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Abdullah Quilliam, Marmaduke Pickthall and the Politics of Christendom and the Ottoman Empire

Geoffrey Nash

in Victorian Muslim

Published in print June 2017 | ISBN: 9780190688349
Published online August 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190848477 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190688349.003.0006
Abdullah Quilliam, Marmaduke Pickthall and the Politics of Christendom and the Ottoman Empire

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Abdullah Quilliam and Marmaduke Pickthall are arguably the most significant British converts to Islam in the period of their lifetimes. Much has been made of both men’s attempts to balance loyalty to Islam with their membership of the British nation. This chapter discusses the context of their leave-taking from Christianity before situating them as international Muslim actors. It probes their divergences, notably over the issue of Sultan Abd al-Hamid II’s Caliphate and pro-Turkish agitation during the First World War, and their similarities on the Ottoman issue and its relation to their visions of Islam as a living faith. Increasingly scrutiny returns to the Ottoman polity and the significance of its loss for Islam in the modern world. Their varied responses raise stimulating perspectives on whether modernist thought of the Young Ottoman/Turk type has anything to offer, and if the search for a unified Islamic authority still has purchase, as well as what role if any race and nationalism should have in a confluence of Islamic peoples. Both men warned of dangers facing the Muslim umma, before the Ottoman reference point was lost and extremism, fundamentalism, radicalism and sectarian conflict became norms.

Keywords: Abdullah Quilliam; Marmaduke Pickthall; Islam; Ottoman Empire; Caliphate; Sultan; Converts to Islam

Chapter.  6359 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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