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Islam in Sri Lanka

Islam in Sri Lanka

Overview
Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

is practiced by a group of minorities who make up approximately 10% of the population.on the 2001 census of GOSL shows there are 1,711,000 Muslims The Muslim community is divided into three main ethnic groups: the Sri Lankan Moors, the Indian Muslims, and the Malays, each with its own history and traditions. The attitude among the majority of people in Sri Lanka is to use the term '"Muslim" as an ethnic group, specifically when referring to Sri Lankan Moors.





With the arrival of Arab traders in the 8th century, Islam began to flourish in Sri Lanka.
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Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

is practiced by a group of minorities who make up approximately 10% of the population.on the 2001 census of GOSL shows there are 1,711,000 Muslims The Muslim community is divided into three main ethnic groups: the Sri Lankan Moors, the Indian Muslims, and the Malays, each with its own history and traditions. The attitude among the majority of people in Sri Lanka is to use the term '"Muslim" as an ethnic group, specifically when referring to Sri Lankan Moors.



History of Islam in Sri Lanka



With the arrival of Arab traders in the 8th century, Islam began to flourish in Sri Lanka. The first people to profess the Islamic faith were Arab merchants and their native wives, whom they married after converting to Islam. By the 15th century, Arab traders had controlled much of the trade on the Indian Ocean, including that of Sri Lanka's. Many of them settled down on the island in large numbers, encouraging the spread of Islam. However, when the Portuguese arrived during the 16th century, many of their descendants- the Sri Lankan Moors
Sri Lankan Moors
The Sri Lankan Moors are the third largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka comprising 8% of the country's total population . They are predominantly followers of Islam. The Moors trace their ancestry to Arab traders who settled in Sri Lanka some time between the 8th and 15th centuries...

- were persecuted, thus forcing them to migrate to the Central Highlands and to the east coast of the country.

During 18th and 19th centuries, Javanese and Malaysian Muslims bought over by the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 rulers contributed to the growing Muslim population in Sri Lanka. Their descendants, now the Sri Lankan Malays
Sri Lankan Malays
The Malays of Sri Lanka originated in Southeast Asia and today consist of about 50,000 people...

, adapted several Sri Lankan Moor Islamic traditions while also contributing their unique cultural Islamic practices to other Muslim groups on the Island.

The arrival of Muslims from India during the 19th and 20th centuries has also contributed to the growth of Islam in Sri Lanka. Most notably, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i and South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

n Muslims have introduced Shia Islam and the Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 school of thought into Sri Lanka, however although most Muslims on the island still adhere to the traditional practices of Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

.

In modern times, Muslims in Sri Lanka are handled by the Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Department, which was established in the 1980s to prevent the continual isolation of the Muslim community from the rest of Sri Lanka. Today, about 10% of Sri Lankans adhere to Islam; and there are approximately 5,000 mosques, with every mosque having a commitee to lookafter the community affairs. Muslims of Sri lanka, mostly from the Moor
Sri Lankan Moors
The Sri Lankan Moors are the third largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka comprising 8% of the country's total population . They are predominantly followers of Islam. The Moors trace their ancestry to Arab traders who settled in Sri Lanka some time between the 8th and 15th centuries...

 and Malay
Sri Lankan Malays
The Malays of Sri Lanka originated in Southeast Asia and today consist of about 50,000 people...

 ethnic communities on the island with smaller numbers of converts from other ethnicities, such as the Sinhalese
Sinhalese people
The Sinhalese are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group,forming the majority of Sri Lanka,constituting 74% of the Sri Lankan population.They number approximately 15 million worldwide.The Sinhalese identity is based on language, heritage and religion. The Sinhalese speak Sinhala, an Indo-Aryan language and the...

.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

 was established in Sri Lanka in 1915. But the other Muslim Communities consider Ahamadiyya as a separate non-Muslim religion.

Sri Lankan Moors




The Sri Lankan Moors make up almost 92% of the Muslim population and 9.23% of the total population of the country. They are predominantly Sunni Muslims of Shafi School. The Moors trace their ancestry to Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 traders who settled in Sri Lanka some time between the eighth and fifteenth centuries. The Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 brought by the early merchants is no longer spoken, though various Arabic words and phrases are still employed in daily usage. Until the recent past, the Moors employed Arwi
Arwi language
Arwi is a written register of the Tamil language that uses an Arabic alphabet. It typically has extensive lexical influences from the Arabic language. Arwi was used extensively by the Muslim minority of Tamil Nadu state of India and Sri Lanka...

 as their mother tongue, though this is also extinct as a spoken language. Currently, the Moors in the east of Sri Lanka use Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 as their primary language which includes many loan words from Arabic. Moors in the west coast are fluent in Sinhala, an Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 language spoken by the Sinhalese
Sinhalese people
The Sinhalese are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group,forming the majority of Sri Lanka,constituting 74% of the Sri Lankan population.They number approximately 15 million worldwide.The Sinhalese identity is based on language, heritage and religion. The Sinhalese speak Sinhala, an Indo-Aryan language and the...

 majority in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, but use English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 within the community. Thus, the Moors are a multilingual ethnic and religious group, lacking linguistic cohesion.

The Sri Lankan Moors lived primarily in coastal trading and agricultural communities, preserving their Islamic cultural heritage while adopting many Southern Asian customs. During the period of Portuguese colonization, the Moors suffered from persecution, and many moved to the Central Highlands, where their descendants remain.

