Mohamed Sameer b Haji Ismail Effendi

He spent a major part of his life contributing and archiving the history, genealogy of the community

Muhammad Sameer (1890-1972), affectionately known to the multitude of his grandchildren as “Sameer Appa”, held the prestigious position of Managing Trustee of the Maradana Mosque, Colombo for two year periods on three separate occasions, viz; 6.6.1941 to 1943, 1945 to 1947 and 1949 to 1951. He held congregation membership # 292.

As early as 1908,  at the tender age of 19, he associated himself as a Junior Member of the congregation. He was the Secretary of the Mosque Board that framed the regulations in 1913 which were incorporated in 1924. He was, later, a Member of the Board, Member of the Executive Committee, Treasurer and finally Managing Trustee.

His name appears at No. 56, under Section C of the First Schedule of the Maradana Mosque Inauguration Ordinance No. 22 of 1924 (28.8.1924). He also held membership # S-7 of 24.9.1945, was a member of the Board of Directors as indicated in the Moors’ Islamic Cultural Home (MICH)  (Incorporation) Ordinance No. 46 of 1946.

He was awarded a Gold Medal & Citation, by the MICH, on Friday, November 1, 1965 (25 Rajab 1385H) by His Excellency, El-Seyed Abdul Qadir Al-Gailanee (Ambassador for Iraq in Pakistan & Ceylon), who was a direct lineal descendant of Ghus-i-A’zam Muhiyadeen Abdul Qader-ul-Gailanee, at a ceremony attended by many of his family ad community members at the MICH, Bristol Street, Fort.

Muhammad Sameer was educated at St. Thomas’ College and entered the Colombo Municipal Council clerical service in 1910. He was employed as Chief Clerk under an Englishman named Orr and won acclaim and affection from Civil Servants such as, H.E. Newnham, H.P. Kaufmann, and W.L. Murphy. He married Raliya Umma, daughter of A.C.Noordeen. They had four sons and six daughters. The oldest son Muhammad Thahir (1914-1989), was a surveyor by profession, who held the position of Superintendent in the Municipal Engineer’s Department at the Colombo Municipal Council. Thahir passed away at the ripe age of 75 in 1989. Two of the other sons of Muhammad Sameer, Muhammad Ismail (1919-1993) and Ahmed Farooq also took up the surveying profession. Muhammad Sadiq, the youngest son, a bachelor, decided to seek his pastures in the United Kingdom,  spent a considerable portion of his life in England, and returned to settle down in Sri Lanka where he passed away after a short illness. Both Thahir and Ismail have also passed away.  

Mohammed Sameer has 6 daughters, Sithy Rameela (w/o late AWM Ghouse), Sithy Saleema (w/o late MM Sheriff), Noor Jazeela (w/o late Ibrahim Naina-Marikar), Sithy Ameena (deceased 2006, and w/o  the late Zain Naina-Marikar, brother of Ibrahim), Sithy Rahma (w/o late Fareed Zaheed) and Sithy Khalisa (w/o late Faleel Sheriffdeen).

Sameer, spent most of the latter part of his life at No 298, Bambalapitiya Road, Colombo 4, where his daughters, Sithy Rahma and Sithy Khalisa are now living with their children and grandchildren. The house is a very old mansion, possibly over 100 years old, that was constructed by Wapchi Marikar Baas, grandfather of Sir Razik Fareed, using the material that he demolished at the site of the General Post Office in the Fort which was also constructed by him during the British Raj.  The house next door, at No 300, was occupied by Thahir and his family from 1943 until the mid nineties. Both houses occupy a land mass of almost 65 perches each and have a sprawling backyard that is home to a variety of fruit and coconut trees.



Ceylon Observer – 5 Dec.1972                             




I knew Mohamed Sameer bin Haji Ismail Effendi, who died recently at the ripe old age of 82 only in the last few months of his life.  But those few hours I spent with this Ceylon Moor historian and scholar were fruitful, for the knowledgeable Sameer revelled in discussion and discourse though medically advised not to talk much.


For his painstaking research work on his community Sameer was presented with a gold medal and a citation by the Moors Islamic Cultural Home in a special ceremony.  He traced history diligently from archives, museum publications and from ancient inscriptions.


Sameer was one of the the first batch of students admitted to Hameediah School, Colombo, in 1900.  Later he studied at City College and at St. Thomas’ College (then in Mutwal).  He showed literary promise at an early age and while only 19 edited a Tamil monthly “The True Messenger”.


Until his death Sameer was one of the few surviving Muslims to have met the famous Arabi Pasha, the day before Arabi left Ceylon (on September 10, 1901) and to have attended the historic Fez Question mass meeting on the Maradana Mosque grounds on December 31, 1905.


In 1915 he was a pioneer member of the All-Ceylon Muslim League (founded by C.M. Meera Lebbe Marikar, who was also its Secretary) and of the Moors Union, whose President, Mr. N.H.M. Abdul Cader ceremonially released Sameer’s publication on the life history of I.L.M. Abdul Azeez on November 25, 1915.  He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home.


Sameer wrote prolifically to local and foreign newspapers the time he was free from his duties as Chief Clerk of the Colombo Municipal Council, which he served for 30 years, and was in constant correspondence with Muslim organisations and personalities all over the world from China to Finland and the United States.


He helped to reorganise the affairs of the Maradana Mosque, Colombo for 30 years variously as Secretary, Treasurer and Managing Trustee.


Always a religious man, Mr. Sameer had this verse hung by his bedside:

                         “I am not fit for Heaven

                        “I am too weak for Hell

                        Forgive me

                        “O Forgiver of sins”


 M.M.T.  [M.M. Thawfeek]


Noor Jazeela Sameer (Naina Marikar)
Sithy Saleema Sameer (Sheriff) 1916-2012
Ahmed Farooq Sameer
Sithy Khalisa Sameer (Faleel)
Sithy Rahma Sameer (Zaheed)

Mohamed Sameer bin Haji Ismail Effendi 1890-1972

C M Ahmed Ali, maternal grandfather of Mohamed Sameer

A C Noordeen, Father in Law of Mohamed Sameer



 History of the Maradana Mosque

 Travels of Haji Ismail Effendi

 Sameer Recalls

 Muslim Personalities of the Past

 from the archives of

 M Sameer b Haji Ismail Effendi



  Big Mamee (Sithy Rameela)

   Muhammad Thahir Sameer

  Small Mamee (Sithy Saleema)

  Ich Uncle (Ismail)

  No-Aunty (Noor Jazeela)

  Ameena Aunty

  Sithy Aunty

  Farooq Uncle

  Khalisa Aunty

  Sadiq Uncle


Sithy Rameela, Sithy Rahma, Noor Jazeela & Sithy Khalisa Jan 2 2007


Noor Jazeela, Sithy Rameela, & Sithy Rahma at 298 0n Jan 2 2007


Big Mamee (Sithy Rameela Sameer) at 298 - Jan 2 2007