Abdullah Quilliam: Shaikh-ul-Islam for the British Isles and Dominions


Shaikh William Henry Abdullah Quilliam (1856-1932) was a native Englishman, a solicitor, from Liverpool, England, who embraced Islam in 1887 and established Britain’s first mosque in Liverpool. He was the son of a watch manufacturer, Robert Quilliam, and a descendent of Capt. John Quilliam R.N., who was First Lieutenant aboard HMS Victory under the famous British Admiral Horatio Nelson.

He was appointed as Shaikh-ul-Islam for the British Isles and Dominions by Caliph Abdul-Hamid II.

His life gives a clear example of the relationship Muslims in the West should have with the society they live in, western governments and the wider Muslim Ummah including the soon to be established Caliphate.

The Liverpool Muslim Institute that Shaikh Quilliam established was more than simply a mosque. There was a Boarding School for boys, a Day School for girls, a Library, a Reading Room, a Museum and a Science laboratory. Classes were held in a wide variety of subjects for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Shaikh Quilliam was extremely vocal against British colonial foreign policy especially in Sudan in which he released an official statement concerning this. (see below) Despite their continued opposition to the munkar (evil) committed by the British government the Muslims were never treacherous or committed acts of violence against the government or the wider society.

Shaikh Quilliam left Britain for Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1908. When the Caliphate sided with Germany during the First World War and became officially at war with Britain, Shaikh Quilliam remained in the Caliphate until the war was over.

Once the Caliphate is re-established Muslims in the west must also be prepared to make hijra (emigration) if their position in the west becomes untenable due to a war between the west and the Caliphate or an “ethnic cleansing” policy conducted by European governments similar to what the Christians did to Muslims and Jews in Al-Andalus in the 15th century.

Shaikh Quilliam on British foreign policy in Sudan

In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful!

Peace be to all True-Believers to whom this shall come!

Know ye, O Muslims, that the British Government has decided to commence military and warlike operations against the Muslims of the Soudan, who have taken up arms to defend their country and their faith. And it is in contemplation to employ Muslim soldiers to fight against these Muslims of the Soudan.

For any True Believer to take up arms and fight against another Muslim is contrary to the Shariat, and against the law of God and his holy prophet.

I warn every True-Believer that if he gives the slightest assistance in this projected expedition against the Muslims of the Soudan, even to the extent of carrying a parcel, or giving a bite of bread to eat or a drink of water to any person taking part in the expedition against these Muslims that he thereby helps the Giaour against the Muslim, and his name will be unworthy to be continued upon the roll of the faithful.

Signed at the Mosque in Liverpool, England, this 10th day of Shawwal, 1313 (which Christians erroneously in their ignorance call the 24th day of March, 1896),

W.H. ABDULLAH QUILLIAM, Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles.

[Source: The Crescent, March 25th 1896, Vol. VII, No. 167, p. 617; original punctuation and spelling retained.]

Shaikh Quilliam on the Caliphate

In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful!

Peace be to all the faithful everywhere!

“O True-Believers, fear God with His true fear; and die not unless ye also be True-Believers. And cleave all of you unto the covenant of God, and depart not from it; and remember the favour of God towards you.” Sura 3, “The Family of Imran,” Ayat, 103

All praise be to God Who, in His unlimited goodness, has favoured us with the gift of the True religion of Islam, and Who has ordered the brethren to be united, and declared this to be His law in the before-quoted Ayat of the Holy and Imperishable Koran!

Among Muslims none should be known as Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Ajem, Afghans, Indians or English. They are all Muslims, and verily the True-Believers are brethren. Islam is erected on the Unity of God, the unity of His religion, and the unity of the Muslims. History demonstrates that the True-Believers were never defeated while they remained united, but only when disunion crept into their ranks.

At the present time, union is more than ever necessary among Muslims. The Christian powers are preparing a new crusade in order to shatter the Muslim powers, under the pretext that they desire to civilise the world.

This is nothing but hypocrisy, but armed as they are with the resources of Western civilisation it will be impossible to resist them unless the Muslims stand united in one solid phalanx.

O Muslims, do not be deceived by this hypocrisy. Unite yourselves as one man. Let us no longer be separated. The rendevous of Islam is under the shadow of the Khalifate. The Khebla of the True-Believer who desires happiness for himself and prosperity to Islam is the holy seat of the Khalifate.

It is with the deepest regret that we see some persons seeking to disseminate disunion among Muslims by publications issued in Egypt, Paris and London. “Verily, they are in a manifest error.”

If their object – as they allege it – be the welfare of Islam, then let them reconsider their action and they will perceive that instead of bringing a blessing to Islam their actions will have a contrary effect, and only further disseminate disunion where it is – alas that it should be said – only too apparent.

We fraternally invite these brethren to return their allegiance, and call them to the sacred name of Islam to re-unite with the Faithful.

Muslims all! Arsh is under the standard of the Khalifate. Let us unite there, one and all, and at once!

Given at the Mosque at Liverpool, this 5th day of Dhulkada, 1313, which Christians in their error call the 20th day of April, 1896

W.H. ABDULLAH QUILLIAM, Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles.

[Source: The Crescent, Vol. VII, No. 171, April 22nd 1896, pp. 681-682, original punctuation and spelling retained, pagination indicated in square brackets in the text.]

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