The International Dr. G.W. Leitner Trail
Marcus Roberts & Silvia Dovoli (Oxford University Jewish Country House Project)


Bookmark this page |  E-mail this page to a friend

Pages < 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   > 

The 'Muhammadan' Cemetery (1889)

It must not be overlooked that Leitner also established the Muhammadan Cemetery in 1889, on Pine Avenue, in the famous Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, as an adjunct to the Oriental Institute (not to be confused with the Woking Muslim War Cemetery, now known as The Peace Gardens, in the general vicinity). The establishment of cemeteries for minorities implies the establishment of a community and a degree of permanence. For any Muslim visiting or living in England at the time, the existence of a Muslim place of burial would have been very important and reassuring, as being otherwise unable to receive or to give proper Muslim burial, and to be buried amongst strangers, would be a source of acute distress for a devout believer. The burial ground also had an inscribed commemorative stone (Kibla stone) provided by Leitner, giving instructions as to how to prepare a Muslim for burial, which speaks to the situation of the community at the time. The cemetery, while very small, has an exceptional roll-call of notable Muslims who are buried there and includes notable British converts to Islam, important in the Islamic mission to the West. It is now understood that the grave site of Abdullah Quilliam (1856 - 1932), 'Britain's first Sheikh-ul-Islam, founder of Britain's first mosque and Muslim publication', is in the cemetery. The grave of Muhammad Marmaduke William Pickthall (1875 - 1936) who converted in 1927 and wrote the first English translation of the Qur'an, an English-born Muslim and also a well-known novelist and journalist, is there too. The original Muslim burial ground has now been joined by many additional Muslim burial areas in Brookwood, along Pine Avenue, representing several countries and distinctive groupings.

Post a Comment
Submit to this trail