and balance despite hard luck that might come his way. This indeed was, apart from his special skills, the secret of his success. There was one other and that was his wife Sithna, whom every student and colleague voted was the ideal scientists’ wife. She was a friend to them all, and a pillar of strength in a most unostentatious manner to her husband. As much as one lauded Sultanbawa himself, one was charmed by his talented family of two sons and two daughters.

The Sultanbawa family lost their father and their country Sri lanka lost one of its great sons, after a long and productive innings. Sultanbawa’s name and influence will remain for many generations through his students and the research colleagues and members of the chemical fraternity.

Daily News Wed May 12, 1999


Sinne Lebbe Marikar Sahib Dorai married Ummu Hany Umma on 18th October, 1851 (22 Dhul Haj 1267 H) at 47, New Moor Street, Colombo 14. They begot a son, Ismail, on 23 August 1854 (28 Dhul Qa’da 1270H). Ismail attended Verandah Arabic Quran School during the day and studied Tamil under a "Waathiyar" (private tutor) at night. The Arabic language attracted Ismail and he pursued its knowledge at Madrasa Arabic College and soon came under the notice of the Arab scholar Sheikh Usthazul Kamil Wal Arif Hadarath Abdullah ibn Omar Batheeb Al Yamani Hadaramiya Shibamiya.

Sahib Dorai Haji Ismail Effendi

Ismail began to write Arabic literature after studying various Egyptian books and newspapers. His "silsila" (works) Genealogical Poems of the Shaikhs were highly applauded by his mentor.

On January 10, 1883 fifty five Egyptian exiles led by the famous Colonel Arabi Pasha arrived in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and Ismails knowlkdge of Arabic proved extremely useful for interacting with them. He developed a close relationship with Arabi Pasha and the exiles.
Ismail commenced his business at No.7 Main Street, Colombo 12 with gems, jewellery and curios. He decided to perform the piligrimage of Hajj and also visit some other Muslim countries. Several of his friends decided to join him in this adventure cum piligrimage. They were Yousoof Lebbe Sinne Lebbe Marikar Hajiar (later Haji, Effendi & grandfather of MHM Yousoof Haji), Muhammad Lebbe Marikar Hajiar Zainudeen (later Haji, Effendi MMC and paternal grandfathe of Mrs. MMI Kariappar), Ahmed Lebbe Marikar Shamsy Lebbe Marikar (later Haji, Effendi and father of Al-Haj SLM Abdul Rahman and paternal grandfathe of Rasool Ahmed Rahman), his Arabic student Sinne Lebbe Marikar Mahmood (later Haji, Effendi, Alim and JP, father of MHM Yousoof Haji) and a cook named Rawuthen Hajiar.

They set sail for Egypt by SS Malwa on 27 March 1884. At Bombay, on May 7, 1884, they changed ship to an Austrian vessel, SS Austria-Hungary. They reached the Suez on 21 May 1884 where they met Saeed Haji bin Sultan Baba, a Sri Lankan who hailed from Galle. On arrival at Cairo they visited the residence of Arabi Pasha with letters to his family and friends. They also visited many improtant sites in Egypt. They then set off for Turkey where they were granted audience by Sultan Abdul Hameed Khan of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. The historic event was reported by "Al-Ihtidal", an Arabic Newspaper, on Ramazan 11, 1302H (1884), of Istanbul (Constantinople), giving reference by name to the visitors who had landed on the shores of Turkey. Special reference was made to Sahib Dorai Ismail as "an individual of great learning.....who is learned in law and logic, and whose use of the Arabic language is refined and acceptable".

They later continued on their peregrinations and visited Madinah Al-Munawwarah, Palestine, Damascus and finally performed the piligrimage of Hajj in Makkah Al-Mukarramah before returning home safely.

Ismail married Haleema, the daughter of Ahmed Ali Marikar of the Kappodear Family whose ancestors came to Sri Lanka from Koniya in Turkey around 800AD, on 27 July 1886, at 39, new Moor Street, Colombo 14. The wedding was also attended by Arabi Pasha and the other Egyptian exiles.

He was an important member of the Maradana Mosque Management Committee and the Colombo Muhammaddan Education Society (Jamiyathul Ithikanul Uloom). Ismail died, at the age of 42, in a tragic train accident at the Wellawatte railway Station on 11, January 1896 (26 Rajab 1313H).

Ismail had two sons, Muhammad Sameer and Muhammad Anis and one daughter, Sithy Saleema.

Travels of Haji Ismail Effendi

SINNA LEBBE MAHMOOD Hajiar (1868-1940)

Sinna Lebbe Mahmood Hajiar, born in September 1868, was the son of P.T. Sinna Lebbe, a wealthy merchant of Pettah. He received his English education at Wesley College. He studied Arabic under Sahib Doray Ismail Lebbe Marikar Alim who lived next door. He took up to business with his younger brother S.L.Abdul Rahim. He visited several Muslim countries in 1883 accompanied by his Arabic tutor. Their first visit was to Egypt. They then proceeded to Istanbul. Subsequently they visited Makkah and performed the hajj pilgrimage and returned to Colombo.

S.L.Mahmood contributed a sum of two thousand rupees towards a sum of twelve thousand seven hundred and fifty rupees needed for the erection of houses for Zahira College.

Having made contacts with merchants in Arab countries, Mahmood Hajiar commenced exporting Ceylon produce and mporting Middle Eastern products.
When the Muhammadan seat in the Legislative Council fell vacant in 1900 his name was submitted by a section of the Moors for nomination. He was the Secretary of the Jammiyathul Hameediah Educational Association which conducted the Hameediah School.

During his visit to England he visited Liverpool where Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam was carrying on Islamic propaganda and the British newspapers referred to him as a Singhalese Muslim.

Early Muslims who settled in Ceylon were of the orthodox Sunnat Jama’at. They followed the Shafi School of jurisprudence.

Mahmood Hajiar was a keen student of Islamic Mysticism and well versed in Arabic. The Moors lived in the Moorish quarter of New Moor Street and Old Moor Street and the surrounding areas. After the first World War some Moors like A.M.Wapchi Marikar, Haji Ismail Effendi, M.L.M.Ismail, S.M.L.M.Haniffa and a few others started migrating to Colombo South. many other Moors followed suit.

