Foreword

Welcome to the fourth annual issue of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims.

There are 1.65 billion Muslims in the world today, making up approximately 23% of the world’s population, or one-fifth of mankind.  As well as being citizens of their respective countries, they also have a sense of belonging to the ‘ummah’, the worldwide Muslim community.

This publication sets out to ascertain the influence some Muslims have on this community, or on behalf of the community. Influence is: 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. Note that the impact can be either positive or negative, depending on one’s point of view of course. The selection of people for this publication in no way means that we endorse their views; rather we are simply trying to measure their influence. The influence can be of a religious scholar directly addressing Muslims and influencing their beliefs, ideas and behaviour, or it can be of a ruler shaping the socio-economic factors within which people live their lives, or of artists forming popular culture.  The first two examples also point to the fact that the lists, and especially the Top 50, are dominated by religious scholars and heads of state. Their dominant and lasting influence cannot be denied, especially the  rulers, who in many cases also appoint religious scholars to their respective positions.

This doesn’t discount the significant amount of influence from other sectors of society. The publication selects Muslim individuals from a range of categories of influence, 13 in total: (Scholarly, Political, Administration of Religious Affairs, Preachers and Spiritual Guides, Philanthropy/Charity and Development, Social Issues, Business, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, Qur’an Reciters, Media, Celebrities and Sports and Radicals). How to measure this influence is of course the most challenging aspect of the publication, and the one where opinions diverge the most. Influence can sometimes be gauged on a quantitative basis; the number of people influenced, the number of books written, the amount of sales etc., but more often it is related to the qualitative and lasting effect of that influence. The achievements of a lifetime are given more weight than achievements within the current year.  This means that our list of names will change gradually, rather than dramatically, year-on-year.

This list acts as opportunity to shed some light on the many challenges and pioneering triumphs that are present at the very crux of shaping the Muslim community.

What’s New

This year we have an expanded introduction (more than double the size of last year’s) surveying the major events in the Muslim World from the past year.

We have also expanded and reformatted our Issues of the Day section, now approximately five times larger than previous issues. For the first time we feature exclusive pieces by distinguished guest writers.

We have also added write-ups about major initiatives that have reached notable milestones in the last 12 months (see  A Common Word on page 115 and Altafsir.com on page 158)

Last year we added an obituary section but fortunately this year none of our previous listees have passed away (as of printing), making it unnecessary to include for the 2012 edition.

Last year we introduced a specific section on each profile of the Top 50 on how the Arab Spring affected them. We have updated this section under the new title ‘Arab Summer?’

Our website [www.TheMuslim500.com] which was launched last year has already proven to be a popular destination. We have recently updated the Influence feed which shows the latest news on many of the Top 500. We welcome your feedback and will take nominations for the 2013 edition through it. Please subscribe to our newsletter through the website to keep posted of updates relating to our publication and website.

 

The Top 50

  1. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
  2. HE. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
    Turkey
  3. HM King Mohammed VI
    Morocco
  4. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
  5. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
  6. HE Grand Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei
    Iran
  7. HM King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein
    Jordan
  8. HE Professor Dr Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb
    Egypt
  9. H.E. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
    Indonesia
  10. Hodjaefendi Fethullah Gülen
    Turkey
  11. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
  12. HM Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id Aal Sa’id
    Oman
  13. HE Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani
    Iraq
  14. HE Sheikh Dr Ali Goma’a
    Egypt
  15. HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
    United Arab Emirates
  16. Sheikh Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi
    Qatar
  17. Amir Hajji Muhammad Abd Al Wahhab
    Pakistan
  18. HE Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Aal Al-Sheikh
    Saudi Arabia
  19. Dr K.H. Said Aqil Siradj
    Indonesia
  20. Sheikh Salman Al-Ouda
    Saudi Arabia
  21. HE Sheikha Munira Qubeysi
    Syria
  22. Amirul Mu’minin Sultan Muhammadu Sa’adu Abubakar III
    Nigeria
  23. Sheikh Ahmad Tijani bin Ali Cisse
    Senegal
  24. H.E. President Abdullah Gül
    Turkey
  25. HM Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah
    Brunei
  26. Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan Qaadiri Al-Azhari
    India
  27. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
  28. Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah
    Lebanon
  29. HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah
    Mauritania
  30. HE Mohammad bin Mohammad Al-Mansour
    Yemen
  31. HRH Shah Karim Al-Hussayni
    France
  32. HE Justice Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani
    Pakistan
  33. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
  34. Dr Amr Khaled
    Egypt
  35. HE. President Mahmoud Abbas
    Palestinian Territories
  36. Habib Umar bin Hafiz
    Yemen
  37. HM Queen Rania Al-Abdullah
    Jordan
  38. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
  39. Professor Dr M Din Syamsuddin
    Indonesia
  40. Maulana Mahmood Madani
    India
  41. Habib ‘Ali Zain Al Abideen Al-Jifri
    United Arab Emirates
  42. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson
    United States of America
  43. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
  44. Professor Dr Seyyed Hossein Nasr
    United States of America
  45. Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil Al-Qubrusi Al-Haqqani
    Cyprus
  46. HE Sheikh Professor Dr Mustafa Ceric
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
  47. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
  48. Khaled Mashaal
    Palestinian Territories
  49. Dr Aref Ali Nayed
    Libya
  50. HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud
    Saudi Arabia
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