He began playing the trumpet at age 13 in his native New York City. One of the first groups he performed with was the Master Brotherhood. By the 1970s, he was performing in New York's loft scene with various groups including the Melodic Art-Tet (Charles Brackeen, Roger Blank and Ronnie Boykins, later William Parker) and joined the Sun Ra Arkestra. Ahmed Abdullah formed his own band in 1972 ,and joined the Sun Ra Arkestra in 1975, working there on and off until 1993, when Sun Ra died. He stayed on with the Arkestra after Sun Ra's demise working under the leadership of John Gilmore and then Marshall Allen. During his time with the Arkestra, Abdullah participated in more than 25 recordings and traveled extensively with Sun Ra. After leaving the Arkestra, Abdullah wrote memoirs of his time with that organization. In 2002, Ahmed began teaching a course on the Music and Philosophy of Sun Ra at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.
Ahmed Abdullah's own bands have at times been called Abdullah, the Solomonic Unit, Diaspora and Ebonic Tones. In 1995, Ahmed and his wife, Monique Ngozi Nri, formed Melchizedek Music Productions (MMP), to breathe new life into the Sun Ra Arkestra. In 1998. Ahmed was asked to be the Music Director of Sistas' Place. and has helped to make that institution an historic landmark in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In 2019, Abdullah collaborated with former Sun Ra comrade Francisco Mora Catlett, to create the first recording for Melchizedek Music Productions : Diaspora Meets AfroHORN.
- WildFlower Compilation CD-Abdullah-Blue Phase with Charles Brackeen, 1976
- Live at Ali's Alley (Cadence, recorded 1978) released 1980 with Chico Freeman
- Life's Force (About Time, 1979) with Vincent Chancey, Jay Hoggard, Muneer Abdul Fatah, Jerome Hunter, Rashied Sinan
- Liquid Magic (Silkheart, 1987) with Charles Brackeen, Malachi Favors, Alvin Fielder
- Ahmed Abdullah and the Solomonic Quintet (Silkheart) with Charles Moffett, David S. Ware and Fred Hopkins, Masujaa
- Dedication (CIMP, 1997) with Carlos Ward and Alex Blake
- Actual Proof NAM (CIMP, 1999), Alex Harding, Masa Kamaguchi, Jimmy Weinstein
- Song of Time, NAM, Live at the Vision Festival, 2001 (Clean Feed, 2004)
- Traveling the Spaceways (Planet Arts, 2004), Billy Bang, Salim Washington, Craig Harris, Cody Moffett, Masujaa, Radu ben Judah, Monique Ngozi Nri, Owuar Arunga
- Tara's Song (TUM, 2005) with Billy Bang and Alex Harding, Alex Blake and Andrei Strobert
- Diaspora Meets AfroHORN, Jazz: A Music of the Spirit / Out of Sistas' Place (2020), Ahmed Abdullah and Francisco Mora Catlett, Alex Harding, Donald Smith, Radu ben Judah, Bob Stewart, Roman Diaz, Ronnie Burrage, Don Chapman, Monique Ngozi Nri
With Sun Ra
- A Quiet Place in the Universe (Leo, 1976/77)
- Destination Unknown (Enja)
- Somewhere Else (Rounder, 1988–89)
- Mayan Temples (Black Saint, 1990)
- Live at Montreux (Inner City, 1976)
- Cosmos (1976)
- With Collectives
- The Group Live ( No Business Records, 2011)
- The Melodic Art-Tet (2013)
With Arthur Blythe
With Billy Bang
With Dennis González
- Namesake (Silkheart, 1987)
- Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
- "Ahmed Abdullah | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
- Ahmed Abdullah with Louis Reyes Rivera. "Excerpts from A Strange Celestial Road (Traveling the Spaceways)", Ahmedian.com; accessed March 28, 2015
- Kemp, Larry (14 September 2018). Current Jazz Trumpet Legends. Dorrance Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4809-7727-3 – via Google Books.
- Ahmed Abdullah, Official site