Muslim Scholars

Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb

Grand Imam of AlAzhar Mosque, Grand Sheikh of the Al-Azhar University
Date of Birth: 6 January 1946
Traditional Sunni

Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad al-Tayyeb was appointed as Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar in March 2010, after the passing of his predecessor, Dr Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi. Tayyeb was formerly the president of al-Azhar for seven years and prior to that, served for two years as the most powerful cleric in Egypt as its Grand Mufti.

Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Date of Birth: 17 July 1939
Traditional Shi‘a

Grand Ayatollah Khamenei is the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was born in Mashhad, and studied in the leading Iranian religious seminary in Qom, before becoming involved in the struggle with the Pahlavi Regime in the sixties and seventies. He was a key figure in the revolution in 1979 and served as President between 1981-1989 before succeeding Ayatollah Khomeini as Supreme Leader upon the latter’s death. He has vocally supported most of the unrest in the Arab World, likening it to the Iranian Revolution.

Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Aal Al-Sheikh

Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Date of Birth: 10 February 1941
Salafi (Wahabi)

As the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Aal Al-Sheikh has the highest position of religious authority in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He is an Islamic scholar based in Makkah and has influence as a leading cleric of the expansive global movement of Salafi Muslims.

Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan Qaadiri Al-Azhari

Barelwi Leader and Spiritual Guide
Date of Birth: 2 February 1943
Hanafi, Traditional Sunni

Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan is the leader of the Indian Barelwis and considered by his followers as the Grand Mufti of India. He is the great-grandson and successor of one of the most influential sub-continental Islamic scholars in history: Ahmad Raza Khan (d.1921), who founded the Barelwi movement in South Asia.

Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

Islamic scholar and founder of Minhaj ul Qur’an International
Date of Birth: 19 February 1951
Hanafi, Traditional Sunni

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is a Pakistani politician and Islamic scholar of Sufism. He was also a professor of international constitutional law at the University of the Punjab. Qadri is also the founding chairman of Minhaj-ul-Quran International.

Hazrat Allama Syed Hashmi Miyan Ashrafi Jeelani

Sufi Scholar
Date of Birth: 29 Oct 1944
Sufi, Hanafi, Sunni

Hazrat Allama Syed Hashmi Miyan Ashrafi Jeelani is a Sufi Scholar.

Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani

Marja of the Hawza, Najaf, Iraq
Date of Birth: 4 August 1930
Traditional Shi‘a

Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani is the prime marja, or spiritual reference for Ithna’Ashari‘a (Twelver) Shi‘a Muslims. He is the leading sheikh of the Hawza Seminary in Najaf, Iraq and the preeminent Shi‘a cleric globally. Sistani is one of the most respected of the marjaiyya–the highest position of authority in the Usuli school of Twelver Shi‘a fiqh.

Sheikh Ahmad Al Kubaisi

Founder of the Ulama Organization in Iraq
Date of Birth: - - - -
Traditional Sunni

Sheikh Dr Ahmed Kubaisi is a very popular Sunni cleric and preacher in Iraq, who preaches for the end of foreign occupation in Iraq and the institution of an Islamic state. To this end he is a spokesperson of the Sunni Ulema Council, an important association of Sunni Muslim scholars in Iraq. Kubaisi leads prayers that are televised worldwide from the state mosque of Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson

Teacher and Co-founder of Zaytuna College, USA
Date of Birth: 1 January 1960
Ash'ari, Maliki, Traditional Sunni

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson is one of the most influential Islamic figures in the Western world. He is seen as one of the foremost authorities on Islam outside of the Muslim world. He is a co-founder of the Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the USA.

Habib Ali Zain Al Abideen Al-Jifri

Director General of the Tabah Foundation, UAE
Date of Birth: 16 April 1971
Sufi, Shafi'i, Traditional Sunni

Tracing his lineage to the family of ‘Ali, the fourth Caliph of Islam and cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, Habib ‘Ali Zain al Abideen Al-Jifri is a leading Islamic scholar and prominent speaker in the Muslim world. Al-Jifri is Director General of the Tabah Foundation in the UAE, member of the board of Dar al Mustafa in Yemen, member of the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan, and affiliated with various other international Islamic organizations.

Sheikh Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi

Head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars
Date of Birth: 9 September 1926
Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi, Sunni

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian Islamic theologian based in Doha, Qatar, and chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah

President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies
Date of Birth: 1 January 1935
Maliki, Traditional Sunni

Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah’s influence is derived from his scholarship, piety and preaching. Uniquely, all of the different sects and schools of Muslims respect him as a scholar. A testament to this is the notable fact that whilst he is not a Salafi, the Saudi government promulgates his fatwas as authoritative. He is an instructor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah and was the deputy head of the Union of Muslim Scholars having previously been a Judge at the High Court of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Head of Shariah Affairs at the Ministry of Justice.

Habib Luthfi bin Yahya

Date of Birth: 10 November 1947
Traditional Sunni

Habib bin Luthfi is currently the Ra’is ‘Amm of the Jam’iyyah Ahli Thariqah al-Mu’tabarah al-Nahdliyah, Head of MUI Middle Java, and the spiritual leader of the Ba Alawi tariqah in Indonesia. The Ba Alawi are descendants of the Prophet (PBUH) who migrated to Hadramaut in Yemen early on in Islamic history. They played the major role in bringing Islam to the Far East, including Indonesia and Malaysia, and they hold high prominence to this day.

Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun

Grand Mufti of Syria
Date of Birth: 1949
Shafi'i, Sunni

Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun is Grand Mufti of Syria.

Mohammad bin Mohammad Al-Mansour

Imam of the Zaidi Sect of Shi‘a Muslims
Date of Birth: 1 January 1917
Traditional Zaidi Shia

Mohammad bin Mohammad Al-Mansour is the Imam of the Zaidi branch of the Shia sect of Muslims, one of the three main branches of Shia Islam. With approximately ten million followers, Zaidis constitute almost half the entire population of Yemen and around 3 percent in Saudi Arabia.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Director of Dar Al Mustafa, Tarim, Yemen
Date of Birth: 1 January 1962
Shafi'i, Traditional Sunni

Habib Umar bin Hafiz is well known for his Prophetic lineage and status as one of the most influential Sufi scholars alive today. His influence through scholarship and preaching is vast in the Middle East, Indonesia and East Africa especially. He is also incredibly influential through his leadership of the Ba’ Alawi movement. He has been touring Europe and the US regularly in the past few years in response to his growing following there.

Sheikh Usama al-Sayyid Al-Azhari

Sunni Scholar
Date of Birth: 16 July 1979
Traditional Sunni

Sheikh Usama Al-Sayed Al-Azhari is an Azhari scholar, preacher, an academic and a Senior Fellow of Kalam Research & Media. He teaches Hadith, Logic, and Islamic Creed at the renowned Al-Azhar Mosque’s Riwaq al-Atrak in Cairo, Egypt. He also holds a teaching post in the Faculty of Usul al-Din and Da`wah at Al-Azhar University, Egypt.

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