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Muslim Culture

From where did the Moors come

By Asiff Hussein The origins of the Sri Lankan Moors is a matter that has aroused much controversy in academic circles. While it is generally believed that the Moors are descended from Arabian merchants who espoused local women, there are those historians who continue to argue that the Moors originally …

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The Land of the Matri Clans

by ASIFF HUSSEIN Little is it known that the Moors of the Eastern districts such as Ampara possess a unique form of social organisation known as the kudi system. The system known to the folk here as the kudivali or ‘clan lineage’ extends from Kattankudi in the north to Pottuvil …

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Kataragama – The Land of Khidr

by Asiff Hussein Little is it known that Kataragama, the centre of the Skanda cult among Hindus and Buddhists, has a place in Muslim hearts as well. The sanctity attached to the place by local Muslims revolves round not on Skanda, but a mysterious being called al-Khidr or ‘The Green …

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Unani medicine

Unani medicine – a Greek medical tradition of the Muslims By ASIFF HUSSEIN Unani medicine has a proud tradition that goes back to millennia. Its origins lie in ancient Greece among the founding fathers of modern medicine such as Hippocrates. In fact, the very term Unani (pronounced yu-naa-nee) means ‘Greek’ …

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Fezzes and Surat Toppis

Headdresses of the Muslims of Old By Asiff Hussein Surattu Toppi The ordinary headgear of the Muslims of Sri Lanka in the olden days was a white skullcap. However the head-dress usually worn by the more affluent Muslims was an altogether different type of head-gear. It was a costly multi-coloured, …

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