He was the Trustee of the Colombo Grand Mosque, New Moor Street, and was a prominent member of Salihu Thakkiya of Abdul Gani Bawa and President of the Jama-Athus Salihiya Burda Majlis.

He was conferred the title of Justice of the Peace by the Government and also was on the Fez Committee.

He passed away on June 24, 1940 at the age of seventy two and was buried at Maligawatte. He had one son, Muhammad Yusuf and three daughters, Nafia Mohideen, Ameena Mohideen and Ummu Thahira Naina-Marikar

CASSIM SHERIFF (1868-1964)

Cassim Sheriff of Mutuwal in Colombo North was popularly known as "Budda" Sheriff Nana amongs the Muslims. His father was a textile trader from Beruwela, who, during his early years, settled down in Mutuwal. The latter and Dr. M.C.M. Kaleel’s father, Casie Lebbe, were first cousins.

Cassim Sheriff was employed as a sorter of mail in the General Post Office, Colombo, where he served for 42 years and rose to the position of Accountant at the time of his retirement. During his period of office he indulged in living a very frugal life, and, with the monies saved, he invested in real estate in the area where he resided. These properties were valued at Rs. 75,000 at that time.

He maintained a very high standard of honesty and integrity and the people of the area loved and respected him. In his own way he made generous contributions towards many charitable causes and was very helpful to the people, especially his tenants who found him to be a very sympathetic landlord. He was elected President of the local Mosque congregation. He was also a pioneer in the cause of education for Muslim girls and ensured that his own daughters received their basic secondary education, which was not favourably looked upon by Muslims of that time.
Cassim Sheriff’s Father-In-Law, knwon as "Kochika" Shamee Nana hailed from Hambantota and was engaged as a transport contractor for the Government. He was the owner of real estate at dawson Street, Slave Island, opposite Colonial Motors. His eldest Brother-In-law was known as Shelton Saly Nana and he was a co-palintiff with H.A.B.M.Misbah in the famous Maradana Mosque case in which the late N.H.M.Abdul Cader was the respondent.

Cassim Sheriff died in 1934 at the age of 66 having been a Government Pensioner for almost 11 years. He had 14 children. His oldest son was also called Cassim Sheriff and was employed as a Probation Ofiicer in the department of Probation Services.

Cassim Sheriff served for three years in the Public Assistance Committee of the Colombo Municipal Council. He was also the Chief Trustee of the Old Mosque situated in Mutuwal and Vice President of the Mutuwal Mosque Congregation. He also held sevaral appointments in public organizations.

One of his sons, Anis Sheriff (1922) was the first Muslim to be the Deputy Mayor of Negombo Municipal Council and was also a member of the Western Provincial Council.

His youngest son, Aamir Arslan Sheriff is an Attorney-at-Law by profession, a Justice of the Peace, and a member of the Colombo Municipal Council since 1966, serving a predominantly Catholic Ward, which he won comfortably. He also served as City Coroner, Colombo, and proved a great asset to the Muslim community in expediting their deceased for immediate burial as per the Sunnah. Aamir Sheriff married Sithy Zehra, daughter of Mr. Hameem Dastakeer of Matara.

A M SHERIFF of Kattankudy

The Eastern Province of Sri Lanka is the most thickly populated Muslim area in the whole Island. To these Muslims, “ILM” (knowledge) meant the study of Arabic and Tamil, which was their mother language. A few Muslims from this region also studied English and AM Sheriff was one of them. Besides mastering the Arabic and Tamil languages he also studied higher English and qualified as a Proctor of the Courts.

In 1890, Colombo was in need of Muslim lawyers and Sheriff was invited to settle in the capital and complied with the request. In 1899, the Mohammedan seat in the Legislative Council fell vacant and at that time ZH Mantara, a Malay, had been enrolled in as an Advocate. Muslims divided into three groups and supported the candidature of the above, with the third being BW Bawa, for the seat in the Legislative Councul. Bawa was the son of Ahmadu Bawa, a Galle Muslim, who qualified as a Proctor and was practicing in Kegalle and Badulla Courts. He had written a paper on the Marriage Customs iof the Moors which was sent for publication to the Royal Asiatic Society Journal. The theory of Ahmadu Bawa was that the Moors did not know whom they married until the bridegroom was led into the bridal chambers and that there was no courting or dating before marriage. The view of Moors is that they love the girl they marry, known or unknown, rather than marry the girl they love.

Ahmadu Bawa’s wife, mother of BW Bawa, was a European lady and hence there was no wholehearted support for BW Bawa. As for ZH Mantara, the argument raised against him was that he was only a young rising Proctor from a small minority Malay group within the Muslim community.

AM Sheriff was well versed in Tamil and his knowledge of Arabic was much above the regular average Arabic speaking Alims of that era. He was on par with MC Siddi Lebbe in many ways. He had access to Arabic works of eminent theologians and jurists of the Muslims of the past. He was in touch with the publications issued from Cairo, Egypt and Turkey. He made a comparative study of all the various sects in Islam. He also conducted religious classes at Sheikh Abdul Cader’s (Bakala Sahib) house at Old Moor Street in Colombo.

Sheriff’s candidature for the vacant Mohammedan seat in the Legislative Council was found acceptable and the Government nominated him. He was given a large house at Grandpass and a carriage driven by two horses and sometimes even four horses in order to attend the Council meetings and other official duties. Owing to ill health he gave up his duties in Colombo and returned to Batticaloa in 1900.

Sir Razik Fareed Kt. OBE, JP UM (1893-1984)

Sir Razik Fareed, was born on 29-Dec-1893 and educated at Madrasathul Zahira and Royal College, Colombo. He held the prestigious positions of President, All Ceylon Moors’ Association, Member CMC, HR, Senate, First Member Colombo Central, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Pakistan. Gifted lands to establish Muslim Ladies College. Founder Member Moors’ Islamic Cultural Home in 1944 and held the position of its first President. Established Maternity Homes in the City of Colombo and rural hospitals in predominantly Muslim areas. Died:23-Aug-1984

Sir Razik Fareed's birth anniversary - December 29

Sir Razik Fareed was born on the 10th day of Muharram 1312 (29th December 1893) at the Layards Broadway. He is the son of W.M. Abdul Rahuman and Hajara Umma his mother passed away when Sir Razik was only three years. He was the grandson of Wappichchi Marikar. He came into residence at 'Hajara Villa' Fareed Place, Colombo in 1915.

