This first historical chapter aims to show that Islam was seeded as what the book calls a modern institutional political religion in the period between 1932, when the Maldives adopted its first constitution, and the late 1970s, as unknown in the past. The chapter shows that this transformation involved major institutional reconfigurations to the pre-existing religion–state nexus as well as transmutations to the very self-understanding of Islam, religious authority, and shari‘a law in the polity. Specifically, building on a systematic analytical framework for examining institutional changes, the chapter shows that Islam was reconfigured and institutionalized at three levels of state-religion relations: (1) state ends or identity, (2) personnel and institutions, and (3) law and policy. The chapter concludes that while Islam was institutionalized through these processes, given also the complex differentiations and the modern self-understandings that religion acquired in the processes, paradoxically, the emerging state is also not a religious state, but a modern secular–religious hybrid. To make this argument, the chapter examines all constitutions and more than 240 laws enacted in the period up to the late 1970s, as well as analyses key policies of successive governments.