500 Most Influential Muslims
Chief Editors: Prof John Esposito and Prof Ibrahim Kalin
The royal islamic strategic studies centre, 2009
The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
The publication you have in your hands is the first of what we hope will be an annual series that provides a window into the movers and shakers of the Muslim world. We have strived to highlight 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. We think that this gives valuable insight into the different ways that Muslims impact the world, and also shows the diversity of how people are living as Muslims today.
Influence is a tricky concept. Its meaning derives from the Latin word influens meaning to flow-in, pointing to an old astrological idea that unseen forces (like the moon) affect humanity. The figures on this list have the ability to affect humanity too. In a variety of different ways each person on this list has influence over the
lives of a large number of people on the earth. The 50 most influential figures are profiled. Their influence comes from a variety of sources; however they are unified by the fact that they each affect huge swathes of humanity.
We have then broken up the 500 leaders into 15 categories—Scholarly, Political, Administrative, Lineage, Preachers, Women, Youth, Philanthropy, Development, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, Media, Radicals, International Islamic Networks, and Issues of the Day—to help you understand the different kinds of ways Islam and Muslims impact the world today.
Two composite lists show how influence works in different ways: International Islamic Networks shows people who are at the head of important transnational networks of Muslims, and Issues of the Day highlights individuals whose importance is due to current issues affecting humanity.
Disclaimer and invitation to participate
Being the first attempt of its kind at a list that shows the broad extent of Muslims' influence on the world we acknowledge that there are likely to be gaps in our categorizing, and are sure that we have missed some influential people. We would like to keep the process as open as possible and ask you to please write in
suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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