Muhammad Marmaduke William Pickthall
Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall (1875-1936) was an English traveler, novelist, polemicist, and educationist. He studied Islam and Qur-an and finally accepted Islam in 1919 AD. His father Rev. C. G. Pickthall was rector of Chelmsford and his mother Mary was daughter of Admiral D. H. Ovrian. He mastered French, German, Italian and Spanish while studying at various places in Europe. His travels throughout the Muslim world formed the basis of several of his novels set in the Middle East and allowed him to become fluent in Arabic, Turkish, and Urdu. After his conversion, he served as the acting Imam of the London Mosque (Notting Hill).
He came to India and edited Bombay Chronicle from 1920-1924 AD. He later moved to Hyderabad as the Principal of Chadarghat High School. He worked for 15 years with Muslims in the Indian subcontinent as the editor of Islamic Culture (Hyderabad, Deccan), and served as the Nizam’s advisor and publisher. He wrote and published more than 25 books. It was in Hyderabad where he translated the Holy Qur-an. He was the first neo-Muslim Britisher to translate Qur-an.
Another of his well known works The life of the prophet Muhammad: A Brief History; was originally meant to be an introduction for The Meaning of the Glorious Qur-an, is truly a gem of concision. Realistic and non-apologetic, it contains all that is most essential about the mission of the prophet. This biography is eminently suitable as an introduction to the Prophet’s life for those wanting a quick look based on the earliest and most authentic Muslim sources.
After retiring from Hyderabad, he went back to England and served Muslims and Islam through a society he formed. He died in the year 1936 AD in England. Like ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali, he was also buried at the Brookfield cemetery and his grave is at a distance of about 10 meters from the grave of ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali.
His tombstone reads: Innalillahi wa inna elaihi raje’un (in Arabic), To the dear memory of Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, Born 7th April 1875, Died 19th May 1936, Whoever surrendereth his purpose to Allah, while doing good, his reward is with his Lord.