History of Maldives - Tareek
From Ali to Iskandar,
1558 - 1687
National Centre of Linguistics
and Historical Research
Malé, MaldivesFirst printing 1981, second
translated by Maldives
Culture editors with assistance from
29 September 2005
The death of
one of the Thareekh
two months and fourteen days after becoming king,
sultan Ali ibn Abdul Rahman Vazir Auzam, crowned
in the Dhivehi language as Siree Adha Siyaaka Kaththiri
Maharadun, was martyred while battling against the
The reason for this battle between the king and
the foreigners was as follows: A previous Maldivian
king who had been living in Goa, sent a Christian
ship to fetch his relatives and ministers from Malé
so they could join him as converts to Christianity.
When the ship arived in Malé harbour, the
aristocracy and ministers were told it was the wish
of the king that they all travel to Cochin.
Malés leaders discussed the matter. Everyone
refused to give up Islam and leave the island. They
argued with the people on the ship and a battle
took place in which the infidels were defeated.
Their lances and other possessions were seized and
they were all killed. The Malé leaders in
this battle were the future kings Abu Bakuru and
Ali. At this time the christian king, who had been
in Goa, was staying in Cochin.
In a second attack, three Christian battleships
were sent from Cochin to Malé. The infidels
were defeated again, and Malés people seized
their weapons and property.
attacks Malé, 1558
Then for a third time, three more warships were
sent to Malé loaded with christian soldiers
and their weapons. Their leader was called Captain
Adhiri Adhirin. These men reached Malé two
months and fourteen days into the reign of king
Ali. They landed at dawn on the west side of the
island, carrying their guns and lances onto the
beach. King Ali took his sword and shield and led
his soldiers into battle. He walked in front of
his men to the Eid mosque and turned around to discover
that all his men had fled, apart from the chief
minister and a servant.
The king and his two companions
confronted the enemy and attacked. The infidels
were alarmed by the calm bravery of these heroes
and the enemy retreated, firing their guns. One
of the infidels' bullets martyred the king, and
then the other two noble fighters were killed as
well. The kingship was in the hands of the invaders
and they moved into the island to take control.
Pyrard who was in Malé for
five years from 1602, describes
the rule of Andhiri Andhirin as
a time of great prosperity:
'I have heard it said by the islanders
that the trade and prosperity of
the islands were never so great
as when the Portuguese governed
there. The governor (Andhiri Andhirin)
appointed by the Portuguese to rule
under them as viceroy was a lord,
a native of the island and of their
religion; but he did everything
in the name of the christian king
who lived in the Portuguese territory.
This lord was grandfather to the
wife of him that was king in my
time (King Kalafan).'
Buraara Mohamed Fulhu gives more
details about Andhiri Andhirin and
'The younger sister (Andhiri Andhirin's
mother) of the king of Goa (the
Viceroy) asked her brother to arrange
a ship in which she and her husband
could travel and see the world.
After sailing for many days and
nights, they arrived at Addu Huvadhu.
There the sister told the crew that
the islands belonged to her and
so they could land anywhere and
do what they wanted. They began
to loot and wreck the islands. While
this was occurring, a boat arrived
in Malé harbour and the Maldivians
aboard started calling out that
a foreign ship had arrived at Huvadhu
and was giving alcohol to the people
and wrecking and looting the islands.'
(Black Ibrahim, one of Malé's leading
warriors, decides to leave the capital
immediately and fight the foreigners
and seize their property. The king
wants to send others, and orders
Black Ibrahim to remain on Malé
but the warrior ignores the king
and sails off to Huvadhu).
'When Black Ibrahim arrived, he
climbed aboard the foreign ship
and started fighting with the crew.
While he was massacring people,
one of them ran into a room and
locked the door. Ibrahim searched
the ship thoroughly, killing anyone
he found. He noticed the locked
door, kicked it in and found a woman
hiding there. He held his sword
above his head and said he was even
prepared to kill a woman unless
she agreed to submit to Islam. So,
in fear of death, the lady became
a moslem. He asked her what her
name was, and where she was from,
and then told her the correct times
for praying and the period of fasting.
He learnt that she was Khannuzeedi
Kamana the younger sister of the
king of Goa. Her husband had been
killed by Ibrahim's sword and the
warrior asked her to marry him.
Then he discovered she was pregnant.
Ibrahim took all the goods from
the ship and landed with Kamana
on Hithadhoo island, Addu atoll.
He stayed there, looking after Kamana
and lived off the goods from the
ship. Ibrahim built a fort on that
Buraara says Ibrahim was made the
Addu tax collector and he stayed
in Hithadhoo despite Queen Bureki's
insistence that he return to Malé.
Eventually his wife died, and Ibrahim
could no longer ignore the queen's
orders. On the way to Malé
with his two sons, Mohamed (Andhiri
Andhirin) and Matukkala, Mohamed
left his father and brother and
sailed off in a second boat to Acheh
in northern Sumatra.
