IN MEMORIAM: Abdullah Yusuf Ali 1872-1953

Abdullah Yusuf Ali (14 April 1872 - 10 December 1953) translated the Qur’an into English. 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. 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 visited several European countries as a student. He concentrated his efforts on the Qur’an and studied the Qur’anic commentaries beginning with those written in early days of Islamic history. Yusuf Ali’s well-known work was his book The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary, published in 1934.

Ali was an outspoken supporter of the Indian contribution to the Allied effort in World War I. He was a respected intellectual in India and Sir Muhammad Iqbal recruited him to be the principal of Islamia College in Lahore, Pakistan. Later in life, he went to England and is buried in the Muslim cemetery at Brookwood, Surrey, near Woking, near the burial place of Pickthall.

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