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Hilali dynasty begins
As told by the famous Burara Mohamed Fulu and written by Al-haj Ibrahim Ibn Ismail Feeboa
Translated by Fareesha Abdulla, assisted by Majid Abdul-Wahhab and Michael O'Shea
2000-2011


King Hilali Hassan
Official Maldivian records translated by HCP Bell show that king Hilali Hassan I ruled from 1388 until his death in 1397.
His son, king Ibrahim I, held power for only four months until Hassan I's brother, Hussein I, took the throne in 1398 and held it until he died in 1409.

King Mohamed the Learned was the son of Mabandeyri Yusuf Handeygirin (known as Nisfu Handeygirin), and the grandson of Hulule' Abbas.
Mohamed ruled for only 11 months around 1420-1421.
'The right of his daughter Tukabafan to occupy the throne was rejected by rival Hilali claimants,' writes HCP Bell, 'on the unsound ground (Salic law) that 'a woman cannot exercise sovereign rule.'

Haji Hassan was twice made king.
He was the son of king Abu Bakir I and Bulau Mava Kilege.
Hassan ruled from 1442 to 1467 and lost power for a year when he went on the haj.
Hassan overthrew his usurper, an Arab named Sayyid Mohamed, when he returned to Male' and died in 1468.
Haji Hassan's chief judge was Shirazi Hassan.
The king ignored the advice of a famous scholar named Al-Fagi Suleiman of Mecca, according to Bell's Tareek, and the Maldivian king was cursed by God and 'died of a terrible and agonising disease.'

King Veeru Umar comes from a much earlier period.
He was king from 1306 until his death in 1341.
Umar's names in the official records, and from Ibn Batuta's Rehla, are king Umar Veera Jalaludeen and Umar Kalaminja.

Now listen!
Hassan became king and when he was on the throne, descendants of the Hilali family heard the news and returned to Male' from the islands. About ten of them came back and took up residence as nobles of the court. When people learnt that ex-king Usman was now living in Guraidoo island, preparations were made for the coronation of the new king.

On the next auspicious day, the streets were decorated with stretched cloth and flags along the royal avenues. In a tradition dating back to ancient times, the king was taken in a palanquin on a koli procession around the island before his coronation.

Hassan found himself in the palanquin going through Male's Henveiru ward and into Galolu. The king reached Kasabuge, where an old woman sat on a swing-bed with a baby, singing a raivaru. Hassan remembered it was the same raivaru his mother used to sing to him when he was young. He jumped off the palanquin, covered his head with fabric hanging along the road to the north of Kasabuge, and ran down the lane to his palace. The empty palanquin eventually came back to the palace with the procession. From this time on, the person to be crowned never accompanies the procession before the coronation. The new monarch is represented only by the empty palanquin.

During the reign of king Hassan, news came to Male' that Nisfu had passed away in Guraidoo. His son, Mohamed, decided to go to the southern atolls to study and become a learned man. He packed up his substantial wealth and took it with him.

Hassan reigned for a long time before he became ill and died. After his death, the two regiments were summoned by beating the drum, and the king's body was washed, dressed and placed in a coffin. The soldiers told the court they wouldn't bury the dead king until another was on the throne. So from the ten Hilali family members who had returned to Male', the eldest became the new king. Hassan's body could then be buried and holy prayer rituals performed.

That night, as soon as everyone was asleep, the second eldest Hilali killed the new ruler and took over the throne. Next day the dead body was buried, and the following night the same thing happened again with the third eldest murdering the new monarch and becoming the king. In ten days and nights, all the Hilali descendants killed each other!

King Hussein
Finally, Hussein became king. The royal procession took place, and official notification circulated around the country. Hussein was in power when Nisfu's son Mohamed, now a learned man, returned from the south. He settled in Male' and with his great wealth he bought three lots of land in Henveiru, building a house for himself on one of the blocks.

Nisfu's son Mohamed becomes chief judge
Mohamed's astrology skills matched those of his father, and the young man turned out to be of excellent character. Living in his new house, Mohamed's wife became pregnant and after nine months and nine days she had a baby girl. Seven days later the newborn was named Tukabafan.

