Imagining a ‘National Headgear’: Islamic Revival and Muslim Identity in Ceylon

1 Jan, 2021

This working paper explores Muslim identity in Ceylon in the late nineteenth century. It introduces the various Muslim populations in Ceylon during this period, and explores the role of transnational actors in driving an Islamic revival in Ceylon. The paper also analyses the manifestations of this revival, which included the adoption of the fez. The final section of the paper delves into the ‘fez controversy’, in which the Muslims resisted a particular colonial policy that denied the ‘right’ of the Muslims to wear their ‘national headgear’ in court.