POLL: The world’s top 500 Muslims? Read and vote

November 17, 2009


If you’ve ever been confused by Muslim names you read in the news or unsure who’s important in the Islamic world, help is near. A new book entitled “The 500 Most Influential Muslims – 2009″ lists prominent Muslims from different fields — politics, religion, women, media, even radicals — with informative short biographies explaining who they are. It starts with an overall “top 50″ list and then surveys the most prominent Muslims in their fields. Here it is in PDF.

The book, edited by Professors John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin at Georgetown University in Washington, is the first in what is planned to be an annual survey of the top Muslim personalities around the world. It’s a joint effort by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Esposito is director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center and Kalin is spokesman for the Common Word dialogue initiative we’ve written about on this blog before.

As the editors say in their introduction: “Influence in the Muslim world is particular to its context. There is not a clear hierarchy or organised clergy for Muslims to identify a leader, such as a patriarch for Orthodox Christians or a pope for Catholics.” They took a mix of factors into account in working out their top 50 list and have even asked readers to send in suggestions for next year’s list. You can vote for your candidate for “most influential Muslim” in the poll at the bottom of this post.

(UPDATE: The online poll has been closed after more than 1.8 million votes but comments are still open. See the results below.)

abdullahSo who are the world’s most influential Muslims, according to this book? Here are the top 10:

1. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, king of Saudi Arabia, custodian of the two Holy Mosques
2. Grand Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
3. King Mohammed VI, king of Morocco
4. King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
5. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of the republic of Turkey
6. Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id al Sa’id, sultan of Oman
7. Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani, Marja of the Hawza, Najaf
8. Sheikh Al Azhar Dr Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, grand sheikh of the Al Azhar University, grand imam of Al Azhar Mosque
9. Sheikh Dr Yusuf Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars
10. Sheikh Dr Ali Goma’a, grand mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt

(Photo: Saudi King Abdullah, 17 Nov 2009/Philippe Wojazer)

A few initial comments about these 10 andthe other 40 (check the PDF for the full list):

– Lots of kings and sultans crowding the top of the full list, with Recep Tayyip Erdogan the highest elected politician (5th). “Influential” is clearly interpreted broadly here, including political, religious and other types of influence.

– The first solely religious leader is Iraq’s Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (7th), and even he has political power behind the scenes.

Fethullah Gülen, who won an Internet poll on “the world’s top public intellectuals ” in Foreign Policy magazine last year apparently thanks to a click-in campaign by his supporters, still comes a strong 13th.

– The heads of Hezbollah (Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah, 17th) and Hamas (Khaled Mashaal, 34th) are also listed.

– The highest-ranking American (and highest-ranking convert, it seems) at 38th place is Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, founder of the Zaytuna Institutein Berkeley, California. Right after him comes the highest-ranking European, Sheikh Mustafa Ceric, grand mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

aqkhan– Even Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist behind Islamabad’s nuclear program who sold nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, gets ranked (46th).

(Photo: Abdul Qadeer Khan, 28 Aug 2009/Mian Khursheed)

Beyond the top 50, there are chapters on leading Muslims in different fields but no ranking. So Osama bin Laden is there under “radicals,” Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) under “arts and culture” and microcreditor Mohammad Yunus under “development”. There are short essays on Islam and the Muslim world. All in all, an excellent reference work.

What do you think? Who is the most influential Muslim in the world? To give us your own view, enter the name of your choice into the box below. The poll will automatically tally the answers and produce a top 10 according to the number of votes each person receives.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I think that Mr. Adnan Oktar must be the winner. He is the most influential Musl?m in the world

Posted by selda | Report as abusive

the most influential Muslim in the world is Mr. Harun Yahya who is Adnan Oktar. The writer of Atlas of Creation and who collapsed evolution theory which is a pagan religion.

Posted by antony | Report as abusive

And the WINNER is ADNAN OKTAR, or as all the world know him HARUN YAHYA. Nobody can deny the influence of Adnan Oktar. He is the Muslim who defeat Darwinizm, who release people of that great deceit and help them turn to Islam.

Posted by Elza | Report as abusive

If we are talkinn about money or political influence then we can count these guys mentioned in the article.But I think real influence comes from “ideas” and also doing something worthy for the Muslim Community. The voting says Adnan Oktar (pen name Harun Yahya) also. I have read like all of his books in 5 years time.He is the prominent Muslim author of our time whose work actually did achieve to demolish the Darwinian theory of evolution. This evolution idea, being a lie, was a big threat for the Muslim world.He puts up o good fight.I think he earned it working in Allah’s path.

