His Eminence Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah
President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies
His Eminence Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah
President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies

Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah’s influence is derived from his scholarship, piety and preaching. Unique­ly, all of the different sects and schools of Muslims respect him as a scholar. A testament to this is the no­table fact that whilst he is not a Salafi, the Saudi gov­ernment promulgates his fatwahs as authoritative. He is an instructor at King Abdulaziz University in Jed­dah and was the deputy head of the Union of Muslim Scholars, having previously been a Judge at the High Court of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Head of Sharia Affairs at the Ministry of Justice. He was appointed chair of the UAE Fat­wa Council.

Birth: 1 May 1935 (Age: 89)

Source of Influence: Scholarly

Influence: Significant influence as a leading contemporary scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence

School of Thought: Sunni, Traditional Sunni, Maliki

Status: Featured in current year


Education: Sheikh bin Bayyah was raised in a house­hold famous for its scholars, and his father, Sheikh Mahfoudh bin Bayyah, was the head of the Confer­ence of Mauritanian Scholars established after the country’s independence. Sheikh bin Bayyah studied in the Mauritanian centres of learning known as ma­hadhir, in which all the sacred sciences were taught including: jurisprudence, legal theory, syntax, lan­guage, rhetoric, Qur’anic exegesis and its auxiliary sciences, and the science of Prophetic tradition.

Diplomat: As a member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy or Al-Majma’ Al-Fiqhi of the Organi­zation of the Islamic Conference, Sheikh bin Bayyah is at the forefront of the legal arm of a dynamic or­ganization with a permanent delegation to the Unit­ed Nations.

Author: Having written numerous texts, Sheikh bin Bayyah’s scholarly explorations have gone glob­al through speaking engagements that draw crowds of tens of thousands. He has spoken at length about the endurance of the Islamic legal tradition and also written extensively on rulings for Muslims living as minorities in foreign lands, or fiqh al-aqaliyyat.

Activist: In 2013, Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah visited the White House where he met with senior advisers and aides to the then-President Obama. He called for the protection of the Syrian people and the Muslim minority in Myanmar. Also, he met with Bill Gates during the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi in April 2013. He  initiated the Muslim Council of Elders which embraces leading scholars (including the Sheikh of Al-Azhar), and presided over a large gathering of religious scholars at a forum entitled “Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim So­cieties”, which has now been established as an organi­zation (based in the UAE). He has been criticized for accepting support from the UAE, which is currently involved in several regional conflicts.

The Marrakesh Declaration: Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah led around 250 Muslim religious leaders, in addition to approximately 50 non-Muslim religious leaders, in a three-day summit in Marrakesh entitled: “The Rights of Religious Minorities in Predominant­ly Muslim Majority Communities: Legal Framework and a Call to Action”. The summit used the original Charter of Medina, drawn up by the Prophet Mu­hammad  himself, as a basis for addressing the current crisis of religious minorities in parts of the Muslim world. With extremists committing violence in the name of Islam against other religions, as well as against most Muslims, it was necessary to voice the position of normative Islam vis-à-vis religious minor­ities through a gathering of its leading scholars. The summit concluded with the release of the 750-word Marrakesh Declaration (see page <124>).


“Every hope for a better future, if not built upon work occurring in the present, is not truly hope; rather, it is delusion.”


13 positions in fiqh organizations worldwide

700 Muslim scholars who attended the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies