Shabbir Akhtar

British philosopher

Shabbir Akhtar (born 1960) is a British-Pakistani philosopher, poet, researcher and writer. His interests include political Islam, Quranic interpretation, revival of philosophical discourse in Islam, the thought of Søren Kierkegaard, inter-faith dialogue as well as Islamic readings of the New Testament.


  • Freedom is a precondition of profundity: no wonder philosophy has no place in the cultural life of Muslims. Religion is merely ritual without the spirtiual introspection that philosophical insight brings... It is not the task of religion to seek to reduce us from the straight path of reason.
    • Shabbir Akhtar quoted in in Lal, K. S. (2002). Return to roots: Emancipation of Indian Muslims. New Delhi: Radha.(69) and in in S.R. Goel, ed., Freedom of Expression
  • I lived in Malaysia for three years in the kind of uncertainty westerners face only in times of war. The five daily calls to prayer are the only predictable events in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. The power cuts are frequent, the traffic jams continuous. Islam is the official religion, but materialism is the ruling creed. ... Islam is practised with ritual precision and with perfect reverence for its Arabian dimension. All Malays, including the royal family, look up to Arabs, the white men of the East.
    • Shabbir Akhtar, quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [1] (Ch. 28)
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