The book written by Marina Ismail and Ali Azeez was published by the Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Foundation and released at the Forty First Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Commemoration Meeting held on 10th October 2014.

The book gives an account of the family of Dr. Azeez in Jaffna. The information was obtained from his records which have been carefully preserved. It is written by his two children.

The book consists of 82 pages and 15 family photographs. 

by P. Balasingham at the Commemoration Meeting

Dear Friends,

I was a student and later a teacher at Zahira College when Dr. A.M.A. Azeez was the Principal. I am glad to be given the opportunity of  introducing the book “One Distinguished Family of Moor Street Jaffna” written by my Principal’s children Marina and Ali.

The Muslims of Jaffna lived amicably with the Tamil community for many centuries and were an integral part of Jaffna society, until they were forcibly evicted in October 1990. They were businessmen and there were many leading Muslim families and outstanding personalities in Jaffna, but there are no separate records about them, except for brief sketches in some publications. Dr. Azeez’s family was a well known family and it was felt by Marina and Ali to write about this family. Dr. Azeez had meticulously retained all his records which have been preserved, and were immensely helpful in writing the book.

There are chapters on the Muslims of Jaffna and the Family of Sultan Mohideen, grandfather of Dr. Azeez; on his father Kathi S.M. Aboobucker J.P., a leading lawyer and social worker and on his paternal uncle Asana Lebbe Alim Pulavar, who was a scholar in Arabic and Tamil, a renowned poet and an expert in Arabic-Tamil. He was well known in South India too. The only published work of Asana Lebbe “Puhalppavani’ has been reproduced in the book. His second work was not published and the manuscript is available in the National Archives, few lead pages of this are reproduced in the book. Included are relevant family photographs.

In M.S. Abdul Raheem’s Tamil book on ‘History and Culture of Jaffna Muslims’, he has written an article about S.M. Asana Lebbe Pulavar. He has mentioned that Asana Lebbe’s works and books were collected by A.M.A. Azeez and after his demise the fate of these are not known. In fact, whatever documents were in Dr. Azeez’s possession were known from his records. A copy of the published work “Puhalppavani” is available, also few Chaatu Kavikal; the manuscript of the unpublished work was given to the National Archives in 1967 and a preserved copy is available for readers and researchers; many of the Arabic works belonging to his private library have been lost by way of loans, but a small collection was at the Zahira College library; The large sized Arabic-Tamil Tafsir of the Holy Quran printed in Bombay belonging to Sultan Mohideen was preserved in the Zahira College library. One of Dr. Azeez’s pet projects was the establishment of the Ceylon Muslim Cultural Centre, and he collected important documents of historical value for the archives and library.

At Zahira I was closely associated with Dr. Azeez. Marina was my contemporary at the University in Peradeniya. I have known Ali for many years, particularly when his class-mate and top journalist Manik de Silva and I were colleagues at Lake House. Dr. Azeez’s younger son late Iqbal was my student at Zahira.

The Jaffna Muslims are scattered all over after 1990, and many persons have started writing about the families and outstanding personalities. The book on the distinguished Muslim family of Jaffna is a useful record and we thank Marina and Ali for their effort in familiarizing the public about the Jaffna Muslims.

(The book is available for sale at the Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Foundation office)


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