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

November 17, 2009

500-most

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.

1,083 comments

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 voted M.Fetullah Gülen. But I want to say Allah be pleased with all the leaders of Islam and their followers . We all respect and we all love. Objective is to win the consent of Allah

Posted by Sakir From Turkey | Report as abusive

I think most influential muslim leader in the world isMr.Fethullah gülenbecouse of his teaching ihope there will be dialoge and peace between religion.

Posted by mehmet | Report as abusive

Vote for Harun Yahya.

Posted by Fatih | Report as abusive

Sultanul Awliya Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil Al Haqqani!!!!

Posted by mariam | Report as abusive

BIR GARIPLIK VAR, I THINK FETHULLAH GULEN MUST TO BE %…. SOMETHING BECOUSE MY FRIENDS VOTE FOR HIM AND ME TOO BUT RESULTS IS STIL % 0 …? WHY

Posted by EMRE | Report as abusive

Fethullah Gülen

Posted by Muhammed ülkü | Report as abusive

Shaykh Hisham is one of the leading Deputies (Khalifas) of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim. So it seems the overall sum of votes for the Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Way is already at level ONE.This already shows who is the most influential Muslim. Influential politicians like the President of Indonesia (the biggest Moslem country) are connected to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani through deputies like Shaykh Hisham al-Haqqani. See here for the related videos:http://www.naksibendi.net/44/1352 01.htmlWriting books against darwinisim!! Or writing books about neo-sufism is nice. But that\’s all. Nobody really cares about thes issues. Darwinism is already not accepted by anybody who has a minimum of belief in Allah Almighty (God). Sufis are the real leaders of the Muslim world!!! Neo-sufis can\’t take the role of sufis whose traditions can be tracked back to Holy Prophet Muhammad (savs).See here for more information:http://www.naqshbandi.org (English)http://www.naksibendi.net   (Turkish)

My God.. we hope that those boys and girls around Adnan Oktar won\’t use this poll to declare their leader to the Mahdi. The Mahdi must be from the bloodline of Holy Prophet (saws) and Atman (Ottoman).\”Adnan Oktar Harun Yahya is the only person who leads to the Islamic world. His books, his ideas , cds have already been a leader to the Islamic world. Moreover, he is modern carismatic and intelligent, kind, sincere, good looking and charming person. Islam needs a leader like Adnan Oktar- And, he resembles the attributes of Mahdi, very surprisingly\”

Posted by Alparslan | Report as abusive

Absolutly Sheikh Nazim

Posted by rizal | Report as abusive

he his the best embodiment of the sunnah and shariaunlike the so called a fatwah a penny scholars

Posted by ariel sharon | Report as abusive

i like harun yahya cause he says we should love each other we are all brothers and sisters we all created by some god so lets love each other http://www.harunyahya.com/books/social/u nity/unity01.phpfor more information click the link

Posted by yusuftarik | Report as abusive

My vote is for Mohammad Shaikh,Chairman of International Islamic Propagation Centre who has been serving for the cause of Islam for the last 25 years.He opens peoples minds and hearts towards Islam by explaining the Rooh-Spirit of every Ayat of the Holy Quran.What differentiates him from the other scholars is the fact that he has never brought in his own idealogies or self-made beleiefs while explaining the Quran.He expalins each and every Ayath very clearly and to the point.And thus he deserves the title of “the most influential muslim”.

This disciple of the great sheikh qubrusi al haqqani is the embodiment of modern and classical sharia and espouses the correct way forward unlike other fatwa a penny scholars

Posted by ariel sharon | Report as abusive

i will definately vote for these great living sufi saints who have enlighten the peoples heart with love and affection and also led each one of us to find the true way to reach GOD…long live- Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil al Qubrusi al Haqqani and Shaykh Hisham Kabbani.

I am definitely voting for Mohammad Shaikh of IIPC.Living and preaching in Pakistan in this day and age is not easy where every muslim scholar is misunderstood as an Extremist and one who encourages terrorism,scholars are under constant threats and scrutinizing aswell.Mohammad Shaikh has always faced these situations with Courage,Strength and Belief that Allah is always Guiding and Helping him.He has organized lectures in very difficult situations,he has worked with increasing strength and vigour no matter how severe the oppression maybe.He has opened the eyes of soo many people around the World through his own website where he has video conferences,discussions and debates with people of different nationalities,beliefs and views.He has also uploaded his lectures on Youtube for people across borders to get guidance and understanding of the Message of ALLAH Al-mighty.

?mam ?skender Ali Mihrwww.mihr.com

Adnan Oktar is the muslim intellectual who is changing the world with the permission of Allah by defeating Darwinism and materialism and atheism.www.harunyahya.com shows with his 300 books how effective he is.He is unsurpassed..

Posted by Roger | Report as abusive

Adnan Oktar and his 300 books..

