“…And our duty is only to deliver ˹the message˺ clearly.” (Ya-Sin, 36:17)

Islam has spread throughout the world thanks to pioneers who saw it as their responsibility to convey the message. One of the best examples of this preaching movement is the Muslim community in the United Kingdom.

Although the British first encountered Islam in earlier centuries, it was not until the second half of the 19th century that the first settled Muslim communities emerged in the country.

The first Muslims to settle in the British Isles were the sailors from Yemen, Aden, Gujarat, and Somalia who arrived in populated ports like London, Cardiff, Liverpool, South Shields, Bristol, and Hull. These groups were the first to represent Islam in the country. Muslims have been present in these early settlements ever since, gathering for rituals like worship, weddings, and funerals.

The founding of the Woking Institute for Oriental Studies in 1884 was one of the most significant steps in the recognition and growth of Islam in the United Kingdom. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, an orientalist of Hungarian descent, founded this institute in the town of Woking, south of London, to accurately introduce Eastern languages and religions.

After Leitner’s death in 1899, activities slowed down for a while. However, the activities were restored when Lord Headley, who accepted Islam while in India came to Woking in 1912.