The Moors’ Islamic Cultural Home was inaugurated in 1944 by some leading, dedicated, service oriented Muslims who decided to form an association to promote educational, social and cultural activities. The Muslims of Ceylon needed an institution to deal with religious matters, education, economic and the social aspects of the Moor community.
Home was duly incorporated by an Act of Parliament No.44 .on
With this goal, the MICH set out to become the premier service organization to help the Muslims of this country and amongst other objectives they undertook the study of the history, customs, traditions and habits of Ceylon Moors and the promotion of Islamic Culture and Religion. The M.I.C.H has been a focal point of religious, intellectual, social, educational and cultural activities. The contribution made in all these fields has been of immense value to the Sri Lankan community.
The inaugural meeting of the Home was held on 2nd August 1944 at No.5 Second Cross Street Colombo11. At this meeting Sir Razik Fareed a highly respected leader of the Muslim community of that time was elected as President of the MICH The other Office Bearers elected as Vice Presidents were Mesers.M.H.M.Sulaiman, A.R.M.Ameen , M.B.Mohamed, W.M.Abdul Jabbar, Y.M.Naina Marikar, W.M.Hassim, A.M.Hamid, A.M.M.Haji AbdulCader, M.S.Marikar Bawa, M.H.M.Shamsudeen, A.R.M.Mukthar, M.Falil Cafoor, A.H.M.Ismail, N.M.M.Haniffa, Dr.M.C.M.Kaleel and, Dr.S.M.Jabir The Hony. Secretaries were M/s.A.H.Macan Markar, A.I.L.Marikar & A.L.M.Lafir. The Hony. Treasurers were M/s.A.H.Macan Markar & M.L.M.Ghouse. At this meeting a draft constitution was discussed and adopted.
A Bill for incorporation of the M.I.C.H was moved in the State Council by Mr.A.R.A Razik(Sir Razik Fareed) and seconded by Honourable George E.de Silva.
In moving the first reading of the Bill,Sir Razik Fareed mentioned in Parliament that the “Moors in Sri Lanka have sufferred in the matter of religion, and economically, educationally and socially too by want of an institution of this nature, an institution similar to those of other communities here which they established for themselves years ago. This institution sets out to achieve the great objects enumerated in the bill. It is an institution founded on the model of the Jemiyathul Subhanul Muslimeen of Egypt, and of other great centres of Islamic thought and culture. The object in view is to provide a cultural centre worthy of Islam.
The other founding members were Messers W.M.Hashim, A. H. Macan Markar, A.I.L.Marikar, and A.L.M Lafir.
Ordinance of incorporation set out the objects of the Home as
study and promotion of Islamic culture and religion.
research and study the history, customs, traditions and habits
of the Ceylon Moors.
promote a spirit of fellowship among the members and the inculcation
in them of the principles of service to the
community and the country.
promotion of the cultural, moral, social and economic welfare
of the island.
provision of facilities for recreation.
establishment and maintenance of a hostel for students, a guest
house for visitors and a restaurant for the
convenience of its members and other persons approved by the
Board of Trustees.
construction and maintenance of a suite of rooms which are to
be let for weddings and other social functions.
Home guided by these objectives has carried out a number of
for the welfare of the Muslim community.
In 1946 the MICH shifted its headquarters to” Pasha Villa “in Dematagoda Road, Colombo 9.
The Institution was incorporated by an Ordinance in the Parliament of Ceylon to house itself in the same year by Sir Razik Fareed. At present the Dematagoda premises has 2 large 3 storied structures where the main service oriented projects are conducted. In this building there is a hostel for senior students who are following University, Tertiary and Secondary education.
students’ Library and Reading Room is available for school
study hall for the benefit of the children in the area.
Montessori School for poor children living in the area.
Making classes are held for girls.
In 1948 an allotment of land for a suitable site in Fort was sought from Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, then leader of the Senate by the President of the Home Sir Razik Fareed. After some years of struggle, this site was released in March 1961.
Today the Home owns an impressive building in the heart of Fort in Colombo in addition to the sprawling premises in Dematagoda and this building at No. 27, Bristol Street , Fort was ceremonially declared opened by Hon. Dudley Senanayake MP, Prime Minister of Ceylon on 30th May 1965.
In 1983 the Home acquired a property with a house on 23 perches extent of land at No.7 Lily Avenue, Wellawatte to start a Women’s Hostel for university girls.
The MICH has contributed towards the upliftment of the Muslims by pursuing
programmes for the development and progress of the community.
The Home manages the Lady Fareed Home for the Elders in Makola for male and female Elders A Girls Hostel in Wellawatte, provides accommodation for girls living in distant places to pursue further studies in Colombo. This is managed by the Women’s Bureau .Classes are conducted in Sewing ,Embroidery and Knitting.
