The 500 Most Influential Muslims The 500 Most Influential Muslims
(also known as The Muslim 500
) is an annual publication first published in 2009, which ranks the most influential Muslims in the world.
The 500 Most Influential Muslims
Critics have noted that its list singularly focuses on political leadership, who due to the nature of political systems in Middle East enjoy considerable clout and influence in the regional politics. As such, the influence of individuals listed in it are singly contingent upon the fact of their existence in political spectrum. The Lists effectively leaves out influential scholars like Zakir Naik
, a medical doctor and Islamic preacher; Hamid Ansari
, a former Vice President of India and ardent supporter of implementation of Shariat
in that country and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
, a spiritual leader and motivator and founder of Islamic State
of Iraq and Levant
The publication highlights people who are influential as Muslims. That is people whose influence is derived from their practice of Islam or from the fact that they are Muslim.
Nominations are evaluated on the basis of the influence that particular Muslims have had within the Muslim community and the manner in which their influence has benefited the Muslim community, both within the Islamic world and in terms of representing Islam to non-Muslims.
"Influential" for the purposes of the book is defined as "any person who has the power (be it cultural, ideological, financial, political or otherwise) to make a change that will have a significant impact on the Muslim World".
The publication defines eligible entries with the following: "Traditional Islam (96% of the world's Muslims): Also known as Orthodox Islam
, this ideology is not politicized and largely based on consensus of correct opinion—thus including the Sunni
, and Ibadi
branches of practice (and their subgroups) within the fold of Islam, and not groups such as the Druze
or the Ahmadiyya
, among others."
The book starts with an overall top 50, ranked the most influential Muslims in the world. The remaining 450 most prominent Muslims is broken down into 15 categories without ranking,
of scholarly, political, administrative, lineage, preachers and spiritual guides, women, youth, philanthropy/charity, development, science and technology, arts and culture, Qu'ran
reciters, media, radicals, international Islamic networks and issues of the day.
Each year the biographies are updated.
The publication also gives an insight into the different ways that Muslims impact the world and also shows the diversity of how people are living as Muslims today.
The book's appendices comprehensively list populations of Muslims in nations worldwide, and its introduction gives a snapshot view of different ideological movements within the Muslim world, breaking down clearly distinctions between traditional Islam and recent radical innovations.
In 2009, the book was edited by Professors John L. Esposito
and Ibrahim Kalin at Georgetown University in Washington.
The 500 most influential Muslims were chosen largely in terms of their overt influence.
The top 50 is dominated by religious scholars
and either heads of state, which automatically gives them an advantage when it comes to influence, or they have inherited their position. Lineage is a significant factor – it has its own category – and the predisposition to include children of important people reveals a mindset that indicates achievement is an optional extra.
The top 50 fits into six broad categories as follows: 12 are political leaders (kings, generals, presidents), four are spiritual leaders (Sufi shaykhs), 14 are national or international religious authorities, three are "preachers", six are high-level scholars, 11 are leaders of movements or organizations.
The highest-ranking American (and highest-ranking convert) at 38th place was Sheikh Hamza Yusuf
Hanson, founder of the Zaytuna Institute in Berkeley, California. Right after him comes the highest-ranking European, Sheikh Mustafa Cerić
, grand mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In total 72 Americans are among the 500, a disproportionately strong showing. Timothy Winter
(Abdal Hakim Murad) was the highest ranked British Muslim, in an unspecified position between 51st and 60th, considerably higher than the three other British people who made the list – the Conservative Party chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi
; the UK's first Muslim life peer, Lord Nazir Ahmed
; and Dr Anas Al Shaikh Ali, director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought.
The women featured had a separate section from the men.
There were only three women listed in the top 50. Sheikha Munira al-Qubaysi
(number 21), an educator of girls and women; Queen Rania of Jordan
(number 37), who promotes global education; and Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned
of Qatar (number 38), who is chairwoman of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.
In 2010, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz topped the list as the most influential Muslim in the world for the second consecutive year. Ayatollah Syed Ali Khamenei maintained second place. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan moved into third place. Jordanian King Abdullah II was placed fourth above Moroccan King Mohammed VI who moved down to fifth place.
In 2011, achievements of a lifetime were given more weight than achievements within the current year. which meant that the lists of names were going to change gradually, rather than dramatically, year-on-year. The Arab Spring
had no impact on Saudi King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia's influence, it had boosted King Mohammed VI of Morocco's influence, who moved up to second place, and it had no effect on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who came in third place.
