Somaliland's historic connection with the Island State of Maldives

" The importance of the Arabs as traders in the Indian Ocean by the 12th century may partly explain why the last Buddhist king of Maldives, Dhovemi, converted to Islam in the year 1153 (or 1193). Adopting the Muslim title of Sultan Muhammad al-Adil, he initiated a series of six Islamic dynasties that lasted until 1932 when the sultanate became elective. The formal title of the sultan up to 1965 was, Sultan of Land and Sea, Lord of the twelve-thousand islands and Sultan of the Maldives which came with the style Highness.

Somali Muslim Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari, also known as Aw Barkhadle, is traditionally credited for this conversion. According to the story told to Ibn Battutah, a mosque was built with the inscription: ‘The Sultan Ahmad Shanurazah accepted Islam at the hand of Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari.’[39][40] Some scholars have suggested the possibility of Ibn Battuta misreading Maldive texts, and having a bias towards the North African, Maghrebi narrative of this Shaykh, instead of the East African origins account that was known as well at the time.[41] Even when Ibn Battuta visited the islands, the governor of the island[which?] at that time was Abd Aziz Al Mogadishawi, a Somali[42]

Scholars have posited another scenario where Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari might have been a native of Barbera, a significant trading port on the northwestern coast of Somalia.[43] Barbara or Barbaroi (Berbers), as the ancestors of the Somalis were referred to by medieval Arab and ancient Greek geographers, respectively.[44][45][46] This is also seen when Ibn Battuta visited Mogadishu, he mentions that the Sultan at that time, “Abu Bakr ibn Shaikh Omar”, was a Berber (Somali). According to scholars, Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari was Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn, a famous native Somali scholar[47] known for establishing the Walashma dynasty of the Horn of Africa.[48] After his conversion of the population of Dogor (now known as Aw Barkhadle), a town in Somalia, he is also credited to have been responsible for spreading Islam in the Maldivian islands, establishing the Hukuru Miskiy, and converting the Maldivian population to Islam.[49][50] Ibn Battuta states the Maldivian king was converted by Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari (Blessed Father of Somalia).[51]"

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