Saturday, March 04, 2006

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


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