Zahira College, Colombo

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Zahira College
Zahira College CMB logo.png
Zahira College is located in Central Colombo
Zahira College
Zahira College
Location in central Colombo

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
MottoArabic: Alhamdulillah
(Praise be to Allah)
Established22 August 1892; 127 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 to be 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     


  • 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
Trizvii Marikkar 2013 Present

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Notability Reference
V. Anandasangaree Member of Parliament - Kilinochchi (1970–1983), Jaffna (2000–2004)
A. H. M. Fowzie Member of Parliament - National List (2015–present), Colombo (1994–2015), Mayor of Colombo (1974–1977)
Mohammed Abdul Bakeer Markar Member of Parliament - Beruwala (1960–1988), Governor of Southern Province (1988–1993)
Mujibur Rahman Member of Parliament - Colombo (2015-present) [2]
Saleem Marsoof Supreme Court Judge (2005–2014)
S. Z. M. Mashoor Moulana Senator - Senate of Ceylon
A. J. M. Muzammil Mayor of Colombo (2011–2016)
Rezvi Sheriff academic, physician
Karthigesu Sivathamby emeritus professor (Tamil studies), author
Hasen Ali Member of Parliament - National List (2004-2015) [citation needed]



  1. ^ K N O, Dharmadasa. 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]