Sir Razik Fareed inherited from his ancestors the spirit of service to his community and country. Wappichchi Marikkar founded Zahira College Colombo, while Sir Razik founded the Muslim Ladies College two leading schools for boys and girls.

Sir Razik championed the cause of Sinhala - Moor unity and a united Sri Lanka, thus demonstrating that the interest of the Moor community and the welfare of all Sri Lankan were near and dear to him. In this respect he proved his sincerity by his relentless service to the Muslim community and the country. No wonder he was popularly known as the 'Uncrowned King of the Ceylon Moors.'

In 1930 he entered politics and was elected a member of the Municipal Council. He was a Senator and a Member of Parliament in a long political career capped by his appointment as a Minister in 1960. Later he moved into the diplomatic field and was Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Pakistan. He wanted the Muslims to be politically mature and that they identify themselves with national parties. He left the choice with the people in selecting the national party that they should support.

Muslims were elected as representative in majority Sinhala voter electorates like Borella, Akurana and Beruwala. The majority community reposed confidence in Muslims.
In 1946 Sir Razik was associated with Mr. D.S. Senanayake in founding the United National Party. He established the Muslim Ladies' College to give every educated Muslim boy and educated Muslim bride. Former principal of Zahira College Colombo Marhoom A.M.A. Azeez said that he would live in the history of our country as the 'Father of the Government Muslim School.'

Sir Razik was a person with a generous heart. He has spent much of his wealth on the poor without many knowing it. He served the community as president and later life president of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home (MICH) for more than 40 years. His grandfather and father had done a great service to Muslim Community. In 1932 Marhoom Sir Razik was made a Justice of Peace and an unofficial magistrate.

Sir Razik Fareed lived with unity with other communities in this country. Sir Razik's father was a good friend with the Sinhalese Tamils and Burgher communities leaders. Sir Razik was example Sinhala-Muslim Ekamuthukama. He was good example today's Muslim politicians and follow the examples of Mahroom Sir Razik Fareed, Dr. Baduidin Mahmood, Dr. M.C.M. Kaleel and Dr. T.B. Jayah who made an effective contribution to the community and country. They lived with self-respect maintaining the dignity and well being of the community.

The late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike said, "I regard Sir Razik not only as the leader of the Ceylon Moors but also one of the greatest Ceylonese Leaders."

A grateful community has established a foundation inspired by a sense of gratitude called the Sir Razik Fareed Foundation to foster and preserve for posterity the humble service rendered by him.

He passed away on August 23, 1984 at the age of 91.
'Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Illahi Rajioon'

written by M. Ruzaik Farook JP, President Sri Lanka Islamic Society

Sir Razik Fareed's 20th death anniversary is tomorrow:
Flame that lit lives of thousands

by P. P. M. Saheed SO Aug 22 2004

Twenty years ago today, a flame that lit the lives of thousands in this country was extinguished. But the light of the great are never really snuffed out. They continue to fire our spirit, our wills, give us courage, help us to sacrifice and continue to illumine every dark corner if our lives... as long as we continue to remember and honour that great goodness of soul that make such men unique.

This is why today, I stand in testimony to this great light and recall that surging spirit of a man who served his country so well, so ably, so dedicatedly. He was as Dr. W. Dahanayake called him, "the uncrowned king of the Moors of Sri Lanka." He was Sir Razik Fareed, a man so towering in mental stature, so noble in word and deed, that all honour sat lightly upon him and the minutes of his everyday moved in slow, measured tread, as though time itself passed and paused at his feet in order that he could make the fullest use of every ticking second.


I pen this note to acknowledge him... not to merely remember him. We in Sri Lanka, will always remember. not only the Muslim community but the people of all races and creeds. We have all of us benefitted from this one life; and I may well quote Shakespeare in saying that this, indeed, was a man......." whence cometh such another."

His long years of national and community service are studded with many milestones. Member of the Central Muslim Youth Conference in 1913....Lieutenant of the Colombo Town Guard in the civil strife of 1915.....President of the All Ceylon Moors Association for nearly 40 years.....President of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home for over 30 years.....Founder member of the United National Party....Member of the Colombo Municipal Council for 16 years....Member of the then State Council and Senate.....Member of the House of Representatives for Colombo Central for three terms.....High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Pakistan in 1968.......President of the Ceylon Kennel Club.....President of the Ceylon Poultry Club and Orchid Circle.... steward of the Ceylon Turf Club.

He straddled the political scene of our country for over a generation and was also a distinguished member of the Peace Council of Sri Lanka. Above all, he put country first evidenced by what he maintained both publicly and privately many times over. When Great Britain wanted to give us our independence, he said:

Let us (Muslims) not think of our own selfish interests. We join hands with the majority community and we say we want independence: we want freedom for Sri Lanka". All his life, he also worked for the amelioration of the conditions of the Muslims of this country.

His doughtly efforts saw the establishment of schools for Muslims all over the island as well as Muslim Teacher Training Colleges at Addalaichenai and Aluthgama. He gave Muslim education the massive impetus that has put it in seven-league boots today, and furthermore he never detracted from his great vision of a united Sri Lanka - a nation of multi-racial, multireligious, multi-cultural unity where all communities lived in harmony, equality and peace.

Sir Razik Fareed was also the "Father of the UNANI system of Medicine in Ceylon." In paving the way for our independence he said on the floor of the House in 1945:

"It is our political sanctity if I may say so, and a sense of justice, that made us stand up and fight side by side with the Sinhalese in the course of obtaining Dominion Status". To Sir Razik, Sinhala-Moor unity - Sinhala Yonaka Ekamuthukama was almost an article of faith. He was, above all, a great bridge-builder between communities, and here, above all, in his loss felt most keenly.