'There he sold the boat and everything
on board and with the money he travelled
and happened to arrive at Vedalai
where Tamil Nadu meets Ceylon.
At Vedalai, Mohamed learnt Kuran,
mauloodh, knowledge of 'nahuf',
and martial arts from the Bodu Eduru
Kaleyfan. He also practised target
shooting with guns and when he was
fully trained as a warrior, Mohamed
left Vedalai and travelled north
until he reached Goa.
There he found the ways of the inhabitants
very appealing, for example their
habit of urinating without bending
their knees or cleaning themselves
afterwards without water. These
things he found very impressive.
Mohamed enjoyed eating their meat
and drinking their alcohol, and
he became friends with the king
of Goa who asked his name and where
he was from. The king discovered
the Maldivian was Mohamed, son of
Khanzeedi Kamana. She had been the
younger sister of the king so he
was Mohamed's uncle. The king searched
for relatives of Mohamed on his
father's side and found the sister
of his father's mother still lived
HCP Bell gives the following information
for Andhiri Andhirin's origins:
'During the reign of Sultan Kalu
Mohamed (his third reign was from
1512-1529), a Portuguese vessel
commanded by a noble of Goa, a relative
of the Viceroy, with whom was his
young wife, reached Huvadhu or Addu
atoll. Kalu Ibrahim Farina Takurufanu
of Gafaru island was despatched
to seize the ship. He killed the
captain and the crew but saved the
life of the lady known as 'Kanzi
Kamana', then pregnant. Her Portuguese
child was brought up as a Muslim
and named Mohamed. He figured prominently
later as 'Captain Adiri Adiri' (perhaps
Kalu Ibrahim Farina married Kanzi
Kamana, and had by her a son called
Matukkalaya. After murdering his
half brother, Mohamed fled to Goa;
whence he returned with the Portuguese
fleet which captured Malé
in 1558. In addition to Adiri Adiri,
the Portuguese employed a native
agent as Viyador on the islands.'
A group of moslems went onto the beach and found
the bodies of the king and the others. The island
people buried the heroes where they fell. A strong
wall of large stones was built around the grave.
Seawater moved around the wall and even now, kings
visit that place. After the burial, the moslems
asked for peace with the infidels who were the new
Their leader Andhiri Andhirin sat on the king's
throne and they sent officials to various parts
of Maldives. All this happened in May 1558. During
Andhiri Andhirin's rule, private property was often
seized and moslem women committed adultery openly.
Whether a woman was married or single, it didn't
matter to the infidels. Fifteen years passed in
this way. Disturbances spread throughout Maldives
and the hearts of both locals and foreigners were
seized with fear.
Takurufan leads guerilla war against Malé
Later, by God's will, the non-Islamic government
was destroyed and moslems were saved when Mohamed
Takurufan's heart was filled with the desire to
free Maldives from the hands of infidels. He was
the son of Hussein Kateeb Takurufan from Utheem
island in north Maldives.
Mohamed fulfilled his divine duty of war. First
performing a special Arabic prayer and praying to
God for success, and then holding discussions with
his full brothers Ali and Hassan. Though they were
few in number, they agreed to wage war and preparations
began. In a fast sailing vessel loaded with food,
water and clothing, they took their wives and children
to Minicoy island where they could be left under
the protection of Ali Raja, the ruler of Cannanore.
At Minicoy, the brothers met two other Maldivian
brothers returning from Arabia. The elder one's
name was Ali Haji and the other was Hassan Haji.
They were well-known for their skill with the lance,
in fact they were experts with that weapon. Hassan
and Ali had left for the haj pilgrimage
before the infidels invaded Maldives. Mohamed discussed
the recapture of Maldives with these two men and
the Takurufan and Haji brothers together made a
sacred vow. Everybody agreed to fight and support
Mohamed as their leader. They promised to avoid
internal disputes and never to surrender. Placing
their fate in the hands of God, they set out to
At night they raided the atolls, killing infidels
wherever they found them. Mohamed and his men would
load food and drink aboard their ship and leave
before dawn. All day long, they stayed out to sea
where their sails could not be seen by the enemy.
At night when darkness fell, they landed on the
islands. That was how they operated.
One night they arrived at Thakandhu island in Thiladhunmathi
(Haa Alifu) atoll. Mohamed's brother, Ali Takurufan,
became separated from the group while they were
in the island after he fell asleep at the house
of one of his wives. Dawn came and the others left
quickly and sailed away, leaving Ali stranded in
the morning light and forced to hide in his wife's
house. The infidels found him there, pulled him
out and decapitated him. They sent his head to Andhiri
Andhirin. The moslems in Thakandhu buried his body,
while the moslems in Malé retrieved the head
from Andhiri Andhirin and buried it in Funadhoo
island. The war continued with the remaining four
holy warriors carrying on the fight.
