ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN SRI LANKA

      

General Information

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Land area: 24,996 sq mi (64,740 sq km); total area: 25,332 sq mi (65,610 sq km)

Population (2007 est.): 20,926,315

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Colombo, 2,436,000 (metro. area), 656,100 (city proper). Legislative and judicial capital: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, 118,300

Other large cities: Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia 214,300; Moratuwa, 181,000; Kandy, 112,400

Monetary unit: Sri Lanka rupee

Languages: Sinhala 74% (official and national), Tamil 18% (national), other 8%; English is commonly used in government and spoken competently by about 10%

Ethnicity/race: Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001)

Religions: Buddhist 70%, Islam 8%, Hindu 7%, Christian 6% (2001)

Literacy rate: 92% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $81.29 billion; per capita $4,100. Real growth rate: 6.3%. Inflation: 19.7%.

An island in the Indian Ocean off the southeast tip of India, Sri Lanka is about half the size of Alabama. Most of the land is flat and rolling; mountains in the south-central region rise to over 8,000 ft (2,438 m).

Indo-Aryan emigration from India in the 5th century B.C. came to form the largest ethnic group on Sri Lanka today, the Sinhalese. Tamils, the second-largest ethnic group on the island, were originally from the Tamil region of India and emigrated between the 3rd century B.C. and A.D. 1200. Until colonial powers controlled Ceylon (the country's name until 1972), Sinhalese and Tamil rulers fought for dominance over the island. The Tamils, primarily Hindus, claimed the northern section of the island and the Sinhalese, who are predominantly Buddhist, controlled the south. In 1505 the Portuguese took possession of Ceylon until the Dutch India Company usurped control (16581796). The British took over in 1796, and Ceylon became an English Crown colony in 1802. The British developed coffee, tea, and rubber plantations. On Feb. 4, 1948, after pressure from Ceylonese nationalist leaders (which briefly unified the Tamil and Sinhalese), Ceylon became a self-governing dominion of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Islamic History and Muslims

Islam in Sri Lanka is practised by a group of minorities who make up approximately 10% of the population. The Muslim community is divided into three main ethnic groups: the Sri Lankan Moors, the Indian Moors, and the Malays, each with its own history and traditions. The attitude among the majority of non-Muslims in Sri Lanka is to use the term '"Muslim" as an ethnic group, specifically when referring to Sri Lankan Moors.

With the arrival of Arab traders in the 8th century, Islam began to flourish in Sri Lanka. The first people to profess the Islamic faith were Arab merchants and their native wives, whom they married after converting to Islam. By the 15th century, Arab traders had controlled much of the trade on the Indian Ocean, including that of Sri Lanka's. Many of them settled down on the island, encouraging the spread of Islam. However, when the Portuguese arrived during the 16th century, many of their Muslim descendants (Sri Lankan Moors) were persecuted, thus forcing them to migrate to the Central Highlands and to the east coast of the country.

During 18th and 19th centuries, Javanese and Malaysian Muslims bought over by the Dutch and British rulers contributed to the growing Muslim population in Sri Lanka. Their descendants, now the Sri Lankan Malays, adapted several Sri Lankan Moor Islamic traditions while also contributing their unique cultural Islamic practices to other Muslim groups on the Island.

The arrival of Muslims from India during the 19th and 20th centuries has also contributed to the growth of Islam in Sri Lanka. Most notably, Pakistani and Indian Muslims have introduced Shia Islam and the Hanafi school of thought into Sri Lanka, however although most Muslims on the island still adhere to the traditional practices of Sunni Islam.

In modern times, Muslims in Sri Lanka are handled by the Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Department, which was established in the 1980s to prevent the continual isolation of the Muslim community from the rest of Sri Lanka. Today, about 8% of Sri Lankans adhere to Islam; mostly from the Arab-descendant Moor and Malay ethnic communities on the island.

