Great national leader
Alhaj Sir Razik Fareed’s 26th death anniversary:
Sir Razik was a great
revivalist and ardent campaigner for the rights of the Ceylon Moors. He
was one of the few Statesmen with the rare distinction of having served
in the Supreme Legislative assemblies of the land Al Haj M C A Cader
Sir Razik was eloquent in his speeches. He was a picture of elegance
being immaculately dressed complete with the red fez cap and the orchid
adorning his coat buttonhole. Sir Razik Fareed was a man well ahead of
his times. His greatest achievement is that while he spent his entire
life fostering the distinct identity of the Ceylon Moor, an ethnic
community second to none in our country. He ensured that they were
equitably benefitted without prejudice to the right of the other
Alhaj Sir Razik Fareed’s
Sir Razik Fareed was born with a silver spoon in his mouth as a
grandson of great Muslim leader Wappache Marikar and son of another
leader M S Abdul Rahman. Wappache Marikar was the heir to the wealth of
noble lady in the line of an Arab parsonage named Sheik Fareed migrated
to Ceylon in the year 1060 with a number of his followers.
In 1893, W M Abdul Raheman was resident at Layard’s Broadway. On the
10th day of Muharramme 1312 i.e. December 29, 1893, was born young Razik.
His mother was Hajara Umma, elder daughter of Esubu Lebbe Marikar Hajiar.
His mother passed away when he was only three years old, barely 27th day
after birth of his young sister, Ummu Rakeeba. He received his early
education along with sister Ummu Razeena at Ferdinand’s school at
As Islam required good grounding in Arabic, so as to be able to
recite and understand the Holy Quaran, Sir Razik attended Al Madrasathul
Zahira (The Maradana Mohammedan Boys’ School). In keeping with his
grandfather’s wish that Moor children must have a good knowledge of
English, he attended once again the school conducted by O E Martinus.
At the age of 11 he gained entrance to Royal College. His grandfather
and father had done distinguished service to the brethren in Islam. It
was fitting that only male in the third generation should follow. Sir
Razik, an illustrious son of Sri Lanka was a great Statesman and an
indefatigable social worker. He was in the forefront of the religious,
social and cultural movement of the Muslim community and Sri Lanka in
general and his contributions were very valuable.
Sir Razik Fareed was a strong believer in a united Sri Lanka. Of him
the late Prime Minister S W R D Bandaranaike said in 1948: “I regard
Razik not only as the leader of the Ceylon Moors but also as one of the
greatest Ceylonese leaders.” To this end he served all communities
without discrimination, striving to integrate them as common citizens in
In him the Moors of Ceylon have the most spirited champion. He worked
assiduously in the Moor cause. A bold imaginative man, he was full of
forethought and foresight. He was not one to be paralysed by large fears
and small aims. A keen observer of man and matters, he knew fully well
the limitations of men.
Gift of expression
He had political sagacity. He had an acute sense of the beauty of his
life. His greatest gift was the God (Allah) given power to inspire
others to great and noble deed. What endeared him to all was a tint of
humor and gift of expression. Although inclined to be blunt and
outspoken at times, the finer nature of him brought about the best.
He was also a freedom fighter who championed the cause of free Ceylon
and free education. Sir Razik played many important roles in the
political arena of his day as a Municipal Councillor, Senator,
Parliamentarian and a Cabinet Minister and later as Sri Lanka’s
Ambassador to Pakistan and Iran. In 1953, he attended the Coronation of
Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II at the Westminster Abbey, accompanied
by Lady Fareed.
Sir Razik will always be remembered as a prominent personality among
the contemporary leaders of Sri Lanka. He was honoured by the State
which released a postage stamp depicting him as a great national leader.
He eschewed violence as means of satisfying the legitimate aspirations
of his people.
We are proud of this great son of Sri Lanka and we do hope the people
of all communities will emulate his example in striving to create a
country in which peace and harmony will prevail among all people with
discrimination towards none. He led the Moor community on the correct
He gave up his life and ease and comfort and girdled himself to serve
his country and community. He contested and won the New Bazaar Ward of
the Colombo Municipal Council in 1931. On March 17, 1936 he was
nominated to the State Council as an accredited representative of the
On October 1947 he was selected a Senator. Even though the Senate
enjoyed precedence, it was no place for a popular leader who commands
and respect and admiration of the community. Thereafter he resigned from
the Senate on April 25, 1952 and contested the Colombo Central Seat in
Parliament and won. He retained the Seat at the election held in 1956
and July 1960. In 1965, he was nominated to Parliament.
