Zahira College, Colombo

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Zahira College
Zahira College, Colombo - Logo.jpg
Sri Lanka
Type Public School
Motto Alhamdulillah
(Praise be to Allah)
Established 22 August 1892
Founder A. Orabi Pasha, A.M. Wapchie Marikar and M. C. Siddi Lebbe
Principal Mr. Triizvy Marikkar (2013 - present)
Grades 1–13 (English, Sinhala and Tamil Medium)
Gender Boys
Age 6 to 19
Enrollment over 8000
Number of students 5000
Pupils Zahirians

Green, White & Maroon

Alumni Old Zahirians

Zahira College, Colombo (commonly known as Zahira College or simply as Zahira) (Sinhalese: සහිරා විදුහල, Tamil: சாஹிரா கல்லுரி, Arabic: Zahira means "Excellence") is the very first Muslim school in Sri Lanka and was founded in 1892 as Al Madrasathul Zahira by two of the most prominent Sri Lankan Muslims of the day, I. L. M. Abdul Aziz and Arasi Marikar Wapchie Marikar, with the active patronage of Ahmed Orabi Pasha of Egypt. It is currently the largest Muslim educational institution in Sri Lanka with more than 4000 students studying there. The college is situated at the heart of Colombo city. The college also has one of the oldest mosques in the country in its premises.


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 of Kandy, 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

Swimming pool[edit]

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.


The Umpichy Building across the college ground
  • Old Boys Association
  • Past Prefect’s Association
  • Zahira College Old Boy’s Rugby Association (ZOBRA)
  • Past 1st XI Cricketers Association (PCA)
  • Old Zahira Tamil Association (OZTA)

Clubs and Societies[edit]

  • Arabic Society
  • Commerce Society
  • English Debating Circle
  • English Literacy Association
  • Environment Society
  • Gavel Club
  • Green Zahira
  • ICT Society
  • Interact Club
  • Islamic Society
  • Media Unit (Zmedia)
  • Science Society
  • Shakespeare Drama Club
  • Sinhala Debating Circle
  • Sinhala Literacy Association
  • Unique Zahirianz


Zahira College is generally known as the "Kings of School Football" in Sri Lanka, due to its major achievements on the football field. The College has produced a number of talented football players who represented the national team. The College trophy cabinet is full of silverware from College football.

In 2013 Zahira started improving rugby under the coach Mr. Shamly Nawaz and they were ranked 38th amongst the schools play rugby in Sri Lanka. From there onwards Zahira was going forward positively and in 2016 July they were entered rugby division one after some great achievement in 2nd division while ranked 10th amongst the schools in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, in August 2016 Zahira displayed some great rugby talents in Sri Lanka Super 7s and defeated top teams like st. Peters college and st Thomas college to ranked number 4 in SL Super 7s. In 2017 Zahira will play rugby in division one.

Also College is actively participating in following Sports presently.

  • Athletics
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Karate
  • Rugby
  • Swimming
  • Boxing
  • Basketball


The 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. The houses are:

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


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


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

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Notability Reference
Anandasangaree, V.V. Anandasangaree member parliament (Kilinochchi 1970–1983, Jaffna 2000–2004)
Fowzie, A. H. M.A. H. M. Fowzie member parliament (National List 2015–present, Colombo 1994–2015), Mayor of Colombo 1974–1977
Markar, Mohammed Abdul BakeerMohammed Abdul Bakeer Markar member parliament (Beruwala 1960–1988), Governor of Southern Province 1988–1993
Marsoof, SaleemSaleem Marsoof Supreme Court Judge 2005–2014
Moulana, S. Z. M. MashoorS. Z. M. Mashoor Moulana Senator - Senate of Ceylon
Muzammil, A. J. M.A. J. M. Muzammil Mayor of Colombo 2011–2016
Sheriff, RezviRezvi Sheriff academic, physician
Sivathamby, KarthigesuKarthigesu Sivathamby emeritus professor (Tamil studies), author



  • On Orabi Pasha
  • Haji Omar Founder of Brandix Lanka
  • Ibrahim Hameed Former National Rugby Player
  • Mohamed Hilmy Under Secretary, Presidents office of Maldives
  • Mohamed Akash Under the influence

External links[edit]