As time passed, Mohamed had so much money that he built two mosques on his other blocks of land. Then he went to see king Hussein.
'Excellency, I have built two mosques. Please choose one for the people of Male' and give me the waqf for the other with your royal blessing.'
Hussein accepted one of the mosques and presented Mohamed Manik with a waqf for the other.

Later, the chief judge died and the king decided to give the position to Nisfu's son. As judge, Mohamed told people that any person wanting to sell privately owned land could not do so without first informing the law court. In this way, he would find out about any prospective sale and buy the land himself. The judge registered it in the name of his daughter Tukubafan. All the land now called Kabafan's palace grounds, that had once been distributed among the four wards of Male', were bought by Mohamed Manik during his time as chief judge.

King Hussein didn't have any children and after some time he fell ill and died. The drum beat to summon the regiments and his body was prepared for burial. The regiments informed the nobility that they were awaiting a new ruler.

King Mohamed
The courtiers agreed that since there was no direct descendant, 'the succession should fall to the learned.' They summoned judge Mohamed and placed him on the throne. That was followed by king Hussein's funeral, the construction of his tomb, and the performance of holy rituals.

The assistant to the judge, Hassan Fandiyaru Takurufan, became the new chief judge and carried out his duties responsibly. King Mohamed the Learned performed all the required duties of a new monarch - receiving the approval of the courtiers and aristocrats and organising the procession and official notifications. The house where the king's daughter lived, became known as Kabafan palace.

Judge Hassan becomes King (Haji) Hassan
Mohamed didn't father any more children and after a long time on the throne, he became ill and died. Once again the nobility found themselves summoned and the two regiments assembled at the beating of the drum. With the body prepared, the soldiers asked for a new ruler. The lack of a direct male heir meant the position had to be given to a learned man. The chief judge Hassan was therefore placed on the throne by the courtiers and aristocrats, and the dead king was buried with holy rituals on the southern side of his private mosque.

Notifications went around the country that a new ruler, king Hassan, had been crowned. During the reign of the previous monarch, Mohamed the Learned, a person from Shiraz (in Persia) lived in Male'. No trial was conducted without the approval of this man. He left for overseas before the death of king Mohamed and returned after king Hassan received the throne. When he arrived, the nobility and the military approved the man from Shiraz as chief judge.

During his time as king, Hassan's wife became pregnant and nine months and nine days later she gave birth to a baby boy. This child grew into an incredibly strong man. Time went on, and Hassan decided to train his son in the ways of command and administration. So on an auspicious day during the next auspicious month, he summoned the two regiments and presented his royal son.

Later, king Hassan decided to go to Arabia. He wanted to build a fighting ship so he organised the construction at the middle sandspit on the northern side of Male'. He brought carpenters from the north and laid a fifty foot keel. When the vessel was completed, the carpenters were sent back to their islands. Then the boat was launched and an awning erected over the deck.

The king informed the regiments of his intention to travel to Arabia.
'In who's care are you leaving the responsibilities of the monarchy?' they asked.
'In the care of my son,' pronounced king Hassan.

When the nobles and high officials had approved this, Hassan continued with preparations for the journey. During the next auspicious month, on an auspicious day, the warship was launched. Crewmen, boatswain and head crewman were assigned before loading food, water and other provisions. On an auspicious day, Hassan departed. After bidding him farewell, the crown prince returned to the palace with the two regiments.

Haji Hassan buys 70 negro slaves
When king Hassan arrived in Arabia, he found he had missed that year's haj season. Even if I survived the journey back, I'd have to return for the next season, he thought. So it would be better if I stayed here until then.

While he was waiting for the next haj, king Hassan decided to overthrow the Shareef (of Mecca) on behalf of his son in Male'. To accomplish the task, he used the profits from the trading goods he had brought in his ship, to hire strong men who he told to be prepared to follow his orders when the time came.

While hatching this plot, Hassan became impressed with the bedouin way of life and the wonderful things they did - like attacking any wealthy people who crossed their path and seizing their goods before killing and eating them. Cannibalism seemed to be a very important part of the whole thing. The king was still with the bedouin when the new haj season arrived. He performed the rituals and then paid for the blessings of further seventy haj pilgrimages. With the money left over, he bought 70 slaves and returned with them to Maldives.