Many of us remember Sir Razik as the last surviving Sri Lankan knight... for he was the link with British honours. But Royal conferment only served to emphasise the true nature of the man. He had been a true knight all his life with all those knightly qualities impelled him to serve, alleviate pain, ease the pangs of distress, set to right the wrongs of public and community life, defend the oppressed, succour the enfeebled, uplift the downtrodden.

I still remember with pride his words in his presidential address at the opening at the new building of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home in 1965:

"The island needs the close co-operation of all creeds and communities to develop its resources with patriotic zeal and, if need be, with sacrifice. This must transcend all other considerations. Let me therefore appeal to you and to all right-thinking citizens to sink all differences in the national interest and strive to make Ceylon a happier place to live in and die for. I exhort my fellow compatriots to remember what the Prophet of Islam meant when he said: Patriotism is part of the Faith."

When I consider the breathtaking arena of Sir Razik Fareed's life's, work I have often wondered how such frail shoulders could bear all they carried. This, to me, was the wonder of the man who my close personal friend for a great many years. Everyone's just battle became his own. He fought the British-owned Gas Company of Colombo a long time ago so that the city of Colombo be lit by electricity. He fought for the education of Muslim girls and set up the Muslim Ladies College, which is today one of the biggest educational institutions for Muslim girls in this country.

Fought for a cause

What is more, he fought for the cause of the Moulavis - the Islam and Arabic teachers who were at the mercy of mosque trustees and carned a pitiful pittance of about Rs. 30 or Rs. 40 as salary. Sir Razik Fareed brought them into recognition as government teachers on par with the others, thus giving these skilled, erudite scholars a place in the educational sun.

This is only as it should be. Sir Razik inherited from his family, a love for education.
His grandfather, Wapiche Marikar, built and nurtured Zahira College and a number of Arabic schools in Colombo. Sir Razik Fareed's father, W. M. Abdul Rahman, was President of the Muslim Educational Society and superintended the educational progress of the Muslim community. This is the mantle Sir Razik inherited and wore with such grace all his life. He it was, who was instrumental in founding a Department for Arabic studies in the University of Peradeniya.

How does one measure the worth of such a man? It is said that the soldier is measured by his medals; the politician by his words; the artist by his canvas; the craftsman by his hands.
How, then, does one consider the worth of this distinguished son of Sri Lanka? As his friend and associate for many years, I have only one yardstick as I look around and see all who honour him on this his 20th death anniversary. I see the outpouring of love, of deep respect, and feel the keen sense of loss. Yes, dear brothers and sisters, this is how I would measure him: by the love he awakened in us, the respect he so easily earned, the admiration he commanded, the valour of his every action, the fortitude of his every earthly hour.


My association with Sir Razik Fareed, then (A. R. A. Razik) started in 1947, when I went to him to get a job as an English Assistant Teacher, which I received on the same day. This was a miracle. This association lasted till his death in August 1984 - a period of 37 years.
To him I was always "dear Saheed" or "dear M.P.M.".

I recall with what great joy I congratulated him by letter on June 12, 1981, when he was honoured as a national hero of Sri Lanka. It was also then that I decided to put this tribute into more concrete form. I had already established a fully equipped meeting hall in Kandy to cater to the social and cultural needs of the Muslim community. What better name, I decided, than the Sir Razik Fareed Assembly Hall and so it was.

And so did hundreds gather at this hall on Saturday the 28th November 1981 to honour Sir Razik Fareed and acknowledge that if today, we as a community can raise our heads to be equal with all others, it is because of the single-handed efforts of this great and good man.
On that occasion my heart was too full for words. But I could say with prayerful conviction that this was a full man-living a truly Islamic life and devoting himself to the service of man... which ultimately is the one and only way to seek God as enjoined by all the great religions of the world.
Such then is the pith and substance of this man we never can forget. Generosity was the very nature of his being. He gave away all he had to the people he served, eventually living in a rented room in the last days of his life. And, like an intricately-cut jewel, many other facets of his nature gleamed and glowed and enriched all about him. His love for the beauty of nature led him to cultivate the orchid and learn the many enchanting secrets of the flower.

Even his home in Fareed Place, Bambalapitiya held a small orchidarium where trailing vandas and large-clustered dendrobiums where trailing stars in glorious profusion. How often have I seen him among his orchids, tending them along with his wife, Lady Ameena who shared his love for beauty.

It was Mr. Eric Garth of Kundasale, Kandy, who at my request, paid gracious tribute to Sir Razik in naming a new hybrid orchid he grew after Sir Razik. To this day, orchild lovers around the world see this clear blue flower with its deep-blue lipped sepals and know it as the Sir Razik Fareed....and so does a flower perpetuate his name.

This orchid was registered with the Royal Horticultural Society of England on 15-11-1984.
For us, however, he will always be as a flower in our hearts. Sir Razik Fareed was a beacon, a guiding light, a tower of strength, a fortress of courage, a champion that belonged not only to each of us individually but to all the nation and moreso, all the Muslim world.

It behoves us, surely, that Allah sends us such men with rare frequence and this, the, is our greatest joy - that we in our lifetime have seen the passage of such a man as this. May i conclude by recalling the words of Shakespeare.

