Marhoom M. C. Siddi Lebbe

Marhoom Mohammado Cassim Siddi Lebbe was one of the Founding fathers of Hameed Al Husseinie College, along with Marhoom Wapichi Marikar and Orabi Pasha, initiated to form the first Muslim Boys’ School in 1884 under the name “Al Madrasathul Khariyathul Islamiya”. Born on 11th June 1838, M.C. Siddi Lebbe, was a lawyer, educationist, scholar, philosopher, seer, writer, publisher, social reformer and visionary.

Born in Kandy to a family where intellectual and religious pursuits were encouraged, he was determined to follow his father M. L. Siddi Lebbe's footsteps. His father was one of the 1st Ceylonese proctors, and was the Head Moorman of the district in 1833. Siddi Lebbe became a proctor in 1862 at the age of 24. He practiced in the District Court of Kandy as well as the Supreme Court. He was a member of the Kandy Municipal Council representing Ward No. 4 for eight years. He also acted as Municipal Magistrate for four years.

Siddi Lebbe felt that the Muslims should be aroused to realize their sorry state in education. They were educationally backward, economically stagnant, culturally isolated, religiously obscurantist, intellectually sterile and politically insignificant. This he sought to achieve through the Arabic-Tamil weekly, he founded to which he gave the name 'Muslim Naisen'. To uplift the educational needs of the Muslim community, he along with his companions initiated many schools in the island.

Although he was a rich man, at the time of his death, he had either sold or mortgaged the major part of his properties in order to finance these schools. He also started the First Muslim Girl's School in Kandy where his sister was the Head Teacher.

He passed away on 5th February 1898, the entire Muslim population has paid homage to the inspiring life and work of Marhoom Sidde Lebbe as one of the greatest sons of mother Lanka. It is due to these factors, the Government included the name of Marhoom Sidde Lebbe in the list of National Heroes. In addition, Rs. 1 Stamp was issued on 11th June 1977.


Marhoom Orabi Pasha

Born in 1841 in Horiyeh, Egypt, Ahmed Orabi (well known as Orabi Pasha) was the peasant son of a village sheikh. After studying at Al-Azhar, he was conscripted to the Army and rose to be a remarkable officer. He was the leader of the National Revolt in Egypt. The discrimination in the Army and mismanagement of the Khedive led to the formation of the National Movement in 1881 under the leadership of Colonel Orabi. They compelled the Khedive to appoint a Revolutionary Government with Orabi as War Minister.Orabi led a national revolt against the injustices of the Turkish ruler Fewfik, who called on the British to protect him.

The Egyptians under Orabi fought gallantly but vainly against the British troops who entered Cairo and occupied Egypt for 70 years. He was arrested and sentenced with six other officers to exile for life in Ceylon.

In a cold and gloomy night, these seven vanquished officers were sent, together with their families by a special train to Suez under stringent precautions. On the next day, 27th December they left Suez in the specially chartered ship SS Mariotis to Ceylon.

On 10th January 1893, the ship Mariotis anchored in the Colombo Harbour. The Muslim Community, who had religious and racial ties with the exiles-gathered in large number to receive the 'Heroes' with garlands. As soon as the leaders landed, the people shouted loudly and followed them in a big demonstration. The Police cleared the way to the carriages prepared to transfer the exiles to their residences. Orabi Pasha was taken to the Lake House and the rest to different places. To each house a Muslim constable was assigned to guard the occupants. Thus was the scenario when they landed in Ceylon.

The Egyptian leaders, expecting that they would spend their whole life in exile, asked for English education for their children. They also established good relations with the prominent Muslim personalities on that time such as Wapichi Marikar and Sidde Lebbe. Orabi Pasha became very popular among Muslims in the island and he helped Sidde Lebbe and Wapichi Marikar in forming the first Muslim Boys’ School under the name of “Al Madrasathul Khariyathul Islamiya”. He himself paid Rs. 100 from his allowances for the salary of the teaching staff of the school.

Orabi Pasha was so much influential in making the Muslim community to understand the need of better education. He helped the other two in initiating many schools in many parts of the island. Orabi Pasha lived in Colombo until 1892, then moved to Kandy to the house known as 'Arabi House' and stayed there until he was pardoned in 1901.

On May 1901, the final pardon for Orabi Pasha arrived in the island and permitted to return home. A grand farewell gathering was arranged for Orabi Pasha and his associates at Al Madrasathul Khariyathul Islamiya where wide scale of celebrations were held with recital of prayers of Arabic poems of salutations as well as special prayers for the safe return of the party to their homeland.

On the 17th September 1901 the German Ship 'Princess Irene' sailed from Colombo Harbour carrying Orabi Pasha and his family to their motherland Egypt, where he died peacefully on 21st September 1911.

The Orabi Pasha Museum (formally Orabi House) at George E. de Silva Mawatha, Kandy was inaugurated on 13th November 1983 and remembering his yeoman service to the educational needs of the Muslim community, part of Maradana Road was named as Orabi Pasha Road and a 50 cts. Commemorative stamp was released on the same day.


Marhoom Justice M. T. Akbar

Marhoom Justice M. T. Akbar was the Founding father of Hussenie Boys’ English School which was later amalgamated with Hameediah Boys’ English School in 1963.

Born in 1880, Justice Akbar, was the first to adore the Supreme Court Bench and he was the first Ceylon Muslim to be raised to the status of a King’s Counsel. At the time of his retirement, he was the senior-most Puisne Justice.Born in a wealthy family, he showed great interest in the educational needs of the Muslim Community as well as Muslim law in the country.

He realised the educational backwardness of the Muslim community formed the Moslem Educational Society Ltd in 1919 and served as the Founder Secretary. During this time, he formed the first Muslim School under the name “Akbar School” in Hulftsdorp. His main intention was to give education to the children of middle class families that refrain their children from going to school due to financial constrains. This paved the way for many families in the close vicinity to send their children to get education.

Later, the Moslem Educational Society Ltd. bought the property at No. 45, then Kuruwe Street (now Husseiniya Street) and shifted the school there and thus the School got its new name Husseinie Boys’ English School. Justice M. T. Akbar passed away on 22nd April 1944. To honour his service to the community, his name adorns one of the Roads in Colombo 02 as Justice Akbar Mawatha.


Marhoom A. M. Wapichi Marikar

Marhoom Arasy Marikar Wapichi Marikar was another Founding father of Hameed Al Husseinie College. He gave the major financial support to initiate and to form the first Muslim Boys’ School in 1884 under the name “Al Madrasathul Khariyathul Islamiya”. Born in a well to do family during the colonial era, he was one of the major financial contributors as well as principle architectural consultant in building many buildings. He was the main architect of many buildings built during his time such as General Post Office, the Colombo Museum, Colombo Customs, Colombo Town Hall in Pettah, the Galle Face Hotel, Victoria Arcade, etc.

He always thought of his community’s educational, welfare, religious and economical needs and looked out for ways and means to help with the wealth he had. When Marhoom Sidde Lebbe came down from Kandy and started his educational movement in 1880s with a lecture at the Maradana Mosque hall, Wapichi Marikar wholeheartedly joined with Sidde Lebbe and supported him in his activities. This paved the way of bringing up many Muslim schools on that time. He was a pious Muslim who created many mosques and served as a trusty in many mosques and liberally spent his own money for maintaining these mosques. He passed away on 14th May 1925 at the age of 96.