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Marikar Haji

Yusuf Lebbe Idroos Lebbe Marikar Hajiar

Yusuf Lebbe Idroos Lebbe Marikar Hajiar was General Merchant and Landed Proprietor. He was the Trustee of the Grand Mosque and had donated a valuable property in Pettah for the Mosque.

His male ascendants in reverse chronological order are:- Yusuf Lebbe (Jemmi) - Uduma Lebbe - Idroos Lebbe (Batiar) - Ismail Lebbe.

His ancestors migrated to Colombo from Weligama. He had four sons and one daughter as follows:- Idroos Lebbe Marikar Haji - Muhammad Lebbe Marikar Haji - Sinne Lebbe Marikar Haji - Marikar Haji - and Mrs. Wappu Marikar Haji.

Idroos Lebbe Marikar Haji had two sons and a daughter by his first marriage to Fathumuthu Natchia. They were, Noordeen Hajiar (Saapu Wappa), Mohideen Hajiar and Zulaikha. He also had four sons and two daughters by his second marriage to S.M. Assena Natchia. They were, Sulaima Lebbe Haji, YYusuf, Abdul Rahman, Abdul Hameed, Amsa and Safia.

I.L.M. Noordeen Hajiar succeeded his father Idroos Lebbe Marikar as Trustee of the Grand Mosque in 1900 and donated properties in Hultsdorf for the upkeep of the Mosque. he built the Hameedia School building, within the grounds of the Colombo Grand Mosque, at his own personal cost and named it after Sultan Hameed of Turkey. He took an active part in public life and was a member of the Fez Committee.

During the early stages of the first Great War (WW-I), 1914-1918, he would, with the aid of a wall map of Europe and Asia hung in his office room at "Muirburn", Turret Road, Colombo 3, where he lived with his son-in-law, S.L.Naina Marikar Hajiar, intensely follow the the fortunes of Turkey in the battle field.

Noordeen Hajiar had some knowledge of Unani medicine and would practice it on his family. There was a favourite decoction of his made from shoe flowers which was frequently given to the children.

He was stern disciplinarian who drilled in religion to his children and grand-children who invariably attained high proficiency in the recital of the Quran.

His eldest son, H.N.H. Jalaludeen Hajiar was one of the few Ceylon Moors who qualified as a Hafiz, at that time, and also accompanied his father on piligrimage to Makkah and at the Masjid-un-Nabaviya in Madinah where he had the rare privilege of reciting from memory, at a single stretch, the full thirty chapters of the Holy Quran. Jaludeen Hajiar was a bosom pal of Haji Muhammad Macan Markar Effendi and inspite of his illness worked actively and whole-heartedly in 1924 for the election of his friend as first member for the all-Island seat in the Legislative Council. His sons are Thahir, Maruzook, Mohideen and YYusuf and his daughters are Noorul Hidaya, Sithy Fathuma, and Ummul Khair.

The eldest daughter of Noordeen Hajiar - Zohara Umma - married S.L.Naina-Marikar Hajiar while the youngest daughter - Ummu Nafeesa - married N.D.H. Abdul Caffoor Hajiar and the intervening daughter - Ummu Su’ooda - married I.L.M. Abdul Cader. His youngest son, Mohideen married Haseena Umma, daughter of P.T. Meera Lebbe.

Noordeen Hajiar seemed to have known the exact moment of his death. He took his ablutions meant for prayer (Wudhu), prayed two rakaats and the laid himself to rest on his bed in the direction of the Ka’aba. He brought his arms across his waist in the position of prayer (Thakbir) while reciting "Allahu Akbar" before breathing his last.

