Abdu'Allah was born Paul Duffus in 1969 and grew up in a Pentecostal family. He was educated at Willesden High School, Harrow School of Art, Central St Martins and the Royal College of Art. In 1991, Abdu'Allah reverted to Islam and changed his name. The event was described in the BBC television documentary series The Day That Changed My Life and formed the subject of the artist's 1992 work Thalatha Haqq (Three Truths). He taught at the University of East London (UEL), formerly North East London Polytechnic. He was a visiting Professor at Stanford University  and is a member of the Association of Black Photographers. In the spring of 2013 Abdu'Allah was an invited scholar and artist at the University of Wisconsin , on the recommendation of Professor Henry J. Drewal,  who coined the term "sensiotics". . In fall of 2014 Abdu'Allah returned to Wisconsin, this time as a faculty member in UW-Madison's School of Education where he serves as an Assistant Professor in the Art Department.