Sri Lankan Moors

The Sri Lankan Moors make up almost 95% of the Muslim population and 7.2% of the total population of the country. They are predominantly Sunni Muslims of Shafi School. The Moors trace their ancestry to Arab traders who settled in Sri Lanka some time between the eighth and fifteenth centuries. The Arabic language brought by the early merchants is no longer spoken, though various Arabic words and phrases are still employed in daily usage. Until the recent past, the Moors employed Arwi as their mother tongue, though this is also extinct as a spoken language. Currently, the Moors of Sri Lanka use Tamil as their primary language which includes many loan words from Arabic. Moors are also fluent in Sinhala, an Indo-European language spoken by the Sinhalese majority in Sri Lanka. Thus, the Moors are a multilingual ethnic and religious group, lacking linguistic cohesion.

The Sri Lankan Moors lived primarily in coastal trading and agricultural communities, preserving their Islamic cultural heritage while adopting many Southern Asian customs. During the period of Portuguese colonisation, the Moors suffered from persecution, and many moved to the Central Highlands, where their descendants remain.

East coast Moors

On the east coast, Sri Lankan Moors are primarily farmers, fishermen, and traders. Their family lines are traced through women, as in kinship systems of the southwest Indian state of Kerala, but they govern themselves through Islamic law.

The Malays

The Malays of Sri Lanka originated in Southeast Asia and today consist of about 50,000 persons. Their ancestors came to the country when both Sri Lanka and Indonesia were colonies of the Dutch. Most of the early Malay immigrants were soldiers, posted by the Dutch colonial administration to Sri Lanka, who decided to settle on the island. Other immigrants were convicts or members of noble houses from Indonesia who were exiled to Sri Lanka and who never left. The main source of a continuing Malay identity is their common Malay language (Bahasa Melayu), which includes numerous words absorbed from Sinhalese and the Moorish variant of the Tamil language. In the 1980s, the Malays made up about 5 % of the Muslim population in Sri Lanka and, like the Moors, predominantly follow the Shafi school of thought within Sunni Islam.


Indian Muslims (Memons, Bhoras, Khojas)

The Indian Moors are Muslims who trace their origins to immigrants searching for business opportunities during the colonial period. Some of these people came to the country as far back as Portuguese times; others arrived during the British period from various parts of India. Majority of them came from Tamil Nadu and Kerala states, and unlike the Sri Lankan Moors, are ethnically related to South Indians. The Memon, originally from Sindh (in modern Pakistan), first arrived in 1870; in the 1980s they numbered only about 3,000, they mostly follow the Hanafi Sunni school of Islam.

The Dawoodi Bohras and the Khoja are Shi'a Muslims came from northwestern India (Gujarat state) after 1880; in the 1980s they collectively numbered fewer than 2,000. These groups tended to retain their own places of worship and the languages of their ancestral homelands.

The Jami Ul Alfar mosque in pettah area one of the oldest mosques in Colombo

Mosque in Galle, Sri Lanka

Colombo 7 Mosque

Red mosque

 

Sri Lankan mosque (Colombo)


A mosque in Colombo 3.
 

The Kechimalai Mosque Is the oldest Mosque in Sri Lanka. It is believed the site of the mosque is where the first Muslims landed in Sri Lanka. Beruwala had the first Muslim community in Sri Lanka, recorded in 1024 AD.
 


A Muslim mosque at Kandewatte, Galle Built,1850
 


  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Al Masjidul Jamiul Asna, Akurana
Phone: +94-(0)81-2300200

Almanar central college, Galhinna, Central
Phone: 0094-662240002

Bambalapitiya Jumma mosque, Bambalapitiya, Colombo
Phone: 2589031

Alasnamosque, Akurana


AKURANA GRAND MOSQUE, Kandy District, KANDY
Phone: 081-2301475

ALL CEYLON YOUNG MEN'S MUSLIM ASSOCIATION, Colombo
Phone: 0094-1-694075

Annoor Arabic college, Kurunegala, North Western Province
Phone: 0094372247895

ALL-SRI LANKA MUSLIM LEAGUE, Colombo
Phone: 0094-1-433439

Amana Takaful Limited Kandy Branch, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Phone: 0815740446,776035074

