His obituary and report of funeral in The Islamic
Reproduced below is the text of the obituary of Marmaduke Pickthall
as published in The Islamic Review, August 1936, pages 298300.
The full issue of The Islamic Review can be read online at
THE LATE MAULVI MUHAMMAD MARMADUKE PICKTHALL
When our dear old friend Al-Farooque Lord Headley
left us to mourn his death a year ago, we could hardly think that
we would have to sustain another and a similar loss to our English
Muslim fraternity in so short a time. But such was the Will of Allah.
Maulvi Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, the Editor of Islamic Culture,
published from Hyderabad, and the renowned translator of the Holy
Quran into English, died of heart failure at 11 a.m., on the 19th
May, at St. Ives, Cornwall.
The son of Rev. Charles Pickthall, Rector of Chillesford,
Suffolk, he was born on April 7th, 1875, and was educated at Harrow.
Owing to his long residence in the Near Eastern countries, he had
an intimate knowledge of the Muslim life and of the Arabic language
long before he declared his faith in Islam in the year 1918. Before
his joining the Brotherhood he was a well-known figure in England
as an authority on Eastern questions and as a successful novelist.
Among his novels, numbering a dozen and a half, Said The Fisherman
is a book as widely known as any successful publication.
Since his adoption of Islam, he became an asset to
the Islamic Movement in England with its headquarters at the Mosque
at Woking. For a considerable time he acted as the Editor of the
Islamic Review, and during the absence of the late Khwaja
Kamal-ud-Din officiated as Imam at the London Muslim Prayer House,
and conducted the Tarawih Prayers there during the Ramadan, and
finally led the Eid-ul-Fitr Prayers of the same year at the Mosque,
Gradually he conceived the idea of performing a more
substantial task in the cause of Islam. He wanted to translate the
Holy Quran into the English language. He was an Englishman himself,
and he knew the difficulties of an Englishman in understanding the
Quran. For this, however, he needed leisure and patronage which
he ultimately obtained in India while in the service of His Exalted
Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad. He was given an appointment in
the Nizams Educational Service, and was allowed a long leave,
when on the completion of the translation he wanted to have it revised
in consultation with the recognized Ulema of Egypt. That his virtuous
efforts have borne the expected fruits will be admitted by anyone
who has a glance at The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, published
by Alfred A. Knoff. But, apart from this standing service in the
Cause of Islam, he has been editing all the while an Islamic cultural
quarterly from Hyderabad, The Islamic Culture. It is one
of the most successful Muslim Journals published in English in India.
We only hope that it will continue in its grandeur and dignity and
stand as a living memorial to the name of its founder together with
his English translation of the Holy Quran. If we remember aright,
in the course of his recent conversation with us he spoke to us
about a new version of his Translation with slight alterations and
with the Arabic Text attached to it. As yet we have not been able
to ascertain its fate. We only hope his death will in no way hinder
The mortal remains of the deceased were brought to
Brookwood Cemetery on the morning of Friday, the 22nd May, but the
burial had to be postponed till the next morning, to enable the
Brotherhood to attend the funeral.
The Salat-ul-Janaza was well attended, the
mourners including members of the family, and some English friends
of the deceased like Dr. F. Krenkow of Cambridge University. The
Imam of the Mosque, Woking, with his whole Staff was present. It
was he who led the Salat-ul-Janaza. At about 11-30 a.m.,
the body was lowered into the grave, leaving a deep sense of loss
in the minds of the mourners.
Thus lies buried in the Muslim Cemetery at Brookwood
with some other notabilities of the English Muslim Fraternity —
like Haroun Mustafa Leon and Al-Farooque Lord Headley —this
great English Muslim, the son of a clergyman.
Nothing remains for us now but to submit to the decree
of Allah and to send our heartfelt condolence to the widow of the
deceased, and the other members of the family. Great was he in life
and great is he in death. May Allah shower His choicest blessings
on his soul, and may He allow His inspiration to arouse a similar
soul in the Islam of the British Isles!
Obituary in The Islamic Review