Dynastic Profile of Muslim Rulers in the Maldives
GEOGRAPHICALLY, the South Asian country of the Maldives is estimated to be around 90,000,000 square kilometers in size and covers the areas of sea, land and all islands, having the characteristics of the scattered sovereign states of the world with a small Asian country and one of the smallest Muslim-majority populations on earth. and region.
According to historical records and evidence, the first settlers in the Maldives were Gujarati who came from Sri Lanka around 2500 years ago.
They most likely belonged to the southern shores of the neighboring Indian subcontinent and therefore a strong layer of Dravidian cultures survive in today’s Maldivian society and they all appear alike in place names, terms kinship, poetry, dance as well as in religious beliefs.
In context, all these systems from North India were brought by the original Sinhalese from Sri Lakka, Malabar and Pandya.
The islands of the Maldives have also found mention in ancient Tamil Sangam literature. The entire history of today’s Maldives has developed through various historical phases and events that have shaped its different characteristics from time to time and progressed through the Buddhist period, Islamic period and colonial period when it gained independence by signing an agreement on July 26, 1965. .
While the Buddhist period which is considered to be in the third century BC at the time of Emperor Asoka, India was mainly known for the early Maldivian language, scriptures, architecture, ruling institutions, which have cast a long shadow over the centuries to come. as Islamic and colonial phases in the history of the Maldives.
Islamic Period of History: Compared to other parts of South Asia, the birth and emergence of Islam occurred about five hundred years later in the Maldives when Arab traders came to the land and that the last king of the Dhovemi Buddhist regime converted to Islam at the time. late 12th century with which the Muslim titles of king, called sultan, were initiated and other Muslim customs, traditions and characteristics became popular in droves.
On the adoption of Islam by the king, there are several points of view and the only source of information is a mosque with an inscription: Sultan Ahmad Shanurazah accepted Islam from the hand of Abu al- Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari, although it was done after much effort and perseverance, but eventually he became convinced and accepted the religion with his family and also sent missions to convert the local people and various islands of the country to come home.
The adoption of Islam was celebrated for years between 1374 and 1387 and in 2001 the day was declared a national holiday.
The event was so important to all that a long chain of rule of Muslim dynasties began with it which lasted until 1968, when a presidential republic was established and a popularly elected Majlis was established. formed, leading a new phase of political instability to bring about essential changes in politics. system.
It should also be noted here that the moment a Buddhist king converted to Islam with his family and committed himself to spreading Islam, the nation was unified in an extended form.
About six hundred years of reign: the first king was an active member of the Soma or Homa (Lunar) dynasty, later in 1153 the conversion to Islam became Sultan Muhammad al-Adil.
At the time, he founded the Theemuge dynasty which lasted until 1388 and ruled the country for 271 years.
The second dynasty that started ruling the Maldives after Theemuge dynasty was the Hilaalee dynasty whose reign started in 1388 with its first king Sultan Hasan who ruled for 10 years (1388-1398) and was succeeded by Sultan Ibrahim.
Although the Sultan’s tenure lasted one year, their dynasty successfully ruled the country for 244 years (13881632).
The last king of the dynasty was King Dom Philippe who ruled the nation under the rule of regents from 1609 to 1632.
Sultan Muhammad Imaduddin, the last regent of the dynasty from 1620 to 1632, eventually de-recognized the regent system with the help of Portuguese assistance in order to abolish the prevailing regent system and restore the old sultan’s nomenclature.
He was the first king of the Utheemu dynasty which lasted between 1632 and 1664, around 60 years. Compared to previous dynasties, the coming rulers lasted very few years like Hamawi dynasty less than 1 year, Dhevvadhoo dynasty (1692-1701) 9 years, Isdhoo dynasty (1701-1704) 3 years and the Dhiyamigili dynasty (1704-1759), lasted 55 years.
However, the Hurra dynasty which took power in 1774 lasted for a long time 194 years (1774-1968), when the form of government was changed.
The last King of the Maldives was King Sir Muhammad Fareed Didi, the grandson of Sultan Muhammad Mueenuddeen and the eldest son of Sultan Abdul Majeed Didi who assumed the title of King Muhammad Fareed Didi in 1965 with the end of the British Protectorate of the Maldives and deposed in 1968. following a referendum that decided to adopt a republic in place of the sultanate system in force from 1388.
— The author is Professor and Head of Department of Political Science, BN Mandal University, Madhepura, Bihar, India.