Talk:Abdullah Yusuf Ali

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I added the cleanup-importance tag because I cannot see from this article alone why the man might be noteworthy. The article in its current state only tells me this man was a published expert on the Quran. There must be thousands of published experts on the Quran, most of which probably have some opinions about politics in South Asia. Somebody loves him enough to put him on wikipedia - but why? -- 00:38, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

I think that the importance of his translation of the Qur'an into English is the reason for inclusion -- if so then this information needs to be in the first (not the last) paragraph. Andreww 00:44, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

His Text, Translation, and Commentary of the Qur'an is probably the most widely used in my experience. I would put it down on par with the King James Bible. It is still edited and republished by dozens of large printing houses all over the world. The man's influence on the religious discourse is inestimable. The diction, opinions, commentary, and historical and mystical notes included in his original work are today the subject of an intellectual tug of war manifested in how his work is represented today in current printings. Abdullah Yusuf Ali is about as noteworthy as any literary or religious scholar in the world could possibly be. The day he isn't considered to be so is the day that one side has won that tug of war.WMHS 02:26, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

WMHS is exactly right. An odd note is that it seems difficult to find Ali's translation of the Qur'an in your average American book store. I own two copies: one is a badly done version published in India that I found in a used book store and the other is a very beautiful version that was published in Lebanon and which I bought through international mail. Barnes & Noble simply doesn't carry Ali's translation and they ought to. My impression is that Ali has his fans but that those who favor all of his original interpretations are in the minority. Ali may have been more open to representing different opinions within Islam which he allowed to speak through his commentary. He also seems to have promoted a rapprochement with some aspects of liberalism (such as it existed more than a century ago) which he did not see as an abandonment of Islam but rather as justified by a careful reading of the Qur'an.


Surat Al-Kahf, 18:90 Until, when he reached (a tract) between two mountains, he found, beneath them, a people who scarcely understood a word. It is not what I read in the Quran. It is written that: Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom (Pickthall). Whoever has knowledge about this explain it.

There is no mountain mentioned in the verse. It is mentioned later on the other people. This is a serious matter. Alromaithi 00:46, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

To the ear of a native English speaker, as can be seen from the compared quotations above, Pickthall's English is distractingly awkward. Ali's text reads better; however, a lack of literalness in Ali's translation could, indeed, be misleading. Would this be a place to explain why his translation of the above passage is "a serious matter" beyond the physical description and the order in which he reveals it? Does the difference have theological significance? And what about the first Surah where Pickthall refers to the "Owner of the Day of Judgment" whereas Ali has "Master of the Day of Judgment"? I prefer Ali's choice because it sounds much better in English. I am reminded, however, that I have compared many passages in the Greek text of the Christian Testament to about eight different English translations, and none of them renders the Greek quite right. Not sure theologians would say the differences make any difference. This is not a problem limited to translations of the Qur'an. - Unknown poster (please remember to put your signature and date stamp!)

Regarding Alromaithi's criticism, this is what 18:90 says in my copy of the Yusuf Ali translation, which is a copy from 1938. "Until, when he came /To the rising of the sun, /He found it rising /On a people for whom /We had provided /No covering protection / Against the sun." Then 18:93 reads, as Al-Romaithi describes "Until, when he reached/(A tract) between two mountains, /He found, beneath them, a people /Who scarcely understood a word."

Consequently I think that either whoever printed the versions being described above must have either changed Ali's numbering to be different from Pickthall's, or there is a mistake in what was quoted at the top of this section. In general, though, I agree with the previous post that this is not a significant issue, so long as the Arabic text provided is identical.

--WMHS (talk) 07:02, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Qur'ān 3:45: "Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah." - Yusuf Ali translation
I personally find the translation here annoying. Since Abdullah Yusuf Ali died in 1953 there was no reason for him to translate the Qur'an into English with the language of King James -- except to make it "sound" more scriptural. This was the same annoying nonsense employed by the Mormon founder Joseph Smith. Danwaggoner (talk) 05:47, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Native language[edit]

I think It would be of great interest if someone knows the native language of Abdullah Yusuf Ali, to include it in the article. --Camahuetos 13:57, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Date of death[edit]

I found the date of death is about 1948 M, 1367 H in Lahore from a pretext of a Quran translation book, but the date in this article is different.-- 20:16, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Further details[edit]

Abdullah Yusuf Ali died on 10th December 1953 in London. For details see his biography 'Searching for Solace' by M A Sherif

Preface to First Edition, 1934[edit]

Can this please be added to wikiquote?

Austerlitz -- 17:36, 1 July 2007 (UTC)


It's very beautiful to have a photo. Thank you.

Austerlitz -- (talk) 10:15, 26 October 2008 (UTC)