Masjid ul Abrar

Masjidul Abraar Grand Jummah Masjid

The history of Masjid Al-Abrar – The first mosque of Sri Lanka

The Masjidul Abrar Jumma Mosque at Beruwala is claimed to be the very first mosque built in Sri Lanka as far back as 920 AD. Monumentally steeped in history it is also claimed to be the origin of Islam in the country.

It was constructed by early Arab settlers. The burial grounds adjoining the mosque where their bodies lie, together with 40 Awliyas (saints ), bear testimony to its heritage. The tomb of an ardent follower (holy man) Aseyyed Assheik Sihabbudeen Waliyallah is even today nurtured with reverence at this location where Meezan stones lie scattered from among which one such stone taken from here is in the city museum in London today.

The mosque built near the beach at Maradana (Beruwela) is still in its pristine form despite renovations and expansions through the years including its roof in 1893 propped by large round pillars.

The building itself is good for another 100 years but to meet the ever increasing demand for space to accommodate worshipers for Jumma prayers further renovations were conducted in 1986 when negative features of Islamic architecture prevalent hitherto were replaced with exclusive architectural values.

New features found in the Grand Mosque in Bong City in Pakistan and a mosque in Turkey have been added to modernise it.

These striking architectural features against the background of the impressive pond opposite the mosque is a scene to behold. Arabic Muslims or the forefathers of present day Sri Lankan moors, who were an influential group of traders, are reported to have paid income taxes to Sinhala rulers as far back as 1340 and ancient coins of that era have been found at Beruwela.

Sinhala literature such as Sandesh Kavya and Tissara Kavya and Gira Sandesaya, works of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries refer to the Arab Muslim inhabitants, who enhanced their activities and reached a peak together with political influence till the arrival of the Portuguese and the position of their women during that time. Just as the very first mosque in Sri Lanka is situated at Maradana in Beruwela, so were the very first Muslim Girls College, Al-Fasiyathul Nasriya muslim college, the first Educational Centre and several other schools at Beruwela (Arabic : Berberyne) established, the town that also boasts of having introduced weaving into Sri Lanka from India.

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