Posted by Mohammed | Report as abusive

Adnan Okhtar of http://www.harunyahya.com

Posted by sallina ismail | Report as abusive

The answer is absolutely Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya)

Posted by Furkan Samed | Report as abusive

Adnan Okhtar has never demolished anything. All he has done is make a fool of himself with lies, half-truths and trickery.His words are only convincing to the uneducated. Scientists and educated men read his words and laugh. There is no merit to them.Those who are tricked by his words are only impressed because they never bother to research what he claims. If they do research his claims, they are guaranteed to be disappointed on how silly his words are.If you believe his words, then take this challenge. Look up his arguments, and then see how science responds.You will find that once you take away the illogical arguments, lies and misquotations, his books are not worth the paper wasted to print it, or the money spent to buy it.There are so many transitional fossils that have been found this century, that no true scientist disputes evolution. But yet Okhtar can speak with a forked tongue and say these fossils do not exist.He denies reality, as do those who follow him.

Posted by MoHAMaD | Report as abusive

Adnan Oktar concentrated on proving the invalidity of this deception that for more than a century had turned people away from religious moral values. He realized that since Darwinism advanced itself in the name of science, the most effective means of revealing its true face was through science itself. Based on that viewpoint, he brought out a pamphlet entitled The Theory of Evolution, a summary of his wide-ranging research and study, and personally bore all the printing costs by selling property inherited from his family, and distributed the pamphlet free of charge to other university students.

Would the campaign for Mohammad Shaikh care to provide some information about him? Readers of this blog will know Harun Yahya/Adnan Oktar, but Shaikh is probably a new name for them.

Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya) is my favourite. He is working more than everyone for the way of Allah to prevail Islam. He collapsed evolution theory (darwinism)with his works, especially Atlas of Creation. Every day he is making programmes on television (live) and radios from all europe, america, africa etc. His books, cds, and all works are free in his websites (download is free too.) He is sincere Muslim scholar. He is the winner in our hearts, he is already the winner all over the world

Posted by Meryem | Report as abusive

For sure Mr Adnan Oktar is winner here. Cuz he is only one person who starts the serious war with darwinizm and beacause of his hard work and Allahs permition he won it, and now a lot of ppl doesnt believe EVOLUTION ANY MORE.HE GONNA CHANGE ALL OF THE WORLD INSAALLAH

Definetely it is Harun Yahya, I am a big fan of the web site harunyahya.com and I hardly reccomend you to visit,I have read many many books and also have the Atlas of Creation at home. He is the only person in the world who fight againt the theory of evolution, by all his works we understood that the theory was not scientifis theory but really a big lie that covered all the world for more than 150 years.

Posted by Derek Mann | Report as abusive

Of course Adnan Oktar.. no other choice.

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

Adnan Oktar

ADNAN OKTAR, with more than 300 books-200 sites and thousands of conferences, IS THE WINNER FOR SURE!In our hearts, ADNAN OKTAR is the shinning sun!

Posted by ?nci | Report as abusive

I am a french, I became muslim after ? read books of Mr.Adnan Oktar.His Atlas of Cteation had an earthquake effect in my country. His difference is that he always talks with scientific proofs,he is welcoming all religions an all sects,he is a man of love that unites all believers.May Allah bless him.Merci M.Oktar.

Posted by mireille | Report as abusive

Imam Adnan Oktar must be the winner, brother Oktar we love you very much. you are our light. May Allah bless you, may Allah reward you.

Posted by Muhammad | Report as abusive

I have been following up Mr. Adnan Oktar from his international radio programs, he is a real hero!! I believe he will be the one to win and my vote is for ADNAN OKTAR.

Posted by James Allenson | Report as abusive

Definitely – Adnan Oktar – he is the superhero who unearthed the Darwinian deception.

Posted by Mert Sonay | Report as abusive

Aroon John (Harun Yahya) Number One !!!

Posted by John Hosaen | Report as abusive

influence means having “worldwide effect”.? heard harun yahya has sold over 60 million copies of his books.that’s influence.

Posted by ahmedi | Report as abusive

Just because a fool is impressed and tricked by the words of a fraud, doesn’t mean evolution has been disproven. Rather, it means that uneducated people are more likely to dismiss science because they don’t understand it.In Europe and America, Evolution is accepted as correct. It is only in the areas where people are poorly educated and indoctrinated, that evolution is not accepted.The posts here speak for themselves.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive

I recently embraced with Islam. I read a lot of Islamic books but amongst them Harun Yahya’s books on faith influenced me mostly. His works are great and I recommend them to my atheist friends. Harun Yahya deserves the first row inshaallah.

