Sultan of Sokoto named 18th most influential Muslim leader in world

Sultan of Sokoto is the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria

The Sultan of Sokoto and spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria, Abubakar Sa’ad, has been named as the 18th most influential Muslim leader in the world.

The recognition was contained in the fifth edition of the annual publication of The Muslim 500. The fifth edition chronicles the world’s most influential Muslims for the year 2013/2014.

Abdallah Schleifer, a Professor & Senior Fellow at Kamal Adham Centre for Television & Digital Journalism at the American University in Cairo, who wrote forward in the current edition, stated that there are 1.7 billion Muslims in the world today, making up approximately 23 per cent of the world’s population, or one-fifth of mankind.

“As well as being citizens of their respective countries, they also have a sense of belonging to the ‘ummah’, the worldwide Muslim community,” Mr. Schleifer said in describing the nominees in the edition.

He also said the publication sets out to ascertain the influence some Muslims have on the community, or on behalf of the community.

He described such influence to include any person who has the power (be it cultural, ideological, financial, political or otherwise) to make a change that will have a significant impact on the Muslim world.

He said the impact can be either positive or negative, depending on one’s point of view of course.

He added that the influence can be of a religious scholar directly addressing Muslims and influencing their beliefs, ideas and behaviour, or it can be of a ruler shaping the socio-economic factors within which people live their lives, or of artists shaping popular culture.

The publication recognised the Sultan for his important administrative influence in Nigerian religious life.
It said that the Sultan is highly influential as head of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs; adding that as the Sultan of Sokoto, he is considered the spiritual leader of Nigeria’s 74.6 million Muslims, who account for roughly 50 per cent of the nation’s population.

“Leadership of this council means that the Sultan of Sokoto remains the only figure that can legitimately claim to speak on behalf of all Nigerian Muslims.

“This role has become increasingly influential over the years with a rise in interreligious tensions between Nigeria’s Muslim- majority north and Christian-majority south,” it said.

The publication also recognised the role of the Sultan in the on-going insurgency in the northern part of the country by members of Boko Haram sect.

“The Sultan has started many initiatives to counter and reduce the influence of the terrorist group Boko Haram, including inviting an international joint Muslim-Christian Delegation to visit Nigeria,” it said.

The current edition is the fifth in the series of The Muslim 500, which was first published in 2009.

It is compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre Amman, Jordan, in cooperation with Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in the United States of America.

The current edition identified the Grand Sheikh of the Al-Azhar University and Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque, Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb, as the most influential Muslim in 2013/2014.

He was closely followed by King Abdullah bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia, and Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan.

The Muslim 500 has already began accepting nominations for the 2014/2015 edition.


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  • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

    Can’t help but wonder if the madman called Shekau made it onto this list and if so, at what number!!!

    • Wähala

      He probably did… since the “impact” can be negative or positive, it doesn’t matter. No laffing matta ooh! There may be terrorists on that list so, me-ma dey interested in the full-list… the position of Ihrjirka ati Sheriff pelu Dr. Dumbo.

      • Bigzy

        Master of irrelevance! This is a list of influential Islamists like you. So, the reason why you are trying to include Christians is a mistry.

        • Wähala

          Go back to elementary school and learn what it means to quote other people…
          I don’t always have time for senseless miscreants so don’t bother replying today…

          • Bigzy

            Pr@ts like you don’t get to chose whether I comment or not. That is my prerogative. I take it that you are Yoruba today. Lets hope that they suss you out asap, just like we have established that you are no Igbo. Oloriburuku!

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        lol, Wahala.

        No mind me jare!

        it is a happy Sunday indeed for me cos ManU just finished walloping QPR!!

        It was even nicer for me because an Arsenal supporting friend of mine was here to have a laugh, but he left unhappily!!!

  • Wähala

    Irrelevant list. The clown said the “impact can be either positive or negative” in a country of roughly 50-50% religious divide… later went on to say,

    • Otile

      I thought you were a devout Muslim from Birnin Kebi.

      • Wähala

        I thought you have finally been confirmed to the mental health hospital. for months you’ve been AWOL online, I was hoping you went back to prison or somewhere they keep miscreant for re-indoctrination… Welcome Home!

  • wode

    His forthright, all-encompassing and humble leadership make the eminent Sultan enjoy the respect of not only the Muslims but also the non-Muslims alike.

    • ayomi

      I wonder if the non-Muslims killed respect him, not to forget his Fulani cousins rampaging the country. He is very quiet on these issues

      • wode

        “He is very quiet on these issues”
        You are definitely not getting your facts right. Check them again.

  • D.A

    Who made the Sultan the leader of Nigeria’s moslems. The Yoruba are not under him and the Kanen Borno empire was never under the control of the sokoto califate.

  • redeem

    He claims to command a lot of influence— yet cannot solve the boko haram issue—————so which type of influence is that—the boko haram type may be—the man is useless–very lazy and unthinking

  • ayomi

    Not too long ago, this so called leader addressed Muslim lawyers to take up cases of people arrested for being member of Boko Haram. He is still to come out and condemned the wanton killings Christians and non-Muslims in the north. If he is influential, he has not demonstrated any positive use of his so called leadership

  • Modibbo Adamu

    Sultan we’re congratulating you, and continue your tireless effort to see that peace return to Northern Nigeria

  • Garden-City Boy

    “The Sultan of Sokoto and spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria, Abubakar Sa’ad, has been named as the 18th most influential Muslim leader in the world”……SO WHAT? Is that the psychological front of the war to islamize us and makes us all mullahs? To hell with these ass-wipes.

    • kick ’em out

      ……………and Jonaharam is named the Dumbest President in the world.

  • Sword of Damocles

    I will leave it to Nigerians to read your essay and determine for themselves, if it is worth the ink it was written with, however I have one question for you. On your family’s honor(that would be the name of Madueke), will you(in the future), or have you benefited financially/materially from Turakin Adamawa or any organization tied to him for penning this “Ode to Turakin Adamawa”?

  • Chinedu Mgbolu

    Sword of Damocles or whatever you call yourself if you have issues with Cassidy Madueke’s portrayal of Atiku Abubakar then go write your own to perhaps let me guess, the Lord of Bourdillon, the one who has appropriated nearly the whole of Lagos to himself and was menacingly threatening to shift his attention to Nigeria as a whole before he was stopped in his tracks. Eid Mubarak.