|Biographical detail : ||An English convert to Islam who inaugurated Muslim community in Liverpool, England.
Abdullah, born as William Henry Quilliam in Liverpool, son of a watch manufacturer, embraced Islam, at the age of 31, on his visit to Algeria and Morocco. He was trained as a solicitor. Abdullah inaugurated, in 1889, the first English Muslim community in Liverpool – a community that was made up principally of English converts who had rejected their upbringing, their Christian roots and way of life in favour of Islam.
Shaikh Abdullah Quilliam spread Islam that included his sons, his mother at the age of 63, and prominent scientists and professionals. He set up a prayer and meeting room for the community in Liverpool’s Mount Vernon Street.
Abdullah started a Muslim College with courses for Muslims and non-Muslims in arts, science and law. A weekly Debating and Literary Society attracted many non-Muslims and many participated on Sunday prayers and sermons. There was also singing from Shaikh Abdullah Quilliam’s collection of hymns for English speaking Muslims. These gatherings brought over 150 non-Muslims to Islam by 1896.
Abdullah established a refuge for women – nearly two thousand illegitimate births occurred annually in Liverpool during that period and many women turned to him for help. To counter this problem, Abdullah founded ‘Medina Home’ to care for children and to find them foster families.
Abdullah established two journals – The Crescent, a weekly paper and The Islamic World, an academic periodical – distributed to over twenty countries worldwide. This brought close contact with the Islamic world as well as Muslims in America and Australia. He also published three editions of The Faith of Islam that subsequently got translated into thirteen languages. He also wrote authoritatively on Christianity and the Gospel and Judaism and Talmudic Law.
Abdullah’s popularity spread to far and wide. The Sultan of Turkey made Abdullah Shaikh-ul-Islam of Britain, The Sultan of Morocco made him an Alim and Shah of Persia appointed him as a Consul. King of Afghanistan donated a gift of £2,500 for the Community that amount was used to set up the Islamic Institute and Liverpool Mosque at 8 Broughton Terrace, Liverpool.
Abdullah who lies buried in, Brook wood Cemetery, in Surrey was a highly charismatic person with deep understanding of his faith and of the society he was born into.