King Haji Hassan arrived back in Male' and immediately dismissed 70 male servants from the palace, replacing them with his new slaves. He had to find a place for these new people to live, so he built a house for them on a large piece of land between Veyodoshu palace and the mosque to the west of the three mosques built by Darumavanta Maharadun. When the house was completed, the slaves moved in.

With the approach of the fasting month, the king sent for the atoll chiefs and other wealthy people. They arrived and asked about the purpose of the meeting.
'I have called you here to find a way to feed the slaves each night during the fasting month.'
'How can we help with that?' they wanted to know.
'From the time of the sighting of Ramadan's new moon until the end of the month, I want you to cook a pot of twenty kilos of rice each day. Then bring the pot and 70 drinking coconuts here every night.'
They all agreed and then made their way out of the palace. As they walked along their discussions continued. They realised that if they went their own separate ways then nothing had really been organised, so they all stopped at the public square. There they assigned a day for each one of them to do the cooking. They wrote it all down on paper and took it home, repeating the procedure every evening at sunset during the fasting month.

There is an ancient tradition that when the season arrives, the trading vessels are launched and they sail to Bengal. Then they return and beach the vessels and keep them under shelter until the next sailing season. Whenever the annual season approached, the captains of the odis and doanis would officially inform the king that the Bengal sailing season was about to begin. Thus was king Haji Hassan informed of the new season and he said, 'Start preparing the odis now, before the season begins.'

The captains organised the crewmen and on an auspicious day the preparations began. When everything was ready, they informed the king who then gave the order to calculate an appropriate day to launch the vessel. The person responsible told the king that the boat should be carried into the sea the very next day. The king gave his consent and the two regiments were told of the decision. The king also ordered his 70 slaves to help as well.
'Since you are now in Male', you must help the people of the island. Tomorrow the odi bound for Bengal will be launched and you must all be there.'

Next day as the slaves walked to the odi, the regiments were already waiting. Seeing the slaves approach, one of the soldiers remarked, 'Isn't it the case, gentlemen, that our ruler brought negro slaves from Arabia who don't even have the strength of a piece of palm frond?'
The slaves heard this and as they approached, they identified the man who had said it.

After the recitation of a prayer, the odi was heaved forward. As it moved, the slaves threw the man who had made the insulting remark against the ramp, crushing his body with the boat and mashing him into a tangle of bones, blood and skin.

Everyone, from toddlers up, talked about this event and eventually the chief judge heard the news. Then witnesses came forward and told him what had happened. Shirazi Fandiyaru Kaleygefan went to the palace to consult the king.
'Your highness, after what those seventy slaves of yours have done today, they must be punished.'
'Why? What have they done?' asked the king.
'They threw a man against the ramp and crushed him to pieces with that odi they were launching,' replied the judge. 'Shouldn't they be punished for that?'
'That man simply met his ultimate fate,' said the king, adding that he approved of the customs of the nomadic tribesmen he had bought as slaves.
'If they aren't punished in some way, they won't respect the people of this island,' argued the judge. 'They will be able to intimidate everyone!'
'The man met his ordained fate,' repeated the king. 'There's nothing we can do about it.'
'A crime has been committed by men who you yourself have brought to this island,' retorted the judge. 'You are at least partly responsible for what has happened.'

The discussion became a heated argument. The king's anger grew and he summoned the slaves and ordered them to wrap the judge in cotton, soak him in oil and set him alight. The seventy slaves held the judge down and did as they were told.
'Now the judge will experience the pain and suffering he has been complaining about,' they said among themselves.
The judge began to recite all the holy things he knew as he ran around, enveloped in flames. In the end, the cotton and oil burnt away, but his body was left untouched.

At that time in Male' there were seven holy fakirs who arrived at the palace to meet the king. Hearing what had happened, they also began debating the matter with the king, the same as the judge had done. The king was still angry after his encounter with the judge so he was even more furious with the holymen. He ordered the 70 slaves to kill them. His men began to chase the holy men who were running as fast as they could while reciting the Koran starting with the sura bangara. They ran in every direction but the slaves eventually caught every one and killed them all.

When the junior scholars heard about this, they realised the same thing would happen to them if they argued with the king, so they remained silent for a while. Once the king's anger subsided, they went to see him.
'Your excellency, you must think about what you've done or you'll suffer for it!'