Al-Hidaayah Salafi Centre, Colombo
Phone: 94-1-500896
noor jummah mosque, Ulapane
  Abukkagama jumma mosgue, Kurunegala District
  Akbar masjid-slave island, Colombo
  Akbar Town Jumma Mosque, Colombo District
  Akkaraipattu Kathiriya Jummah Mosque, Akkaraipattu
  AKURANA ASNA CENTRAL MOSQUE, Kandy
  AKURANA GRAND MOSQUE, Kandy District
  Akurana Thowheed Jamaath, Akurana
  AL Irsad Jumma Mosqe, Kalapitiya
  Al Masjidul Bukhary (Thaika), Colombo
  Al Masjidul Falah, Akurana
  Al Masjidul Jamiul Asna, Akurana
  Al Masjidussubhani Jumma Mosque, Kaleliya
  Al Muhammadhia Jummah Mosque, Hemmatagama
  Al-Jamiyathul Fakhira Jumma Masjid Mount Lavinia, Colombo
  Al-Masjid-Un-Najmi - Keselwaththa, Colombo
  Al-Masjidan Noor, Tissamaharama
  Alankuda Grand Jumma Mosque, Kalpitiya
  Alasnamosque, Akurana
  ALL CEYLON YOUNG MEN'S MUSLIM ASSOCIATION, Colombo
  ARRAHMA JUMA MASJID , Warakapola
  Badur Jummah Mosque, Akkaraipattu
  Bakinigahawela muhideen gumma mosque, Monaragala District
  Balapitiya Jumma Mosques, Balapitiya
  Centre For Islamic Guidance Inc., Kattankudi
  Centre for Islamic Guidance Inc., KATTANKUDY 30100
  China Fort Jumma Mosque, Beruwala
  Colombo Grand Mosque Inc., Colombo
  Dar as-Salaf Islamic Educational & Research Institute, Colombo
  Dehiwela Jumma Masjid, Colombo
  Gate Mosque, Gampola
  Gongawela Jumma Mosque, Matale Town
  GONGAWELA JUMMA MOSQUE, Matale
  Grand Jummah Mosque, Akkaraipattu
  Grand Mosque, Addalachenai
  Grand Mosque, Akurana
  Hannafi Masjid Matale, Matale Town
  ISLAMIC center, Colombo
  Islamic center for the physically handicaped, Tihariya
  ISLAMIC CENTRE, Colombo
  Jamiul Akbar Jummah Mosque, Eravur
  Jamiul Hairath Jumma Mosque, Kandy
  Jamiuth Thawheed (Jummah Mosque), Kattankudi
  Jamiuth Thawheed Jumma Mosque, Thihariya
  JAWATTA JUMMA MOSQUE, Colombo
  Jumma Mosque Of Tennekumbura, Tennekumbura
  JUMMA MOSQUE,Galhinna., Galhinna
  Jummah Mosque, Nintavur
  Jummah mosque Gurutalawa, Gurutalawa
 