Education


There are 749 Muslim Schools in Sri lanka,and 205 madrasas which teaching Islamic Education, and there is an Islamic university in Beruwala (Jamiya Naleemiya). In early 20th century there are few Muslim professionals in Accounts, Medical, Engineering, etc. But at present they are exceeding the national average. Due to lack of opportunity in Sri Lanka, many Muslim professionals are migrating to get jobs abroad, such as the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

East Coast Moors


On the eastern province of the country muslims are predominent.east cost, Sri Lankan Moors are primarily farmers, fishermen, and traders. Their family lines are traced through women, as in kinship systems of the southwest Indian state of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, but they govern themselves through Islamic law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

.

West Coast Moors


Many moors in the west of the island are traders, professionals or civil servants and are mainly concentrated in Colombo
Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

, Kalutara
Kalutara
Kalutara is a resort town located approximately 40 km south of Colombo in Sri Lanka.- Overview :Once an important spice-trading center, the city's name is derived from the Kalu Ganga River . In the 11th Century, the town was temporarily made a capital on the orders of a South Indian Prince...

 and Beruwala
Beruwala
Beruwala, is a small resort town in the south western coastal belt of Sri Lanka. The name Beruwala is derived from the Sinhalese word for the place where the sail is lowered. It marks the spot for the first Muslim settlement on the island, established by Arab traders around the 8th century AD...

. Moors in Puttalam
Puttalam
Puttalam is the capital city of the Puttalam District in North Western Province, Sri Lanka.-History:The history of this dry zone dates back to the arrival of Prince Vijaya, nearly 2500 years ago, when his vessel washed ashore. The name "Puttalam" may be a modification of the Tamil word Uppuththalam...

 and Mannar
Mannar, Sri Lanka
Mannar , formerly spelled Manar, is the capital of Mannar District, Sri Lanka. It is located on Mannar Island.Mannar is known for its baobab trees and for its fort, built by the Portuguese in 1560 and taken by the Dutch in 1658 and rebuilt; its ramparts and bastions are intact, though the interior...

 predominantly make a living as prawn farmers, and fishermen. Moors in the west coast trace their family lines through their father. Along with those in the Central Province, the surname of many Moors in Colombo
Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

, Kalutara
Kalutara
Kalutara is a resort town located approximately 40 km south of Colombo in Sri Lanka.- Overview :Once an important spice-trading center, the city's name is derived from the Kalu Ganga River . In the 11th Century, the town was temporarily made a capital on the orders of a South Indian Prince...

 and Puttalam
Puttalam
Puttalam is the capital city of the Puttalam District in North Western Province, Sri Lanka.-History:The history of this dry zone dates back to the arrival of Prince Vijaya, nearly 2500 years ago, when his vessel washed ashore. The name "Puttalam" may be a modification of the Tamil word Uppuththalam...

 is their fathers first name, thus retaining similarity to the traditional Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 and middle eastern kinship system.

The Malays





The Malay
Sri Lankan Malays
The Malays of Sri Lanka originated in Southeast Asia and today consist of about 50,000 people...

s of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 originated in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 and today consist of about 50,000 persons. Their ancestors came to the country when both Sri Lanka and Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 were colonies of the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. Most of the early Malay immigrants were soldiers, posted by the Dutch colonial administration to Sri Lanka, who decided to settle on the island. Other immigrants were convicts or members of noble houses from Indonesia who were exiled to Sri Lanka and who never left. The main source of a continuing Malay identity is their common Malay language
Sri Lanka Malay
The Sri Lankan Malay is an Austronesian language formed through a unique mixture of the Sinhalese language and the Tamil language with Malay...

 (Bahasa Melayu), which includes numerous words absorbed from Sinhalese and the Moorish
Sri Lankan Moors
The Sri Lankan Moors are the third largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka comprising 8% of the country's total population . They are predominantly followers of Islam. The Moors trace their ancestry to Arab traders who settled in Sri Lanka some time between the 8th and 15th centuries...

 variant of the Tamil language. In the 1980s, the Malays made up about 5 % of the Muslim population in Sri Lanka and, like the Moors
Sri Lankan Moors
The Sri Lankan Moors are the third largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka comprising 8% of the country's total population . They are predominantly followers of Islam. The Moors trace their ancestry to Arab traders who settled in Sri Lanka some time between the 8th and 15th centuries...

, predominantly follow the Shafi school of thought within Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

.

Indian Muslims (Memons, Bhoras, Khojas)



The Indian Muslims are those who trace their origins to immigrants searching for business opportunities during the colonial period. Some of these people came to the country as far back as Portuguese times; others arrived during the British period from various parts of India. Majority of them came from Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 and Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 states, and unlike the Sri Lankan Moors, are ethnically related to South Indians and number approximately 30,000. The Memon, originally from Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 (in modern Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

), first arrived in 1870; in the 1980s they numbered only about 3,000, they mostly follow the Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 Sunni school of Islam.

The Dawoodi Bohras and the Khoja
Khoja
The Khojas are ethnic group of Shia Muslims. The word Khoja derives from Khwaja, a Persian title .In Pakistan, many Khojas migrated to and settled in the province of Sindh and especially in the city of Karachi. While in India, most Khojas live in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and...

 are Shi'a Muslims came from northwestern India (Gujarat state) after 1880; in the 1980s they collectively numbered fewer than 2,000. These groups tended to retain their own places of worship and the languages of their ancestral homelands.

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