Hameed Al Husseinie College – An Unblemished History

The history of Hameed Al Husseinie College is itself the teaching note of the early struggles of our Muslim community especially in education. It has important milestones entwined with the history of the Muslim Community who lived in the Colombo Central electorate during the Colonial era. The school symbolizes the final triumph of the Muslims in establishing strong foot-hold in the city of Colombo as well as the beginning of educational renaissance of the Muslims of Sri Lanka.

Early 15th century – the dark days of the Colombo – it was during the Portuguese times, when they attacked Colombo, the Muslims joined hands with the fellow Sinhala brethren and joined the army to resist the invasion. When their resistance collapsed, Muslims were vindicated in the hands of Portuguese who shut out Muslims from Colombo for more than three centuries – the city they loved and nurtured for generations.

The Portuguese rule was replaced by the Dutch and the later by the British and it was during the early part of the British rule, the Muslims began to return into the city of Colombo. They started to regain the commercial prosperity to an extend which was once solely theirs. They regained success in their gems, spices and import and export trade.

But, due to their attitude towards English education which they equated with Christian missionary principles, Muslims became educationally backward and put themselves in a state of perpetual inferiority in general life of the country. It led them to a state of economically stagnant and major employment opportunities in the thriving plantation sector became unreachable to them.

Realizing that if no corrective steps are taken immediately, the Muslims of Ceylon would be stepping towards grave peril, Marhoom Sidde Lebbe along with Marhoom Wapichi Marikar with the full assistance of Marhoom Orabi Pasha, who always voiced and fought on behalf of Muslim umma and was later exiled from Egypt to Sri Lanka by the British rulers, took the initiative to form this institution under the name of “Al Madrasathul Khairiyyathul Islamiah” on 15th November 1884. The name was given by none other than Marhoom Orabi Pasha, who made a heart moving speech at the Opening Ceremony of the school at the premises. This oration made an electrifying effect and changed the minds of the Muslim community who were once divided into many groups and fighting with each other. Known as Anglo-Mohamedian School by the British, the circumstances looked propitious for the future of the school. The feeling was overwhelming that a new era had dawned for the Muslim community.

Year 1901 - another important event took place in the history of the Muslim world as well as the history of the School. During this year, the Muslim world celebrated the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Ottoman Empire becoming the custodian of the Holy Shrines. To make this celebration even more meaningful, the then trustee of the Grand Mosque, Marhoom I. L. M. Noordeen Hajihar built the new building for the school by his own money and renamed the school as “Al Madrasathul Hameediah” during the celebrations. Another major event that took place in the same year was the Farewell Ceremony for Marhoom Orabi Pasha, who was one of its founding fathers, held at the school premises when he was leaving from Ceylon to Egypt. In 1921, the school was again renamed as “Hameediah Boys’ English School.

During this period, Marhoom Justice M. C. Akbar initiated to form the Ceylon Moslem Educational Society Ltd. Founded in 1919 with the noble objective of looking after the educational needs of the Muslim community, his movement founded its first school in the name of “Akbar School” at Hulftsdorp Street, which was later shifted to Husseiniya Street (then Kuruwe Street) and renamed as “Husseinie Boys’ English School.” Both schools strived hard in their noble objective of educating the Muslim community and it was always a healthy competition between them in any activity – be it education or sports.

Both schools survived for decades, facing bravely all the challenges that came in front of them, and witnessed all the changes that happened around them. In 1951, Hameediah Boys’ English School was upgraded as a senior secondary school.

In 1961, Sri Lanka witnessed a major policy change in its educational system. The Government took over many of the traditional Management Schools under its wing. Then Minister of Education, Marhoom Dr. Badiudin Mahmud, who felt it was a need for a big school for the Muslim community in the Colombo Central electorate, amalgamated both Hameediah Boys’ English School and Husseiniya Boys’ English School and he himself gave the name “Hameed Al Husseinie Maha Vidyalaya.”  This paved the way for the construction of new buildings and other facilities for the school and the Ministry of Education providing qualified staff.

On 29th August 1972, Hon. Late Pieter Keuneman and Marhoom Dr. Al-Haj Badiudin Mahmud visited the school and unveiled the stones for the new five storey building block and 3 storey Science section. These buildings were completed in 1982 and late President Ranasinghe Premadasa (Then Prime Minister) visited the school and declared open on 03 June 1982 by the invitation of then Minister of Education Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe.

The school got its College status in 1991, and is being called Hameed Al Husseinie College then onwards and it was elevated to a National School in July 26th 1996.

In 1997, foundation stone for Fowzie Building and Hall was laid by then Minister of Education, Late Hon. Richard Pathirana, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Governor of the Western Province Hon. Seyyed Alavi Moulana and Hon. Al-Haj A. H. M. Fowzie, Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development. This building was declared open by Hon. Reginald Cooray, then Deputy Minister of Education and Higher Education on 02nd October 2000.

On 25th November 2002, then Minister of Urban Public Utilities Hon. Al-haj Mohamed Mahroof visited the school and declared open the Thajudeen Block which was initiated by Al-haj Tuan Thajudeen who was an old boy of the school and was completed by Al-haj A. L. M. Yoosuf.

On 20th January 2004, Mahroof Building was declared open by Ash Sheik Ajward Abdullah Al Fassy Al Macciash Shazulee on the request of the Minister of Urban Public Utilities Hon. Al-haj Mohamed Mahroof.


A Stamp was released On 30th July 2009 to remark 125th Anniversary, view images here

On 19th December 2009, foundation stone for the construction of Fowzie Bridge was laid by Hon. Al-haj A. H. M. Fowzie who was then Minister of Transport and Highways at the request of Hon. M. Nauzer Fowzie, Member of the Western Provincial Council. The Bridge was declared open by Minister of Education Hon. Susil Premajayanth on 06th November 2006.

On the same day, Hon. Susil Premajayanth placed the foundation stone for a new four storey building on the request made by Hon. A. H. M. Fowzie. Insha Allah, we hope to see this new unit coming up soon in the near future.

Years can pass – the memories are written in gold letters on the pages of the College’s history – a history that never seize to see its end. All glory goes to Almighty Allah who nurtured and provided strength through the heart and mind of all respected people of the past and through unstinted support from each and everyone at present including the Ministry of Education and the present Ministers of the Government and respected parliamentarians, provincial councilors, philanthropists and well-wishers, Alhamdulillah.