Posted by Sue Costerlania | Report as abusive

The winner is absolutely ADNAN OKTAR (HARUN YAHYA)

I’m a highly educated professional, geneticist working in the field of electron microscopy. What we observe in this science era is design. Do you know how a ribosome works, when it starts to read the RNA copy and decodes it to a perfectly predesigned 3 dimensional protein?There is no plausible explanation for the designed functions executed in harmony other than Creation.You have to read more before commenting on something.

Posted by Sue Costerlania | Report as abusive

Adnan Oktar is the international hero who has won a victory against darwinism that has brouhgt disasters,wars,slaughters,battles,animos ty,lovelessness,trouble to humanity. Adnan Oktar’s victory is for all humans. He defeated evolutionary theory with science. His determined struggle must be a model for all the muslims. As darwinism is to refuse the belief to Allah, to struggle against darwinism scientifically is all the muslims duty. Adnan Oktar is trying to finish the evil systems. He is trying to provide peace, love, tolerance and justice in the worl. He is the most influential Muslim in the world.

Posted by marcel | Report as abusive


Posted by akhtar hayat khan | Report as abusive

Adnan Oktar-Harun Yahya is working hard more than everyone for the way of Allah. He wrote more than 300 books. Harun Yahya’s book has sold over 600 million copies. You can download his books, his videos, his interviews etc. He is working very hard. That’s why he is the world’s most influential Muslim.

Posted by ihsan ungan | Report as abusive

Who else other than Brother HARUN YAHYA? He is not only the most influential man in the MUSLIM land but in the entire GLOBE inshallah…..

No doubt that he is Adnan Oktar. Because he collapsed the religion of freemasonry. Yes, he collapsed Darwinism.

Posted by ertu?rul | Report as abusive

influence means having “worldwide effect”.? heard harun yahya has sold over 60 million copies of his books.that’s influence.The winner is absolutely ADNAN OKTAR (HARUN YAHYA)

Posted by orlando | Report as abusive

Harun Yahya(Adnan Oktar)

Posted by Ünal Kocaba? | Report as abusive

Adnan Oktar definitely. He has 300 books.

Posted by Roger wilson | Report as abusive

Shaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani of Cyprus, head of the Naqshbandi-Haqani Sufi Order, has millions of followers around the world. For 60 years he has advocated peace, anti-violence, and freedom of religion. His numerous books are available on amazon.com and he gives live lectures daily on http://www.sufilive.com

Posted by TJ | Report as abusive

Br.MOhammad Shaikh is a person who delivers the topics based upon quranic ayats with the real truth comes directly from the book of ALLAH,and the amazing part of his speeches is that all topics guide us to implement the quranic ayats in our day to day life ,there is no match to him,”Thanks a lot Br. Shaikh for bring me and my whole family towards the light of QURAN from the darkness of ignorance.No doubt MOHAMMAD SHAIKH is the GREATEST ISLAMIC SCHOLAR of this ERA.

Mohammad Shaikh a truly genuine human being spreading the “Word of ALLAH” through whatever meager resources available. Now to understand what is the “Word of ALLAH” one has to very diligently read, ponder and carry out analysis what the world has to say about a particular subject. This is when Mohammad Shaikh comes forward to assist who after spending almost 22 years of his life in the close research of the “Quran – Word of ALLAH”. He has almost 32 delivered lectures “What the Quran” has to say on various topics of daily life. The beauty is that all the lectures pertain to Ayats from the Quran assembled in a chronological manner so as to allow the viewer to assimilate the “true essence” “Rouh” of the Ayats. In my personal opinion one has to remove all the bias of the hearsay to understand the TRUE “Word of ALLAH”. I pray that Almighty ALLAH provides all the success to Mohammad Shaikh on all his present and future endeavors. I would advise all the viewers to visit the following links to see the works done by Mohammad Shaikh and his worthy people assisting him in his day to day affairs. Jazakallah. The links are: http://www.facebook.com/friends/?filter= afp&ref=tn#/iipctv, and http://www.iipc.tv.