Takurufan attacks Malé with help from Ali
The christians gathered in Malé and mounted
a vigilant guard all around the island as they waited
for an attack from the moslem warriors. Soon Mohamed,
the Great Takurufan, arrived near Malé but
the christians' wariness kept him at bay. To get
them to relax their guard, Mohamed Takurufan stopped
harrassing the capital and went to Cannanore and
asked Ali Raja to send a group of soldiers. Ali
Rajah was happy to help and ordered a group of Malabaris
from his army to sail to Maldives. With these men,
Mohamed left Cannanore and arrived back near Malé
It was the night before a day when the christians
had decided to round up all Malé moslems
and forcibly convert them to christianity. Anyone
who refused would be executed. All the christians
had agreed to this plan and they were waiting for
daybreak. The moslems in Malé were worried.
At the house of judge Abu Bakuru Kaleyfan, the son
of judge Don Korali Kaleyfan and grandson of judge
Ismail Sharafudeen Kaleyfan, the moslems gathered
and decided not to renounce Islam and side with
the christians. The moslems would not bow down before
statues. If they were forced to do things like that,
they would rather fight the infidels and die as
believers. They made vows and gathered their swords,
lances, daggers, batons, bows, arrows and other
weapons. Then they waited, praying to Holy God that
they would keep their religion. They recited prayers
in praise of God and blessings for Prophet Muhammad
and promised to perform a mauloodh every
year at the Medhu Ziyaaraiy tomb, if the Great Takurufan
arrived on the island before sunrise.
Two thirds of the night had passed when the Mohamed
Takurufan's boat anchored in Malé harbour.
No longer guarding the island properly, the infidels
slept as Mohamed and his followers went to Andhiri
Andhirin's palace. He was sitting on a chair inside
the gate. Around the king were his close associates,
all standing in the light of a lantern. Mohamed
Takurufan fired his gun at Andhiri Andhirin and
then ducked away and hid behind a coconut tree.
Andhiri Andhirin was hit, but as he lay dying he
fired his own gun and sent his bullet to the exact
spot where Takurufan's shot had emerged. The infidels
grabbed their guns and advanced towards the moslems,
firing their weapons. The moslems fired back and
their lances struck the bodies of the infidels while
the believers were protected by the generosity of
Almighty God. Fighting intensified until all the
infidels were defeated and killed.
Moslem hearts rejoiced at the result. Oppressed
believers, their faces bright with happiness, came
to Takurufan and kissed his blessed hand, making
special prayers that his honourable government might
be long-lasting. He treated people kindly and allowed
those with high status to retain their positions.
By agreement, the Great Takurufan was accepted as
the new king on 11 July 1573. Andhiri Andhirin had
reigned for 15 years and six months.
reign of king Mohamed Takurufan
The king, Sultan Hero Mohamed Takurufan, was crowned
under the Dhivehi name Siri Savadheetha Maha Radhun.
Afterwards, he built the royal palace and organised
customs and protocols for the court. Mohamed's full
brother, Hassan Takurufan, became his deputy and
received the title of Rannabandeyri Kilegefan. Ali
Haji was made chief minister and knighted as Doshimeyna
Takurufan. Hassan Haji was made foreign minister
and knighted as Velana.
There were no learned men in Maldives when this
king took control. The scholar Al-Faqeehu Suleiman
Al-Madaniyu ibn Mohamed ibn Isa Al-Thabreeliyu Al-Yemeni
and his students and their students and those that
came after them, had spread education in the Maldives.
But when Takurufan took control, there had been
no Islamic scholars in Maldives for about thirty
years. Not a single person remained who understood
the sharia, and Maldives had no learned
people. If God so wills, a disaster like this can
occur and all the educated people can be wiped out.
Sulman Al-Farisee once said that, provided elder
scholars stayed alive until the younger ones had
completed their studies, the population would remain
in a happy state. If the elders die before the students
have completed their studies, everyone will be destroyed.
Saeed ibn Jubairu was asked, 'What would be the
sign of the destruction of humanity?'
He answered, 'If their scholars were destroyed.'
The Holy Prophet once said, 'There is no bigger
catastrophe to my Islamic community than the death
of a scholar. If a scholar dies it is as if a lamp's
wick had been removed and the path was no longer
lit. People, be educated! And be in the company
of the prophets on the Day of Judgment.'
Malik's son, Anas, reported this hadith:
And the Holy Prophet of Allah says: Allah does not
take knowledge away from humankind. Knowledge is
destroyed by the death and absence of scholars.
People will choose barbarians as leaders if the
scholars are wiped out. The rulers will not know
how to behave correctly, and they will lead people
astray when they are asked to make legal judgments.
Abdullah, son of Amru and grandson of Aas, reported
Each king has a moral duty to encourage education,
and the way to encourage education and knowledge
in the kingdom is to support scholars and their
students. Every king needs a legal system for effective
rule. A learned person is able to guide spiritual
and material matters, and understands their application
within the legal system. The world is a farm to
cultivate in preparation for the afterlife. Without
this world, our religious obligations cannot be
fulfilled. Monarchy and religion are twins. Religion
is the original foundation and the king is the security
guard. Anything without a foundation is in danger
of shattering; anything without a guard is bound
to be lost. A kingdom cannot be complete without
a king nor can there be harmony among people without
religious philosophy. For this reason, it is said
that those who wear their learning for all to see,
will decorate the earth, while humble learned people
will beautify the sky.
