Shabbir is a Ph.D. from University of Calgary (1984).
- 1994 to 1997 - International Islamic University, Malaysia
- 2002 to 2011 - Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Old Dominion University
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." 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."
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.
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.
- "Be Careful With Muhammad! The Salman Rushdie Affair"
- "Reason and the Radical Crisis of Faith (American University Studies. Series VII. Theology and Religion)"
- "The Light in the Enlightenment: Christianity and the Secular Heritage"
- "The Final Imperative: an Islamic Theology of Liberation"
- "A Faith for All Seasons: Islam and the Challenge of the Modern World"
- "The Quran and the Secular Mind: A Philosophy of Islam"
- "Islam as Political Religion: The Future of an Imperial Faith"
- Michael M. J. Fischer, Mehdi Abedi. Debating Muslims: Cultural Dialogues in Postmodernity and Tradition. Univ of Wisconsin Press (1990): p. 390.
- See Malise Ruthven "Islam in the Media" in Interpreting Islam Ed. Hastings Donnan. SAGE Publications (2002): p. 74; Kenan Malik. From Fatwa to Jihad. Atlantic Books, London (2009): p. 131
- Subki Bin Ahmad (29 September 1997). "Cooperative society". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- Review of Shabbir Akhtar, The Quran and the Secular Mind: A Philosophy of Islam - Springer
- Reason and the Radical Crisis of Faith American University Studies, Series 7: Theology & Religion: Amazon.co.uk: Shabbir Akhtar: Books
- The Light in the Enlightenment: Christianity and the Secular Heritage: Amazon.co.uk: Shabbir Akhtar: Books
- The Final Imperative: an Islamic Theology of Liberation: Amazon.co.uk: Shabbir Akhtar: Books
- A Faith for All Seasons: Islam and the Challenge of the Modern World: Amazon.co.uk: Shabbir Akhtar: Books
- The Quran and the Secular Mind: A Philosophy of Islam: Amazon.co.uk: Shabbir Akhtar: Books
- Islam as Political Religion: The Future of an Imperial Faith: Amazon.co.uk: Shabbir Akhtar: Books