Zahira College, Colombo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Zahira College
Zahira College CMB logo.png

Sri Lanka
Coordinates6°55′38″N 79°51′51″E / 6.927351°N 79.864175°E / 6.927351; 79.864175Coordinates: 6°55′38″N 79°51′51″E / 6.927351°N 79.864175°E / 6.927351; 79.864175
TypeSemi government
MottoArabic: Alhamdulillah
(Praise be to Allah)
Established22 August 1892; 129 years ago (1892-08-22)
FounderAhmed Orabi, A. M. Wapchi Marikar and M. C. Siddi Lebbe
PrincipalTriizvy Marikkar
Grades1–13 (English, Sinhala and Tamil Medium)
Age6 to 19
Colour(s)Green, white & maroon
AlumniOld Zahirians

Zahira College (commonly known as Zahira) (Sinhala: සහිරා විදුහල, Tamil: சாஹிரா கல்லுரி) is an Islamic school at Colombo in Maradana, Sri Lanka[citation needed] and was founded in 1892 as Al Madrasathul Zahira by notable Islamic lawyer and educationalist, Muhammad Cassim Siddi Lebbe, with the active patronage of Ahmed Orabi Pasha of Egypt. The college also has one of the oldest mosques in the country in its premises.[citation needed]

The word Zahira means "excellence" in Arabic.


Zahira College Mosque, also known as the Maradana Mosque. The mosque was established long before the college was started and was patronized by A.M. Wapchie Marikar.

The idea of school mainly for Muslims was conceived by prominent individuals at the time, such as Proctor M. C. Siddi Lebbe, when circumstances were positively hostile to English education due to the reasons where English education was very much associated with proselytism.[1] At this juncture in history of Sri Lanka almost all the schools in the country were run by Christian missionaries. Because Sri Lanka had not won its independence from the British Empire an almost state aided conversion submerged other communities. Nevertheless, Muslim pioneers in education were more than satisfied that Islam would weather assaults at conversion but that education was essential for the Muslim community's progress if not its very survival. Thus, due to this and many other pertaining factors,[specify] Zahira was established on Monday, 22 August 1892.

Factors influencing establishment[edit]

During a public speech made by M. C. Siddhi Lebbe in 1891 at the Maradana Mosque Hall (which later became the college mosque), he appealed to the Muslim community to unite and promote the educational advancement of the community. This led to the formation of the Colombo Muslim Educational Society. The first Secretary was I. L. M. Abdul Aziz and Arasi Marikar Wapchie Marikar was the first Treasurer and Head Master. With the help of Ahamed Orabi Pasha, an Egyptian exile in Ceylon and freedom fighter, Al-Madrasathul Zahira was established. In 1894 the school was registered as a grant-in-aid school Maradana Mohammedan Boys School.

The Gafoor Hall, Colleges Main Hall
The Umpichy Building across the college ground


The college has produced a number of football players who represented the national team.[who?]

The college swimming pool project was proposed and funded by the Old Boys Association. and it was officially opened for the School Students, Old boys and for the Public (after school hours). The project was initiated in 2010 and successfully completed and opened on 14 July 2012.


Students are divided into four houses. The houses are led by House Captains, competing in all major games to win the inter-house games and house colours are awarded winners.

  • Angora colour : Green  
  • Baghdad colour : Blue  
  • Cordova colour : Orange  
  • Istanbul colour : Maroon  

These four house names were derived from four historic Muslim cities.

