Zahira College, Colombo

Coordinates: 6°55′38″N 79°51′51″E / 6.927351°N 79.864175°E / 6.927351; 79.864175
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Zahira College
Zahira College CMB logo.png
Zahira College Colombo, Orabi Pasha Street,

Western Province

Sri Lanka
Coordinates6°55′38″N 79°51′51″E / 6.927351°N 79.864175°E / 6.927351; 79.864175
Former name"Madarasathul Zahira"
TypeSemi government
MottoArabic: Alhamdulillah
(Praise be to Allah)
Established21 August 1892; 130 years ago (1892-08-21)
FounderAhmed Orabi, A. M. Wapchi Marikar and M. C. Siddi Lebbe
School districtColombo
School number+(94) 11 2695062
PrincipalA. R. M. Triizvy Marikkar (2013 - present)
Teaching staff250+
Grades1–13 (English, Sinhala and Tamil Medium)
GenderBoys School
AgeFrom 6 years to 19 years
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.[1] It was founded in 1892 as Al Madrasathul Zahira by one of renowned 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 on its campus.[2]

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 establishment of Zahira College, a school mainly for Muslims, in Sri Lanka in 1892 was a significant event in the history of education in the country. The idea of creating such a school was conceived by prominent individuals, including M. C. Siddi Lebbe, during a time when English education was viewed with suspicion due to its association with proselytism At the time, almost all schools in Sri Lanka were run by Christian missionaries, and English education was seen as a tool for converting non-Christians to Christianity. This posed a challenge for Muslims who wanted to provide their children with a modern education but were wary of exposing them to religious conversion.

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.[3] 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. On Monday, 22 August 1892, Zahira College officially opened its doors to students. The school started with just 37 students, but it quickly grew in popularity, and by the end of the first year, the student population had increased to 125.

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

Board of Governors[edit]

Zahira College is administered by a board of eighteen governors, from the executive committee of the Maradana Mosque, the Zahira College Welfare Society, the Zahira College Parent-Teachers Association and the Zahira College Old Boys’ Association.[4] M. Fouzul Hameed, who took over as chairman of the Board of Governors in 2006.


Zahira college, Colombo had constructed major sports complex for the scholars who are interested in sports to represent College.[5][6][7]


The College, is renowned for its rich sporting history, particularly in the field of soccer. Over the years, Zahira College has produced a significant number of talented soccer players who have gone on to represent Sri Lanka at the national level.[8][9][10][11][12][13]


The college swimming pool project[14] was proposed and funded by the Old Boys Association.[15] and it was officially opened for students, old boys and the public (after school hours).[16] The project was initiated in 2010 and successfully completed and opened on 14 July 2012.[17]


Zahira college has produced a number of international cricket players[18][19] in 1930's[20] and later days in 20th century zahirians had joint with Sri Lankan Cricket and they are improving them to be representatives at National team of Sri Lanka.[21][22][23]


The college, has a rich history of producing outstanding athletes in a variety of sports. Many of these athletes have brought glory and fame to the school by showcasing their talent.[24]


Currently, there are number of sports like Air Rifle Shooting, Basketball, Hockey, Karate, Boxing, Band, Cadeting, Chess, Scouting, Tennis etc. to the scholars.[25][26]


Students are divided into four houses. The houses compete in all major games to win the inter-house games, with house colours and awarded to winners.

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

The four house names are derived from four historic Muslim cities.

Clubs and associations[edit]

Clubs and societies[edit]

Today there are more than fifteen clubs and societies in Zahira College actively running to develop the skills of the students.[27]


There are associations where Zahira old boys owned them with respect for helping purpose to the college and to give pride further to the alma mater.[27]


  • 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
M. T. A. Furkhan 1995 1997
I. A. Ismail 1998
S. A. R. M. Farook 1999
M. Uvais Ahamed 2001 2006
T. K. Azoor 2008 2010
M. H. M. Jiffry 2010 2012
A. R. M. Trizviiy Marikkar 2013 present

Notable alumni[edit]

