The Assassination of Sultan Ghiyaasuddin

The first dictionary of Dhivehi. The dictionary was compiled during the reign of Sultan Muhammed Ghiyaasuddin. In addition to the dictionary, other literary works were also produced during his reign. He is popularly known as the Martyred Sultan and also as Haji Bandaarain.




As per the will of Dhon Bandaarain, Muhammed Manikufaanu, son of Ibrahim Rasgefaanu, ascended the throne and reigned as Sultan Muhammed Ghiyaasuddin from 1180 AH to 1187 AH (1766 AD - 1773 AD).

The Sultan's reign was beset with many domestic troubles, which were coupled with a number of attacks by Malabars. The internal troubles were disputes that emerged between the Sultan and the family of Dhon Bandaarain. The Sultan was the son of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar II of the Dhiyamigili Dynasty. Dhon Bandaarain was the first Sultan of the Huraage Dynasty. Therefore, Dhon Bandaarain's family was unhappy that the throne had by-passed them and had gone to the Dhiyamigili Dynasty. The leader of the disaffected group was Dhon Bandaarain's nephew, Muhammed Manikufaan, who was the son of Dhon Bandaarain's brother, Hussain Bodu Dhoshimeyna Kilegefaan. The result of this squabbling was that Dhon Bandaarain's family members were penalised. Muhammed Manikufaan and Dhon Bandaarain's sons were banished to different islands. Other members of the family were also banished. Although Dhon Bandaarain had treated Ghiyaasuddin with kindness, the new Sultan was denied the opportunity of reciprocating the same sentiments to the Huraage family. The attacks by the Malabars during this period were defeated by the Maldivians. The Sultan himself took part in these battles.

Sultan Ghiyaasuddin loved learning. The first Dhivehi dictionary written in Thaana was compiled during his reign. A number of other books, including a chronicle of his war with the Malabars, were also written during that time.

Seven years and 1 month into his reign, the Sultan left Malé during the month of Shawwal, 1187 AH for Mecca to perform pilgrimage. He appointed his sister, Amina Kanbafaan, and her husband Ali Shah Bandar (Velaanaa Manikufaan) as dual regents. Four days after the Sultan departed, Ali Shah Bandar decided to usurp the powers of Sultan for himself. The result was that Muhammed Manikufaan moved against Ali Shah Bandar and the outcome was Muhammed Manikufan proclaimed himself as the Sultan.

Muhammed Manikufaan ascended the throne as Sultan Muhammed Shamsuddin Iskandhar II. After becoming the Sultan, he banished the family members of Sultan Ghiyaasuddin to various islands and recalled to Malé the three sons of Dhon Bandaarain and their uncle, Ali Rannabandeyri Kilegefaan. He dismantled the residence of Sultan Ghiyaasuddin, impounded all the property to be found there and also all the land and waqf belonging to the members of the Dhiyamigili Dynasty. Some of the books, personal property and jewellery were also seized and the members of the Dhiyamigili Dynasty were banned from learning.

After reigning for a short while, Sultan Muhammed Shamsuddin abdicated in favour of Muhammed, the eldest son of Dhon Bndaarain. The new Sultan reigned as Sultan Muhammed Muizzuddin, popularly known as Kalhu Bandaarain. After abdication, Sultan Muhammed Shamsuddin proclaimed himself Muhammed Faashanaa Kilegefaan.

As Sultan Ghiyaasuddin returned to the Maldives, he learned about the developments in Malé, and upon hearing which, he set sail to Malé. The ship drifted off course and entered Malé atoll near Guraidhoo-Vilingilivaru. Staying on board, he sent a letter to the reigning Sultan. In this letter, he said that he was reconciled with the will of the Almighty Allah, and sought the protection of the Sultan and Faashanaa Kilegefaan.

Upon receiving the letter, the Sultan and Faashanaa Kilegefaan sent their troops and brought to Malé all Maldivians and men from Muscat who were with Ghiyaasuddin. Three close aides of the Sultan and other courtiers were sent in a boat to Ghiyaasuddin's ship. These people took Ghiyaasuddin in their boat away from the sight of the men who had travelled with Ghiyaasuddin and killed him by drowning him with weights tied to his body. The assassination took place in 1188 AH (1774 AD).

The nobles in Malé informed the people that a boat had been sent to bring Ghiyaasuddin to Malé. Ranjehi Ganduvaru was readied to welcome Ghiyaasuddin. On the return of the boat to Malé, the people were informed that Ghiyaasuddin had disembarked and entered Ranjehi Gandavaru. Welcome ceremonies and festivities were begun at Ranjehi Ganduvaru. The people did not learn of the assassination until a day or two later. Once the people learned about the killing, they gathered in protest near Bodu Ganduvaru. As the mob grew more vociferous, Muhammed Faashanaa Kilegefaan came out and said that the decree for the assassination was issued by the Chief Justice. But the latter took an oath to declare that he was completely unaware of it. Following these protests, young Abdulla, a son of Ghiyaasuddin who was in Malé, was banished to Fuahmulah.

Sultan Ghiyaasuddin is popularly known as the Martyred Sultan. He is also known as Haajee Bandaarain.