Koi a narrator of ancient history was politically quite
incorrect regarding the personality and character of
Mohamed Thakurufan, Kateeb of Utheem who is now given
credit for "liberating" the Maldives from
"Portuguese rule". Buraara certainly gives
Mohamed Thakurufan all the credit worthy of a conquering
hero of Islam, but he is also described as an adulterer,
a necromancer , a cheat and someone who enjoyed trapping
birds into his extended adolescence.
wrong with bird trapping, but duplicity, adultery and
necromancy were unbecoming of a knight of Islam, according
to conservative commentators who wielded immense power.
such commentator was Hussain Salahuddine, a twentieth
century chief justice and one time royal commissioner
of history. Buraara’s account was totally unacceptable
for Salahuddine, so he revised it and wrote an alternative
only evidence and justification for the change was that
the traditional version of Mohamed Thakurufan’s character
was incompatible with someone who waged Jihad
(holy war) for the cause of Islam- very subjective and
he systematically and quite openly purged the traditional
versions of "objectionable" events and accounts
and inserted politically correct material in their place-
some of it fabricated by his own admission.
bowdlerised Buraara's account, inserting "Portuguese"
where Buraara and the Tarikh had used terms such
as Kaafaru and Nasorah.
work on the subject is worthy of literary merit. However
as a source of historical or traditional reference,
its unreliability cannot be emphasised strongly enough.
Salahuddine’s account remains the favoured version with
the Maldives authorities.
not mentioned in the Tarikh, it is maintained by
some sources including
Buraara Koi, that Utheem kateeb Mohamed Thakurufan was the
great-grandson of Kalu Hassan Kaleyge of Baararh in Thiladummathi
shrine built in the early 20th Century to commemorate
Kateeb Mohamed Thakurufan of Utheem who was being elevated
to the status of mega hero of semi-divine proportion.
This is the site believed to be where Thakurufan lived
states that Kalu Hassan Kaleyge was of Hilaaly descent and
that he was a contemporary of the Hilaaly King Siri Bavana
Sooja (Abubakur I). This meant that he was related
to the ruling dynasty in Malé.
while the vast majority of the Malé population abandoned
King Audha Siyaaka Katthiri (Ali VI), a non-Hilaaly,
to the mercy of the forces of their Christian King who was
a Hilaaly, they had no difficulty in accepting the leadership
of a minor provincial official.
Hero in Time"?
Thakurufan and his band of rebels took
up arms against their king (Siri Dhirikusa Loka
Hassan IX later known as Manoel) who had converted
to Christianity. They made Minicoy their base while
making raids on islands under the sovereign authority
of their king. Thakurufan was an agent of the Ali
Raja of Cannanore. The nature of the relationship
between Mohamed Thakurufan and the Ali Raja of Cannanore
was outlined in a letter sent by a later Ali Raja,
Mariambe Ali-Adi Raja Bibi, to the Sultan Mohamed
Mueenuddine I of the Maldives. The letter was dated
Friday 17 Jamada-el-oula Anno Hegirae 1243
(7 December AD 1827). According to the letter Mohamed
Thakurufan had entered into a treaty ceding sovereignty
of the Maldives to the Ali Raja of Cannanore in the
event Thakurufan was established in power in Male.
(refer page 294 of Divehi Tarikh). A reply
was sent from Malè explaining that Thakurufan
had no legal authority to enter into such a treaty
with the Ali Raja of Cannanore. (see also Myth
of Portuguese Rule)
reason, according to these sources, was that he was no
ordinary run-of-the mill kateeb. He was a member of the
Hilaaly family that still commanded immense prestige all
over the Maldives. There is ample evidence in the
oral tradition as related by Buraara, that the prestige
and power enjoyed by the Thakurufans of Utheem were far
beyond those of mere provincial officials. The following
are some of the evidence. The following are some of the
points taken from Buraara.
Thakurufans of Utheem seem to take precedence of order
over the Viyazor, Andiri Andirin’s atoluverin
in Baararh, the administrative capital of the four atolls
to the North of Malé. For example when the atoluverin
visited their residence in Utheem, his hosts did not
stand up to receive him and was always offered the bodu-arhi
and his hosts sat on the kuda-arhi.
On the other hand when the Utheem Thakurufans called
at the residence of the atoluverin, he always stood
up to receive them and offered them the kuda-arhi.
the chagrin of officials in Malé, Andiri Andirin
ordered the poll tax from the island of Utheem to be
waived, as soon as he assumed the regency.
