Tribute to Dr Shabbir Akhtar

To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.

Dr Shabbir Akhtar was an inspirational, courageous intellectual. His service to Islam has been simply incredible.

A sign of a wise man and a loyal friend is that he rallies around you in times of need. In 1988 when the infamous Salman Rushdie wrote the ‘Satanic Verses’, in which he abused the beloved Messenger (peace be upon him). The Muslims of Britain and the world reacted angrily.

Dr Shabbir didn’t just react but he stood up, he wrote a powerful book in response titled ‘Be careful with Muhammad’. He philosophically argued that freedom of speech is not absolute but must be restricted when it comes to the honour of great men like the prophets of God.

A few years ago I invited him to give a talk in Nottingham where he expressed his desire to teach philosophy to British Muslims so that they could understand the beauty of their religion. This he believed would protect them from the vile consumer society’s materialistic tendencies.

He was a great advocate of interfaith harmony and spent many years working in Oxford. We express our sincere condolences to his family.

May Allah grant him high spiritual status.