KAHATAPITIYA JUMMAH MOSQUE, Gampola

Kalandar Sahib Jummah Mosque, Colombo
  Kalmunai Grand Mosque, Kalmunai
  KANDY GRAND MOSQUE (MARKUS), Kandy
  KAPUWATTA MUHIYADDEEN JUMMA MOSQUE, Weligama
  KIRULAPONE JUMMA MOSQUE COLOMBO 06, Colombo
  Kollupitiya Jumma Mosque, Colpetty
  Kolonnawa Jumma Mosque, Colombo
  Kulafa-ur-rashideen Mosque, Kattankudi
  Maligawatte Jumma Mosque, Colombo
  MASGIDUN NOOR JUMMA MOSQUE, Hapugastalawa
  Masjid Al Abrar, Beruwala
  Masjid Al Bakah, Puttalam
  Masjid al Huda, Colombo
  Masjid al-Falah Jumma Mosque, Weligama
  Masjid Al-Huda, Mawanella Town
  Masjid ul Badur, Moratuwa
  Masjid-ul-Ihzan, Akkaraipattu
  MASJIDHUL DHAARUS -SALAAM, Kattankudi
  MASJIDUL AKBAR, Slave Island
  Masjidul Akbar, Kandy
  Masjidul Dheeniya Owaththa Hingula, Mawanella
  MASJIDUL FALAH, Hapugastalawa
  Masjidul falah jummah mosque, Kandy
  Masjidul Firdaus, Rosevilla
  Masjidul Fouzan, Mawanella
  Masjidul Hakam-, Mawanella
  Masjidul Huda jumma mosque, Mawanella
  Masjidul Huda Jummah Mosque, Geli Oya
  Masjidul Iman, Kattankudi
  Masjidul Jabal, Matale Town
  Masjidul Jamiah (Java Lane) Mosque, Colombo
  Masjidul Janna Jumma Mosque, Mawanella Town
  Masjidul Jennah, Mawanella
  Masjidul Khairath Jumma Mosque, Kandy
  Masjidul Minan, Dematagoda, Colombo
  Masjidul Muneer, Colombo
  MASJIDUL NOOR, Kattankudi
  MASJIDUN BATHR(HIJRA JUMMA MOSQUE), Sammanthurai
  Masjidun Noor, Kandy
  masjidun noor jumha mosque, Matale District
  MASJIDUN NOOR JUMMA MASJID, Mawanella
  MASJIDUN NOOR KIRINGADENIYA MAWANELLA SRI LANKA, Mawanella Town
  Masjidus Salam, Colombo
  Mattegoda Jumma Masjid, Colombo
  Mellapottha Jumma Mosqe, Kurunegala District
  Memon Masjid, Colombo
  Miella Jumma Mosque, Matara
  Miella Jumma Mosque, Miella
  Minuwangete Jummah Mosque, Colombo
 
Mohideen Jumma Mosque(Markaz), Dehiwala

Mohideen Jummah Grand Mosque, Kattankudi
  Mohideen Meththai Jumma Grand Mosque, Colombo
  Moulam Makam Mosque, Puttalam
  Muhideen Jummah Masjid, Colombo
  MUHIYIDDEEN JUMMA MASJID, Gintota
  Muslim Masjed, Pottuvil
  Mutwal jumma mosque, Colombo
  Nambuluwa Jumma Mosque, Nambuluwa
  Nawala Jumma Mosque, Nawala
  Nelundeniya Jumma Masjid, Nelundeniya
  pasarichenai jumma mosque., Pottuvil
  Pata Palliya Masjid, Panadura
  Poruthota Jumma Masjid, Poruthota, Negombo
  Pubbogama Masjid, Pubbogama
  Sabaragamuwa Muslim Majlis, Balangoda
  Sainthamaruthu Jum'aa Grand Mosque, Saintamaruthu
  Thahiyathul Hithaya Mosque Nintavur-8, Nintavur
  The Islamic Centre, Kapuranella Wewa
  Thunduwa Jummah Mosque, Galle
  Tihariya Jummah Mosque, Tihariya
  Town jumma mosque, Matale
  Town Jumma Mosque, Matale Town
  Town Jummah Mosque, Akkaraipattu
  Wattalpola Masjid, Panadura
 
