An amazing book has been released entitled “The 500 Most Influential Muslims-2009.” Its the first edition and chiefly edited by American Professor John Esposito and Professor Ibrahim Kalin along with other editors and scholars.
Its available online for free and soon it will be available in Print in the United States. A fascinating new book issued by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center (in Jordan) in concert with Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (Muslim Observor).
The book lists the 500 most influential people in the Muslim world, breaking the people into several distinct categories, scholarly, political, administrative, lineage, preachers, women, youth, philanthropy, development, science and technology, arts and culture, media, and radicals.
Before this breakdown begins however, the absolute most influential 50 people are listed, starting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. The top 50 fit into 6 broad categories as follows: 12 are political leaders (kings, generals, presidents), 4 are spiritual leaders (Sufi shaykhs), 14 are national or international religious authorities, 3 are “preachers,” 6 are high-level scholars, 11 are leaders of movements or organizations.
The 500 appear to have been chosen largely in terms of their overt influence, however the top 50 have been chosen and perhaps listed in a “politically correct” order designed not to cause offense. For example, the first person listed is the Sunni political leader of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah. The second person listed is the head of the largest Shi’a power, Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei. As these are not the two Muslim countries with the largest populations, and do not even represent the two countries with the most spiritual or religious relevance (Saudi Arabia yes, Iran no) therefore clearly the decision of spots one or two appears to have been motivated by a sense of political correctness.
There are in total 72 American Muslims in the 500 Most Influential Muslims.
The entire book is available online (here: http://www.rissc.jo/muslim500v-1L.pdf) and we hope that it will be available for sale soon inside the United States. Currently it is not available.