Maldives Minicoy Mahl Dhivehi
 


History of Maldives - Tareek
 
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From Ali to Iskandar, 1558 - 1687
National Centre of Linguistics and Historical Research
Malé, MaldivesFirst printing 1981, second printing 1993
translated by Maldives Culture editors with assistance from Majid Abdul-Wahhab

29 September 2005

The death of King Ali
  maldives thaana thana tana script from the early 1900s
Page one of the Thareekh


In 1558, 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 infidel Europeans.

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.

Andiri-Andirin 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.

 
Francois 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 his origins:
'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 island.'

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 in Goa.'

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 Andreas Andre).

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.'


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.

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 rulers

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.

Mohamed 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 recapture Maldives.

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.

Mohamed Takurufan attacks Malé with help from Ali Raja, 1573
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 in darkness.

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.

The 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 this hadith:
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.

Sheikh Mohamed Jamaludeen
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 island.

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.

The 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 months.

The 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 1609.

King Hussein II
 
'It 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.'

Bell, Monograph.

After 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.

Black 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 up.

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.

The revolt of Samiya at Maafilaafushi island on Lhaviyani atoll
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.

Sultan 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 wrestling.

 
'The 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 serviceable.'

Thomas Bowrey, A Geographical Account of the Countries Round the Bay of Bengal, 1669 to 1679.


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.

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.

Iskandar stops tribute payments to Goa and Ali Raja
 
Although 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 of Council')

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.'

Bell, Monograph
From 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 to return.

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.

interior wood carving friday mosque maldives
Interior 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'.

minaret with friday mosque in background, maldives

Minaret, Malé

Ibrahim 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 Kaleyfan died.

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.

Iskandar 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.

Sayyid 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 Taha.

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.

  silver chains and charm containers
Silver waist chain and charm containers
Source: Adrian Neville, 'Malé - Capital of Maldives' 1995


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 silver chains.

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 Kilegefan.

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.

Death 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.


exterior coral stone carving, friday mosque, maldives
Exterior coral stone carving, Friday mosque Malé Maldives




 
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