Wellawatte Jumma Mosque, Colombo

  AA-AMAM FOUNDATION, Galle
  ABDUL AZIZ EDUCATION AND MEDICAL CENTER, Weuda
  Al Kafaala Foundation, Colombo
  AL-FURQAN YOUTH ASSOCIATION (AL-FYA), Colombo
  Al-Hidaayah Salafi Centre, Colombo
  AL-HIKMA ISLAMIC NURSARY, Sammanthurai
  Al-Huda Youth United Development Association, Rambukkana
  Alankuda Government Muslim Maha Viddiyalaya Old Boys Assosiation, Kalpitiya
  ALL-SRI LANKA MUSLIM LEAGUE, Colombo
  Amana Investments Ltd, Colombo
  Asian Federation of Muslim Youth, Colombo
  ASSO. OF AMRU BILMAROOF WANNAHE ANELMUNKIR, Colombo
  Association of Muslim Youth of Sailan, Colombo
  Assosition of Human Amity and Development (AHAD), Akurana
  BADUR ISLAMIC ASSOCIATION, Weligama
  BAITHUL HIKMA ISLAMIC STUDENTS' ORGANISATION, Colombo
  Baithuz Zakath Akurana , Akurana
  Bambalapitiya Jumma mosque, Bambalapitiya
  Bandarawela Jumma Mosque, Bandarawela
  Bibliomania Educational Books for the Nation Foundation, Colombo
  CENTRE FOR ISLAMIC STUDIES- COLOMBO, Colombo
  CEYLON MUSLIM SCHOLARSHIP FUND, Colombo
  Colombo-Al Jama;A, Colombo
  Community Welfare Organization, Nintavur
  deeniyah islamic society, Colombo
  Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs, Colombo
  EAST CEYLON ISLAMIC PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED WELFARE ORGANIZATION, Kattankudy
  ESDOEVR- Education Social Development Organization Eravur, Eravur
  GALLE MUSLIM CULTURAL ASSOCIATION, Galle
  HAI-ATHUL MUHSINEEN, Sammanthurai
  Hira Information Centre, Colombo
  IHSAN-for humanitarian and social aid-Nintavur, Nintavur
  Ihyauththurazil Islami, Pottuvil
  ILENTHALIR WELFARE ASSEMBLY, Kattankudi
  Institution for Social Assessment, Kattankudi
  International Islamic Youth Front, Colombo
  Iqra Islamic Circle, Kandy District
  Islamia home for needy and orphan children, Colombo
  ISLAMIC AWAKENING SOCIETY, Kandy
  Islamic Relief - Sri Lanka, Colombo
  ISLAMIC RELIEF COMMITTEE, Puttalam
  ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS EDUCATION MISSION, Polonnaruwa
  Islamic Welfare Association (IWA) 44, Sri Dharmarama Road,Kalutara South, Kalutara South
  Islamic welfare organization, Hingula
  ISLAMIC WELFARE SOCIETY, Puttalam
  Jameathu Ansaris Sunnathil Mohammadiyya, Paragahadeniya
  Jamiyya, Uyanwatta
  Jammiyathuth tharbiyathul islamiya, Colombo
  Janaza Welfare Association Kiringadeniya Mawanella Srilanka, Mawanella
  jewellanka, Ruwanwella
 

  Addalaichenai Central College, Addalachenai
  Al Hasaniyya Arabic College, Tihariya
  Al Hasaniyya Arabic College, Thihariya
  Al Muneera Girls High School, Addalachenai
  Al-Ashraq National College, Nintavur
  Al-Hakeemiyyah Arabic College, Uda Talawinna
  AL-HUDHA MODEL SCHOOL- INTERNATIONAL, Kandy
  Almanar central college, Galhinna
  Almarjan Muslim Ladies College, Sammanthurai
  An-noor-national college valaichchenai, Valaichchenai
  Annoor Arabic college, Kurunegala
  Annuha Ahadiyyah School, Akkaraipattu, Akkaraipattu
  Ayesha Siddeeqa Educational Institute, Kandy
  Azhar College, Kandy
  BABUSSALAM MUSLIM VIDYALA, Nambuluwa
  BADURIYA CENTER COLLEGE, Mawanella Town
  Bareerah muslim ladies arabic colloge, Akurana
  Colombo Ahadiyya School, Colombo
  Danagama Muslim Vidyalaya, Mawanella Town
  Darul Illm, Bammanna
  DARUL QURAN AL-KAREEM, Colombo
  Deltota Mahfalul Ulama Arabic College, Kandy District
  Dharul Uloom Al Hashimiyya Arabic College, Nawalapitiya
  Dharuth Thowheed Assalafiyya Institute, Paragahadeniya
  Dheeniya Islamic Madrasa, Panadura
  East Ceylon Arabic College, Addalachenai
  Gampaha District Ahadhiyyah School Federation (Head Office), Thihariya
  GHAFFOORIYA ARABIC COLLEGE-MAHARAGAMA, Colombo
  GMMS, Saintamaruthu
  HAMEED AL HUSSEINIE COLLEGE, Colombo
  Haziful Uloom Arabic college, Nintavur
  Islamic Research Organisation, Colombo
  Jamathul faththtah arabic coollere, Kandy District
  Jamiul Azhar Muslim Central College, Kandy
  K/Meera Central College, Uguressapitiya
  Kalmunai Zahira College, Kalmunai
  KATUGODA AL-AHADIYYA SCHOOL, Galle
  Kekunagolla national school, Narammala
  khairiya muslim girls school, Colombo
  kulliyatulmafilululama lddrasatilislamiya walarabiyah wathecnolojyyah -deltota srilanka, Kandy
  Madarasathul Ayesha,Enderamulla Wattala, Colombo
  Madarasthul Barri Arabic College, Weligama
  MADINA NATIONAL SCHOOL MADAWALA BAZAAR, Kandy
  Madrasathul falah, Colombo
  Madrasathur Rawahiyah, Dehianga, Kandy
  Madrassa Ain, Colombo
  MEEZANIYYA ARABIC COLLEGE, Kandy
  MT/Kuriwela Hameediya College, Matale
  National College of Education, Addalachenai
 
