Honourable Henry Stanley is described as earliest known Briton converted to Islam, he is also the first Muslim member of the second chamber of the UK Parliament, the House of Lords. His wide interactions with the Muslim world began when his father decided to send him abroad as a member of staff at the British Embassy at Constantinople and later his travel through eastern Muslim lands to Makah and the overall first-hand experience of the Islamic faith and its culture paved a way for his conversion to Islam.[1]  

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

“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 Prophetsa, 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.”[2]


[1] Jamie Gilham (2013) Britain’s First Muslim Peer of the Realm: Henry, Lord Stanley of Alderley and Islam in Victorian Britain, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 33:1, 93-110, DOI: 10.1080/13602004.2013.791190

[2] The Review of Religions Feb 1904

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