"His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world: 'This was a man'"

Yes, this indeed was a man.... and, dear brothers and sisters, the mark he has left on all over lives will never be erased:

"Those who are not grateful to their Fellowmen will not be grateful to Allah" Nabi Muhammed (O.W.B.P)

Hon. W.M. Abdul Rahman 1868-1933

W M Abdul Rahman, was born at Colombo on 26-Mar-1868, educated at the Government School at Gasworks Street and later on at Wesley College, Colombo. He was the only son of Arasi Marikar Wapchi Marikar and the apple of the old mans eye. To a few of Wapchi Marikar’s close friends, among the elite, who attended the naming ceremony of his beloved son, he whispered while he proudlytook the little infant – snug in the silk cushion – in his arms, “I expect him to carry on after me in my service to my people – Allah is Great!” A leader to follow his father was thus born in the lap of luxury and affluence. The fond father, imbued with an inherent zeal to ensure continuity of service towards the progress of the community, earmarked his beloved son for this noble purpose. His own son was a more certain guarantee to fulfil this mission rather than dependence on others, however cooperative. Though brought up with a silver spoon young Abdul Rahman had a flair to study in the “School of Life” rather than graduate in an academy of Instructions. He was admitted to the Government School at Gasworks Street, Pettah, for his early education. Here, he mixed freely with his colleagues who hailed from various strata of society – the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak. His free association with all classes of students, his inquiring disposition whenever he found a friend unhappy or distressed, and his ready willingness to extend his generous hand of fellowship when needed, drew towardsAbdul Rahman a large circle of friends. They rallied at his calls, knowing such calls were purposeful, though at times mirthful. The youngster Abdul Rahman grew up acquiring slowly but surely the knowledge of humanity – their joys and sorrows among his young company of students. Subsequently, he was moved to attend high school at Wesley College. Here, Abdul Rahman, came into direct and profitable contact with contemporaries of the time.

Abdul Rahman joined his father’s building enterprise in 1888, where at the young age of 20 was involved in the construction and management of such gigantic projects as the building of the GPO at Colombo Fort, the Colombo National Museum at Cinnamon Gardens and the Colombo Eye Hospital at Ward Place. These grandiose structures of cinstruction still stand tall in the new Millenium proving the caliber of the master builder and construction magnate of that ancient era. In 1900 Asbdul Rahman was nominated to the Legislative Council as the Muslim member.

In his honor the Moor’s Union hosted a dinner party presided over by Abdul Azeez. He died on 6-Apr-1933 and was buried at Kuppiyawatte Muslim Burial Grounds, Maradana.

On November 14, 1902 a Committee of the Legislative Council was appointed to consider the treatment of criminals. The committee comprised of Hon A.J. Lascelles, Attorney General, Hon Loos. Hon H.H.Cameron, Hon H.L. Crawford, Hon S. Bois, Hon W. M.Abdul Rahman. Another committee was appointed on January 23, 1903 to consider the Customs Duties Amendment Bill. composed of the Attorney General, Auditor General, the European Member, the Mercantile Member, the Principal Collector of Customs and the Muhammadan Member, the Hon. W.M.Abdul Rahman.

On February 10, 1943, Abdul Rahman supported the enlargement of the Executive Council in the Legisltive Council. On December 15, 1905 the Attorney General moved that the bill for the consideration of the Tariff amendments be undertaken by a committee consisting of the following:- Attorney General, Auditor General, PCC, Hon J.Ferguson, Hon M.F.Walker, Hon Abdul Rahman. On November 22, 1906 the hon Treasurer moved that the following sub-committee be appointed to reply His Excellency the Governor’s address: The Hon Treasurer, Hon Director of Works, Hon Registrar General, Hon Low Country Sinhalese Member, The Planting Member, The Hon General European Member, and the Hon W.M.Abdul Rahman, the Muhammadan Member.

On December 12, 1906, in the Legislative Council, The Hon member for the Muhammadan Community, Hon W.M.Abdul Rahman expressed the condolences of his community at the death of Sir Alexander Ashmore, the Colonal Secretary. On February 10, 1909, the Hon W.M.Abdul Rahman opposed the expenditure of large sums of money on the lake Scheme from Loans on account of many other urgent works that were of higher priority and were being kept in abeyance.

In the Legislative Council, on February 25, 1909, Hon W.M.Abdul Rahman desired that His Excellency the Governer should have the power to appoint deserving members in Government service to some of the higher posts without having to take competitive examinations. He claimed that it was unfair to expect senior Government servants to compete with boys fresh from school.

Abdul Rahman was a member of the Agricultural Society, Orient Club, Ceylon Turf Club and Liberal League. He was also the Vice President of the Social Reform Society and a keen supporter of sports. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Maradana Mosque and the President of the Ceylon Muslim Educational Society Ltd., Muslim Spiritual Society and the Moor’s Sports Club.

In 1905 a massive public meeting was held at the Maradana mosque grounds to protest against the action of the Supreme Court in refusing to hear M.C.Abdul Cader address the court as an Advocate because he wore a Fez cap, the national headgear of the Ceylon Moors, on his head. The Hon W.M. Abdul Rahman presided at this meeting. Subsequently permission was granted by the Colonial Secretary for Muslims to wear the Fez cap in court provided they also wore the long black coat which they normally wore at ceremonies.

In 1912 Abdul Rahman presided at the mass meeting of Muslims to protest against the Italian invasion of Tripoli, then ruled by the Turkish Sultan.

At an interview by a news reporter of the "Ceylon Independent" in 1917 Abdul Rahman said,
"English education among the Muslims was at a low ebb and considering the population the percentage of really educated men was awfully small. We have the Zahira College, started about tenty six years ago by my father...."

"... and there is every possibility of enlarging the building, mproving the school by the addition of a Science Laboratory and employing a larger and more efficient staff of teachers ...."
Speaking on the conditions of the Ceylon Muslims, Abdul Rahman said,

".. it was deplorable. The apparent prosperity of the people was due to the fact that they possess ancestral property on which they live at ease. There was great competition in trade now and the trade that used to be in the hands of the Moors is now shared with others. For the past seven or eight years a revival was noticeable and young Muslims were taking to the professions and the Clerical Service and evincing a greater interest in English education. If that was not followed up with energy, the Muslims, he feared, would, in another twenty or thirty years, be only rawers of water and hewers of wood".

In 1924, N.H.M.Abdul Cader submitted a Bill to the Legislative Council for incorporating the body of the Maradana Mosque management. Abdul Rahman objected and suggested certain safe-guards for the congregation who are permanent residents of Maradana. his suggestions were included in the Bill.

Abdul Rahman passed away on April 6, 1933, leaving three children. One was Sir Razik Fareed and the other two were daughters, Mrs. Razeena Mohideen (wife of Ghouse Mohideen), manageress of the Muslim ladies College, Colombo and the first Ceylon Moor woman Justice of the Peace, and Mrs. Rakeeba Fuard (mother of M.F.A.Jaward, Private Secretary to Sir Razik Fareed).