Zahira produced citizens who are fluent in all three national languages. During the "Golden Era of Zahira" many brilliant leaders were produced and they made enormous contribution to the nation and the world at large. Zahira's Magazine ‘Cresent’ towards the development of national languages was immense.[28][29]

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 Foreign Affairs (2022-Present), Minister of Finance (2022), Minister of Justice (2020–2022), 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, Rugby Player [30]
Mujibur Rahman Member of Parliament - Colombo (2015–present) [31]
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) [32]
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
Ben Navaratne First class cricketer (1940-1952)
Muttaiah Devaraj First class cricketer (1964-1967)
Ghulam Razick First class cricketer (1960s)


  1. ^ "zahira college colombo located - Google Search". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  2. ^ Booso, Ahmadh (29 May 2021). "ZAHIRA, A Temple of Tolerance". Zahira College Old Boys' Association. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Zahira College Colombo- 130 years of Excellence!". 8 September 2022. p. 1. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  4. ^ "Zahira College, Colombo, Board Of Governors (Incorporation)". Lawnet. Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Zahira College to construct major sports complex". Sunday Observer. 31 October 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  6. ^ Farook, Ruzaik. "Zahira Sports Complex construction begins". Daily News. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  7. ^ NewsDesk (1 November 2020). "Zahira College to build a large sports complex". ExBulletin. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Sports & Other Facilities – Zahira College Colombo". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  9. ^ Farook, Ruzaik. "Soccer star Naina Mohamed felicitated". Daily News. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Zahira veterans felicitates soccer player Naina Mohamed on his new appointment - Colombo Times". 4 May 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  11. ^ Wijewickrama, Navod (7 July 2020). "FFSL the main reason for Sri Lanka football's downfall - Roomy". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  12. ^ Zahira College Batch of 2019 [@zcc_b19] (27 May 2021). "Two Zahirians has been selected for the Sri Lanka National Football Team 🇱🇰⚽Wishing our boys all the best for the upcoming games! Good Luck 👍⚽. #srilankafootball #zahirafootball #zccg9 #groupof2009 #b19 #zccb19 #zahiracollege #batchof2019 #morethanabatch #zahiracollegecmb" (Tweet). Retrieved 19 September 2022 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ "Zahira College Football, Orabi pasha street, Col-10, Maradana (2022)". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Zahira launches swimming pool". Sunday Times. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2023 – via PressReader.
  15. ^ "Zahira swimming pool project is launched". Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Dream comes true for Zahira College with opening of swimming pool | Daily FT". Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  17. ^ Farook, Ruzaik (21 August 2012). "Grand opening of the Zahira College Swimming Pool Complex" (PDF). Daily News. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
  18. ^ "Sports captains – Cricket – Zahira College Colombo". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  19. ^ "Zahira College, Colombo". batsman. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  20. ^ "Notable Zahirians – Zahira College Colombo". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  21. ^ "Zahira cricket prodigy Rizwan dreams of representing Sri Lanka". Times Online - Daily Online Edition of The Sunday Times Sri Lanka. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  22. ^ Correspondent, Dilwin Mendis Moratuwa Sports Special. "Sixteen year old Rizwan excels for Zahira". Daily News. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  23. ^ "Mohammed Shamaaz profile and biography, stats, records, averages, photos and videos". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  24. ^ "Sports captains – Athletic – Zahira College Colombo". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  25. ^ "About Us – Zahira College Colombo". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  26. ^ "Zahira College Sports Policy" (PDF). Zahira College. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 October 2021. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
  27. ^ a b "Clubs & Associations – Zahira College Colombo". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  28. ^ "Zahira College relaunches the Crescent Magazine". Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 22 June 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2023 – via PressReader.
  29. ^ "Re-launch of Zahira College 'Crescent' mag today | Daily FT". Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  30. ^ "Notable Zahirians – Zahira College Colombo".
  31. ^ "Hon. Mujibur Rahuman, M.P." Parliament of Sri Lanka.
  32. ^ "Hon. M.T. HASEN ALI, M.P.,, M.P." Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 19 September 2022.

External links[edit]