  • Angora of Turkey
  • Baghdad of Iraq
  • Cordova of Spain
  • Istanbul of Turkey


  • A. M. Wapchie Marikar
  • N. H. M. Abdul Cader
  • A. S. Abdul Cader
  • S. J. A. Doray
  • Abdul Azeez


Name From To
O. E. Martinus 1913 1914
J. C. McHeyzer 1914 1920
Tuan Burhanudeen Jayah 1921 1947
A. M. A. Azeez 1948 1961
I. L. M. Mashoor 1961 1965
M. F. M. H. Fakhir 1965 1966
S. L. M. Shafie Marikar 1967 1982
R. I. T. Alles (Director of Studies) 1983 1985
Saheed M. Irshad 1986 1987
T. D. Hannan 1988
A. Z. Omardeen 1989
A. M. Sameem 1990 1991
A. Javid Yusuf 1992 1994
Prof. M. T. A. Furkhan 1995 1997
Dr. I. A. Ismail 1998
S. A. R. M. Farook 1999
Dr. M. Uvais Ahamed 2001 2006
T.K. Azoor 2008 2010
M. H. M. Jiffry 2010 2012
Trizviiy Marikkar 2013 Present

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Notability Reference
V. Anandasangaree Member of Parliament - Kilinochchi (1970–1983), Jaffna (2000–2004)
Sir Razik Fareed Member of Parliament
A. H. M. Fowzie Member of Parliament - National List (2015–present), Colombo (1994–2015), Mayor of Colombo (1974–1977)
Abdul Bakeer Markar Speaker of the Parliament (1977-1983), Member of Parliament - Beruwala (1960–1988), Governor of Southern Province (1988–1993)
Ali Sabry Minister of Justice (2020–present), Member of Parliament - National List (2020–present)
Abdul Caffoor Mohamad Ameer 32nd Attorney General of Sri Lanka
Shibly Aziz 37th Attorney General of Sri Lanka
Alavi Moulana Governor Western Province (2002–2015), Minister of Labour (2001–2002)
Naina Marikkar Minister of Finance (1988–1989)
Prof. Tuley De Silva Chancellor of the WUSL
Prof. Achi Mohamed Ishaq Chancellor of the SEUSL
A.H.M. Azwer Member of Sri Lankan Parliament for national list (1989-1994, 2010-2014)
Prof. M.T.A. Furkhan Academic, Inductee- Global Management Accounting Hall of Fame
Ameer Ali Minister of Disaster Relief Management (2007-2010, Member of Sri Lankan Parliament (2015–present)
A. M. Merza Member of Sri Lankan Parliament for Kalmunai (1952–1956)
M. H. M. Ashraff Minister of Ports, Shipping and Rehabilitation (1994–2000), Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament (1989–2000)
M. L. M. Aboosally Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Minister of Labor
Mujibur Rahman Member of Parliament - Colombo (2015–present) [2]
Saleem Marsoof Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka (2005–2014)
S. Z. M. Mashoor Moulana Senator - Senate of Ceylon
A. J. M. Muzammil Mayor of Colombo (2011–2016), Governor of Western Province (2019), Governor of North Western Province (2019–present)
Rishad Bathiudeen Minister of Industry and Commerce (2010–2019), Member of Sri Lankan Parliament for Vavuniya (2001–present)
Rezvi Sheriff academic, physician
S. Selvanayagam Academic, Professor Jaffna University
Karthigesu Sivathamby emeritus professor (Tamil studies), author
R. Sivagurunathan Academic, Lawyer and Editor Thinakaran
Hasen Ali Member of Parliament - National List (2004–2015) [citation needed]
Dharmadasa Banda Cabinet Minister for additional plantation crops (2007–2010) and Member of Parliament Monaragala (1989-2000, 2004-2010)
M. M. Zuhair Member of parliament for the nationalist (1994–2000), Chairman Rupavahini and Sri Lankan Ambassador to Iran
Mohamed Namiz Cricketer
Ben Navaratne Cricketer
Muttaiah Devaraj Cricketer
Ghulam Razick Cricketer


  1. ^ K N O, Dharmadasa (1992). Language, Religion, and Ethnic Assertiveness: The Growth of Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. University of Michigan Press. pp. 126, 254. ISBN 978-0472102884.
  2. ^ "Hon. Mujibur Rahuman, M.P." Parliament of Sri Lanka.

External links[edit]