Viyazor atoluverin was under strict orders from Andiri
Andirin to entertain all requests of the Thakurufan
brothers. Soon after Mohamed Thakurufan
married Sitti Maavaa Rani Kilegefan he and his
brothers were banned from entering Malé, even
though their other privileges were not curtailed.
the traditional Maldive domestic reception room,
there were three platforms. Looking from the
outside door, along the right wall was the bodu-arhi,
about 50 centimetres high. Along part of the
left wall was the kuda-arhi, also about
50 centimetres high. Both had built-in storage
under them and were overlaid with fine mats
and squabs. Across on the far wall was a lower
platform called the tiri-arhi, also overlaid
with mats. On top of the tiri-arhi was
a couch called dimaa-endu overlaid with
a thick mattress, squabs., pillows and printed
linen sheets. Between the tiri-arhi and
the kuda-arhi were a table and a chair.
The place of most honour was the dimaa-endu,
which was seldom used, followed by the kuda-arhi
and then the bodu-arhi.
The Viyazor atoluverin was married to Kambaa Aysha Rani
Kilegefan, widow of King Audha Siyaaka Katthiri (Ali VI),
aunt of King Manoel, and daughter of King Siri Dhammaru
Bavana (Mohamed the Black) and Burecca. Sitti Maavaa
Rani Kilegefan was her daughter from Ali VI. The ban
from Malé was unlikely to be related to the fact
that Mohamed Thakurufan was married to a daughter of
the vanquished sultan.
Andiri Andirin did not regard as threats, King
Ali’s son and two daughters from a commoner, who continued
to live in Malé. Sultan Ali was not a Hilaaly.
Although the realm was governed in the name of Manoel,
who was a Hilaaly, the Utheem Thakurufans who were also
Hilaalys were regarded as contenders to the throne and
a threat to the security of the realm.
It was unlikely that simple kateebs of far-flung islands
would have been regarded as threats to the security
of the realm.
there were hardly any Moslems left in many of the neighbouring
islands, no attempt was made to evangelise in Utheem
When the Utheem Thakurufans called on their father’s
uncle, the Eduru Kaleygefan of Nolivaranfaru, the latter
always told them to keep their voices down, as he and
his wife were the only Moslems left on the island.
to the Utheem brothers taking up arms against the regime
in Malé, Thuffarhanaa Thakuru, son of Andiri
Andirin’s treasurer Midu Thakuru, petitioned for the
heads of Mohamed Thakurufan and his brother Hassan.
Andiri Andirin ignored the petition for over a year
before granting it.
Clearly those in power in Malé regarded the Utheem
Thakurufans as a real threat.
before his marriage to Sitti Maavaa Rani Kilegefan,
Mohamed Thakurufan and many others believed that he
had a right to the throne in Malé.
His first marriage was to Rehendiya Goyye, daughter
of Cat Fatima of Borhi Forest, a woman of immensely
humble means from Baararh. On the night of the wedding,
which took place in the woods of Baararh in secrecy,
Rehendiya Goyye supposedly gave seven leaves of the
betel vine to Mohamed Thakurufan, twelve leaves to the
chief witness and thirteen leaves to the second witness.
Mohamed Thakurufan commented to the witnesses that Rehendiya
Goyye was making a statement with the numbers of leaves.
Thirteen stood for thirteen thousand islands, the legendary
number of islands in the Maldives. Twelve stood for
twelve atolls and seven stood for the royal parasol
– a symbol of the Maldive sovereigns in the same way
as the crown is the symbol of the monarch in many other
The word for the royal parasol (haiy)
is the same in Maldivian as that for the number seven
and his immediate
successors become sultans?
who fought to succeed the Christian Hilaalys to the
throne of the Maldives were indeed Hilaalys themselves
and were regarded by many as the rightful heirs to the
throne, when the line of King Siri Dhirikusa Loka (Hassan
IX later Manoel) became Christians.
According to the Tarikh, Mohamed Thakurufan ascended
the throne soon after capturing Malé.
Buraara is significantly more ambiguous on the subject.
He concedes that the Thakurufan did not ascend the throne
upon capturing Malé, but did so soon afterwards.
Buraara states that Mohamed Thakurufan assumed the title
of Sultan one year and a month and twenty eight days
before his death, The Tarikh records the Anno Hegirae
equivalents of AD 1585 as the year of his death and
AD 1573 as the year of his capture of Malé.
discrepancy is significant because, if he indeed ascended
the throne, he relinquished the title of Sultan subsequently
under pressure from the Christian Hilaalys in Goa. The
more likely scenario is that under a pact between the
Christian Hilaalys the Thakurufan and his two immediate
successors never were installed sultans.
documents given under the seal of Mohamed Thakurufan
refer to him as minister. As Buraara states so precisely,
he may have reassumed the title of Sultan just over
a year before his death, in violation of the pact with
the Christian Hilaalys.
