Yusuf Ali

Other names: 

Abdullah Yusuf Ali

A. Yusuf Ali


Lemsford Road, St Albans AL1 3PF
United Kingdom
51° 44' 17.8404" N, 0° 20' 28.122" W
St John's College, Cambridge CB2 1TP
United Kingdom
52° 10' 21.3528" N, 0° 6' 40.3992" E
Mansel Road London, SW19 4AA
United Kingdom
51° 25' 8.4" N, 0° 11' 9.366" W
Date of birth: 
04 Apr 1872
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
10 Dec 1953
Location of death: 
London, England
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Sep 1891
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1891-5, 1900, 1905-7, 1912, 1914-20, 1928-36, 1939-53


Sevenoaks, Kent


Adbullah Yusuf Ali is best known as translator of the Qur'an. He first went to Britain in 1891 to study law at St John's College, Cambridge. He returned to India in 1895 having graduated from Cambridge, with an Indian Civil Service (ICS) post and was called to the Bar in Lincoln's Inn in 1896 in abstentia.

In 1900, Yusuf Ali married Theresa Mary Shalders in England. He returned to England in 1905 on a two-year leave. During this time he gave a number of lectures and was elected to the Royal Society of Arts and Royal Society of Literature.

In 1914, Yusuf Ali resigned from the ICS and settled in Britain. He had divorced his wife in 1912 and gained custody of their four children. He married Gertrude Anne Mawbey in 1920. He became involved in the Woking Mission and the East London Mosque. Seen as an imperial loyalist, Yusuf Ali had been vocally supportive of the Indian contribution to the war effort, and he was awarded a CBE in 1917. In the same year he joined the School of Oriental Studies as a lecturer in Hindustani.

Yusuf Ali wrote for a number of periodicals on political, artistic, literary and religious matters. He attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and was in London at the time of the Round Table Conferences. He often wrote and spoke about Mohammad Iqbal, although they had differing political ideologies. In 1938, Yusuf Ali's translation of the Qur'an was published in Lahore while he was teaching at Islamia College. He died in 1953 in London.

Involved in events: 
Published works: 

Life and Labour of the People of India (London: John Murray, 1907)

Mestrovic and Serbian Sculpture (London: Elkin Mathews, 1916)

India and Europe (London: Drane, 1925)

The Making of India (London: Black, 1925)

Medieval India: Social and Economic Conditions (London: Oxford University Press, 1932)

The Holy Qur'an (Lahore: S. M. Ashraf, 1938)

Contributions to periodicals: 

Asiatic Review, Contemporary Review, Hindustan Review, Islamic Review, Nineteenth Century and After, The Times

Secondary works: 

Sherif, M. A., Searching for Solace: A Biography of Abdullah Yusuf Ali Interpreter of the Qur'an (New Delhi: Adam Publishers, 2004)