Erdoğan was expected by many to receive the top spot in light of the Arab Spring. Erdoğan was credited with Turkey's "Muslim democracy", and was seen as the leader of a country that, as the Brookings Institution
said, "played the 'most constructive' role in the Arab events."
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
influence rose during the Arab Spring, moving him to sixth place. He had driven much of the Arab Spring through the coverage given by Al Jazeera
, given financial support to protesters and political support to Libya, making him arguably the biggest enabler of the Arab Spring.
There were more Muslims from America than any other country again with 41 spots on the 500 list. Countries with the next highest number of names were Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom, with 25 Muslims each, followed by Indonesia, with 24.
It lists the winners according to 13 categories, including spiritual guides, Quran reciters, scholars, politicians, celebrities, sports figures, radicals, and media leaders.
For the fourth year running, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz topped the list. He was followed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at second place.
Erdoğan's advance gave him advantage over Moroccan King Mohammed VI who took the third place. Fourth place went to Dr Mohammed Badie
, whose name appeared in the top 10 for the first time. He was followed by Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani who took the fifth place. Sheikh Al-Azhar Dr. Ahmad el-Tayeb
and prominent Islamic scholar Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi
who is President of Global Association of Muslim Scholars, also made it to the top 10 ranks.
In 2013, the list was edited once again by Professor Emeritus S. Abdallah Schleifer of the American University in Cairo.
The top of the list went to Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb
, the Grand Sheikh of the Al Azhar University for the prominent role played by him in Egypt's troubled democratic transition.
His astute decision making over the past couple of years has preserved the traditional approach of Al-Azhar which faced threats from Islamists and Salafis in the years that have followed Mubarak's fall.
His public support of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
's coup also gave it a strong religious grounding that was necessary for it to achieve the legitimacy needed to prevent a civil war, effectively making him a "king-maker" and cementing his place at the top of the list.
He was followed on the listing by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud and Iranian Grand Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei.
Reflective of the wider trajectory of the Arab Spring, this year's list showed a decline in influence from Muslim Brotherhood
associated figures Dr Mohammed Badie, Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi
. Coup kingpin General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
who was previously unlisted now ranks at 29.
In 2014, the chief editor of the list was again Professor S Abdallah Schleifer. The top spot went back to Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, due to his being the "absolute monarch of the most powerful Arab nation." The list accords him the place in light of Saudi Arabia being home to Islam's two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, which millions of Muslims visit throughout the year, as well as the kingdom's oil exports. Rounding out the top three are Dr Muhammad Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand sheikh of Al-Azhar University and grand imam of Al-Azhar mosque, and Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The top nine are all political leaders and royals, including Morocco's King Mohammed VI and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The top 50 fit into six broad categories: 12 are political leaders (kings, generals, presidents), four are spiritual leaders (Sufi shaykhs), 14 are national or international religious authorities, three are "preachers", six are high-level scholars, 11 are leaders of movements or organizations. In total 72 Americans are among the 500 most influential Muslims, a disproportionately strong showing, but only one among the top 50, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson of Zaytuna Institute listed at number 38.
In 2015, the top 50 was again dominated by religious scholars and heads of state. The top five, was King Abdullah of Jordan; Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand sheikh of Egypt's Al-Azhar University; King Salman
of Saudi Arabia; Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; and King Mohammed VI of Morocco. Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan came in at Number eight, but surprisingly Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
did not make the Top 50 this year or last, though he is still listed in the 500. The prime minister of Iraq did not make the list, but Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani did, coming in at number nine.
There were 32 newcomers to the 2016 list.
22 Indians featured on the list.
As in past years, there continued to be more Muslims from the United States than any other country. Since at least 2012, the U.S. has outpaced nations with a far larger Muslim population, with at least 40 notable people of influence, with Pakistan (33), Saudi Arabia (32), Egypt (27) and the UK (27).
In 2018, the top five were Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayeeb of Egypt; King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia; King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein of Jordan; Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei of Iran; President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey. 
In 2019, the top five were President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey; King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia; King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein of Jordan; Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei of Iran; King Mohammad VI of Morocco.
In 2020, the top five were Sheikh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani of Pakistan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey; King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia; Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei of Iran; King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein of Jordan.
The Woman of the Year was Bilkis Bano of India and the Man of the Year was Ilham Tohti of China.
