The National Day was first commemorated in the Maldives on the 1st of Rabeeul Avval 1365 (Hebrew calendar). That was the 4th of February 1946. Similar events were not commemorated prior to that date because the Maldives gained independence from the Portuguese on the 1st of Rabeeul Avval 981 after 15 years and 6 months of captivity. All mighty Allah granted Maldivians that pride through the Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaan Al Auzam Siree Savaadeeththa Mahaaradhun, son of Al Khatheeb Hussain Thakurufaan from North Thiladhummathi.
National Day from a Historical Perspective
National day was commemorated differently on different periods of time. This was written so because on some occasions the day was declared to be celebrated under the title “Memorial Day for Maldivian Independence from the Portuguese” instead of the title “National Day”. It was later declared that National Day was the day Maldives fully gained political independence, and was celebrated on the 26th of July. From the year 1368 to 1398 (AH) the first of Rabeeul Avval was commemorated as “Memorial Day for Maldivian Independence from the Portuguese”. In the announcement published by the Prime Minister’s office on the 21st of June 1966 the National Day (1st of Rabeeul Avval) was declared a public holiday, and religious activities were to take place on that day in memorial of gaining independence from the Portuguese. The ceremonies and programs were to take place on the 26th of July (Independence Day) – the day Maldives gained independence from the British. National day was declared to be celebrated on the 26th of July since the year 1966 (AC) in the announcement.
From then on changes were made to the programs carried out to celebrate the 1st of Rabeeul Avval. In the celebration prayers for the Prophet Sallalaah Alaihi Vasallam and public speeches took place.
The time passed on and in the year 1978 the government declared the 29th of March was to be celebrated under the title “Independent Nations Day” because that was the day when the British left Addu Atoll. That day was hence decided by the government of that time as the day Maldives fully gained political independence. The mentioned “Independent Nations Day” was celebrated on the year 1978. The changes made to the constitution due to the overturn of presidency of Late Ibrahim Nasir to His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom that year on the 11th of November 1978 caused the parliament to pass one of several bills that stated that one of the two known days were to be marked as the National Day. That law stated that the National Day is the 1st of Rabeeul Avval and the Independence Day is the 26th of July.
Hence it was declared again that the National Day is the 1st of Rabeeul Avval.
Anyway from the year 1400 (AH) the responsibility of celebrating the National Day was assigned to the Office of Maldivian Linguistics and Culture. After 18 years of several changes to the title of the office article 9 of the new law that was published on the 6th of November 1997 and made effective on the 1st of January 1998 stated the “Maldivian National Day”.
That was the 1st of Rabeeul Avval. The law also stated other such days. With the mentioning of the National Day in the law, the National Day ceremonies were broadened and improved. From 1998 onwards the celebration of the National Day was declared by the government to be carried out by the Ministry of Home Affairs. From that year onwards a slogan was assigned for that day annually.
The Ministry of Home Affairs carried out the celebration of National Day every two years in an alternating manner as of the law made effective on the 7th of August 2008 mentioned only the National Day. These celebrations took place such that the celebrations took place in Male’ in one year and in selected two islands in the subsequent year.
The terrorism faced by the Maldives on the 3rd of November 1988 was carried out in affiliation with a terrorist agency of Sri Lanka. The attack was the most powerful, most horrifying and most dangerous attack in the history of Maldives. Male’, the capital of Maldives, was under attack for about 18 hours that day. Eighty members from the “Float” organization from Sri Lanka and few Maldivians were involved. They fought to seize the entire Maldives into their power.
Nineteen Maldivians were killed that day. Among them were 11 citizens and 8 soldiers. The Victory Day was declared and celebrated by the government on the 3rd of November 1989.
Victory Day from a Historical Perspective
A lot of countries were ready to protect Maldives from the terrorist attack of the 3rd of November. The Maldivian government, however, requested military assistance from the Indian government. They promptly received Indian military assistance. After about 17 hours of attack by the mercenaries 1600 Indian troops started operation in the Maldives.
The attack was controlled by the time Indian military arrived. They did not have to fight because of that. The terrorists who survived the counter-offensive were captured by the Indian Navy when they were fleeing in a cargo ship called “Progress Light”. They were holding a lot of Maldivians hostage when they departed in the “Progress Light”. Among the hostages were senior officials of the Maldivian government. Some of the hostages were killed by the time Indian Navy captured the terrorists.
The Maldivian troops fought the terrorists for about 18 hours. A lot of them were martyred from enemy bullets. But they remained on duty with trust.
When compared to various terrorist attacks faced by the Maldives, the terrorism of November 1988 was the most destructive so far that involved the usage of modern weaponry and techniques by the terrorists as well as the government.
The Day Maldives Embraced Islam
Maldivians were ordered to denounce Buddism, the religion since the beginning of the Maldivian civilization, and accept Islam as the religion in the month of Rabeeul Aakhir 548 AH (1153 AC).
It is officially believed that the person who invited Maldivians to accept the religion of Islam was Abul Barakaath Ul Barbary from Morocco. He was one of the teachers of Islam in the 6th century AH.
Islam is the only religion in the Republic of Maldives since the acceptance in the year 548 AH. People respected and firmly believed in the religion of Islam since then.
Historical perspective of the day Maldives embraced Islam
The day was first celebrated in the early rule of Sultan Mohamed Fareed the first. It was due to a declaration made by the cabinet that the day was first celebrated on the 2nd of Rabeeul Aakhir 1374 AH. That was the 28th of November 1954.