The king sent for blacksmiths and ordered them to heat a heavy lump of iron until it was red hot. When the metal began to sparkle, the king placed it on his own thighs and said that even if his suffering was as painful as this, he would still be able to bear it.

Haji Hassan felt the heat in his leg and then an intense burning pain in both legs so severe he couldn't sit or lie down. He kept tossing and turning and screaming. Nothing provided relief. The nobles and high officials ordered the two regiments to construct a pool in the palace grounds. Still in his bed, the king was placed in the pool but it seemed to bring no relief. After a while, the water in the pool even warmed up a little, so the nobles and high officials ordered the two regiments to dig a well close to the pool. Several soldiers were ordered to pour cold water from this well into the pool with the king. But even that brought no relief to his burning pain.

The king made a vow to perform a good deed if his suffering ended. Only then did a remedy begin to work. Some medication was applied, and the king began to feel better. The men who had poured the water from the well into the pool, were called atarafinin.

King Veeru Umar
After recovering, and to keep his vow, the king resigned and placed his son on the throne. The young man was given the title king Veeru Umar and official notification went throughout the country.

It was a long time later, when king Veeru Umar was at Friday prayer, that his father Haji Hassan approached a viewing pavilion on the street where the chief minister stood. He watched his son returning to the palace from prayer and commented to the minister, 'Even though he's my son, the throne of Maldives isn't something I should just give away and forget about, don't you think?' Then he vowed to take back the throne from his son.

The burning pain in his leg began once again. Although cooling medications were applied, there was no relief. He wouldn't change his mind! He screamed continuously and couldn't sit or lie down. Finally, Haji Hassan died.

People hated the way he had ruled as king. They changed his name - shortening the vowel on the h, and replacing the j with d, and calling him Hadi Hassan which means Hassan the Dirty.

Haji Hassan buried in stone coffin
When Hassan the Dirty died, drums were beaten and the two regiments summoned. His body was washed, dressed in cotton and placed in a coffin. But the coffin began to fall apart and the learned men advised the king to construct a new coffin from stone. King Veeru Umar took this advice and ordered a stone casket which was finished that same day. When the body went into the new coffin and the poles and ropes were attached to carry it to the gravesite, the learned men advised the king to bury the body some distance away from graves of other deceased kings. Once again, the advice was followed. This dead king was buried outside the royal graveyard.

Veeru Umar fulfilled his duties righteously. During his reign he had a child, a girl named Rehendi Kabafan. And how exactly did he rule? To prevent enemies coming from overseas to invade the country, he prepared an odi and sailed to the north above Kela and Dapparu, and then back and forth. He stayed in that area during the northeast monsoon. During the eight months of the southwest monsoon he visited different islands in the rest of the country. While he travelled, he built mosques and helped people who were suffering and provided food for the starving. After that he had another baby girl, this time called Randi Kabafan.

Veeru Umar wanted to build something that would last forever, and in Male' he constructed an octagonal bathing tank between the two gates. Beside the tank he built a mosque. But regardless of these and others projects, he always spent the four months of the northeast monsoon patrolling the seas between Kela and Dapparu islands, and the months of the southwest monsoon sailing among islands in the atolls.

During one of these trips in Malosmadulu atoll, king Umar died aboard his boat. The people in the odi decided to return to Male' straight away. The vessel turned and sailed away from the islands of Malosmadulu. They waited to catch sight of Male' atoll. An island appeared but as they came close they realised it was Bodufushi and they were still in Malosmadulu. Again they turned the odi and set off for Male'. When it seemed they had left the atoll behind, they climbed up the mast and kept watch for the capital until an island appeared in front of them. They realised that once again it was Bodufushi. They had to sail to Muddoo and load some ripe screwpine to disguise the rotting smell of the corpse, before heading off again in search of Male'.

The same thing happened and once again they arrived at Bodufushi. The leaders on the boat said they had tried hard enough to get to Male' and perhaps this was where they should bury him. So they dug a grave and set up the tomb and performed the correct holy rituals.

When all this was finished, they sailed off to Male' and informed the officials and nobles. They in turn told the military that the daughter of king Veeru Umar should be given the crown.




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