It is with great sadness that we announce the passing away of Prof. Ataullah Siddiqui, Professor of Christain-Muslim Relations and Inter-faith Understanding at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education.
Prof. Ataullah was born in India in 1954 and came to the UK in 1982 for further studies and research. He joined the Islamic Foundation in the same year as a research fellow. Prior to starting work with the Markfield Institute in 2000, he assumed a number of responsibilities as Research Fellow in Inter-faith Relations, Head of the Islam in Europe department, and was also the founder of an academic journal Encounters: Journal of Inter-Cultural Perspectives. His work enabled him to specialise in Christian Muslim Relations, and Islam and Pluralism. He was a founding President and Vice-Chair of the ‘Christian Muslim Forum’ in England, and a founder member of the Leicester Council of Faiths.
Professor Siddiqui completed his PhD on Christian-Muslim Relations in 1994 from the University of Birmingham. He also received an honorary PhD from the University of Gloucester for his outstanding contribution to Inter-Faith understanding and Education in 2008.
At the Markfield Institute, Professor Ataullah Siddiqui was seen as the backbone of the Institute. He held numerous roles during 20 years of dedicated service to the Institute including Director (2001- 2008), Course Leader, Course Director of the Certificate in Muslim Chaplaincy, the Institute’s Chaplain, and Head of Research.
In 2003 he designed the Certificate in Muslim Chaplaincy programme at the Institute. This course has been running since then and has enabled many to develop their knowledge and skills to work as Muslim chaplains in hospitals, universities, and prisons. In addition, Professor Siddiqui was keen to further the training of religious leadership – Imams in the UK.
Besides a number of publications on inter-faith topics, particularly Christian-Muslim relations, he authored a government report on the study of Islam at Universities in England, which was published in 2007 and may be downloaded here. Prof Ataullah Siddiqui also wrote numerous articles in his field of specialisation and lectured extensively to students, professionals, community organisations and institutions of civil society, both in the UK and overseas. Additionally, he served many community institutions to advance education and dialogue. He also made significant contributions in establishing and developing the Markfield Institute.
Indeed Prof. Siddiqui touched the lives of many who met him, and he was widely known for his humility, piety, wisdom, his great scholarship and passion to teach and develop his students. His passing away is a great loss to all who knew him and learned from his knowledge, wisdom and kindly counsel. May Allah (swt) shower His Mercy and grant him a high place in Jannat al Firdous. May He give sabr to his family. Ameen