Thakurufan's son Ibrahim whose long reign ended when
a marauding band of men sent by the Ali Raja of Cannanore
sacked Malé. Mohamed Thakurufan captured Male
with the aid of the Ali Raja of Cannanore with the promise
of several islands there to the Ali Raja.
a result of Mohamed Thakurufan's deal with the Ali
Raja of Cannanore, Maldivians had to endure more
than 200 years of continual military and diplomatic
harassment by the Ali Rajas. Several lives were
lost and property destroyed. Malè was occupied
on one occasion and the King abducted. There was
much plunder, pillage, rape and arson
after the conquest Mohamed Thakurufan went back on the
deal and that was why it became necessary to make a
pact with the Christian Hilaalys recognising them as
kings of the Maldives. Ali Raja invaded male in the
"reign" of Ibrahim Kalaafan to have the deal
his father, Ibrahim was not warlike and fled Malé,
only to be captured and killed by Ali Raja’s men.
continued to be called "kalaafan" or Lord.
This indicates that he was never installed as sultan.
Indeed Mohamed Thakurufan would not have been referred
as Thakurufan if he were a sultan. Thakurufan
was a appellation beneath the dignity of the nobility
and royalty. He would have dropped that appellation
upon assumption of the throne as did several other sultans.
probably were not
installed on the throne
Kamana daughter of Hassan Thakurufan and niece of Mohamed
Thakurufan may have succeeded Sultan Ibrahim.
was succeeded by Hussain Faamuladeyri Kilege, son of
a daughter of Eduru Thakurufan of Baararh who was a
son of Kalu Hassan Kaleyge. Hussain Faamuladeyri Kilege
was Mohamed Thakurufan’s second cousin. Again, the continued
use of the title of Kilege indicates that he too was
not installed as sultan.
Faamuladeyri Kilege was succeeded by Kalu Thukkala,
son of Aminah Maavaa Kilege, daughter of Maryam Kambaadi
Kilege, daughter of Ali Thakurufan, kateeb of Maarandu
and elder half brother of Mohamed Thakurufan.
Thukkalaa assumed the title of King Siri Kula Sundhura
Katthhiri Bavana (Shuja'i Mohamed Imaduddine I).
By then the Christian Hilaalys in Goa were squabbling
amongst themselves over the succession. As a result,
Kalu Thukkala may have found enough courage to assume
the title of sultan.
Mohamed Imaduddine I was succeed by his son King Siri
Kula Ranmeeba Katthiri bavana (Iskander Ibrahim I).
It was he who, in 1649, finally broke all constitutional
links with the Christian Hilaalys in Goa.
Ibrahim I was succeeded by his son Mohamed the Little
as King Siri Mani Ranna Loka, a mere child. His mother,
the allegedly nymphomaniac Princess Maryam appointed
herself as Princess Regent. According to the Tarikh,
she encouraged open promiscuity and lewdness among Malé’s
high society during her son’s reign.
Nymphomaniac Princess Regent
society had always been, and still is, fairly promiscuous
beneath the veneer of Islamic piety. Mohamed the Little
and the Princess Regent were involved in an explosion
when their yacht’s magazine was hit by a spark of gunfire
while they were out pleasure cruising off the island
Regent perished, and her son died shortly afterwards
of injuries sustained during the explosion.
the Little was succeeded by Mohamed Manikfan son of Hassan
Faarhanaa Kilegefan son of Shuja'i Mohamed Imaduddine
I. He belonged to a sect preached by an Islamic cleric
who visited Malé during the reign of Iskander Ibrahim
I. This purist brand of Islam preached by the cleric became
unbearable to the Malé citizenry and Iskander Ibrahim
tactfully deported him.
wave of Islamic fundamentalism
was the fundamentalist sect of the mullah known as Abdul
Cader Jeilani, a native of Jeilan in what is now Iraq.
Women were required to cover up and men were required
to shave their heads and moustaches and grow beards. Those
who transgressed these orders were beaten by the Islamic
police. Those who were found in public places during prayer
times were also flogged. An age old way of life was about
to be destroyed.
Manikfan assumed the title of King Siri Naakiree Sundhura
(Mohamed Mohyeddine the Just). Shortly after becoming
sultan Mohyeddine sent word to his mentor, the Moslem
cleric, inviting him back. Three days after the arrival
of the cleric the Sultan died - so ended the Utheem Dynasty,
very likely a branch of the Hilaaly Dynasty.
from fundamentalism when mullahs die of mysterious
Maldives had not heard the last of the Hilaalys. Their
dynasty was restored, many years later and survived until
cleric was then proclaimed King Siri Hikaa Madhaadheettha.
