Shabbir Akhtar

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Shabbir Akhtar
Born 1960
Occupation Philosopher

Shabbir Akhtar (born 1960) is a philosopher, researcher and writer. His interests include political Islam, Quranic interpretation and revival of philosophical discourse in Islam.

Personal life[edit]

Shabbir Akhtar was born in Pakistan, raised in the Bradford in the United Kingdom and went to Canada for higher education.


Shabbir is a Ph.D. from University of Calgary (1984).


After the publication of The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, Akhtar represented the Bradford Council of Mosques in the ensuing media interest in the reactions of the Muslim community in the United Kingdom. On 27 February 1989 he published an article in The Guardian, in which he stated: "there is no choice in the matter. Anyone who fails to be offended by Rushdie's book ipso facto ceases to be a Muslim...Those Muslims who find it intolerable to live in a United Kingdom contaminated with the Rushdie virus need to seriously consider the Islamic alternatives of emigration (hijrah) to the House of Islam or a declaration of holy war (jihād) on the House of Rejection."[1] The article also included the much-quoted sentence: "The next time there are gas chambers in Europe, there is no doubt concerning who'll be inside them."[2]

In the mid-1990s, he taught philosophy in Malaysia but came back disillusioned of the belief that a majority Muslim society would really pursue reason in education.[3]

Recently, he has published books that are philosophical in approach and strident in presenting a certain point of view and trying to lay the foundation of modern Islamic philosophy.[4]


  • "Be Careful With Muhammad! The Salman Rushdie Affair"
  • "Reason and the Radical Crisis of Faith (American University Studies. Series VII. Theology and Religion)"[5]
  • "The Light in the Enlightenment: Christianity and the Secular Heritage"[6]
  • "The Final Imperative: an Islamic Theology of Liberation"[7]
  • "A Faith for All Seasons: Islam and the Challenge of the Modern World"[8]
  • "The Quran and the Secular Mind: A Philosophy of Islam"[9]
  • "Islam as Political Religion: The Future of an Imperial Faith"[10]