According to a memo issued by the Department of Income Tax, Estate Duty & Stamps, dated Colombo, 29 january 1936, it is mentioned that an estate duty amounting to Rs 10,591.70 was paid in full on account of the estate of Abdul Rahman as per Estate No: ED/A 72 – DC Colombo Case No.6456 – Hon Mr Wapchi Marikar Abdul Rahman – Deceased

In the matter of the Last Will and Testament of the Hon Mr Wapchi Marikar Abdul Rahman of “Razeendale” Bambalapitiya South in Colombo, under Testamentart Jurisdiction No 6456, where Abdul Rahman Abdul Razik (son of Abdul Rahman and later referred to as Sir Razik Fareed), the inventory of the estate of WM Abdul Rahman was declared as follows:-

Amount in Imperial Bank of India Rs 69.52
Amount due on promissory note dated 14 December 1927 Rs 3,000.00
Household furniture etc. Rs 3,179.00
Rents outstanding at date of death Rs 914.00
Sub Total Rs 7,162.52

1. Premises bearing assessment No.423 (formerly No.54) Galle Road, Bambalapitiya being Lot B in Plan No.610 in extent 1A.1R.7.54P Rs 35,000.00

2. Lot B of premises bearing assessment No 24/1 Temple Road, Maradana in extent 0A.1R.9.11P Rs 5,000.00

3. Premises Nos.713D/54, 713C/55, 713B/56, Third Cross Street, Pettah, in extent 0A.)R.1.57P Rs 25,000.00

4. Premises bearing assessment No 483B/55 (being a divided portion of Lot 10 of No 55 Kensington Gardens) presently 6 Foenander Place, Wellawatte, in extent 0A.1R.0P Rs 15,000.00

5. Premises bearing assessment No 30/14, now No 3 Turner Road Wellawatte, in extent 0A.0R.12.75P Rs 7,000.00

6. Mylagama Estate situated at Mahagalboda Megoda Korale of Waudawili Hathpattu in the Kurunegala District, North Western Province:
Bearing coconut – 250 acres
Coconuit about to bear - 25 acres
Coconut young plantation - 100 acres
Paddy Field - 25 acres
Jungle - 75 acres Rs 87,000.00

7. Kahinda Kutikarambee Hena at Eriyagama in Yatinuwara, Central Province, in extent 3A.0R.25P Rs 1,000.00

8. Dandeniya and Dandeniyahena situated at Nugawela in Pannil Pattu of Atakalan Korale in the District of Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa Province, in extent 14A.1R.4P Rs 700.00

9. An undivided half share of 80 acres at Meepitiya in the Hiryala Hatpattu of Ihala Visidekay Korale in the District of Kurunegala, North Western Province, value unknown Unknown

10. An undivided 5/6 share of 80 acres of land at Dompe in the Uda Pattu of Kuruwita Korale in the District of Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa Province, value unknown Unknown

11. An undivided ¼ share of 777 acres 3R.23P at Kosgahakanda Atulugama Korale of Three Korales in the District of Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa Province Rs 1,000.00

12 An undivided 2/3 share of 0A.2R.29P Galapolakapalla Galapitiya situated at Bandarawela in the Mahapalata Pattu of Udakande in the District of Badulla Rs 1,000.00

13 Allotment of land in the Plan of David Dewapura in Wellawatte in the extent of 0A.2R.64P – to the value of Rs 12,000 (STRUCK OFF THE LIST)

14. An undivided 2/3 share of No 10 Temple Road, Maradana being lot No 10 Temple Road, Maradana beong lot No 8 in Plan of Chas Schwallie dated 25/9/1871 containing in extent 0A.0R.18.75P Rs 4,000.00

15 An undivided 2/3 share of No 38 Ward No 1306 Colpetty in extent of 0A.0R.6.15P according to Plan No 348 dated 30/7/1924 Rs 4,000.00

16 An allotment of land marked Lot 9 and bearing assessment No 17, 19th Lane A situated at Wellawatte in extent 0A.0R.77.85P as per plan No 4118 dated 25th July 1933 by MJ Theideman, Surveyor Rs 12,650.00
Total Rs204,632.52


Arasi Marikar Wapchi Marikar 1829-1925

About the year 1016 A.D., a few Arabs, among whom were expert physicians and master masons, settled in Ceylon. One of them was called Sheikh Fareed. They were welcomed by the natives and settled themselves in different vocations. Their history was maintained orally until about the year 1770. In the "Thombu" of 1770 (the Government record), there is reference to one Paridoe. It is a custom of the Muslims to carry the name of theor ancestors in the line of genealogy and this Paridoe is the name carried from Sheikh Fareed.

There lived a wealthy lady, possessiung vast extents of land at Ambagahawatte, in the lineage of this Fareed. When she passed away, Arasi Marikar Wapchie Marikar, was the heir left behind to inherit this property.

After collecting his own share, Arasi Marikar Wapchie Marikar bought the shares of several other heirs of this land and donated a portion of it to build a mosque and later built another mosque called the Fareed Thakkiya. He had started off his career as an apprentice working under expert builders. His flair for Islamic architecture can be seen in the many arches used in his architecture. He mastered the building profession and undertook the erection of buildings independently as a building contractor.

So long as brick and mortar endure his name will be long remembered as the builder of the General Post Office in Colombo, the Colombo Museum, Colombo Customs, Old Town Hall in Pettah, the Galle Face Hotel, Victoria Arcade, Finlay Moir building, the Clock Tower, Batternburg Battery etc. The Old Town Hall in Pettah, which is now a busy market, was built on a contract for the sum of 689 Streling Pounds.

In January 1877, the completed building of the Colombo Museum was declared open by His Excellency, Governer Gregory, in the presence of a large crowd, amongst which there were many Muslims present. At the end of the ceremony His Excellency asked Arasi Marikar Wapchi Marikar what honour he wished to have for his dedication. The same question was asked by His Excellency from the carpenter who assisted Wapchi Marikar with the wood work of the Museum who desired a local Rank and was honoured accordingly. Wapchi Marikar, noticing the large number of Muslims present, feared that they would spend their time at the Museum on Friday during the Islamic congregation prayer, and requested that the Museum be closed on Fridays. This request has been adhered to by all authorities in charge of the Museum to this day.