The Great Takurufan was saddened by the absence
of scholars he needed to organise religious and
state matters. He was preoccupied with this problem
when Sheikh Mohamed Jamaludeen returned to Maldives
from the Hadramaut region in Yemen. This scholar
had left Maldives when king Hassan Shirazi, a son
of king Hilaalee Black Mohamed, had reigned from
1528 to 1548.
Jamaludeen travelled all over the Hijaz in Arabia,
and studied with the scholars of Hadramaut. King
Mohamed was pleased when Jamaludeen returned to
Maldives and treated the sheikh as an aristocrat,
with many awards and praises. Takurufan asked him
to stay with the court but due to his strong piety
and asceticism, Jamaludeen declined this offer and
instead asked for permission to live in a remote
With the consent of the king, he went to Vaadhoo
island on Huvadhu atoll. Vaadhoo's chief, Mohamed
Fandiaiy Takurufan treated him honourably and built
a house for him in a spacious area. Jamaludeen settled
in Vaadhoo and began teaching Ali Naib Takurufan,
the son of Fandiaiy Takurufan. Children came from
many places to learn from Jamaludeen. He was teaching
children and praying to Holy God when he died on
that island. Among his students were Abu Bakur Fandiyaru
Takurufan and Addu Bodu Fandiyaru Takurufan.
death of Mohamed Takurufan
Great Takurufan ruled justly in both religious and
worldly matters, and left this mortal earth for
the eternal world on the 26 August 1585. He was
wise and pious, and fair and kind to his subjects.
For the first time in Maldives, an army was organized
and it was decided to pay the soldiers with a particular
amount of cowry shell and coir rope. They were also
given rice twice a month, and cloth. The people
lived good and prosperous lives during Mohamed's
reign. No one caused harm to anyone else. On the
day he died, his son Ibrahim ascended to the throne
in an arrangement according to his father's wish.
The Great Takurufan reigned for 12 years and six
reign of Ibrahim Kalafan, son of Mohamed Takurufan
Al-Sultan Ibrahim ibn Sultan Ghazee Mohamed Takurufan
Al-Auzam, crowned in Dhivehi language as Siri Sandhasuvarudha
Loaka Maharadun, was a powerful, wise, fair and
scholarly king. He was taught by Abu Bakuru Fandiyaru
Kaleygefan and loved learned people and supported
them and ordered people to learn from them. He discussed
many matters with scholars, looked out for the welfare
of the people, and reigned justly for 24 years until
Malabar pirates appeared in their ships.
The king summoned his ministers and amirs, including
judge Haddhunmathi Funadhoo Mohamed Fandiyaru Kaleygefan,
and discussed the battleplan. The judge suggested
it was better to run and hide than to fight. The
king quickly boarded a large ship leaving for the
south of the country but the enemy approached the
king's vessel and a sea fight started. People from
the king's ship jumped overboard and swam to an
uninhabited island. The king and Jamal Kaloa fought
the enemy and were martyred.
The pirates grabbed cargo, swords, guns and lances,
and then abandoned the vessel. It drifted to Hangnameedhoo
island on Ari (Alifu) atoll. The islanders saw the
ship and discovered on board the bodies of the king
and Jamal Kaloa. They were buried at the island
mosque. The enemy entered Malé, looting the
palace and assaulting the royal family. They took
Black Tukkala to Cannanore. He was the son of Aminath
Mava Kilegefan, the daughter of Mariyam Kabadi Kileyge
who was the daughter of Great Takurufan's brother
Ali Takurufan. Black's father was Umar Mafahi Kilege.
Ali Raja held Black Tukkala for a long time and
after his release he returned to Malé.
King Kalafan was martyred on Wednesday 4 February
is virtually certain that Hussein
II did not succeed to the throne at
once on the death of Ibrahim III (Kalafan).
Tradition in Malé is unanimous
that for some time (weeks, months,
even up to four years) Kalu Kamana,
daughter of Hassan Ranabandeyri Kilegefan,
uncle of Ibrahim III, ruled at least
nominally until her death at sea,
or at Mahibadu island on Ari atoll,
when on pilgrimage to offer the customary
annual alms at Hannamidu island on
Ari atoll where the slain Ibrahim
III had been buried.'
this, the son of Madifushi Olhigina Kilage, Sultan
Hussein Famuladeyri Kilegefan became the king. The
last judge of the dead king Kalafan's reign, Fonadhoo
Mohamed Kaleyfan resigned and went to his island.
Addu Meedhoo Hassan Naib Takurufan's son, Bodu Fandiyaru
Takurufan was summoned and made the chief judge.