I.L.M.H. Mohideen Hajiar was a full brother of Noordeen Hajiar. He was a crockery merchant, equally philanthrophic and pious. He was also the Trustee of the Colombo Grand Mosque. He married Safiya Umma - granddaughter of Sekadi Marikar Cassie Lebbe Marikar (Mudaliyar). He had five sons, Gheyas Mohideen, Ghouse Mohideen (also Trustee of Grand Mosque), Zahir, Lahir, Abdul Hai, and Idroos, His daughters were, Faleela (mother of Ummu Jamala), Jameela (mother of M.I.A.Azeez - Engineer, Electrical Department and A.A.M. Thowfeek), Juwaila and Hafila.

Their sister, Zulaikha, who married S.L. Abdul Rahman, had five sons and three daughters, one of whom was Ummu Suroora, mother of Ahmed Salih Abul Mawahib.

Muhammad Lebbe Marikar Zainudeen Hajiar, MMC

Muhammad Lebbe Marikar Zainudeen, MMC, was the son of Idroos Lebbe Muhammad Lebbe Marikar, a leading merchant in the Pettah. He resided in a house in Grandpass and received his English education at Wesley College, Colombo. He, together with his brother Ismail, joined their father’s business of Commission Agency and General Merchants. They had their showrooms at Hameediah Buildings, Main Street, Pettah, in the year 1880.

In 1883, Zainudeen, under the leadership of Sahib Doray Ismail Lebbe Marikar Alim, later known as Haji Ismail Effendi, together with a few other Muslims, visited several Muslim countries. It is said that they carried a petition to the Khedive (Viceroy) of Egypt from the Egyptian exiles in Ceylon, namely Arabi Pasha and his colleagues.

Zainudeen and group travelled extensively in Egypt and proceeded to Constantinople (Istanbul) before arriving in Makkah to perform the piligrimage of Hajj. On returning to Ceylon, Zainudeen exported large consignments of Ceylon produce, viz hides, cocoa, corn, fibre, oil, coconuts etc. to those frims with whom he had made arrangements with during his stay in Africa and Europe.

Zainudeen was elected a member of the Pettah Ward in the Colombo Municipal Council in 1900.

The following account of the election appeared in the "Crescent" of Liverpool dated October 10, 1900:-

"The election of a councillor for the Pettah Ward took place on Saturday, the 24th August last, at the Town Hall. At first there were two candidates in the field - Mr. Zainudeen and Mr. John Clovis de Silva, but the latter withdrew his candidature a few days previous. The election took place at 8 a.m. the appointed hour. Mr. Herbert White, acting Mayor and Chairman, presided, and there were besides, a few Muslim and Sinhalese householders of the ward present.

The proceedings commenced by Mr. C.B. Brodie, the well-known Fort merchant, formally proposing the name of Mr. M.L.M. Zainudeen as a fit and proper person for election as member to the Pettah Ward. Mr. I.L.M. Ismail Marikar seconded, whereupon Mr. C.P. Dias, MMC handed in 850 proxies in favour of the nominee. The Chairman examined the lists, and declared Mr. Zainudeen duly elected councillor for the Pettah Ward. Mr. Zainudeen briefly returned thanks, and in turn proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman, the latter acknowledging the compliment briefly. Mr. Zainudeen was "At Home" to his friends and well-wishers during the whole of Saturday, when a large number of people called and congratulated him on his election. Among them were members of the Council".

The Muslims of Ceylon, along with the Muslims of the World, celebrated Sultan Abdul Hameed Khan’s Silver Jubilee with grand illuminations and decorations of the Mosques and houses on the day previous to the election of Zainudeen to the Council.

The Muhammadan community in the vicinity of Zainudeen’s residence repeated the decorations and illuminations on his election.

Zainudeen was subsequently re-elected for the Pettah Ward and served as such till 1907. An account of his life appears in the "Twentieth Century" impressions of Ceylon edited by Arnold Wright and published in 1907 by Lloyds Great Britain Publishing Company Limited.

He was the paternal grandfather of Mrs. M.M.I. Kariappar.

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 YYusuf and three daughters, Nafia Mohideen, Ameena Mohideen and Ummu Thahira Naina-Marikar