Author Topic: The Maldives and the Sacrificial Girl  (Read 78 times)


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Did you know that Maldives islands inhabitants became Muslim as a result of one Muslim man’s endeavors who also rid them of the demon that haunted them?
This man is Sheikh Abul Barakat Yusuf who is a Moroccan Berber. He introduced Islam to them alone in 1153 AD with no army, infantry, or ammunition; he used the Quran alone.
The traveler and scholar Ibn Battuta, who passed by the islands during the 14 century and worked as a judge for some time there, in his famous book, Tuhfat an-Nuzzar fi Ghara’ib al-‘Amsar wa ^Aja’ib al-‘Asfar" تحفة النظار في غرائب الأمصار وعجائب الأسفار " (A gift to those who contemplate the wonders of cities and the marvels of traveling), commonly known as The Rihla ( الرحلة), said that trustworthy Muslims among the island’s inhabitant scholars, like ‘Isa al-Yemeni, Mu’allim ‘Aliyy, ‘Abdullah and others told him that the islands’ inhabitants were not Muslim, and that each month a demon from the devils would appear from the ocean. It was as if he was filled with lanterns. Their habit upon seeing him was to sacrifice a virgin girl, decorating her and placing her in the temple. This temple was built on the ocean’s beach. It had a window through which the demon would look in. They would leave her for one night and come in the morning to find her raped and dead. Each month they conducted a drawing amongst them, and the chosen one would sacrifice his/her daughter.
One day a Moroccan man, Abul Barakat al-Barbari, arrived at their islands. He used to memorize the Quran and he stayed at the house of an elderly woman amongst them. One day, he came in to find many of her relatives there crying as if someone died. He asked what was wrong but did not understand. A translator came and informed him that the old woman’s only daughter was chosen at the drawing to be sacrificed for the demon. Abul Barakat said, “I will go tonight instead of your daughter.” He had no beard, so they took him that night and left him in the temple. He had wudu’ ( ablution) and began reading Quran. When he saw the demon through the window, he continued reading. When the demon was close enough to hear the recitation it dove back into the sea.
Morning came and the Moroccan Muslim was still reciting. The old lady, her family, and the people of the island came to take the body of the girl and burn her, as was their habit. They found the Moroccan man reciting from the Quran and they took him to their king, Shanuzah, and told him what happened. He was amazed; the Moroccan told him to embrace Islam and made it appealing to him. so the king said, “Stay here for another month, and if you do the same thing and escape the demon again I will embrace Islam.”
The Moroccan stayed and God made Islam appeal to the king’s heart so he embraced Islam before the month passed. His family in its entirety and his subjects all embraced Islam as well. The next month the Moroccan was taken to the temple; the demon did not appear, and the Moroccan recited Quran till morning. The ruler came with the people to find the Moroccan reciting Quran; they broke the idols and demolished the temple. They embraced Islam and informed the rest of the islands in the Maldives chain of what happened and their inhabitants also embraced Islam. The Moroccan stayed among them, and they esteemed and exalted him. They learned and followed his school of thought, that of imam Malik, may God raise his rank. To this day, because of him, they highly esteem the Moroccans and there is a mosque named after him, on which is written on the wood of one compartment of that mosque Sultan Ahmad Shanuzah embraced Islam on the hand of the Moroccan Abul Barakat al-Barbariyy.
Maldives, known as a a tropical prime tourist destination due to its pristine beaches, is a country in South East Asia in the Indian ocean, comprised of hundreds of islands. The biggest Island is Male, the capital, where the mosque that the Sultan built is still in use, the Old Friday Mosque. The last renovation of this mosque was in 1656. The door and window frames are made from corals. Opposite to that mosque is the famous cemetery, the Medhuziyaaraiy, where Sheikh Abul Barakat's grave is located.