ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN MALDIVES
Republic of Maldives
National name: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Total area: 116 sq mi (300 sq km)
Population (2007 est.): 369,031
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Malé, 81,600
Monetary unit: Rufiya
Languages: Maldivian Dhivehi (official); English spoken by most government officials
Ethnicity/race: South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
Religion: Islam (Sunni)
Literacy rate: 97% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007est.): $1.588 billion; per capita $4,600. Real growth rate: 6.6%. Inflation: 5%.
The Republic of Maldives is a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean about 417 mi (671 km) southwest of Sri Lanka. Its 1,190 coral islets stretch over an area of 35,200 sq mi (90,000 sq km). With concerns over global warming and the shrinking of the polar ice caps, the Maldives is directly threatened, as none of its islands rises more than six feet above sea level.
The Maldives (formerly called the Maldive Islands) were first settled in the 5th century B.C. by Buddhist seafarers from India and Sri Lanka. According to tradition, Islam was adopted in A.D. 1153. Originally the islands were under the suzerainty of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). They came under British protection in 1887 and were a dependency of then-colony Ceylon until 1948. An independence agreement with Britain was signed July 26, 1965. For centuries a sultanate, the islands adopted a republican form of government in 1952, but the sultanate was restored in 1954. In 1968, however, as the result of a referendum, a republic was again established in the recently independent country.
Islamic History and Muslims
Islam was introduced in 1153 by travellers. The king converted to Islam and told his subjects to do the same; the country had been Buddhist for hundreds of years prior to that. Islam is the state religion of Maldives, and adherence to it is legally required of citizens by a revision of the constitution in 2008: Article 9, Section D states that "a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives." With the exception of Shi'a members of the Indian trading community, Maldivians are Sunni Muslims.
Islam is important in Maldives. The traditional Islamic law code
of sharia, known in Dhivehi as sariatu, forms the basic law code of Maldives as
interpreted to conform to local Maldivian conditions by the president, the
attorney general, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Majlis. On the inhabited
islands, the miski, or mosque, forms the central place where Islam is practiced.
Because Friday is the most important day for Muslims to attend mosque, shops and
offices in towns and villages close around 11 a.m., and the sermon begins by
12:30 p.m. Most inhabited islands have several mosques; Malé has more than
thirty. Most mosques are whitewashed buildings constructed of coral stone with
corrugated iron or thatched roofs. In Malé, the Islamic Center and the Grand
Friday Mosque, built in 1984 with funding from the Persian Gulf states,
Pakistan, Brunei, and Malaysia, are imposing elegant structures. The
gold-colored dome of this mosque is the first structure sighted when approaching
Malé. In mid-1991 Maldives had a total of 724 mosques and 266 women's mosques.
Islamic Centers and Organizations
masjidul Noor, Male, Henveiru
Muslim Owned Business