The dead king had been married to Kaba Aisha Rani
Kilegefan. She married the new king Hussein and
they had three sons and a daughter. He was kind
and just to the people. In 1620, he died in Guraidhoo
island on Malé atoll after reigning for eleven
years and five months.
Tukkala becomes king Mohamed Imadudeen I, 1620-1648
Now Black Tukkala became the king and was named
Sultan Mohamed Imadudeen. The king's Dhivehi title
was Kulasundara Katiri Bavana Maharadun. He married
Kaba Aisha Rani Kilegefan, the former queen of the
kings Kalafan and Hussein. She gave birth to a beautiful
son for the king. He was called Ibrahim and the
broken-down royal palace was rebuilt after his birth.
Walls were constructed around the palace and gun
emplacements were erected. A moat was installed
outside the walls, and the royal grounds were cleaned
In the fifth year of his reign, a Portuguese man
called Domingos Ferreyra Belliago attacked Maldives
with his countrymen in a warship loaded with weapons.
The army of the king's ministers and amirs assembled
and king made them take an oath not to run from
the battlefield. The judge encouraged them to fight
the infidels. At that time there were only five
cannon in Malé and no watchtowers or walls
or bastions around the island. With these five cannon,
the moslems began the war against the infidels.
The enemy also began to shoot their guns from the
ship. No serious damage was suffered by Malé
and the infidels were defeated. They burnt the mosque
on Viligili island west of Malé and sailed
off to Goa. This happened in 1624/5 (1631 or 1632
according to Portuguese records quoted by HCP Bell
in Monograph of the Maldive Islands).
Afterwards, a large fort was built in an area adjacent
to the royal palace. Watchtowers were added with
cannon emplacements in each tower and on the walls.
Everything was very well made and there was no way
an enemy could breach the defenses. A harbour wall
with an entrance for boats was built around the
island. Due to lack of cannon, the monarchy could
not be appropriately protected so a vessel was sent
to Acheh to buy them. The ship's captain was Kuburudhoo
Ali Malimee. He purchased fourteen red copper cannons
and returned to Malé. Due to the generosity
of Holy Allah, guns were also obtained from infidel
shipwrecks in the Maldives. The foreigners from
the wrecks just packed the pinnaces with easily
carried goods and sailed off. The rest was left
for Maldivians. With the help of all these weapons,
the king became powerful as his son grew up.
revolt of Samiya at Maafilaafushi island on Lhaviyani
The king became aware that his wife's full brother,
Samiya Fashana Kilegefan, was planning to usurp
the throne. He was living in Maafilaafushi island
on Lhaviyani atoll and an army detachment from Malé
was sent to arrest him. They fought against Samiya
but returned defeated. On many occasions, armed
soldiers were sent against him but they never found
a way to seize their prey.
As time wore on, Samiya's soldiers were captured
one by one and he lost his supporters and fled to
Minicoy. The Maldive king sent armed men to Minicoy
to arrest him. Samiya was in the mosque when the
soldiers arrested him, put his legs in silver chains
and brought him to Malé. Samiya was exiled
to Fua Mulaku and died there.
Why and when this lord originally went to Maafilaafushi
is not mentioned in the chronicles. However, he
was in active revolt against the king. Samiya occupied
that island and also said he was a king. He deceived
the people living north of Malé, seizing
government goods and confiscating them. But he was
not as organised as the king in Malé.
After the arrest of this lord, the throne of king
Imadudeen was safe and he reigned over all the islands
of Maldives. He was a pious and wise king. The Maldive
monarchy, frail and weak, was restored to pride
and dignity. Cruelty and hatred were removed from
the lives of Maldivians.
Imadudeen was intelligent, but very bad-tempered.
One instance of this trait occurred when the king's
judge was Mohamed Shamsudheen Bodu Fandiyaru Kaleyfan
from Addu atoll's Meedhoo island. One day in Malé,
the judge was reading the sermon, and while praying
for the king, he mispronounced a single word. The
king angrily exiled the judge back to his island
with his three sons who were well educated. Then
the judge from Kalafan's time, Hadhunmathi Funadhoo
Mohamed Fandiyaru Takurufan, was reappointed to
Malé. The king died on 22 October 1648 after
reigning for 29 years.
Ibrahim Iskandar, 1648-1687
His son was crowned Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar with
the Dhivehi title of Siri Kularanmeeba Iskandharu
Kathiri Bavana Maharadun. He became monarch at the
age of 28 (Ibrahim was 18, according to HCP Bell).
