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Death of Lord Stanley of Alderley, reported in Review of Religions from Quilliam’s paper
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Death of Lord Stanley of Alderley, reported in the Review of Religions from Quilliam’s paper

In the issue of the Review of Religions for February 1904, the death of Lord Stanley of Alderley, a convert to Islam, is reported and an account of his funeral and burial is quoted from The Crescent. This is as follows.

Death of a Muslim member of the House of Lords

That the late Henry Edward John Stanley, third Baron Stanley of Alderley, was a sincere and devout Muslim, was known to very few men. Readers of the Safwat-ul-Itbar (Travels of Sheikh Muhammad Bairam Fifth of Tunis), however, knew very well that Lord Stanley had long been a sincere believer in the principles of Islam. But his faith was not limited to a profession by word of mouth. The author of the Safwat-ul-Itbar relates incidents which show how deeply Islam had entered into his heart. He found him not only regular in the five daily prayers, but also constant at tahajjud (the midnight prayers); and what is still more wonderful, he found him very humble in his prayers, and far above most born Muhammadans. When he talked of the Holy Prophet, it was with profound love and deep respect that he mentioned or named him. He found him also very well versed on the principles of Muslim theology, and in his conversation with him he found that the deep conviction of his mind was the result of a comprehensive knowledge of the principles of Islam. This was about the year 1880. Who could imagine that such a sincere and devout worshipper of the true God was living in the heart of Christendom?

Lord Stanley breathed his last on Friday, the 21st day of Ramadan (corresponding with 11th December 1903). It appears from the “Crescent” that his Muslim name was Abdul Rahman. The Crescent gives the following account of his interment:

“On Tuesday, the 25th Ramadan (15th December) his mortal remains were laid silently to rest in a secluded plantation in Alderley Park, his late lordship’s ancestral home. The interment took place at an early hour, and was conducted strictly according to Muslim usage, in which Holy and Imperishable Faith his lordship lived and died (Alhamd-o-lillah!) The corpse was inclosed in a plain deal coffin, and borne from the hall by workmen on the Alderley estate. Following it on foot were the successor to the title (the Hon’ble Lyulph Stanley), his wife, their two sons, and other relatives. By the late Lord Stanley’s special direction there was also present as chief mourner his Excellency Hamid Bey, Premier Secretaire to the Ottoman Embassy in London. The Islamic prayers were recited over the grave by the Imam to the Turkish Embassy. A Janaza service in memory of the deceased was held at the Liverpool Mosque, and was conducted by His Honour Abdulla Quilliam Effendi, Sheikh-ul Islam of the British Isles.”

So lived and passed a noble soul, and this must no doubt be a “terrible blow” to the orthodox Christians as the Freethinker says, which corroborates this account of Lord Stanley’s death and burial. May God receive him into His mercy and open the eyes of other Christians to the shining lights of the true and living faith of Islam! Amen!

Review of Religions, February 1904, pages 65–66.

 

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