Saturday, March 04, 2006


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


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