Tall with a fair complexion, Ibrahim Iskandar was
a perfect nobleman and there was nobody as beautiful,
honourable and brave as the king. He was patient,
and an organizer; cautious with the duties of the
monarchy. He did not hurry to punish those who disobeyed,
but controlled his temper and forgave people's foibles
after careful consideration. The king trained people
in the use of swords, guns, bows and arrows, and
He treated scholars kindly,
and ordered them to teach. For if the island is
empty of knowledge then it risks receiving the curse
of God. He loved scholars and without payment he
extended grand titles and honours to them and made
them very happy.
cables, straps of ships are made
of coir, that is the rind of Coconuts
very fine spun, the best sort of
which is brought from the Maldiva
Isles. They are as strong as any
hempen cables whatever, and much
more durable in these hot climates,
with this provisor, that if they
chance to be wet with fresh water,
either by rain or riding in a fresh
river, they do not let them dry
before they wet them well in salt
water, which does much preserve
them, and the other as much rot
them. All the reason I can give
for it is, that the coir of the
Maldiva grows upon a very brackish
soil. They have an excellent way
of making shrouds, stays, or anyother
rigging for ships. They, for the
most part, make them of good twine,
which is here as cheap as coarse
hemp unspun is in England, and when
laid with Europe tar proves most
Thomas Bowrey, A Geographical
Account of the Countries Round the
Bay of Bengal, 1669 to 1679.
It was a time when Malés harbour was blessed.
Ships came with varieties of merchandise from Acheh,
Sri Lanka, southern India, Hindustan and other places.
They were given permission to trade but Iskandar
himself did not take part in business matters. There
was no prohibition on anything people wanted to
trade. The cargoes were not checked on the king's
behalf because there were no import and export duties.
The treasurer and foreign minister were treated
just like the other lords and had to keep away from
the foreign traders.
In the second month of Ibrahim Iskandar's reign,
Maldives was invaded by two brothers from Goa, Dom
Louis and Dom Manuel, the sons of a daughter of
the christian king Hassan. When Iskandar heard news
of the arrival of the invaders in Maldives, he summoned
his three maternal half-brothers and his ministers
and amirs, and discussed the coming battle. All
the preparations had been made and while they were
on alert, the ship carrying the two brothers from
Goa anchored in Malé harbour.
Holy God helped the Maldivians.
Dom Manuel was hit and killed by a bullet. Dom Louis
was also hit and many infidels were killed. After
this defeat, they returned to Goa and lost interest
in the kingdom of Maldives.
stops tribute payments to Goa and Ali Raja
tribute to Ali Raja ceased, Iskandar's
father had began sending tribute to
the Dutch in Ceylon.
'The Dutch despatched a vessel in
1640, to ascertain the nature and
prospects of trade at the Maldive
islands' (Dutch Records, Galle, 'Resolutions
As early as 1602 the Factors of the
Company at Middelburg had written
that they had spent five days at the
Maldives and that business could be
done there. In 1645 occurs the first
known reference to the Annual Embassy
from the Sultans to Governors of Ceylon,
which has been continued uninterruptedly
to the present day.'
the time of king Black Mohamed, grandfather of the
christian king Hassan, Maldives had paid tribute
to the people of Goa and to the Ali Raja of Cannanore.
These payments was stopped after Ibrahim Iskandar
won this war in 1649.
Angered by the cessation of tribute, Ali Raja sent
a squad of soldiers from his army in warships loaded
with weapons. With war underway, the king Iskandar
equipped his soldiers and then sailed with them
into battle. The enemy had already attacked some
islands, robbing and assaulting the inhabitants.
The two forces met and the enemy sailed away defeated.
The king returned to Malé.
A short time later, the Ali Rajah again sent his
soldiers to Maldives and Iskandar sent troops to
fight them. The enemy had already burnt Kudafushi
island mosque in Raa atoll lagoon when the Maldivians
caught up with them. The Malé men fired cannon
and defeated the invaders and drove them away.
Iskandar attacks Ali Raja's Laccadive islands
The Malabaris continued to mount frequent attacks
on unarmed civilians, robbing and assaulting them,
and the situation disturbed the king. To solve the
problem he sent his best soldiers to wage war directly
against Ali Raja's islands. Armed with swords and
guns, they sailed to the Dheevandhuroa islands near
Androth in the Laccadives and threatened the natives.
Ali Rajah's troops ran away.
The Maldivians robbed and burnt, doing the same
things that Ali Rajah's soldiers did in Maldives.
They were unopposed and returned triumphant to Malé
where the happy king received them with honours.
The chief and lords of Minicoy were arrested and
brought to Malé and held there for many days.
Later, when Minicoy's tribute tax was fixed at twelve
laari coins per year, the nobles were permitted
The Maldive king had captured one of Ali Rajah's
islands. Shocked, the Cannanore sea king retreated
into silence and there were no more attacks on Maldives
or demands for tribute. With the end of hostilities
between the Maldive and Cannanore rulers, both groups
resolved to remain at peace.
wood carving, Friday mosque, Malé
During the eighth year of his reign, the king
decided to rebuild the Friday mosque. It had been
built by the Dharumavanthaveri king five hundred
years before and restored by king Shihabudeen
in 1338, but it was dilapidated once again. The
mosque's foundations were removed and replaced
with an improved and more spacious design, and
coral stones were used in the main structure.
The mosque was completed in 1658, the tenth year
of the king's reign.
