He is often associated with the Gülen Movement, an Islamic group in Turkey. In addition to being an author, Ali Ünal is a prolific translator of works with an Islamic theme into English, and has translated into English many works by Fethullah Gülen, the spiritual leader and founder of the Gülen Movement. In 2006, Ali Ünal's English translation of the Quran was released. Ali Ünal's translation has been noted for its use of contemporary English, which makes it more readable than some classical Quran translations. Entitled The Qur'an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English, the work also included extensive annotations by the translator.
Ali Ünal's published books as author and editor include Islam Addresses Contemporary Issues, Islamic Perspectives on Science: Knowledge and Responsibility, The Resurrection and the Afterlife, The Prophet Promised in World Scriptures, An Introduction to Islamic Faith and Thought, Living in the Shade of Islam, Living the Ethics and Morality of Islam, General Principles in the Risale-i Nur Collection for a True Understanding of Islam, Fethullah Gülen: An Advocate of Dialogue.
Ali Ünal has about twenty translations from Turkish to English and more than ten from English to Turkish. He has more than twenty books in Turkish.
Ali Ünal is also a columnist for Zaman, a major Turkish daily newspaper.
- Kim, Heon Choul (2008). The nature and role of Sufism in contemporary Islam: A case study of the life, thought and teachings of Fethullah Gulen. ProQuest. p. 336. ISBN 978-0-549-70579-6. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- The Miraculous Quran by Ali Ünal.