100 Years of Pickthall
After delivering a talk on ‘Islam and Progress’ on 29 November 1917, to the Muslim Literary Society in Notting Hill West London, Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall openly declared his conversion to Islam. On Saturday the 25th November 2017 one hundred years after this historic event Beacon Books organised a seminar to mark this occasion with the help and support of the East London Mosque in Whitechapel.
We were fortunate to hear excellent presentations on three areas pertaining to the life of Marmaduke Pickthall. The first presentation was given by Dr Peter Clark who is one of the foremost experts on Pickthall, who restricted his talk to Pickthall’s literary career. Pickthall’s Islamic writings consisted most famously of his English translation of the Holy Qur’an and also articles on the cultural as pets of Islam. His fiction writing, however, was quite varied and consisted of novels based on his travels in the Middle East as well as Switzerland and his native Suffolk.
Dr Jamil Jamil Shareef delivered a very detailed and interesting talk on the various aspects of Pickthall’s life in India where he spent the last ten years of his life before coming back to the UK in the final year of his life. Pickthall was intimately involved with the Indian independence movement and counted Mahatma Gandhi as a close friend and ‘a saintly figure.’
Mr Muhammad Chaudhry delivered the final talk on the impact of Pickthall on Muslims today. Choudhry sacred his own experience of being so inspired with Pickthall that he now intends to establish a Pickthall Institute to carry on the great man’s legacy. Pickthall faced many issues relating to identity and faith that are still relevant today to Muslims living in the West.
The seminar came to a close after a book launch of Beacon Book’s first title in the Pickthall Novel Series ‘A Question of Precedence and the Middle East Stories by Marmaduke Pickthall.’ Nine more titles are expected in the series which will be published in 2018 keeping his legacy alive for another one hundred years!