SEARCHING FOR SOLACE: A BIOGRAPHY OF ABDULLAH YUSUF ALI - INTERPRETER OF THE QUR'AN By M A Sherif. Published by Islamic book Trust, Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. 1994. pp.314
"An exemplary biography of a figure hitherto known to most English-speaking Muslims by little more than name. Based on exhaustive research, written with great clarity, and judicious and balanced in its analysis and conclusions, this book deserves to be read by all accustomed to using Yusuf 'Ali's translation of the Qur'anic meanings." Professor Hamid Algar, Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley
"The book contains a detailed bibliography of Yusuf Ali's writings. There are also pictures and the actual announcements when he was elected to the ICS in 1894. There are far too few biographies and serious research into Muslim lives by Muslims. A book like this is therefore doubly welcome.
It is doubly welcome because its presentation is of high international standard although it is published in the Muslim world. The lay-out, the quality of the paper and print and the graphics on the cover are all worth commending. I strongly recommend this book to all those who would learn about a sensitive human-being and a great Muslim scholar. I would also recommend this book to those who wish to learn about Muslim society and its treatment of its scholars. It is a book which will make thoughtful Muslims pause and think about issues that are central." Akber S Ahmed, Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge
"That such a text, produced and reproduced in millions, dished out gratis by states and factions of every conceivable stamp, should have emanated from a man whose life-story is largely unknown, is one of the stranger circumstances of modern Islam. Our blessed prophet commanded us to know the men from whom we take our religion: and yet the story of Yusuf Ali, forty-one years after his death, has until now remained untold.Searching for Solace is probably a better remedy for this absence than we deserve. It is an interpretive biography grounded firmly in exhaustive and diverse research in the best tradition of modern English biographical writing.
Every Muslim in England, barring perhaps some very marginal black sheep of the Tariq Ali variety, must have spent some time with the Yusuf Ali Quran. Heavy, ornate and Victorian decorated with odd poetic epitomes ans mystical footnotes, the work is to the text of Pickthall what the Brighton pavilion is to St Pancras station. There are nooks and crannies in these notes, containing moments of real insight, and mixed in with cross-referenced historical oddments culled from obsolete bible scholarship. Not recognisably based on the tafsir literature, these notes are often simply flourished from his own vision, which, as in the heavily interpolated text itself, was visibly refracted through spectacles made, quite unmistakeable, in British India."Q-News
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