The Yahya Ali Omar Collection includes the collected papers of Sheikh Ali Omar.

Yahya Ali Omar taught Swahili language and helped to build a community of scholars of Swahili language, history and religion.

After completing his religious education in Mombasa, Ali Omar started teaching Arabic and the Qur’an at the Arab Boys Primary School in Mombasa.   He then worked for the Islamic Foundation in Nairobi where he translated Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi's book The Islamic Way of Life into Swahili – Mpango wa Maisha katika Uislamu.   Before coming to work at SOAS University of London in 1969, Yahya Ali Omar also edited the Swahili translation of the holy Qur’an done by Sheikh Abdalla Saleh Farsy.

At SOAS, Ali Omar initially worked as a Swahili assistant to Professor W. H. Whiteley.   In the same period, he also worked for the Arab League branch in Nairobi as translator.    His work was concerned with preserving Swahili language and literature with emphasis on the Islamic character of its people and culture. 

Yahya Ali Omar died in October 2008.



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