Born in 1960, Dr Muhammad Shakil Auj earned his doctorate in Islamic Studies in 2000 and was the author of 15 books and 77 research papers on various topics, including translations of the Holy Quran and commentaries, traditions and biography of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Islamic jurisprudence.
Last month on the occasion of Independence Day, Dr Auj was awarded Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan for his contributions to the field of education. He had also been conferred the Doctor of Letters.
Dr Auj was also the editor-in-chief of a quarterly research journal, Al Tafseer [The Exegesis], for the last nine years. Between 2006 and 2008, he had gained popularity through a series of 30 television programmes that were aired under the title of ‘Ijtihad’ and ‘Quran Ki Baten’ on Hum TV in the month of Ramazan.
The deceased professor was associated with the University of Karachi (KU) for the last 19 years and was appointed as the Islamic Studies Faculty dean in February, 2012. Apart from serving as the dean, he had been heading the KU’s Islamic Learning department since 2011.
Presently, he had been supervising 20 students who were pursuing their MPhil and PhD degrees, while another 12 students had earned their doctorates under his supervision.
“I feel privileged for having known a mentor and a advisor like him,” said Maria Hasan, one of the students pursuing MPhil under Dr Auj’s supervision. She was standing outside the deceased professor’s residence, located in the varsity’s staff town. A marquee had been set up to accommodate the mourners who started pouring in after hearing the tragic news.
“The news of his murder will be a hot-topic for three days, after which everyone will forget and move on,” she lamented. “No target killer has ever been taken to task, neither will they ever be,” said Hasan before leaving abruptly.
Dr Auj is survived by a wife and three sons. His funeral prayers were offered at the KU’s Ibrahim mosque, following which he was laid to rest at the varsity’s graveyard.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2014.