Omnia : the magazine for the Caterham School Society

Page 52



Issue 01 2016

Obituaries SHAHAB AHMED (1966 – 2015, OC 1979 – 1984) It is with deep sorrow that we share the sad news of the passing of Shahab Ahmed, a brilliant scholar of Islamic studies. Shahab died on 17 September 2015, and was laid to rest in Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Saturday, 19 September. A memorial service was held later in the autumn at Harvard. Shahab received his primary schooling in Singapore, and studied for GCSE and A Level at Caterham School in Surrey. International Islamic University in Malaysia granted him a law degree, after which he received bachelors and masters degrees from American University in Cairo. In 1999, Princeton awarded him a doctoral degree in Islamic studies under the mentorship of Michael Cook. From 2000–2003, Shahab was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard, returning to teach at Princeton as a Visiting Lecturer and Research Fellow (2004 –2005). His long-anticipated book What is Islam? An Essay on the Importance of Being Islamic was published December 1, 2015. At the time of his death, he was writing two other books: Neither Paradise Nor Hellfire: Rethinking Islam through Ottoman Culture/Rethinking Ottoman Culture through Islam and The Problem of the Satanic Verses and the Formation of Islamic Orthodoxy. Shahab is survived by his sister, Dr. Shahla Ahmed (London), and his parents, Drs. Razia and Mohammed Mumtazuddin Ahmed (Pakistan). Also bereaved is his newly-wed wife, Nora Lessersohn, a doctoral candidate in History and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University; they were married on 1 August 2015. His friend and colleague at Harvard Law School, Noah Feldman,

DR JOHN NORMAN CHUBB calls Shahab “the most brilliant and creative scholar of Islam in his generation”. Michael Cook, his doctoral adviser at Princeton, writes that Shahab “was a brilliant scholar with immense promise, tragically cut short”. Shahab will be deeply missed among his family, friends, colleagues, and students. This obituary was originally published on the website of The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, Harvard University

(1933 – 2015, OC 1942 – 1952) John Chubb, who died last year at the age of 82, had as the arresting headline on his website in recent years, ‘Electrostatic Measurements and Oil Paintings’. John came to the Preparatory School as a boarder before his 7th birthday, by which time he had already shown signs of his predominant interests, making Meccano models, painting, and fixing electric light for a garden play area. From his Prep school years he remembered film shows, infectious diseases and experiencing peripherally the events of the Second World War (the shelters, a nearby bomber crash). From this time he was brought up, an only child, by his mother, Edythe, and he developed a necessary selfsufficiency. When I moved to the Main School, a few years after John, I became conscious of his friendly, mature and independent presence, and grateful, as he warned me off several punishable omissions and misdemeanours. He painted my portrait in oils, as a thank-you for my sitting as a model for the figure drawing section of his A Level art examination. It was the rediscovery of this painting in the loft of our family home in Caterham, so very much later, in 2008, that led to my resolving to seek out John. Mutual attitudes and interests led to the renewal of our friendship for the remainder of his life. John also painted scenery for school plays, such as She Stoops to Conquer (1950) and produced other portraits and landscapes. At school, as at home, he would always set up, or take over, a workshop for himself. He made a ‘synchronome’ clock and tried to make a compression-ignition engine and a steam engine, and he conducted some over-explosive experiments. He