After 33 years without celebrations, it was declared to be commemorated again during the 5th term of His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom. This was declared so because it was decided in a cabinet meeting held on the 29th of Muharram 1421 AH (the 4th of May 2000 AC) to commemorate this day. It was decided to commemorate this day to promote religious unity among the people.
The responsibility of commemorating the day Maldives embraced Islam was assigned to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Several activities are organized on the 2nd of Rabeel Aakhir each year in commemoration.
The day Maldives embraced Islam is commemorated on the 2nd of Rabeeul Aakhir each Hebrew year. This year, on the 2nd of Rabeeul Aakhir 1428, the ministry commemorated 880 years of acceptance of Islam.
The disaster of tsunami that occurred on the 26th of December 2004 at 9:23 AM was one of the saddest tragedies. All the islands except 9 were affected in the disaster. Out of them four islands were damaged to uninhabitable extents. These 4 islands are Raa Atoll Kandholhudhoo, Thaa Atoll Vilifushi, Dhaal Atoll Gemendhoo and Meemu Atoll Madifushi. Additionally, 23 of the remaining islands received very huge impact.
There were 82 fatalities in the disaster of 26th December 2004. Women, children and men were among them. Twenty six were lost in the disaster.
The responsibility of commemorating this day was assigned to the Ministry of Home Affairs since 2005 because of the unity and support demonstrated by the people of Maldives, and because of the advice made by the cabinet to the President on the 26th of January 2005 to commemorate the 26th of December each year at a national level.
Hence the first Unity Day was commemorated on the 25th of December 2005. The most important activity on that day was laying the foundation of a monument that represented the losses along with the unity demonstrated by the people of Maldives. The foundation of this monument was laid by His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom on the South East surfing area of Male’.
Maldives went under British protection on the 16th and 23rd of December 1887 due to an agreement made between Sultan Mohamed Mueenuddeen the 2nd and the English governor in Ceylon Sir H. A. Gordon on behalf of Queen Victoria. The agreement stated that the internal affairs of the Republic of Maldives were to be governed by the United Kingdom. The Maldives is under British protection. Additionally the Republic of Maldives shall have complete power to make decisions about the country’s internal affairs. The British will not dictate the internal affairs. Hence the British shall be informed and shall accept any change in the country’s monarchy. Even then the Maldives sent annual fees to the British Governor in Ceylon.
The British Government accepted Maldives as an independent archipelago nation in the agreement made between the Maldivian Government and the British Government on the 26th of July 1965. Maldives also gained political freedom for maintaining diplomatic relationship with the international community. This historical agreement was signed that day at 10 in the morning, at the British High Commission. Prime Minister Honorable Ibrahim Nasir signed this agreement on behalf of Maldives. Sir Michael Walker signed on behalf of the British Government.
Independence Day from a Historical Perspective
The Maldives achieved very good reputation as an independent nation in the history of many countries. It is known from history that Maldives was an independent nation with independent rulers even before Islam was accepted as a religion.
It can be seen from reviews of Maldivian history that the country lost independence only on two occasions. That was the time when the Portuguese invaded Maldives from 1558 to 1573 AC. Although the Dutch invaded Maldives much later in the year 1166 AH they were unable to fully dominate the country. Maldives regained independence after 3 months and 20 days of captivity.
The country went under British protection on the 16th and 23rd of December 1887 due to an agreement signed between the ruler at the time – Sultan Mohamed Mueenudden the 2nd – and the English Governor in Ceylon Sir H. A. Gordon on behalf of Queen Victoria. The agreement stated that the country has the power to govern the internal affairs of the country provided that it was done through the British Government, and that the British would not interfere with the internal affairs. However, changes in the monarchy required prior approval by the British Government. The government of Maldives paid annual fees to the British Governor in Ceylon at the time.
The ruler in the Maldives by the 7th of April 1943, Sultan Hassan Nooradhdheen, and Prime Minister Honorable Mohamed Fareed Didi resigned unexpectedly. Chaos began in the Maldivian political environment. Due to that the highest power of Maldives went into the hands of a group of high ranked people. The throne remained empty. The people of Maldives offered the throne to Sumuvval Ameer Al Haajja Abdul Majeed Rannabandeyri Kilegefaanu wholeheartedly with respect. That was on the 11th of April 1943. The crowning ceremony could not take place because his majesty was abroad at the time.
The process of deciding a ruler began due the prolonged interregnum. After several discussions it was decided that Al Ameer Mohamed Ameen Didi should rule the country without regarding the system of governance.
Al Ameer Mohamed Ameen did not accept to be a ruler as a king. That was due to the state of internal affairs in the Maldives. In plain words, depriving the country from the services of Al Ameer Mohamed Ameen in Ceylon and abroad would have been a misfortune in the nation’s rights. At last weighing the differences in the debate of how the country should be ruled began. It was decided after discussions and debates that the Maldives should be a democracy. Hence the first democratic government came into existence on the 1st of January 1953. However this democratic government lasted only for 7 months and few days. Maldives went back into a monarchy again. That was on the 7th of March 1954. Al Sultan Mohamed Fareed the 1st was crowned as king. The country went back to a democracy after the existence of Sultan Mohamed Fareed’s power till the year 1968. That was on the 11th of Novemebr 1968. Honorable Ibrahim Nasir was elected as president.
The republic day is commemorated on the 11th of November each year.