Abdullah Yusuf Ali
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|Abdullah Yusuf Ali|
14 April 1872|
|Died||10 December 1953
Abdullah Yusuf Ali, CBE, FRSL (14 April 1872 – 10 December 1953) was an Indian Islamic scholar who translated the Qur'an into English. His translation of the Qur'an is one of the most widely known and used in the English-speaking world.
Ali was born in Bombay, India in British 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 in Lahore, India (later Pakistan). While on tour to promote his translation, Ali helped to open the Al-Rashid Mosque, the third mosque in North America, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in December 1938.
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, 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 Marmaduke Pickthall.
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.||”|
—A. YŪSUF ‘ALĪ, 1934, Online Quran Project
Preface to Third Edition, 1938
|“||Since I last greeted my readers collectively I have been able to perform the Pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca and the sacred territory around it and seen with my own eyes the city and territory of Medina, with all the country around and between the holy Cities. I have realised for myself the scenes in which the revelations came which I have humbly sought to interpret. I hope that some glimpses of this experience will have been conveyed to my dear readers.||”|
—A. YŪSUF ‘ALĪ, 1938, Online Quran Project
A large group of Sunni Muslims have refuted the English translation of the Quran by Yusuf Ali on the basis of few albeit crucial mistakes within the interpretation of some verses. An example of this is seen in the translation of the 16th verse of the 15th chapter of the Holy Qur'an (Surah Al-Hijr):
Yusuf Ali's translation states, "It is We Who have set out the zodiacal signs in the heavens, and made them fair-seeming to (all) beholders;" Out of the five widely accepted English translations, Yusuf Ali is the only one who incorrectly translates burooj to zodiac signs, which would imply that believing in zodiac signs is permissible in Islam (which it is not). However, as seen in the other four translations below, the Arabic word "burooj" refers to the stars:
Sahih International: "And We have placed within the heaven great stars and have beautified it for the observers."
Muhsin Khan: "And indeed, We have put the big stars in the heaven and We beautified it for the beholders."
Shakir: "And certainly We have made strongholds in the heaven and We have made it fair seeming to the beholders."
Dr. Ghali: "And indeed We have already made in the heaven constellations, and We have adorned it to the onlookers."
The above-stated example as well as many other opinions found in his translation have also caused the replacement of the Saudi sponsorship from this translation to another author. Other conflicts include Yusuf Ali's views on Dhul-Qarnayn's identification as Alexander the Great, his fallacious Islamic legalisation of financial interest, and his views on Hassan and Hasayn.
- Famous London Muslims
- Al Rashid Mosque in Edmonton
- Canadian Islam Centre - History
- "Beware of ‘Abdullaah Yusuf ‘Ali Translation". Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Surah Al-Hijr (15:16)".
- ""Investigating Distortions in Islamic Texts: Abdullah Yusuf Ali's Qur'an commentary, the deletion of the merits of Imams Hasan and Husayn, and other changes" (2000). Al-Islam.org".
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Al-Quran Project includes Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation with commentary and annotated interpretation (original edition from 1934).
- Full text of First Edition of Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation at Digital Library of India in three volumes: , , 
- Works by Abdullah Yusuf Ali at Project Gutenberg
- The Qur'an Translation on Feedbooks in Epub, kindle(mobi), pdf
- The Holy Qur'an, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali
- Abdullah Yusuf Ali's Qur'an commentary, the deletion of the merits of Imams Hasan and Husayn ('a), and other changes
- Android application for searching the Holy Quran, with Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation available as add-on