Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam’s Call for Unity

“In 1896, the Sheikh had been outraged by the discovery that Egyptian nationalist tracts calling for independence from the Ottoman Empire were being distributed in Cairo, London and Paris. Quilliam’s anger led to the issuing of a fatwa on the 20th April 1896 in which he makes his position on loyalty to the Caliph very clear:

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.”

[The Crescent, Vol. VII, No. 171, April 22nd 1896, pp. 681-682]

[Ron Geaves, Islam in Victorian Britain: The Life and Times of Abdullah Quilliam, Kube, Markfield, 2010, pp. 215-217]

William Henry Abdullah Quilliam (1856-1932) was the most significant Muslim personality in nineteenth-century Britain. Uniquely ennobled as the Sheikh of Islam of the British Isles by the Ottoman Caliph, Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1893, Quilliam, as a charismatic preacher, created a remarkable community of Muslims in Victorian Liverpool, which included a substantial number of converts. A successful solicitor, Quilliam fought for the rights of the city’s poor and, in the high noon of European colonialism, defended the Ottoman Caliphate through his two international publications, The Crescent and The Islamic World.

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