Mohammad Shaikh started International Islamic Propagation center in 1987 and have been a fultime devotee to this cause. He was born on October 06, 1952, Karachi, Pakistan and obtained basic Islamic education under the direct supervision and guidance of his father. Later on He served in the commercial merchant liner from 1973 to 1983 that provided him with the opportunity to travel two thirds of the world and gain tremendous experience by interacting with various religious scholars from all walks of life, religion, cast, color and creed. In 1988, He was amongst the 30 candidates selected from around the globe and only one from Pakistan by Ahmed Deedat, the president of IPCI a renowned Muslim scholar on comparative religions and winner of King Faisal award to attend research oriented comparative studies in Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism organized by Islamic Propagation Center International in Durban, South Africa. After completing the course he was enlightened and inspired in putting forward not only the comparative view between Al-Quran and the bible but also about what Al-Quran says about different topics relating to our lives and beliefs. This was the start of a very enlightening series of what Al-Quran Says about lectures on various topics which is gaining international recognition and popularity with distribution in all corners of the world. In his unique intellectual approach he compile relevant ayats / signs on a particular topic from different surahs / chapters of Al-Quran, then he ponder on them and by the assistance of Allah, the harmony and the sequence of those relevant ayats / signs clarify the essence of that subject. When necessary he compare it with the verses of the bible for the enlightenment of the people. This unique vision has matured into different topics in the series of what Al-Quran says about lectures, which invites listeners – Muslims and non Muslims alike- by presenting in English and Urdu languages in open forums with conviction, for the benefit of general public and in the interest of the educated masses of the world. and make these lectures available to everyone. He himself is a full time devotee to the cause of Allah and running IIPC is his full time obligation and do not belong to any sect, school of thought nor do have any religious or political affiliations, because of which he had a wide appeal to people from all backgrounds, races and cultures. He is a humble man and have dedicated his life to be a Muslim / submitter for Allah by following and practicing the message of Al-Quran with conviction and commitment.http://www.facebook.com/pages  /Mohammad-Shaikh/116026672247http://www .facebook.com/pages/Mohammad-Shaikh/1160 26672…http://www.facebook.com/pages/Moha mmad-Shaikh/116026672…http://www.faceboo k.com/group.php?gid=44374398688&ref=nfht tp://www.iipc.tv/index.php?option=com_co ntent&view=ar…http://www.iipc.tvhttp://w ww.iipctv.comhttp://www.iipctube.comhttp  ://www.youtube.com/iipctvadminhttp://ww w.iipctalk.com

Harun Yahya(Adnan oktar)

Harun Yahya (Adnan Oktar)

woow i voted for Adnan Oktar. His votes are incredible. He’s definitely the winner.

Posted by Dank Bendal | Report as abusive

Adnan Oktar – he is the most influential Islamic Creationist all around the world. Washington Post, The New York Times, Guardian, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, are the few media channels that have made this announcement very recently to the entire world. I believe this to be true because he is the most famous author and scholar who has sent the theory of evolution back into history books!

Posted by Tuna Berkman | Report as abusive

Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil al Qubrusi al Haqqani has millions of followers all over the world. He is the leader of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Sufi Order and thirty of his books are available on on amazon.com. He preaches against terrorism, condemns Muslims who kill in the name of Islam, and his title “al-Haqqani” means “the one with Truth”. Some of Sheikh Nazim’s followers are royalty, heads of state, foreign ministers, industrialists with tremendous influence, as well as common people. He views all as equal. I am a Muslim convert and after 20 years I found he is the first leader who ALWAYS reflects/teaches the true meaning found in Holy Quran: peace, brotherhood, love, patience, servanthood and religious tolerance.

Posted by Cindy | Report as abusive

Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil al Qubrusi al Haqqani gets my vote because he always preaches love not hate, patience not anger, respect not oppression, and above all, to serve one’s Creator. I first met him in 1996 and his teachings have always been the same. He speaks out against suicide bombers and terrorism, he condemns Muslim leaders who do not stand up against terrorism, he preaches that all must obey the law of the land, etc. He is very courageous on speaking the truth and he is guided by God.

Muhammad Shaikh IIPC is the best lecturer of the WORLD.http://www.iipc.tv

Posted by Mr Jumah Khan | Report as abusive

Mohammad Shaikh is a Remarkable Muslim Scholar Chairman IIPC tv from Karachi Pakistan is a student of Renowned Muslim Scholar Shaikh Ahmed Deedat (Late)-President of IPCI from South Africa.

Adnan Oktar is my favorite Islamic writer, thinker and leader. He is the most wise and influential, most effective of all. His sincere and rationalistic style generates true, peaceful, educated, wise Muslims. He is the future!! He will definitely be the winner. I am a convert, I was Catholic before starting to read his books. He is the one who made me love the Creator, the Quran and religion. I love him!!!

Posted by sergio | Report as abusive

If you ask me, I’d vote for Br. Mohammad Shaikh any day! His selfless devotion to the cause of Allah, his unique method of delivery of lectures based solely on the essence of verses of the Holy Quran,and his humble and graceful personality which appeals to people from all backgrounds, races, religions and cultures makes him one of the top notch influential Muslims in the world in present times.

I vote for Harun Yahya too

Posted by sana | Report as abusive

He is the most beautifull soul on earth. Allah bless him.!Amen.

Posted by Mariam Olmos | Report as abusive