Sheikh Yusuf Motala – a pioneer of Islam in Britain – dies

Dar ul Uloom, Bury

One of the most influential figures in the development of Islam in Britain has died.

Maulana Yusuf Motala, 73, passed away on Sunday night in Toronto, Canada, after suffering a heart attack in August.

Sheikh Motala was not a public figure but will be best known as the founder of the Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyya al-Islamiyya in Holcombe near Bury in 1973, perhaps the most important Deobandi institution in the West.

Popularly known as “Dar al-Uloom Bury,” this institution has produced hundreds of graduates who have gone on to serve communities in the UK, Europe, North America, Africa and elsewhere.

Born in Surat District in Gujarat in 1946, Sheikh Yusuf completed his memorisation of the entire Qur’an at a young age, and then went onto study at the Jamia Husayniyya in Gujarat and at the Mazahir al-Ulum Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. He migrated to the UK in 1968.

Moulana Yusuf Shabbir, a Blackburn based graduate of Darul Uloom Bury, told the Asian Image: “This is a great loss for the Ummah. We are all indebted to our respected teacher Shaykh Yusuf Motala for his lifelong efforts and sacrifices. His legacy includes the establishment of the first Muslim seminary in the Western World which has produced well over a thousand graduates.

Sheikh Yusuf Motala (left)

“A significant number of British Muslim scholars who are active across a range of disciplines and contributing to civic society are his students directly or indirectly. Many of his students have established seminaries, schools, charities and other institutions…

“He was among the leading scholars of the UK whose contribution and efforts have had a profound impact on communities not just in the UK, but in many countries across the world. We pray to Allah Almighty to grant him an abode in the gardens of Paradise and grant patience to all family members and associates.”

The Ramadhan Foundation Chairman Shaykh Muhammad Umar and CEO Mohammed Shafiq said: “It’s with great sadness that Shaykh ul Hadith Maulana Yusuf Mutala has passed away. When the history of the British Muslim community is written he will be at the heart of that story.

“He was one of the first to establish educational institutes in the UK where to date thousands have graduated into Muslim scholars who serve humanity around the world. His humbleness, compassion and love was self evident to all and his death will he mourned by many around the world.

“We have both had the honour of meeting him a few times over the past twenty years and were truly moved by his character and dignity. We want to offer our personal condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and students, a huge loss to bear. May Allah elevate his rank in Jannah.”

Sheikh Yusuf’s janazah took place in Toronto.

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