His highness' eldest maternal half-brother Mohamed
Doshimeyna Kilegefan died on 1 May 1661.
In 1668, king Iskandar returned from the haj.
This was in the twentieth year of his reign, and
he ordered the construction of the south gate
of the Friday mosque and placed a religious scholar
there with responsibility for teaching Koran and
religious obligations. He was paid with a salary
from the treasury. Also the minaret was completed
in 1675, the thirty-ninth year of the king's reign.
A person was paid to make the call to prayer five
times a day. This call was 'May Allah's blessings
and grace be upon you'.
Iskandar's first judge, Mohamed Fandiyaru Kaleyfan
the son of Haddhunmathi Funadhoo Hassan Naib Takurufan,
had been selected by the king's father. The same
judge also held office during Kalafan's time.
When this judge died, his son Muguree Ahmed Fandiyaru
Kaleyfan was appointed and when he too died, the
position was given to Hussein Takurufan the son
of Addu Mohamed Shamsudeen Bodu Fandiyaru Kaleyfan.
Hussein died in 1661/2.
The judgeship was then given to Hassan Takurufan
the son of Ibrahim Naib Fadiaiy Takurufan and
the grandson of Addu Bodu Fandiyaru Takurufan.
A year later he was removed and Mahumood Fandiyaru
Kaleyfan became judge. His father was Don Boi
Naib Takurufan, the step-son of Addu Bodu Fandiyaru
Takurufan. Mahumood Fandiyaru Kaleyfan was also
the father of Mohamed Sirajudeen Fonadhoo Kateeb
Takurufan. Mahumood died on the 8 March 1678.
He had been judge for fifteen years.
After that, Mohamed Kateeb Takurufan became judge.
He was the son of Dhevvadhoo Haji Ali Tukkala
and grandson of Addu Bodu Fandiyaru Takurufan.
This was in the same year that Mahumood Fandiyaru
Also during this year, the king's wife Lhaimagu
Aminath Kabafanu died on 15 September 1678. After
her death, the king did not remarry, preferring
instead to choose as his sleeping partners eight
favourites from among his slave women. One of
his favourites was an Indian woman Mariyam, the
daughter of the navigator Malimee Hussein. She
was the most beautiful woman in the king's harem.
Soon she became pregnant and gave birth to a son
on the afternoon of 23 August 1680. Iskandar was
62 years old.
leaves for Medina and Mecca, 1682
His son was only one and a half years old when
the king once again wished to visit the Medina
tomb of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He obtained
promises from the aristocrats, ministers, amirs,
military and judge that his new son would be the
king. Dhevvadhoo Mohamed Fandiyaru Takurufan was
given responsibility for the government and for
the affairs of the king's son and the boy's mother.
Iskandar prepared a fleet of seven large ships
- three odi and 4 nau - and
embarked on the Thursday 5 February 1682.
He reached the port of Jidda safely and disembarked.
Iskandar went to Medina to the tomb of the Prophet
of Allah and the tombs of disciples and martyrs.
The king and his travelling companions travelled
on to Mecca and performed umra and the
circumambulation of the Kaba. They walked between
Safa and Maruwa and performed the farewell circumambulation.
Then they left Mecca and embarked from port Jidda
for Mocha. The group left Mocha on 19 August 1682
and arrived in Malé harbour at night in
early October 1682. Malé people greeted
them in fleets of dhoani and the island
was decorated for the king's return. Since it
was the time of Eid prayer, Iskandar disembarked
and went straight to the ceremony. Thus two Eid
came to Maldives on the same day.
Mohamed Shamsudeen - Qadiri missionary
Ibrahim Iskandar reigned for a further four and
a half years. In the last years of his reign,
Sayyid Mohamed Shamsudeen the son of Sayyid Abdul
Razzag came to Maldives. This nobleman was a descendant
of Hassan and Hussein, the grandsons of Holy Prophet
Muhammad. Sayyid Mohamed was born in a place called
Hamath on the northwest coast of the Persian gulf,
and he studied at Azhar University in Egypt under
the highly learned scholar Ahmed Al-Basbeeshee.
Sayyid Mohamed was the most learned man of his
time when he left Egypt with a group of fellow
pilgrims including his younger brother, Sayyid
For many people, these two learned brothers were
like a cloudburst of valuable knowledge. They
travelled to Medina and Mecca where they performed
the haj and umra. Afterwards,
they went to Mocha and then, with their slaves
and servants, they boarded the ship of a rich
merchant from Mangalore, Soofu Kaka, and sailed
to that port. Soofu Kafa took them to a very holy
place and treated them honourably. Sayyid Mohamed
Shamsudeen convinced many Malabaris to join the
sect of the holyman Abdul Qadir and took his new
group of disciples around Malabar instructing
people and forbidding them to follow superstitions
and new ideas that corrupted Islamic values. People
were asked to join the Qadiri sect.