When the throne of the last Kandyan King was to be exhibited at the Museum, the then Prime Minister, Mr. D.S.Senanayake, obtained the consent of Sir Razik Fareed, Wapchi Marikar’s grandson, to keep the Museum open on the intervening Fridays only.

Endowed with wealth, Wapchi Marikar contributed to the development of his communities wefare, religious, economical, social, and educational needs and searched for more avenues and opportunities to help them in every way possible. He resided in the vicinity of Marakkala Palliya Watta, the present Maradana Mosque grounds and patronized the mosque. His family residence was acquired by the state for railway extensions thus compeling him to build a large house at Vauxhall Street where he moved in subsequently. He continued to contribute towards the development of the Maradana Mosque by being a prominent member of the congregation. He also joined hand with and financed M.C.Siddi Lebbe, from Kandy, who started the Muslim educational movement in 1880.

Siddi Lebbe, in his "Asrarul A’lam" on page 199 writes,

"I have two friends in Colombo, one who takes great interest in educational matters, opening up schools and spending liberally his money is Arasi Marikar Wapchi Marikar philanthrophist, who comes forward to spend in all good causes. The other is Ghulam Mohiyadeen Sahib Bahauddin of Tanjore (Kashwat Alim)".

Wapchi Marikar and Siddi Lebbe set about looking for a place to establish a school for the Muslims and eventually selected the abandoned portion of the Maradana Mosque grounds. Since Wapchi Marikar was, at that time, the Vice President of the Management Committee of the Maradana Mosque, he urged the committee to grant a lease of the land in order to build the school.

A society, called the "Jamiyathul Uloom" (Muslim Educational Society) was thus formed.
Wapchi Marikar, at his own cost, erected a building for the school and also built four houses that would be rented and the income utilized for the maintenance of the institution.

During this period, Wapchi Marikar was involved in the construction of Masjid-E-Careem at 4th Cross Street, Pettah, for Carimjee Jafferjee. At his request Jafferjee contributed money for an additional building at the Maradana Mosque grounds for the cause of Muslim education.
When the Kuppiyawatte burial grounds was given to the Muslims (Crown grant 3325 dated 18-8-1879), a condition was laid down by the Government that a boundary wall must be erected within three years of that date. The Mussalman’s United Assembly had insufficient funds and approached Wapchi Marikar who negotiated with Careemjee Jafferjee for building the wall in exchange for a portion of land for use of burial of the dead of the Borah community.

When the Muslims of Ketawallamulla needed a mosque they approached Wapchi Marikar who bought a house at Clifton Lane and converted it into a mosque. A.L.M. Meera Lebbe Marikar, who lived opposite the mosque, was made the Trustee. M.L.M. Ahmed, JP of Ahmed Brothers, 3rd Cross Street, Pettah, is the son of A.L.M. Meera Lebbe Marikar.

The school building was finally completed and Madarasahul Zahira ( Zahira College) began to function. Arabi Pasha conducted the opening.

The houses constructed for the purpose of revenue for running the school were acquired by the government in 1906. Using the compensation received from the acquisition, Wapchi Marikar built a row of houses facing Darley Road, presently T.B.Jayah Mawatha.

Wapchi Marikar was also the Treasurer and Manager of the Colombo Muslim Educational Society.

In 1907, Wapchi Marikar was relieved of the burden of management and Advocate Abdul Cader was appointed as Manager of Zahira College. However, Abdul Cader had to relinquish his position on account of relocating himself to Batticaloa in the Eastern Province.

An address presented to Wapchi Marikar by the Moors (Muslims) of Colombo in 1907 reads as follows:-

The late Manager of the Muhammadan Boys’ Maradana School, Colombo.


We, the members of the Colombo Muslim Educational Society, have the pleasure of conveying to you our warm appreciation of the work done by you, with zeal and energy, in managing the Muhammadan Boys’ Maradana School for the last fourteen years; and of expressing to you, on your retirement from the said managership, heartfelt and sincere gratitude, on our own behalf and on behalf of the Muhammadan Community of Colombo, for the said work as well as for the pecuniary assistance generously rendered by you for establishing the said school to impart religious abd secular education to the Muhammadan youth of this country; for your liberal endowment towards its upkeep; and for your enthusiastic cooperation with which we have so long controlled and conducted the affairs of the said institution. While announcing our hope that you will find health and strength to continue to cooperate with us for long, as a member of the Treasurer of our Society, in conducting the said afairs for the future, we beg to state that we have resolved to place in the upper storey (which will, in the future serve the purpose of a Muslim Reading Room or Library and Lecture Hall) of the new wing of the Madrasah, which has now been constructed through your eterprise, an enlarged photograph of yourself as a memento of your benevolent acts.

In conclusion we pray that Almighty Allah may be pleased to grant you long life, good health, happiness and prosperity.

Yours affectionately,
Cassim Lebbe Sheikh Abdul Cader Marikar
President Colombo Muslim Educational Society
(Uncle of the late N.D.H. Abdul Caffoor)

1. Muhammad Ismail Abdul Rahman Mudaliyar (Trustee Maradana Mosque 1902) (Father of A. Cader A. Raheman)
2. M Abdul Cader, Advocate, Jaffna
3. Colande Marikar Meera Lebbe Marikar (VP & Treasurer, Maradana Mosque) (Father of M.L.M. Reyal)
4. Idroos Lebbe Marikar Abdul Azeez (Trustee Maradana Mosque 1903-1913) (Father of Rishard A Azeez)
5. Sulaiman Lebbe Noohu Lebbe (Trustee Kuppiyawatte Burial Grounds, 1903) (Grandfather of M.U.M. Saleem)
6. Ismail Lebbe Marikar Muhammad Usoof Alim (Katheeb, Maradana Mosque) (Father of M.Y.M. Hamza)
7. Oduma Lebbe Marikar Ahmed Lebbe Marikar Alim (Father-in-Law of W.M. Hassim, JP)
8. Wapu Marikar Abdul Jabbar (Treasurer, Maradana Mosque) (Father of A.J.M. Jameel)
9. Assena Lebbe Muhallam Segu Lebbe (Katheeb, Maradana Mosque) (Father of S.L.M. Hashim)
10.Aboobucker Lebbe Marikar Oduma Lebbe Marikar (President, Executive Committee, Maradana Mosque) (Brother of A.L. Ibrahim Lebbe)

