Late Shehu Na Appa”s full name was Moulana Moulavi Alhaj Ahamed Lebbe Alim Sahib. He was well known as “Muthupettai Shehu Na”, as he hailed from Muthupettai, State of Madras. His yearn for knowledge made him to travel to Kerala. Thereafter, he proceeded to the Holy City of Makkah to receive higher religious education. He lived in Makkah for many years. In Makkah, he got married with the blessings of his revered teachers.


Our Shehu Na’s mother missed and longed for her beloved son. She wanted Shehu Na Appa, to be beside her. This made his father to make efforts to get their son back home from Makkah. Messages were sent through late Shehu Ismail Hadjiar and late Bawa Aleem Kathib of Alutgama (Dharga Town), who were on Holy pilgrimage to Makkah. These two people had been associated with Shehu Na’s father’s family business.


The letter written to Shehu Na Appa by his mother requesting him to come back was handed over to him by Shehu Ismail Hadjiar, through the good offices of his teacher Ustadh Allama Assaiyid Jaini Dahlan. When Ustadh Allama Dahlan was told how the parents missed Shehu Na Appa, he was perturbed and he persuaded Shehu Na Appa to make up his mind to go back to his parents. Shehu Na Appa had to say “thalak” to his first wife fulfilling all the required obligations, with the acquiescence and blessings of his Ustadh (Teacher).


The parents of Shehu Na Appa were happy about the return of their son. Then he married Lady Mohamed Mariam of Athiram Pattinam, with his parents’ blessings. They had seven sons and three daughters. When Lady Mariam passed away, he married Lady Mohamed Sarah and they had two sons and two daughters.


Shenu Na Appa was determined to have a stable and prosperous family life. This made him to travel to Ceylon. Through the acquaintance and friendship that he built with Naina Marikar Abdul Kadeer Hadjiar of China Fort while living in Makkah; Shehu Na Appa in Ceylon was introduced to the leading gem merchant Hajjie Marikar Omer Lebbe of China Fort. During this time, Hajjie Marikar Omer Lebbe was the most flourishing gem merchant of Beruwela. He was the father of “Wairooshi” Raffai (Raphaie). Shehu Na Appa lived at the upstairs of the residence of Hajjie Marikar Omer Lebbe, while he continued with his gem business. At that time, he was often seen in prayers at the mosque in Kuttimala. When Hajjie Marikar Omer Lebbe passed away, Shehu na Appa moved to reside with C.M.H. Sally Hadjiar, on the opposite side of the road. C.MH.Sally Hadjiar was the father of S.M.Jabir Hadjiar. Shehu Na Appa also resided at the home of Shehu Ismail Hadjiar of Alutgama (Dharga Town). During the later stages of his life, he had resided at the residence of O.L.M. Marcan Markar in Colombo.


Later in life, he proceeded to his home town Athirampettai and established the Arabic College named “Al- Madrasathul Rahmaniya”, in which even renowned Alims of Ceylon received their religious education. At that time, “Tharikas” were founded, both in South India and Ceylon to guide the people on a firm spiritual path. “Shathuliya Tharika” is one such leading Tharika in South India and Ceylon. Shehu Na Appa was bestowed the highest order of “Kalifathul Kulafa”of Shathuliya Tharika. This appointment was conferred by the religious dignitaries Hazarath Ash-Sheik Mohamed Ibrahim (Makki) and Hazarath Ash- Sheik Mohamed Abdulla (Makki), who came from Saudi Arabia. Our Shehu Na Appa took up this leadership responsibility with great commitment and served untiringly to spread Shathuliya Tharika, by travelling to many parts in South India and Ceylon.


In 1935, Al-Mir Athush- Shathuliya Zaviya was established in Pitawala, China Fort, Beruwela. Over 65 years back, at this Zaviya, our Shehu Na Appa introduced the recital of the “Sahihul Buhari”, the authentic compilation of our Holy Prophet Mohamed Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam’s Hadiths. Since then, this has become an annual event. This event, popularly known as “Buhari Majlis”, is now conducted annually at Al-Mir Athush Shathuliya Zaviya, Pittawala, throughout the month of Rabi-ul- Awwal, according to the Islamic Calendar. He also conducted this “Majlis” for some years even at the Buhari Thakiya in Maligahena, Beruwela. (Refer Sahihul Buhari Majlis details – Attachment). Even today, every year “Kathamul Quran Majlis” is conducted on the 14th Day of Shawwal, in memory of Shehu Na Appa, at China Fort, Beruwela. His was the Golden Era of the Shathuliya Tharika in Ceylon. During his time, in South India and Ceylon, Shehu Na Appa was also entrusted the task of determining the Qibla direction for new mosques.


The later stages of his life, Shehu na Appa resided in Colombo, at the residence of O.L.M.Macan Markar. It was on an Eid-ul- Fitr Ramazan festival day, our Shehu Na Appa fell seriously sick just after completed his Eid Salah at the Zaviya in Colombo. He fell unconscious and was immediately taken to the residence of Macan Markar. He was continuously treated for about two months by a specialist physician. Then Shehu Na Appa decided to go to Athiram Pattinam, his hometown. On the 15th Day of the month of Shabaan in Hijri 1364 (on 29th January 1945), Shehu Na Appa had his last breath in his hometown. INNA LILLAHI WA INNA ILLAIHI RAJI-OON! NOTE: The above article is mainly based on facts taken from the Tamil biographical booklet titled “Shehu Na”, written by his grandson M.S. Mohamed Saheed of ‘ Shehu Na’ Manzil, 39 A, Puthumanai Street, Athirampattinam-614 701, Tamilnadu. This booklet was printed and published in Sri Lanka in the year 1980, by the Administrative Committee of Al-Mir-Athush Shathuliya Zaviya, Pittawala, China Fort, Beruwela. (Please refer attachment)