From Malabar, Sayyid Mohamed went by ship to Acheh
where he was greeted with great acclaim. Most
people in Acheh accepted the saint's teaching,
and heretical beliefs were wiped out. The Sunni
path was revitalised. Sayyid Mohamed was not intimidated
by insults from abusive people. In Acheh, Sayyid
Mohamed and his brother Taha travelled sitting
on two thrones carried by porters. As they moved
around, they flew a huge blue flag with Abdul
Qadir's name written in the middle, and a blue
canvas was raised above the their heads. They
were like kings.
While in Acheh, Sayyid Mohamed heard that Maldives
was filled with forbidden practices and heresy.
He reacted swiftly and left Acheh on a ship with
his soldiers, disciples and servants, reaching
Malé harbour on 7 February 1686.
On that day before sunset, the king treated him
with respect and gave him a good house for accommodation.
The next day at daybreak, the king came out to
the wrestling area and sat on his throne surrounded
by his ministers and army. With drums, horns and
trumpets, a group was sent to fetch the honourable
Sayyid Mohamed. The holy man arrived being carried
on his throne, his flag at the front and a blue
tarpaulin above his head. His devotees and servants
sang the praises of the Holy Prophet Muhammad
and Abdul Qadir. His throne was placed in front
of the king's throne. The two lords got up from
their illustrious seats and greeted each other
by touching shoulder to shoulder and hugging.
As their heads touched, the Maldive king's turban
fell to the ground. Iskandar was shaken and alarmed
by this omen but he continued to treat Mohamed
Sayyid very respectfully and gave him many awards.
People were sent to the holy
man and ordered to study and learn. The holy man forbade
superstition and heresy, and revitalised the Sunni
way. Men had to grow beards. Before that, apart from
a few exceptions, most of the learned men were shaved.
Silver chains were stripped from men's waists. Scholars,
magistrates and devotees all wore silver chains around
their waists. Previously, the scholars had not understood
this problem. However, five years before the arrival
of Sayyid Mohamed, Fonadhoo Dhaana Kateeb Takurufan
had understood the issue and removed the chain from
his own waist and the waists of his students as well.
Privately, he had told men they should remove their
waist chain and charm containers
Source: Adrian Neville, 'Malé - Capital
of Maldives' 1995
When Sayyid Mohamed arrived in Malé and banned
the chains, some men willingly complied, otherwise
the chains were forcibly removed. Women were ordered
to cover their hair and face and not to leave their
houses without wearing total purdah.
Apparently most people in Malé obeyed the Sayyid's
orders and many joined his sect. Then the Sayyidh
wrote a letter to the king saying:
'Holy God created and molded you into the shape of
a man and made you a king and leader of moslems. But
your highness ignores this resonsibility, and is preoccupied
with cruelly seizing people's property and appointing
harsh ministers. Brutal officials supported by you,
cause suffering to your people, Holy God's slaves.
Your highness does not listen to victims' complaints.
These complaints are not only ignored but the victims
are forbidden to see you. You have ignored those who
are needy and those who cannot even afford to cover
themselves. Coconuts palms and trees have been removed
from the waqf of mosques, leaving these buildings
derelict. Inheritance has been cancelled during your
reign. Free women have been stopped from marrying,
and held against their will. Your Highness has committed
sinful acts with these women.
As a leader of believers, a position granted by God,
does your highness have no shame? Be fearful of Almighty
God. Do not be among the betrayers. Your highness,
you will be questioned on the Day of Judgment about
the way you have behaved towards the people. On that
day there will be no help from your wealth or children.
Brutal people and their excuses are ignored. Theirs
is the curse of Hell. Cruel people will find no friends
on that day nor any helpful advocate. Holy God knows
the betrayal hidden in people's eyes and the things
hidden in their hearts.'
The king read the letter, and when he thought about
its contents, he began to realise the effect it would
have on his reputation. He became furious with the
holyman and directed his anger towards Sayyid's associates
as well. The king began to disapprove of people visiting
Sayyid's house, which belonged to Mohamed Manikfan,
the son of the king's maternal brother Hassan Fashana
Mohamed Manikfan was Sayyidh's very close friend.
One day in Mohamed's house, Sayyidh finished reading
the opening prayer and then removed his turban and
placed it on the head of Mohamed Manikfan, pronouncing
him king Mohamed and praying for his kingship.
The Sayyidh established order and banned forbidden
things. He stayed until the Bengal sailing season
and left Maldives in August 1686 after being in Malé
for six months. He went to the port of Pipili at the
mouth of the Ganges in Hindustan and stayed there
for five years before returning to Maldives. That
story will be told later.
of Ibrahim Iskandar
Ibrahim Iskandar died on the night of 27 February
1687. Next morning he was buried in a tomb already
built for him. It was rumoured he was given a poisoned
sweet drink by his son's mother, Mariyam Kabaafaan,
on Wednesday morning. By Thursday night he was dead.
Iskandar had reigned for 39 years, 6 months and ten
days. The day he died, his son Mohamed was made king.
coral stone carving, Friday mosque Malé Maldives