Hukuru Miski (or Miskiiy) is the oldest mosque in the Moslem country of the Maldives. It was built in 1656 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar Sri kularanmeeba Kathiri Bavana Mahaa Radun (or Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar, for short). Perhaps it was built just a few months earlier than the Grand Friday Mosque (Masjid-al Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu-al-A’z’am), which was also built in 1656 in the reign of the same sultan. Both mosques represent the unique architecture of bygone times and still look new and sparkling today as if they were built just a decade ago.
This mosk is important in the lives of the Maldivian people because it is their oldest and one of the most beautiful mosques.
Locals and tourists are astounded to see the beauty of Hukuru Miski, specifically for its fine intricate wood carvings, lacquer work, ancient Arabic Calligraphy in faded red, ornamental designs, and ancient tombstones. The gravestones are just outside the mosque and are not difficult to spot. Gravestones with gold plaques belong to sultans, peaked graves are for the men, and rounded ones are for women. There are also coral carvings all around. Also, most notable are the “Mecca model” minaret, which was built during the time of Sultan Iskander 1, as well as intricately designed wooden doors and window frames. The mosque itself is made from coral stones.
Hukuru Miski is one of the ten Friday mosques in the Maldives. Prayers are offered in these mosques every Friday, but Hukuru Miski is the first and original of these mosques where the sultans used to attend. The biggest of these mosques is the Grand Friday Mosque.
And since it is the oldest, it represents an important transformation in the religious history of the Maldives. There are clear historical records showing that once upon a time, the Maldives adhered to Vajrayan Buddhsim, which followed Hinduism. Archeological artifacts and ancient literature proved that the Maldivians venerated Hindu deities and sages such as Shiva Lakshimi, Agastya and Vashista. By the early 12th Century, the king of the had Maldives embraced Islam in place of Buddhism for unknown reasons, but perhaps due to the influence of Arab traders that came in significant numbers. The king took on the title of Sultan, which is an Arabic title for a king, and pretty much converted the country into Islam.
The Maldives is just below India and Sri Lanka, which clearly explains the presence of Arab traders. It is located in the Indian Ocean and a member of the SAARC, which stands for South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation. The group’s other member-countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The magnificent Hukuru Miski has stood proudly in the heart of this beautiful archipelago as one of the most important landmarks in the capital city. Along with other important structures such as the Grand Friday Mosque, national museum, Sultan Park, Esjehi Art Gallery, and Mulee Aage Palace, the Hukuru Miski is proof that the Maldives is not just about swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, but also about culture, history and religion.