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Abdullah Yusuf Ali
Born 14 April 1872 (1872-04-14)
Bombay, India
Died 10 December 1953 (1953-12-11)
Brookwood, Surrey
Occupation Muslim scholar

Hafiz Abdullah Yusuf Ali (14 April 1872 – 10 December 1953) was a South Asian Sunni Islamic scholar who translated the Qur'an into English.[1] His translation of the Qur'an ranks alongside the translation of Marmaduke Pickthall as the most widely-known and used in the world.

Ali was born in Bombay, India to a wealthy merchant family with a Dawoodi Bohra father. As a child, Ali received a religious education and, eventually, could recite the entire Qur'an from memory. He spoke both Arabic and English fluently. He studied English literature and studied at several European universities, including the University of Leeds. He concentrated his efforts on the Qur'an and studied the Qur'anic commentaries beginning with those written in the early days of Islamic history. Yusuf Ali's best-known work is his book The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary, begun in 1934 and published in 1938 by Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers Lahore in India (later Pakistan). While on tour to promote his translation, Ali helped to open the Al-Rashid Mosque, the first mosque in North America, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in December 1938.[2][3]

Ali was an outspoken supporter of the Indian contribution to the Allied effort in World War I.[1] He was a respected intellectual in India and Sir Muhammad Iqbal recruited him to be the principal of Islamia College in Lahore, British India. Later in life, he again went to England where he died in London.

He is buried in England at the Muslim cemetery at Brookwood, Surrey, near Woking, not far from the burial place of Pickthall. The gentleman who lead his funeral prayer is still alive. His name is Hafiz Amir Khan and his lives in Dallas, Texas. He befriended Yusuf Ali at Lincoln Bar in London where Yusuf Ali sponsored Amir Khan's admission to the bar. It was the wish of Yusuf Ali that his burial prayer be lead by Mr. Amir Khan who is a Hafiz. Hafiz Amir Khan holds the title to the lot where Yusuf Ali is buried.

Modern editions of his work remain in print, but with modifications such as "God" altered to "Allah" and with controversial modifications of the opinions that Ali expressed in footnotes and of short historical articles that were included with the original text. For instance, Ali's liberal views on credit and interest do not appear in some editions, as they are considered to run contrary to some schools of Islamic economic thought. Wikisource is using a "modern edition" with the name of Allah for God.


Preface to First Edition, Lahore 4th April, 1934

Gentle and discerning reader! what I wish to present to you is an English Interpretation, side by side with the Arabic Text. The English shall be, not a mere substitution of one word for another, but the best expression I can give to the fullest meaning which I can understand from the Arabic Text. The rhythm, music, and exalted tone of the original should be reflected in the English interpretation. It may be but a faint reflection, but such beauty and power as my pen can command shall be brought to its service. I want to make English itself an Islamic language, if such a person as I can do it, and I must give you all the accessory aid which I can

See also


  1. ^ a b Famous London Muslims
  2. ^ Al Rashid Mosque in Edmonton
  3. ^ Canadian Islam Centre - History

External links



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