Osmaniya college Jaffna, Jaffna

   Muslim Owned Business

A..J.M.Afzal, Negombo
  A.C.M.HARDWARE & TRADERS, Ukuwela
  Abul Traders, Akkaraipattu
  AL-AQSA TRAVELS &TOURS, Colombo
  Al-Haya Abayas, Colombo
  AlHudha Publications, Batticaloa District
  ALMAS ARABIAN COLLECTIONS, Colombo
  Amalgamated International (Pvt)Ltd, Colombo
  Amana Takaful Limited, Colombo
  Amana Takaful Limited Kandy Branch, Kandy
  AZKA MARKETING SERVICES, KATTANKUDY
  AZKA MARKETING SERVICES, Colombo
  BERLUX PAINTS ( PVT) LTD, Colombo
  Book Centre, Weligama
  BURAQUE TRAVELS, Colombo
  C.S.P. INDUSTRIES PANADURA, Moratuwa
  CITY CYCLE INDUSTRIES, Colombo
  COMNET TECHNOLOGIES, Balangoda
  Computer Systems International (Pvt) Ltd, Colombo
  DARLING and Company, Colombo
  E@stech, Akkaraipattu
  EDULINK INTERNATIONAL, Colombo
  Expolanka Teas (Pvt) Limited, Colombo
  FANCY MAHAL, Colombo
  Farhaths Mehndi, Colombo
  FASHION BUG (PVT) LTD, Colombo
  FMJ PLASTICS (PVT) LTD, Panadura
  Gani Stores - Puttalam, Kalpitiya
  GIFT CENTER, Nawalapitiya
  Hamed Electronics, Matale Town
  iComputer, Colombo
  Ismail Gems and Jewells Pvt Ltd, Colombo
  Ismails Cornhill Bakers and Restaurant, Kandy
  JAINUDEEN & CO (PVT) LTD., Colombo
  Jainulabdeen&son's, Matale
  Jewel Collection, Colombo
  Jubilee Agencies, Colombo
  KAMIL TRADING COMPANY, Colombo
  KANDY BUILDERS AND INTERIORS, Kandy
  KANDY BUILDERS AND INTERIORS, Colombo
  M.R.MOTORS (USED AND BRAND NEW JAPANESE SPARE PARTS, Colombo
  MADEENA TRADERS, Akkaraipattu
  MAN & MACHINE, Colombo
  MATSUI TRAVELS PVT LTD, Kandy
  Modest Apparel, Colombo
  Muhiyadeen Industries, Colombo
  NABEESA GROUP OF COMPANIES, Kandy
  NAM TIMBER (PVT) LTD, Colombo
  NAM Trading Co., (Pvt) Ltd., Colombo
 
New Hikma Book Shop, communication, & Abaya Center, Weligama

References
Islam in Sri_Lanka ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Sri_Lanka  , September, 2008).
Info please ( http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107992.html ,  September, 2008).
Islam Finder ( http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=sri_lanka   , September, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Sri_Lanka, September 2008.