At their activities centre at Pasha Villa Dematagoda the main service oriented projects are conducted. The Technical Training Institute opened in July 1974 has courses for both males and females, and Classes are conducted in Motor Mechanism, Electricity, English Typewriting, Dress Making and many other vocational courses.
In their impressive five storied premises in Fort the Home has its headquarters, and conducts all social functions ,receiving and entertaining foreign dignitaries conducting seminars and similar activities. And the rest of the space in this building has been rented out to Govt.Depts, which brings in the main income to run the affairs of the Home.
In 1958 the M.I.C.H launched on its project to translate the Holy Quran into Sinhala, as the existing Tamil and English translations reached only a few.
The translation of the Holy Quran was started in 1958,to reach out to the greater majority of the Sri Lankan population, especially the younger generation studying in the Sinhala medium.
This work was handled by a team of experts and included the late Mr. Pinoris Wickremasinghe, who was connected with the compilation of the Sinhala Dictionary. He was assisted by Muslim theologians. A great deal of scrutiny and research went into the translation which took 26 yrs .to complete.
After the translation of the Holy Quran was completed the MICH in 1994 decided to translate the
Hadith from the Sahih Al Bukhari into Sinhala to make it possible for those who conversant
in the Sinhala Language to be able to read and understand the Hadith.The translation of the
Hadith was entrusted to Mr.Milton Jayasuriya .The first volume was released for distribution in 1998,and the second volume followed.The work on the translation of the third volume is now being done.
The MICH, in the recent past, has completed two major projects for development and expansion. The Women’s Hostel in Lily Avenue an old single storied building which was purchased in 1983 and was accommodating around 30 was developed to a modern six-storied building . Entire two floors of this building is reserved to accommodate Muslim Girls visiting Colombo from outstation and rural areas of the country to pursue their higher studies. It is expected to provide accommodation to 300 such students at a subsidized rate amidst Islamic Environment. The rest of the structured with an Islamic Library, a Prayer Hall, A VIP Lounge, an Auditorium and Reception Halls in the top two floors to conduct social and other functions.
The construction of this new building which cost around Rs. 70 Million was commenced with the initial contribution of US $ 200,000/- by Her Highness Sheika Fatima Bint Mubarak , wife of His Highness Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan the late President of UAE. His Excellency Saeed Ali Al NOwais, then Ambassador of UAE in Sri Lankawas instrumental in obtaining this generous donation for this building. The UAE Red Crescent also provided a further sum of US $ 100,000/- to complete this work.
This magnificent building has been named as, “ Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Building” and was declared opened at a grand ceremony by Hon. W.J.M. Lokubandara MP, Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament and His Excellency Mahmood Mohammed Al-Mahmood , Ambassador of UAE amidst a large gathering of distinguished people on 17th December 2007.
The other project was the Expansion of the Lady Fareed Home for Elders, at Makola, approximately 10 km from the city of Colombo. The land and a building was donated by lady Ameena Fareed wife of the Founder President Sir Razxik Fareed and an Elders Home had been maintained since 1957 which was declared opened by Sir Oliver Goonetilake, GCMG, KCVO, KBE, KStJ, then Governor-General of Ceylon. There were about 18 inmates in the Home before the expansion.
This Home was expanded by the construction of a new modern building in order to increase the intake to at least 100 destitute elders – both males and females. This building was a generous gift of Alhaj Eliyas Abdul Kareem, Chairman EAM Maliban Group of Companies and a well-known philanthropist in memory of his late parents. The ceremonial opening of the new building was held under the patronage of the noble donor amidst a large gathering on 2nd September 2007. It is hoped that this project will meet the demands of a growing number of destitute Elders and provide better facilities for the older members of the community in their evening of their life.
The MICH prints a Desk Diary every year. This Diary, which was first printed in 1948 and carries a wealth of information of importance to the Muslims.
A souvenir is printed every 5 years to maintain in print and picture a record of the activities of the Home. The last being in the year 2004.
Many important publications too have been printed and published from time to time.
These publications reflect the history and culture of the Moors in Sri Lanka from their first contact with the island over 2000 years ago, to the most recent contributions to Sri Lankan life.
From its inception the M.I.C.H has in many ways added to the cultural richness of Sri Lankan life. It has shown how an organization like this can blend into the social life of the country.
