Abdullah Quilliam, First and Last ‘Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles’

Jamie Gilham

in Victorian Muslim

Published in print June 2017 | ISBN: 9780190688349
Published online August 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190848477 | DOI:
Abdullah Quilliam, First and Last ‘Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles’

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This chapter provides a detailed examination of Abdullah Quilliam’s role as the first – and only – "Shaykh-ul-Islam of the British Isles." The title of Shaykh-ul-Islam was conferred on Quilliam by the Ottoman Sultan in 1892 and effectively made him the supreme authority on Islam and leader of Muslims in Britain. This chapter argues that, though honorific, the role was strategically important for the Ottoman Turks, who believed that Quilliam could be trusted to work in the interests of their empire at a time when the European powers were threatening its dismantlement. This chapter shows that Quilliam took the role equally seriously and that the "office" of the Shaykh-ul-Islam enabled him not only to represent the Liverpool Muslim community at civic events but also, to some extent, to lead and speak on behalf of Muslims and for Islam nationally and internationally.

Keywords: Abdullah Quilliam; Shaykh-ul-Islam; Ottoman Turks; Sultan; Islam; Muslim; Britain; Liverpool

Chapter.  6078 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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