Posted by Roger | Report as abusive

Fethullah GÜLEN

Posted by ya?ar uluta? | Report as abusive

Absolutely HARUN YAHYA

Posted by Evladi kerbela | Report as abusive

Adnan Oktar has books on the Mahdi as well. I found q web site about it. http://www.awaitedmahdi.com

Posted by ahmedi | Report as abusive

I vote for Mohammad Shaikh because he has many lecture and is very good in giving lectures. He also has delivered 50 lectures i really admire him because he is doing a great job i want him to win and praying for him….

Shaykh Hisham is one of the leading Deputies (Khalifas) of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim. So it seems the overall sum of votes for the Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Way is already at level ONE.This already shows who is the most influential Muslim. Influential politicians like the President of Indonesia (the biggest Moslem country) are connected to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani through deputies like Shaykh Hisham al-Haqqani. See here for the related videos:http://www.naksibendi.net/44/1352 01.htmlWriting books against darwinisim!! Or writing books about neo-sufism is nice. But that\’s all. Nobody really cares about thes issues. Darwinism is already not accepted by anybody who has a minimum of belief in Allah Almighty (God). Sufis are the real leaders of the Muslim world!!! Neo-sufis can\’t take the role of sufis whose traditions can be tracked back to Holy Prophet Muhammad (savs).See here for more information:http://www.naqshbandi.org (English)http://www.naksibendi.net  (Turkish)

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil Al-Qubrusi Al-Haqqani influenced me the most… after reading some of his lectures i felt at peace with his teachings… i knew he would be a massive influence on me even before i met him and when i did meet him, he took my breath away. i’ve not looked back… 18 years on and i can still say that not a day has gone by where i haven’t followed his teachings. nobody else has managed to turn my life around and make me understand important things about spirituality the way he has. Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil Al-Qubrusi Al-Haqqani – may Allah grant him long life and safe-guard his secret.

Posted by Moone | Report as abusive

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim is the most important personn to give advice to humanity

The Republic of Indonesia has a population of around 230 million people. It is the world’s fourth most populous country, with the world’s largest population of Muslims.May 30th, 2009: President of Indonesia during a Istiqlal Mosque Event declared live on TV that his master is Shaykh Hisham, the deputy of Shaykh Mehmet Nazim Adil al-Haqqani. He even declared that he takes advise from his master toHow can neo-sufis of any name claim to be Mahdi???How can they claim to be the number ONE?????How can they claim to be the ONLY ONE???IMPOSSIBLE!!!SUFIS CAN NEVER BE EXCHANGED BY CHARMING NEO-SUFIS!!!THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN!!!AND EVERYBODY CAN BE SURE THAT OUR VOTES ARE REAL WHEN YOU SEE HOW MANY FOLLOWERS LIVE IN INDONESIA ONLY.WE CAN BE SURE THAT MOST OF THEM STILL ARE NOT EVEN AWARE OF THIS POLL WHEREBY OTHER SIT HERE DAY AND NIGHT TO VOTE AGAIN AND AGAIN!!!http://www.naqshbandi.org (English)http://www.naksibendi.net   (Turkish)

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

HARUN YAHYA Lovers

Posted by Henry | Report as abusive

http://www.theislamicunion.com/ see what Harun Yahya wants

Posted by asli | Report as abusive

hey ? saw the reason of the poll is the winner Adnan Oktar or under pen name Harun Yahya. however in that blog ? coulndt see his name in the list… how surprising how emberrassing for you editor!.. why dont you tell the truth to public??..anyway,giving my best wishes to all of you..FaLchi

Posted by fallchii | Report as abusive

Islamic Union is the job of Mahdi.But there is bad news for charming neo-sufiswho were once in a mental house because they claimed to be Mahdi. Yes, Mahdi will be a traditional sufi.No way out boys and girls.:-)

Posted by Alparslan | Report as abusive

I really like Sheikh Nazim and in one of his videos, he says Adnan Oktar is a person who has a particular mission in the End Times and he has a very speicial kind of Allah’s protection on him and that we should all pay an attention on this young intellectual.If Sheikh Nazim says so, i vote for Adnan Oktar.

Posted by berek al-hasan | Report as abusive

HARUN YAHYA because he wants peace and islamic union.

Posted by Dersimli | Report as abusive

Fethullah Gülen

FETULLAH GÜLEN

Posted by esra evin | Report as abusive

All are our brothers. However Adnan Oktar is the one calling and striving for Turkish Islamic Union..

Posted by Roger wilson | Report as abusive

harunyahya is already Adnan Oktar.