In recognition of his service to his country and community was
appointed a Justice of the Peace and Unofficial Magistrate in 1932. Sir
Razik was conferred the Imperial Honour of MBE in 1948 and made a Knight
Bachelor in 1951. He was not only a Senator and Parliamentarian but he
was also the Deputy Speaker, Minister and an Ambassador
Establishment of Government Muslim Schools
*Establishment of Muslim Training Colleges
* Appointment of Muslim Teachers, Moulavis and Inspectors of
Schools for Arabic
* Introduced the first Muslim reader for primary classes and
declaration of Meelad-un-Nabi Prophet’s Birthday as a National
* Obtained ratio for Ceylon Moors in matter of appointments to
* He also obtained recognition to the Unani system of medicine
Sir Razik’s contribution to education was remarkable. He spent his
wealth on education and donated a building for the Muslim Ladies College
at Bambalapitiya, Colombo. He worked hard to establish Government Muslim
Schools throughout the island, set up Muslim Training Colleges and a
separate unit for the education of Muslims. It was due to his efforts
the Moulavis and Inspectors of Arabic were appointed to Muslim schools.
Sir Razik’s name will always be remembered as the Father of Government
To give political leadership to Muslims he made use of the All-Ceylon
Moors’ Association of which he was the lifetime President till his
demise in the year 1984. He was able to open over 300 branches of the
All-Ceylon Moors’ Association in every part of the island personally
visiting these areas. In the year 1970, he donated a valuable piece of
land to the All-Ceylon Moors’ Association at Aramaya Place, Baseline
The establishment of the Moors’ Islamic Cultural Home (MICH) is
another landmark of his activities. He was one of the founding fathers
along with W M Hassim, JP, A H Macan Markar, A I L Marikar and A L M
Lafir, JP, on August 2, 1944. He was the President since the
inauguration till his demise.
Sir Razik toiled hard for the emancipation of the common man
irrespective of caste, creed or race. He was in the forefront of
religious, social and cultural revival of Muslims in particular and Sri
Lanka in general. He was also a freedom fighter.
Although Sir Razik was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his
mouth this did not prevent him moving close to each and every
individual. He was a strong believer in a united Sri Lanka. His sincere
hope was to foster Yonaka-Sinhala Unity.
|* Born on
December 29, 1893
* Worked for Moor cause
* Championed the cause of free Ceylon
* He won CMC New BazarWard in1931
* Nominated to State Council in 1936
* Became Senator in 1947
* Elected to Parliament in 1952
* Made MBE in 1948 and knighted in 1951
* He was also Deputy Speaker, Minister and Ambassador
* Donated building for Muslim Ladies College, Bambalapitiya
Sir Razik will remain a legend for all times in the history of the
country. He was also known as the Uncrowned King of Ceylon Moors. Sir
Razik had the privilege of seeing his grandparents and seeing his great
great grandchildren. This is either a world record or a rare
Like his grandfather Wappache Marikar, a philanthropist Sir Razik
followed his footsteps and there was nothing left for him when he
breathed his last.
Even his wife’s property with a large extent and a building was
donated to the MICH which runs the Lady Fareed Home for Elders at Makola,
He was laid to rest on August 23,1984 at M.I.C.H. Pasha Vilal
Dematagoda, Colombo which was nearest and dearest to his heart. Not a
single Muslim could help but to shed a silent tear at the passing away
of this colossus of a man. His janaza, after prayers at the Colombo
Grand Mosque was carried to its last resting place at ‘Pasha Villa’,
MICH, Dematagoda, by a mulltitude.
Thousands of students clad in white from Muslim schools lined up on
either side of the road leading from Messenger Street to Dematagoda to
pay homage to this great leader of the Ceylon Moors. Though Sir Razik
Fareed is no more, his name will remain forever in the minds of
generations yet to be born as the undisputed leader of the Ceylon Moors,
whose entire life had been a saga devoted to the service of his
May his soul attain Jennathul Firedouse - Aameen!
(The writer is a member of the Board of Trustees of M. I. C. H.
and Member of the Board of Directors Sir Razik Fareed Foundation)