The legend of Al-Barbari and the slaying of the sea-monster
Until the first half of the 12th century, Buddhism was the principal religion in the Maldivian islands. It changed, according to legend, with the arrival in Malé of one Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari from North Africa. The nature or purpose of his visit is unknown, but it can be assumed that al-Barbari was one of the merchants who visited the Maldives for trade. He is remembered in Maldivian folklore as a medieval Perseus, who saved a young woman marked for sacrifice from a sea-demon or sea-jinn called Rannamaari.