Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali

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Taqi ud-Din al-Hilali
Born 1893
Died June 22, 1987
Era Modern era
Region North Africa
Religion Islam
Creed Zahiri[1]
Movement Salafi[2]

Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din bin Abdil-Qadir Al-Hilali, was a 20th-century Salafi[3] scholar from Morocco, most notable for his English translations of Sahih Bukhari and, along with Muhammad Muhsin Khan, the Qur'an, entitled The Noble Qur'an.


Early life and education[edit]

Hilali was born in Rissani, Morocco, near the oasis of Tafilalt in a valley near Sajalmasah. His birth year according to the Islamic calendar was 1311,[4] coressponding to 1893 on the Gregorian calendar.[5] Hilali's grandfather moved to Al-Fidah from Kairouan in Tunisia many years before his birth. Hilali belongs to the family of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.

Hilali memorized the Qur'an by heart when he was twelve years old, making him a Hafiz. When he first delved into Islamic studies, Hilali was a Sufi of the Tijaniyyah Order. After his religious studies, Hilali took the view that Sufism in general and the Tijani order in particular were far from orthodox Sunni practice due to superstitious and even polythesitic beliefs.[5] He began to speak out against the group in Morocco, for which he was persecuted and assaulted multiple times.[6][7][8]

In his twenties, Hilali moved to Algeria in order to study Muslim Jurisprudence, moving on to Egypt in 1922. While there, Hilali enrolled in Al-Azhar University only to drop out after being disappointed with the curriculum. Instead, Hilali spent time under the tutelage of Rashid Rida,[9][10]

In Asia and Europe[edit]

After finishing his duration of teaching in Mecca, Hilali enrolled in Baghdad University; he also served as an assistant professor while there. Hilali returned briefly to India for a second time, and enrolled in the University of Lucknow as both a student and a teacher, the most prominent of his own being Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadwi. Shakib Arslan, who was a close friend of Hilali,[10] went through a contact at the German Foreign Office and helped Hilali enroll (again, both as a student and a teacher) at the University of Bonn.[11]

Return to Morocco, then Iraq, then Morocco, then Saudi Arabia, then Morocco[edit]

Toward the end of World War II, Hilali left Germany for French Morocco, which was rocked with calls for independence. He returned to Iraq in 1947, once again taking up a teaching position at the university in Baghdad. After the 14 July Revolution, Hilali returned to a now-independent Kingdom of Morocco one more time. He was appointed to a teaching position at Mohammed V University in Rabat in 1959 and later at a branch in Fes.[10]

In 1974, Hilali permanently retired from teaching, moving to Meknes initially and later to Casablanca, where he owned a house. Hilali died on the 25th of Shawal in the year 1408AH,[4] corresponding to June 22, 1987 Gregorian.[12] He was buried in the neighborhood of Sbata.


Algerian national hero Abdelhamid Ben Badis in considered Hilali to be one of the most knowledgeable Muslim clerics of their era.[1]

Hilali was not without critics, especially Western analysts due to his translation of the Qur'an. Western Muslim academics Khaled Abou El Fadl, Khaleel Mohammed and Sheila Musaji criticized Hilali's translation of the Qur'an as bearing an extremely conservative slant.[13][14][15]


Hilali worked with Muhammad Muhsin Khan in the English translation of the meanings of the Qur'an and Sahih Al-Bukhari. Their translation of the Qur'an has been described as ambitious, incorporating commentary from Tafsir al-Tabari, Tafsir ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qurtubi and Sahih al-Bukhari,[16] all considered canonical works in Sunni Islam.

Personal life[edit]

Hilali was an adherent of the Zahirite school of Islamic law according to his children and students. Administrators of his website edited his biography to remove all references to his adherence to the school, with which modern-day Zahirites took issue.[1]

Hilali practiced polygyny, having married five women during his international travel. As it is the duty of a muslim not to have extra conjugal relations. He married an Algerian woman, two Saudi women while living in Mecca, an Iraqi woman during the first time he lived in Iraq, a German woman whose first husband was jewish and whom he protected from the Nazi while he lived in Germany, three Moroccan women. He fathered one daughter with the Algerian woman, two daughters with the Saudi women, a son and a daughter with the Iraqi woman and, one son with the German woman. He has no children with his moroccan women.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Dr. Abdul-Baqi al-Sayyid Abdul-Hadi, Biography of the Sheikh, Dr. Muhammad Taqi ud-Din al-Hilali. Alhady Alzahry, 13 November 2010.
  2. ^ Henri Lauzière, M.A., The Evolution of the Salafiyya in the Twentieth Century through the life and thought of Taqi al-Din al-Hilali, iii
  3. ^ Henri Lauzière, M.A., The Evolution of the Salafiyya in the Twentieth Century through the life and thought of Taqi al-Din al-Hilali, iii
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b Dr. Mohammed Amrani Hanchi, Dr. al-Hilali's youth at Civilizationist Dialogue. Monday, 11 July 2005.
  6. ^ Abu Umar al-Dosary, The Guidance of Sheikh Taqi ud-Din al-Hilali away from the Tijani Order, Saed al-Fawa`id. Accessed 15 March 2012.
  7. ^ Dr. Muhammad bin Sa'd al-Shuwa'ir, About Sheikh Taqi ud-Din al-Hilali, from Hilali's official website. Accessed 15 March 2012.
  8. ^ Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, Tuhfat al-ikhwan bi tarajim ba'di al-a'yan, pgs. 69-71.
  9. ^ Interview with Dr. Taqi ud-Din al-Hilali with The True Call, official magazine of the Moroccan Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs. 26 Rajab, 1429 Hijri.
  10. ^ a b c Dr. Mohammed Amrani Hanchi, How I came to know Dr. Al-Hilali? at Civilizationist Dialogue. Wednesday, 13 July 2005.
  11. ^ Fifth page of the biography from Hilali's official website.
  12. ^ Biography of Taqi ud-Din al-Hilali on Subul as-Salam
  13. ^ Shiela Musaji: Through the Looking Glass: Hilali-Khan Qur’an Translation
  14. ^ Khaled Abou El Fadl: Corrupting God's Book, in Conference of the Books
  15. ^ Khaleel Mohammed: Assessing English Translations of the Qur'an
  16. ^ Brannon Wheeler, Prophets in the Quran: An Introduction to the Quran and Muslim Exegesis, pg. 366. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002.

External links[edit]