Muhammad Mohar Ali

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Muhammad Mohar Ali (Arabic: محمد مهر علي‎‎) (1932–2007) was a scholar of Islam and history of Muslims in Bengal and India.

Academic career[edit]

Mohar Ali was born in 1932 in Khulna in Bengal. Studying at Dhaka University, he obtained a degree in History in 1952 and Masters in 1953. In 1963 he obtained a PhD from SOAS, University of London, and in 1964 studied law at Lincolns Inn, London.

Between 1954 and 1976 he worked as a university lecturer in Bengal, becoming a professor, and moved in 1976 to Saudi Arabia to teach Islamic history at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh for 12 years, followed by 7 years of teaching at the Islamic University of Madinah. He worked then as a researcher at King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur'an in years 1415–16 AH. He also worked at Dhaka University in 1965–69, at the official Historical Document Centre in 1966–71, and the chief editor for the Historical Society magazine. His university teaching career lasted for more than 40 years. Mohar Ali died in London on 11 April 2007.


Professor Ali was a specialist in Islamic history – in particular the history of Bengal. His book, History of the Muslims of Bengal, is considered an important reference in the history of the propagation of Islam in the region and its cultural and political effects. It also deals with the struggle of Bengali Muslims against the British colonial rule, and the Islamic influence on Bengali architecture and literature.

His other books deal with the Islamic rule in India in the 19th century, Islam and the Modern world, the history of the Indian subcontinent, the Bengali reaction to Christian missionaries, in addition to articles in specialist magazines and conference participation in Bangladesh, Pakistan, the UK and the US.

Professor Ali won the King Faisal International Prize for Islamic Studies in 2000.[1]

While most of his books and essays are in English, he has translated Jawhart al-Bukhari from Arabic into Bengali and published a word for word English translation of the Qur'an[2] in addition to Arabic essays such as Orientalists' Claims concerning the Glorious Qur'an.[3]

He has also written books in response to the Orientalists' approach to the biography of Muhammad[citation needed] and their theories about the Qur'an: Sirat Al-Nabi and the Orientalists[4] (1997) and The Qur'an and the Orientalists (2004).[5]


Ever since the middle of the nineteenth century orientalists have turned their attention to what they consider "foreign words" in the Qur'an. They indeed take their cue from the writings of the Muslim classical scholars and exegetes themselves who, in their eagerness for meticulous studies of all aspects of the Qur'an, paid attention also to the words and expressions in it that were adopted and naturalised in the Arabic language of words and expressions of non-Arabic origin.

Al-Suyuti and others before him emphasise three important facts in this connection. First, Arabic, Ethiopic, Syriac and Aramaic are cognate languages and have a good number of words in common because of their common roots. Second, in the course of the Arabs' long contact with the outside world, especially in the course of their trade and commerce, a number of words of non-Arabic origin entered the language and were naturalised, these being considered part and parcel of the Arabic language. Third, in the course of such adoption and naturalisation the forms as well as the original meanings of the words underwent some modifications and changes.

These facts are common in respect to all languages.[6]

Main works[edit]

  • An Outline of Ancient Indo-Pak History (1960)
  • A brief survey of Muslim Rule in India (1964)
  • The Bengali Reaction to Christian Missionary Activities, 1833–1857 (1965)
  • The Fall of Sirajuddaulah (1975)
  • History of the Muslims of Bengal (1985)
  • The Biography of the Prophet and the Orientalists (1997) [1] ISBN 9960-770-68-0
  • A Word for Word Meaning of the Qur'an (2002)
  • The Qur'an and the Orientalists: An Examination of their Main Theories and Assumptions (2004) ISBN 0-9540369-7-2


  1. ^ "King Faisal International Prize For Islamic Studies Year 2000". King Faisal Foundation. Archived from the original on 13 January 2011. The Bangladeshi scholar Professor Muhammed Mohar Ali has been named the winner of the prize for Islamic Studies (The Spread and Cultural Impact of Islam Outside the Arab World). His 4-volume book A History of the Muslims of Bengal is characterized by its originality, depth, and objectivity. His methodology, detailed research, and insight have resulted in an exceptional work. 
  2. ^ "A Word for Word Meaning of Quran By Muhammad Mohar Ali (Set of 3 Books)". Muslimbase. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Islamport and King Saud University Library Catalog
  4. ^ The Biography of the Prophet and the Orientalists
  5. ^ The Qur'an and the Orientalists: An Examination of Their Main Theories and Assumptions. ISBN 0-9540369-7-2
  6. ^ Ansar Al-'Adl. "The Qur'an's Pure Arabic and the Presence of Foreign Words". Load Islam. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. 

External links[edit]

Arabic links[edit]