MUHAMMAD LEBBE SIDDI LEBBE MARIKAR
Muhammad Cassim Siddi Lebbe was born on 11-Jun-1838 in Kandy. First Muslim lawyer of Sri Lanka. Educated at Qur’an School, Kandy. Proctor, Social Reformer, Editor First Muslim Journal in Tamil “Muslim Nesan”, 12-Dec-1882. Influenced by Arumugar Navalar. Established schools in Kandy, Gampola, Polgahawela, Kurunegala. Founded Madrasathul Zahira in 1892. Works include Gnana Teepan 1892, Assembly Udaya kathai – Tamil Novel – 1885, Abu Navas, Asrarul A’lam. Died5-Feb-1898.
The ancestors of Siddi Lebbe were Arabs who had penetrated into the Kandyan District. His father, Muhammad Lebbe Siddi Lebbe, was one of the first Ceylonese Proctors and was also the Head Moorman in 1833. Muhammad Cassim was also known as Siddi Lebbe. Siddi Lebbe had an older brother, an Arabic educated Alim, under whose care he learnt to read Qur’an and study Tamil and English.
Muhammad Cassim (MC) Siddi Lebbe continued his studies and qualified as a Proctor of the District Court in 1862. Two years later he became a Proctor of the Supreme Court and practiced as a Notary Public. He married the sister-in-law of Casie Lebbe Marikar Muhammad Yousoof, grandson of O L M Shekhadi Marikar
He studied the Arabic language to perfection and read many significant works of Islamic scholars and thereby excelled in religious knowledge surpassing that of the local Ulema of the time. The educational movement in Colombo, which he began with Wapchi Marikar, constantly required his presence in Colombo and thus he was compelled to live in Colombo paying occasional visits to his hometown in Kandy. He started a Muslim journal called the “Muslim Friend”, in English and Tamil, in order to educate his fellow Muslim community members. He also published a monthly journal called the “torch of Wisdom”. He clamored to teach the Muslims their religion through these two journals where he urged the community to study the Arabic language. He also wrote and published “Hidayathul Cassimiya”, “Tuhuwathul Nahwa” (key to grammar), “Shurut As Salat” (observance of Prayer), Arabic Study Book Part I & II. His Tamil works were “Tamil Primer, a novel story of Hassen Bey, History of the Turkish and Greek War, and History of the Moors of Ceylon. His wide scheme of educating the Muslim community resulted in the establishment of Zahira College, patronized by the cream of the community due to the munificence of Wapchi Marikar. He also established many Tamil and Arabic Schools in many parts of the Central Province, some of which he himself managed and financed. In kandy, he founded a Girls’ School whee his sister was the Head-Teacher.
He used the medium of newspaper articles, books, and speeches to induce the Muslim community to make an attempt to uplift themselves from the backward condition they were in. Though numerous were his friends and admirers he did have his share of opponents too, who were not convinced of his understanding of the interpretation and philosophical understanding of Islam.
OBITUARY OF SITHY SALEEMA MAHMOOD (ISMAIL)
ISMAIL - HAJIANI SITHY FATHIMA (SALEEMA) Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajioon. Wife of Marhoom Al-Haj Mohamed Abdulla, Mohamed Ismail (Dulla) J.P.U.M. mother of Zainab, Salma and Maimoon, grandmother of Yakoob, Zaithoon, Zeenath, Althaaf and Thabith, stepmother of Mirza and Haniffa, daughter of A.L.M. Mahmood and Zulaiha, eldest granddaughter of Mr & Mrs A.B. Casie Lebbe of Kandy, sister of Shafeek, Zareena, Zavahir and Zahar, mother-in-law of Zainudeen, Favaz and Anil, sister-in-law of Ummu Azeez, Sithy Jabir Cader, Cassim Ismail, Munthaha, Cader and Ayesha. Died on Friday 12th April, 2002. Janaza took place on the same day at Jawatte Muslim Burial Ground. “Windermere”, Dampe, Madapatha, Piliyandala and 11, Gregory Place, Dehiwela.