The renowned translator of the Holy Qur’an and the first translator of Sahih Al-Bukhari into English, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan passed away Wednesday 14 July in the holy city of Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
He died at the age of 97.
Born in 1927 in Kasur in Pakistan, Dr. Muhsin Khan’s grandparents had emigrated to Pakistan from Kandhar, Afghanistan.
Dr. Muhsin obtained his degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Punjab, Lahore, and then worked in the University Hospital in Lahore.
He then traveled to England where he received a Diploma of Chest Diseases from the University of Wales.
After completing his education, he worked in the city of Taif in the Ministry of Health, in the newly formed Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He worked as the Director of El-Sadad Hospital for the Chest Diseases, then he moved to Madinah, where he worked as a Chief of the Department of Chest Diseases in the King’s Hospital.
Then lastly, he worked as the Director of the Islamic University Clinic, Madinah.
Dr. Yasir Qadhi, the American-born Islamic scholar narrates the story of Dr Muhsin embarking on the journey of translating the Holy Qu’ran and Sahih al-Bukhari:
“In Madinah, he saw the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in a very vivid dream; he asked Shaykh Bin Baz (Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia) who was the Rector of the University, the interpretation of that dream, and the Shaykh replied that his dream meant he would somehow benefit the Sunnah. Dr. Muhsin remarked, “I was shocked – I was no scholar and my training was in medicine. I didn’t know how I could benefit the Sunnah until I realized that I was fluent in English and the most important works had not yet been translated into the English language.” He, therefore, decided to dedicate his life to translate what he could.”
Since he was not an Islamic scholar Shaykh Bin Baz assigned Shaykh Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali to Dr. Muhsin on the task. Shaykh al-Hilali was an Islamic scholar from Morocco. He was of the first batch of scholars who studied Islamic Studies in the West, having completed his Ph.D. in Germany under Nazi rule.
Together, Dr. Muhsin and Shaykh al-Hilali embarked on the translation of the Quran which was published by the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran, which is said to produce ten million copies of the Quran every year.
Their English translation ‘The Noble Qur’an’ is also referred to as the Hilali–Khan translation. After this Dr. Muhsin continued onwards to translate the Sahih al-Bukhari on his own.
Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s funeral prayer will be held in Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque), followed by burial in Jannat al-Baqi.