The descriptions of the signatories are later interpolations for better understanding of the persons involved in relation to presently known persons amongs the Muslim Community.
In 1907, Wapchi Marikar built, at his own cost, an extension building to the existing first school building. A section of the Educational Society collected a sum of Rs. 12,750 and entrusted it to Wapchi Marikar for the construction of houses along the street adjoining the New Olympia Theatre in Maradana. Unfortunately, the Colombo Muslim Educational Society did not function for very long and it became incumbent on Wapchi Marikar to manage the affairs of Zahira College all by himself as a single individual using his own personal finances and the welfare of some other Muslim philanthrophists.

Finding the income from rents of the Darley Road properties insufficient to manage the school he offered the income from his own properties at Wellawatte to augment the revenues of Zahira College. In 1921, being physically unfit to attend to the daily affairs of Zahira College, Wapchi Marikar discussed the matter with two of the members of the now defunct Education Society and handed over the management to the Maradana Mosque.

He was a devout and pious Muslim who built, served and developed mosques spending liberally for all religious affairs. His maxim was "cut ones coat according to the cloth". He passed away on May 14, 1925 at the ripe old age of ninety six. His only son was the Hon. W.M. Abdul Rahman, M.L.C. and his daughter was Mariambu Natchar.


(aka Lebbe Sinne Lebbe)

Sheikh Ismail Lebbe Abdul Latiff (Levve Sinna Levve)

Katheeb Hussain Lebbe Muhallam Sheikh Ismail Lebbe of the Colombo Grand Mosque, New Moor Street, had recorded over three hundred (300) marriages of Moors (Muslims), from March 26, 1882 to January 18, 1844. In his "Kadutham" book, he had recorded not only the names of the parties, Wolis, and witnesses but also their addresses.

His son, Abdul Latiff, also known as, Levve Sinna Levve, who was also appointed Katheeb of the Colombo Grand Mosque, had his appointment confirmed by the Governer, His Excellency Lt. General Sir Colin Campbell, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Military Order of both Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over the British settlements and territories in the Island of Ceylon with dependencies thereof, on February 13, 1845.

The following authorty of the Governer was granted for the remains of Abdul Latiff to be interred alongside his father’s grave at the Colombo Grand Mosque.

No 1112. Colonial Secretary’s Office
Colombo, 16 May, 1906
I am directed by the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your petition dated the 6th April last, and to state that His Excellency has been pleased to grant the request made therein.
(2) His Excellency desires me at the same time to state that he hopes that many years will still lapse before it becomes necessary to make use of the permission granted.
I am Sir,
Your Obedient Servant
for Colonial Secretary
Segoe Ismail Lebbe Abdul Latifue
Muhammadan High Priest,
83, New Moor Street,

In the Ceylon Daily News of Saturday, March 10, 1945, the following reference was made to the centenary celebration at the Grand Mosque in connection with the services as Khateeb of Abdul Latiff and his progeny:-

"A special assembly congregated after the Jumma prayers at the Grand Mosque, Colombo, to commemorate the century of service rendered to the members of the congregation of the Mosque by the house of the first officiating priest, late Khateeb Sheikh Ismail Lebbe Abdul Latiff. The service was continued by his son, the late Khateeb Abdul Latiff Abdul Caffoor, followed by his son, the late Khateeb Abdul Caffoor Abdul Jawad. This is now being continued by the latter’s son, Khateeb Abdul jawad Muhammad Warid. In appreciation of his uninterrupted and unique service to the Jama’ath of the Mosque, glowing tributes were paid by several speakers, reference being made to the special grant by Governor Sir Colin Campbell on February 13, 1845"

Abdul Lateef’s son Abdul Caffoor was subsequently appointed Khatheeb of the Grand Mosque and His other son’s were Abdul Rahman, Abdul Cader, and Muhammad Zakariya. His daughter’s were Azeeza Umma and Jainath Umma.

Abdul Caffoor;s son Abdul Jaward succeeded him. Abdul Jaward’s son Muhammad Warid succeeded him in 1936.

Abdul Lateef’s youngest son was Muhammad Zakariya whose son was Muhammad Lafir. Muhammad Lafir’s children are Muhammad Noor (married to Mazeera Rashard), Fawzie Fathima, Nawaz (married to Shireen Hussain Mohideen), Faizal (married to Yasmin Sahill), Ayeshathul Rila (married to Zameek Hussain), Ireefathul Khair (married to Rumy Rasheed) and Shazmina (married to Mursy Zacky).

Abdul Lateef ‘s grandfather was Khateeb Hussain whose father was Khateeb Hassan and whose father was Khateeb Sheikh Omar of Yamani.

Presently (1995), the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Colombo Grand Mosque is Al Haj Shafee Muhammad who was elected in 1992. His appointment was confirmed by the Ministry of Muslim Religious & Cultural Affairs. He is the grandson of Khatheeb Abdul Caffoor Abdul Jawad and brother of Al Haj Muhammad Hussain Mohideen - former member of the Board of Trustees of the Colombo Grand Mosque during the period 1968 to 1980.

Abdul Lateef’s Great Grandson, Muhammad Shibly Shihabudeen, son of Abdul Rahman Muhammad Shihabudeen, was appointed Administrative Trustee of Ghaneemathul Cassimiya Jumma Masjid at Dematagoda Place, Colombo 9, from 1980 to 1983. He was responsible for the construction of a two storeyed building for the Mosque that facilitated the upgrade of the Mosque to a Jumma Masjid.

The above family trace their ancestry to the Head Moorman, Mahmood Naina Marikar of Sheikh Ma’roofal Karkhee.