Husain Salaahuddin

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Husain Salahuddin

Husain Salahuddin (Dhivehi: ހުސެއިން ސަލާހުއްދީން; April 14, 1881 - September 20, 1948), was an influential Maldivian writer, poet, essayist and scholar.

Husain Salahuddin is considered as one of the most prolific writers of early Maldivian literature (Dhivehi: ޅަފަތުގެ ދައުރު, Era of Crawling), and is greatly honoured for his remarkable contributions to Maldivian literature during a time where tremendous growth and innovations took place in the Maldivian literary scene. He was the father of Ibrahim Shihab, statesman of the Maldives.


Husain Salahuddin was born on April 14, 1881. He used to write his name in his writings as Salahuddin Hussein bin Moosa al-Mahli (صلاح الدين حسين بن موسى المحلى), meaning Salahuddin Hussein or Hussein Salahuddin son of Moosa the Mahli (Mahli here refers to Mahal or Male' meaning Moosa from Male'). He obtained his education in the island of Meedhoo (Seenu Atoll). His Master was Al-Allam al-shaikh al-hafiz Ibrahim thakurufaan (Aisaabeegedaru Dhon Beyyaa) and afterwards, he studied under Al-shaikh Muhamed Jamaludin Naib Thutthu. Hussain Salahuddin was the founder of the present day Majeediyya School in Malé. Further, he had contributed to the Maldivian government by serving in various key positions. He is also recognized for his outstanding contributions to Maldivian literature, including the translation of various books written in Arabic, Urdu and Persian into Dhivehi during his era.

Included amongst the positions that he had undertaken in the contemporary Maldivian government are the posts of Secretary and Prime Minister for the Majlis. He also served as the Principal of Majeediyya School, the first institution of formal education in the Maldives. Majeediyya School was started in the front veranda of Bageechaage, the residence of Hussain Salaahuhdeen.

Hussain Salaahuhdeen became the Attorney General of Maldives at the young age of 18 years. He also served as the Chief Justice of the Maldives for a long time.

During his lifetime, Salaahuddin had served in the National Literary Committee established by the President at the time, Muhammad Amin Didi.

Salaahuddin is also recognized for having published some of the most famous and influential books and poems in Dhivehi. Some well-known books that he had written are, The Story of Dhon Beefaan; The Story of Thakurufaan the Great; Shaikh Zubair, being an interpretation of the works of two great Maldivian poets; Nu'umaan and Mariyam; two anthologies of poetry Morning Star I and II; and most importantly, his most famous work: the Biography of Prophet Muhammad in which he translated and combined various Arabic books about the Prophet into Dhivehi.

Influence and legacy[edit]

An audiobook version of the latter Biography of Prophet Muhammad is broadcast every Ramadan on Maldivian radio. The Biography is said to be the quintessence of Maldivian writing, even though, the Biography was a translation from Arabic works on the subject.

The Story of Thakurufaan the Great is nationally considered to be the definitive account of the life and times of the national hero Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaan al Auzam. The book was based upon the orally transmitted folktales and legends concerning the man's life. Although Salaahuddin had used his own literary style in its writing, he remained faithful to the original folktales, the result being one of the true Maldivian epics. Even so, the National Day in the Maldives is celebrated on Rabi' al-awwal the first, celebrating the liberation of the Maldives from the Portuguese invaders.

Some lines of his poems have become quoted on Maldivian proverbs, and his poetry is required reading from sixth to tenth grade in Maldivian schools.

Rivaaythu Nu'umaan Va Mariyam is taken by many to be one of the most sophisticated novels written in the Dhivehi language. Although first published in 1934, the events of the novel were set sixty years in the future. Salahuddin touches on aspects such as women's rights, education, and foreign influence; all matters that may have seemed strange and alien to a reader of the 1930s, despite Salahuddin's uniquely casual and matter-of-fact tone. In retrospect, many readers claim that the novel was accurate in its depiction of the Maldives of 1994. Modern speakers of Dhivehi may find the novel difficult to read, due to its lengthy sentences and rich vocabulary.


Husain Salahuddin died on September 20, 1948. He was buried in Colombo, Sri Lanka.


Hussain Salaahuddin's children are all well renowned writers,poets,speakers who filled various high positions in the government.

Children of Dhon Didi, (1). Hawwa Saeed (2). Khadheeja Saeed

Children of Sanfa Manike (3). Aishath Saeed (4). Mohamed Saeed

Children of Medhuganduvaru Thuththu Gomaa (5). Adnan Hussain (6). Mariyam Saeed (7). Fathimath Saeed (8). Ibrahim Saeed

His grandson Idham Muizu Adnan tried to compete in the 2008 Maldivian presidential elections as an independent candidate but failed because he could not get the 1500 signatures needed.

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