The Home has played an active role in promoting peace, harmony and goodwill among all Sri Lankans.
| Sir Razik Fareed
Sir Razik Fareed began his public career as a member
of the Municpal Council of Colombo. Subsequently he was
a member of the state council, a Member of Parliament,
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, High Commissioner
in Pakistan, amongst other public postings. In all these
capacities he distinguished himself and did his country
proud. In his diverse career, sir Razik Fareed’s
greatest contribution was in the field of education. He
was a pioneer of Muslim education and saw to it that government
Muslim schools were established in different parts of
Sir Razik Fareed was a great philanthropist. He donated
valuable land which he owned in Bambalapitiya for the
establishment Muslim Ladies College, a school which survives
and prospers to this day. A significant feature of his
political life was that he realized that Sri Lanka
must continue to exist and flourish as a single nation
without any form of division. At the inaugural
meeting of the MICH held on 2nd August 1944, Sir Razik
Fareed was elected as President of the MICH. A bill for
the incorporation of the MICH was moved in the State Council
by Sir Razik Fareed to safeguard the assets of the home.
In moving the first reading of the bill, Sir Razik Fareed
mentioned in parliament that the “Moors in Sri Lanka
have suffered in the matter of religion, economically,
educationally and socially by want of an institution of
this nature. An institution similar to those of other
communities here which they established for themselves
| W.M. Hashim-
Born on the 6th of January 1880. He was a merchant,
educationist, a leader and a philanthropist. In the field
of education W.M.Hashim supported financially the Darusalam
Maha Vidyalaya in Maligawatte fulfilling his dream to
provide education to the poorest among Muslims in the
city.W.M.Hashim worked hard to raise the standard of education
at Zahira College. He was deeply interested in the aspirations
for the political, educational, social and cultural advancement
of the Muslims. In 1934/35 the General Committee of the
Moor’ Association was held with Sir Macan Markar
in the chair. A board of supporters were elected to raise
funds. W.M. Hashm readily agreed to be one of them and
remained a most loyal founder and Vice President until
He was also a founder member of the MICH. W.M. Hashim
possessed a gift of giving to the needy and the poor.
He contributed generously to Musilm Ladies College and
was a benign benefactor.
| A.I.L. Marikkar
A.I.L. Marikkar was born on 10th August 1907. He
had his early education at Hameedia School and later shifted
to Wesley College. He was employed in his fathers business.
On 2nd August 1944, along with the other founding fathers,
a few leading Moors, met and founded the MICH and A.I.L.
Marikkar was one of them. From the inception in 1944 til
his demise in 4/1 92 he was Hony Jt Secretary for a period
of 48 years- a record in any association or society. On
the inititative of A.I.L. Marikkar a scheme for training
Hafiz was implemented. A.I.L. Marikkar has authored many
books individually and with A.H. Macan Markar and A.L.M.
Lafir. He was a rare example of a dedicated secretary
who without hesitation, set out to work for his community.
Apart from his literary pursuits he helped many worthy
and charitable causes. He was a Scholar, Master of written
words, very simple but very active person. The London
based Guinness Book of Records has opened a file for his
exemplary service and contributions made in respect of
Islamic Culture in Sri Lanka.
| A.L.M. Lafir-
He was educated at Wesley College. He was a founder
of the All Ceylon Moors Association. He was one of the
founder members of the MICH and in 1944 and was the secretary.
In 1947 he took the post of administrative secretary until
he resigned in 1979. He remained an active member of the
board of trustees, loyal and dedicated. He was also the
secretary of the Ceylon Muslim Educational Society and
the Serendib Sufi Study Circle and Assistant Secretary
to the Ceylon University Mosque Association.
| A.H. Macan Markar-
He was educated at Royal College and later at Cambridge
where he obtained his economic tripos. He qualified as
a barrister at law and was a member of the Inner Temple.
He was a founding father of the Moors Islamic Cultural
Home and he was elected Jt Secretary and Treasurer from
its inauguration on the 2nd August 1944.
He played a major role in acquiring the site for the present
building at “Pasha Villa” Dematagoad and the
Ladies Hostel at Lily Avenue, Wellawatte. Towards the
translation of the Holy Quran into Sinhala, which took
23 years to complete, his personal concern and devotion
was evident. He disliked publicity brought a sense of
true dedication to the members of the MICH.
MICH Building In Fort
The Fort building is a five stroreyed
structure situated at 27, Bristol Street, Colombo
1. On a request made by Sir Razik Fareed to Sir Oliver
Goonetileke, this land was donated by the state
for the purpose of constructing a building to house the
MICH The consecration ceremony for the building was held
on the 6th of October 1961 by His Excellency Syed
Abdul Qadir Al Gailani, Ambassador for Iraq in Ceylon.
Of special significance is the Morisco Spanish Horse Shoe
arches depicting designs in Islamic art of Arabic
calligraphy designating the attributes of Allah
drawn by artist Mr. M.N.A. Azeez. The work on the dome
also has Arabic calligraphy.