He founded the first mosque in England: Who is Abdullah Quilliam?

Abdullah Quilliam, who was appointed by Sultan Abdulhamid II as the Shaykh al-Islam of Britain and its islands in 1894, founded the Liverpool Islamic Center, the first mosque and madrasah in England, in 1887.

By David Foster Published on 20 Kasım 2023 : 22:41.
He founded the first mosque in England: Who is Abdullah Quilliam?

In his first fatwa in 1896, as a "scholar", Quilliam said that it was forbidden for Egyptian Muslims to fight against Sudanese Muslims on the side of the British. Quilliam, who helped nearly 600 British people, including writers and nobles, become Muslims during the Victorian period, devoted his life to Islam after becoming a Muslim.

Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam, who spread Islam in British lands after becoming a Muslim, founded the first mosque in the country and was appointed by Sultan Abdulhamid as Sheikhulislam responsible for Britain and its islands, continues to be an example for British Muslims with his actions.

William Henry Quilliam (10 April 1856 – 23 April 1932), who changed his name to Abdullah Quilliam and later Henri Marcel Leon or Haroun Mustapha Leon, was a 19th-century British convert from Christianity to Islam, noted for founding England's first mosque and Islamic centre.

According to the information compiled on the subject, William Henry Abdullah Quilliam was born in Liverpool, England, in 1856. Quilliam, who started working as a lawyer in 1878 after completing his education at the Liverpool Institute, became known as the lawyer of the poor. Quilliam was described as Liverpool's "unofficial attorney general" by the Liverpool Courier, one of the newspapers of the time, for his efforts in the fight for rights.

The visit to Morocco in 1887 was the turning point in Quilliam's life and the beginning of an era in England. After the visit, Quilliam, who converted to Islam at the age of 31 and took the name Abdullah, immediately began to spread Islam in Liverpool.

Quilliam, who saw Islam as not only his own salvation but also the salvation of societies, founded the country's first mosque, the Liverpool Islamic Center, just months after becoming a Muslim.

The center, which also functioned as a madrasah, not only filled a void at that time but also became a place where Islam directly reached the British in their own lands.

With his work, Quilliam helped nearly 600 British people, including writers and nobles, convert to Islam during the Victorian period.

Quilliam, who carried his work to the written field and aimed to reach everyone, printed and distributed pamphlets under the name Faith of Islam in order to better understand Islam in England. Faith of Islam, whose first edition was published in 1889, was also influential in the Victorian British people's choice of Islam.

With the support of Malaysian and Indian Muslims, Quilliam began publishing the monthly magazine Islamic World in 1893.

Quilliam, whose efforts to spread Islam in England were appreciated and whose fame reached Istanbul, was invited to Istanbul by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid in 1891. Quilliam was appointed as the first Shaykh al-Islam of Britain and its islands in 1894.

Quilliam, who opened a mosque in Lagos in 1894 in the name of Sultan Abdulhamid, undertook its decoration on behalf of the caliph.

In 1896, Quilliam gave his first fatwa as a "scholar" regarding the situation of Egyptian Muslims who fought on the side of the British against Sudanese Muslims.

Quilliam, who had a reaction to this fatwa and stopped his work after the attacks on him and his relatives, left England in 1908. Quilliam returned to England after 6 years and lived under the name of his old friend Harun Mustafa Leon.

Quilliam, who died on 28 April 1932, was buried in Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, near London. Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam, who devoted 45 years of his life to Islam and was oppressed and attacked for this, not only marked an era with his actions but also became both an example and a source of pride for the next generations.