His name was Sayyed Mohamed Shamsuddine son of Sayyed
Abdul Razzak. He was a graduate of the Seminary of Al-Azhar
in Cairo and a native of the city of Hama in Syria.
strict Islamic regime imposed by this cleric as sultan
stifled all aspects of life in the Maldives, particularly
in Malé. Those who neglected the five-times-a-day
ritual prayers were executed by decapitation. To everyone's
relief he died of fever and diarrhoea within four months.
short-lived Devvadoo and Isdu reigns
chief justice Mohamed son of Ali Tukkalaa of Devvadoo
succeeded the cleric as King Siri Kula Ran Mani. When
the Devvadoo King died, his pregnant wife Sanfah was poisoned
and killed by her uncle in order to seize the throne.
uncle was Ali Velaanaa Thakurufan, son of Chief Admiral
Ibrahim of Isdu. Isdu Ali reigned as King Siri Kula Ran
Muiy for nine months before he died. He was succeeded
by his young son Hassan, who was
soon manipulated into relinquishing the throne by his
cousin Ibrahim Velaanaa Thakurufan son of Hassan Maafaiy
Thakurufan son of Chief Admiral Ibrahim of Isdu. Isdu
Ibrahim ascended the throne as King Siri
Sundhura Siyaaka Saasthura (Ibrahim
List of Traitors
Iyye of 10 August 1997 (pages 102
to 104), it's editor and proprietor Leggi
Saalimuge Baburu Naibuge Kalu Ali Manikuge
Don Manikuge Hussain Manikuge Abdul Hakeem
(Abdul Hakeem Hussain Maniku) published
a list of people who had "attempted
to compromise the independence and sovereignty
of the Maldives with foreign assistance".
Abdul Hakeem is an unusually objective commentator
among Maldivians and most of his writings
are exceptionally accurate. However he has
not given his criteria for determining those
who were included in this list.
Hakeem's list includes:
Ranin (Burecca daughter of Recca daughter of
King Siri Bavana Sooja) for allegedly collaborating
with the Portuguese. Burecca was attempting
to regain her husband's throne.
Siri Dhammaru Bavana (Kalu Mohamed, whose consort
was Burecca) for allegedly collaborating with
the Portuguese. Kalu Mohamed played a passive
role in his consort's successful attempt to
regain his throne.
Siri Dhirikusa Loka (Hassan IX later Manoel)
for allegedly collaborating with the Portuguese.
Manoel was attempting to regain his throne and
Siri Kula Sundhura Siyaaka Saasthura (Ibrahim
Mudzhiruddine) for allegedly collaborating with
the Mogal governor of Bengal. Mudzhiruddine
was unsuccessful in regaining his throne.
Justice Mohamed Shamsuddine and his brother
Kateeb Ahmed Mohyeddine for allegedly collaborating
with the Ali Raja of Cannanore. These two men
of law may have conceded to a legal point when
they recognised a treaty concluded by Utheem
Kateeb Mohamed Thakurufan with the Ali Raja.
Ibrahim Dorhimeyna Kilegefan and his son Ahmed
Dorhimeyna Kilegefan for allegedly collaborating
with the British. The elder Kilegefan allegedly
forced King Mohamed Mueenuddine II to sign
a letter seeking British protection in order
to dislodge the rival Kakaagey faction from
the premiership. A British gunship was in
with its guns trained on the island while the
Mohamed Didi and Eggamugey Abdullah Didi for
allegedly conscripting a company of British
Indians from Peshawar (they were convicted of
this in a court of law).
Lutfi and Sagaru Nasir for allegedly conscripting
a group of Tamil mercenaries (they were convicted
of this in a court of law).
Hakeem had made notable exceptions in his list.
The most striking are Kateeb Mohamed Thakurufan
of Utheem and his brother Hassan Thakurufan who
promised the Ali Raja of Cannanore ownership of
several islands and suzerainty over the Maldives
in return for aiding their campaign to oust Andiri
Andirin, the Regent of King Siri Dhirikusa Loka
(Hassan IX, later Manoel). As a result of Kateeb
Mohamed Thakurufan's broken promises, Maldivians
had to endure the punitive wrath of the Ali Rajas
for over 200 years. Many people were killed. (click
here for more detail)
list contains many who sought to have them restored
to their rightful roles in
In that regard, Abdul Hakeem overlooked to include
the intervention of Indian troops in Malé
in 1988 and those who invited them.
is worth noting that Abdul Hakeem is the first cousin
Saalimuge Baburu Naibuge Kalu
Ali Manikuge Don Manikuge Don Tuttuge Abdul Gayoom,
the father of the individual who called in the Indian
spite of such useful connections, Iyye
was banned in the Maldives after a few days
in circulation. A loophole in the censorship
system was used to have it published. All
copies sold were called in and buyers refunded.
Copies were carefully counted by officials
before being destroyed. Thanks to modern
technology, duplicates were made and sent
beyond the jusrisdiction of the Maldive
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