Current top ten
Previous top ten entrants
- ^ a b Sacirbey, Omar (November 29, 2012). "World's '500 Most Influential Muslims' 2012 Dominated By U.S." The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ a b c "World's 500 Most Influential Muslims". OnIslam. December 3, 2011. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ a b Sacirbey, Omar (November 27, 2012). "'The Muslim 500: The World's Most Influential 500 Muslims'". PR Newswire. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ The World's 500 Most Influential People(PDF) (2021 ed.). Amman: The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. pp. 66–86. ISBN 978-9957-635-56-5. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
- ^ a b c Butt, Riazat (November 19, 2009). "The world's most influential Muslims?". The Guardian. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ Hasni, Areeb (May 9, 2012). "The Top 500 Most Influential Muslims: Nominations open for 2012!". The News Tribe. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ Fitriat, Afia R (December 5, 2012). "Accomplished Women in 500 Most Influential Muslims 2012". Aquila Style. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ a b Swier, Dr. Richard (January 24, 2013). "Who are the 10 Most Influential Muslims in the World?". WatchdogWire. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ Alim, Abdul (November 29, 2012). "World's '500 Most Influential Muslims' 2012 Dominated By U.S." The Muslim Times. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- ^ a b c Yasin, Susan (November 24, 2012). "World's 500 Most Influential Muslims". OnIslam.net. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ a b Haqqie, Azra (November 26, 2012). "Making the '500 Most Influential Muslims' this year". timesunion.com. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ "500 Most Influential Muslims: Science and Technology". Examiner.com. December 29, 2009.
- ^ a b c d e James, Adil (November 17, 2009). "Muslim 500 – A Listing of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World". The Muslim Observer. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ a b c "Book lists '500 Most Influential Muslims': Top 20 inclusions seem to be less convincing and dictated". Islamic Voice. December 2009. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ a b Moosa, Ebrahim (December 4, 2012). "Nine South Africans on 500 Most Influential Muslims list". Cii Broadcasting. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ Heneghan, Tom (November 17, 2009). "POLL: The world's top 500 Muslims? Read and vote". Reuters. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ "Timothy Winter: Britain's most influential Muslim - and it was all down to a peach". The Independent. August 20, 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ Ungerleider, Neal (November 19, 2009). "The world's 500 most influential Muslims". True/Slant. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ Leslie, Liz (November 29, 2011). "World's 500 Most Influential Muslims". Muslim Voices. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ Heneghan, Tom (November 28, 2011). "World's top Muslims list appears with Erdogan only #3. Who should be #1?". Reuters. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ Renouard, Chelynne (December 3, 2012). "U.S. dominates list of world's '500 Most Influential Muslims'". Deseret News. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ Sacirbey, Omar (November 28, 2012). "World's '500 Most Influential Muslims' 2012 Dominated By U.S." The Washington Post. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- ^ a b "Influencing Muslims: The 500 Most Influential Muslims". PR Newswire. December 2, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
- ^ a b c "2013 list of 'World's Most Influential Muslims' released". Cii Broadcasting. November 27, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
- ^ a b "Influencing Muslims: The 500 Most Influential Muslims". CNW Group. December 2, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
- ^ Ansari, Saffiya (October 3, 2014). "Politics to pop royalty: World's 500 influential Muslims unveiled". Al Arabiya News. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- ^ a b c Harbin, Julie Poucher (October 12, 2015). "World's 500 Most Influential Muslims Highlights Muslim-American Influence". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- ^ Jafri, Syed Amin (October 13, 2015). "22 Indians among world's influential Muslims". The Times of India. India. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- ^ "The Muslim 500: Most influential Indian Muslims in the world". Catch News. October 4, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- ^ "22 Indians Among 500 Most Influential Muslims". Gulte.com. October 13, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- ^ "The Muslim 500 | 2017" (PDF). The Muslim 500.
- ^ "The Muslim 500 | 2018" (PDF). The Muslim 500.
- ^ The Muslim 500 : the world's 500 most influential Muslims, 2019 : with cumulative rankings over ten years. Schleifer, Abdallah (10th Anniversary ed.). Amann, Jordan. 2018. ISBN 9789957635343. OCLC 1089929346.
- ^ Schleifer, Abdallah; El-Ella, Omayma; Ahmed, Aftab (2020). The 500 World's Most Influential Muslims, 2020 (PDF) (11 ed.). Amman, Jordan. ISBN 978-9957-635-44-2. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
- ^ "The Top 50". Retrieved 16 February 2021.
Last edited on 15 May 2021, at 00:39
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.