Marmaduke Pickthall: The British Muslim Scholar
Islam is simply the total submission of a believer to the will of Almighty Allah (SWT). You cannot consider yourself to be a Muslim if you do not submit yourself to the dictates of the Creator of the Universe. In this faith, there are Muslims who have truly distinguished themselves in doing their all for the benefit of humanity and the praise of Allah (SWT). One such Muslims is Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall and this is his story.
Born on the 7th of April, 1875, Pickthall was a renowned British Muslim scholar who lived his life for the sake of Islam.
He did a lot for the faith but one of his most remarkable achievements is the translation of the Qur’an that he did into English in 1930. He titled this The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an and it was instrumental to the spread of Islam in not just the United Kingdom but all over the world where English was spoken as a major language.
Even though he is known as one of the greatest Muslim scholars from Britain, it will interest you to know that he was originally not even a Muslim. He was born into a Christian home but on the 29th of November, 1917, he announced his reversion to Islam. This was after he had given a speech on ‘Islam and Progress’ before the Muslim Literary Society in West London.
Following his becoming a Muslim, he poured all of himself into the faith. He took the time to travel all over the world spreading the message of Islam.
Even before he became a Muslim, he had always been a vocal supporter of the Muslim world. It was during his work for the Nizam of Hyderabad that he did the publishing of his English translation of the Holy Book. The translation was so good that it received the praises of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.
He was a very vibrant and active Muslim who never hid his support for Islam and Muslims even at a time when Islam was relatively new in Britain. Every Friday at the mosques in London and Woking, he preached the Friday sermons. He also coordinated the affairs of the Islamic Information Bureau in London including the publication of a weekly paper titled The Muslim Outlook. He was also one of the trustees of the East London Mosque and the Shah Jehan Mosque. It was the passion and single-minded dedication of Pickthall that attracted many others to the faith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Until his death in May 1963 at the age of 61 in Cornwall, England, he was a tireless advocate of everything related to Islam. After his conversion, he did not just travel all over the globe doing dawah in his way, he also wrote extensively on Islamic affairs. Today, Islam is the second-largest religion in the United Kingdom and it is the blessed efforts of people like Pickthall that made this possible. May Allah (SWT) grant him the highest station in Al Jannah, aameen.