Posted by delusion | Report as abusive

Fethullah Gülen

Posted by hakki | Report as abusive

I believe that Mr.Mohammad Shaikh is the most greatest Islamic/Quranic scholar in the whole world. I have attended his lectures which is purely from Al-Quran and the way he delivers the lectures, consists on the relation of Ayaats to each other and it gives a message for muslims from Allah for the believers which do make sense to understand the spirit of Ayaats and I am the one who submit the Ayaats and the message comes from it. I have never seen such a brilliant scholar in my whole life. I request to all Muslim world to watch his lectures on http://www.youtube.com/iipctvadmin

Bismilah al rahman al rahimI would like to cast my vote for my beloved teacher my radiant moon my lighting sun in the middle of the darkness without him i dont know where i would be may Allah sanctify his secret give him long life just by remembering your face the path gets lighted for me mayAllah give long long life for the beloved Maulana Sultan al awliya Al sayyid Sheikh Muhammad Nazim Adil Al Haqqani Al-Qubrisi

http://www.harunyahya.ru teached me Islam in Russia.Thanks Harun Yahya for his internet site,books and films.

Posted by Olga | Report as abusive

Adnan Oktar-Harun Yahya is my favorite Muslim author, he is doing great work for the sake of religion. He is the most prominent leader of muslim world.

Posted by janette | Report as abusive

Mohammad Shaikh tops my mind, and for of a surety he is the most influential Muslim which in English literally means Submitter. He has to his credit a service devoted To the Cause of ALLAH/ The GOD for more then over 2 Decades. And his work is a witness a proof to his Devotion. He has serviced the purpose of life by delivering GOD’s Message in its true essence by elaborating The Ayaat/ Signs from Al-Quran/ The Reading, The Book of ALLAH/ The GOD. I invite all the world to come and view and analyze his works that he has done in the service of ALLAH/ The GOD, enlightening mankind regardless of their faith, creed, cult, religion, race, color, language. Promoting the Message of ALLAH/ The GOD, can surely be the only criterion to judge a Muslims Character. I am sure you will not find anyone from anywhere in the world whose works are preserved and so readily available in general for all to come and witness. Please visit http://www.iipc.tv.Mohammad Shaikh has helped mankind reshape their lives in accordance with the Message and Command of ALLAH/ The GOD, thus proving his dedication and influence he has on himself from GOD.Can anyone influence anyone better then the one who influences after being influenced by The Almighty GOD?What a beautiful Influence and What a beautiful gain thereby.

Posted by Mohammad Taj | Report as abusive

Mr . Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya ) is the prominent islamic schoolar in turkey and all over the world …

Posted by cool | Report as abusive

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim is the most important personn to give advice to humanity

Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil al Qubrusi al Haqqani Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

Posted by bambang yudha prawira kusumah | Report as abusive

Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil al Qubrusi al Haqqani

Posted by ftikhar ahmed | Report as abusive

Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil al Qubrusi al Haqqani

Posted by iftikhar ahmed | Report as abusive

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

Posted by iftikhar ahmed | Report as abusive

sheikh Nazim Adil Qubrusi is number one no doubt because he deserves the votes for shaykh Hisham Kabbani as he is senior,leader,grandsheikh of the tariqat Shaykh Hisham Kabbani belongs to.33 plus 12 makes 45.Adnan Oktar and Harun Yahya the same person,41 plus 2 makes 43.Numbers never lie this is the truth noone can deny even Shaykh Hisham Kabbani and Adnan Oktar will prove me right…

Posted by emine khan | Report as abusive

Shaykh Hisham is one of the leading Deputies (Khalifas) of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim. The overall sum of votes for the Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Way is 45%, and thus on top.This already shows us that Mawlana Shaykh Nazim is the most influential Muslim. He is not alone and has a team of influential sufi masters. Furthermore, he has a long tradition with a Golden Chain of Sufi Grandmasters going back to Holy Prophet. Western style “neo-sufi” movements have no spiritual tradition in this regard. So people never ask philosophers for spiritual advise.Influential politicians like the President of Indonesia are spiritually connected to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani through deputies like Shaykh Hisham al-Haqqani. This is only one example.The Republic of Indonesia has a population of around 230 million people. It is the world’s fourth most populous country, with the world’s largest population of Muslims.On May 30th, 2009, President of Indonesia openly declared during a live Istiqlal Mosque Event on TV that his teacher is Shaykh Hisham, the deputy of Shaykh Mehmet Nazim Adil al-Haqqani:“Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, I am saying to my people, my brothers and sisters, that you are my teacher, that you give me love and adivse and I implement it in leading my country. So I like to be thankful to you that you continously give me advise how to lead these people properly.“See here for the related videos:http://www.naksibendi.net/44/1352 01.htmlSO TRADITIONAL SUFIS CAN NEVER BE REPLACED BY WESTERN STYLE NEO-SUFIS!!! THE NAQSHBANDI SUFI WAY IS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE FOR EAST AND WEST!!!http://www.naqshbandi.org (English)http://www.naksibendi.net  (Turkish)

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive