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Rannamaari is a Maldivian myth or legend which chronicles the Maldivian people's conversion from Buddhism to Islam.

Brief outline[edit]

According to Ibn Batuta's version of the story,[1] Rannamaari, a sea demon, haunted the people of the Maldives and had to be appeased monthly with the sacrifice of a virgin girl. On the last day of every month, a lot was drawn by the authority of the king, among the women of the island. She was to be sent off to spend the night in a temple to spend the night. Overnight, the demon was to come. The following morning, the girls were found dead, and the islanders proceed with the burial rituals.

Common versions[edit]

Rannamaari has two main versions, the traditional version and the one told by Ibn Batuta.

According to the Moroccan traveler Ibn Batuta, who visited the Maldives during his journeys through Asia,

Rannamaari, the notorious sea demon haunted the people of the Maldives since time began. Every month, a virgin had to be sacrificed for the demon, or the people were to face his wrath. A girl was chosen from the inhabitants by the king or his advisers and she would be kept alone on the first night of the month in an isolated temple at the eastern seafront in Malé. At dawn, the girl's family would return to the temple to find the dead body of the girl.Maldivians were very worried about it till a Muslim traveler suggested that he be sent to the temple in the place of a girl to read verses of the Quran there. After the traveler recited Quran in the temple, the demon disappeared and was never heard of again. Everyone was grateful that the demon disappeared and believed that Allah is the greatest of all and changed to Islam