Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the Sultan of Sokoto, Saád Abubakar, and a Maiduguri-based Muslim scholar, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, have been listed in the first 50 places among the world’s 500 most influential Muslim leaders list.
“President Buhari was the first chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and was the mastermind behind the construction of 20 oil depots throughout Nigeria, a project involving over 3200 kilometres of pipelines,” The Muslim 500, an annual publication of the World’s 500 most influential Muslims, said in its 7th edition released recently, Premium Times reported on Saturday, October 3.
“Both the Warri and Kaduna refineries were built under his leadership. He also established the blueprints for the country’s petro-chemical and liquefied natural gas programs.”
The Muslim 500 recognized Buhari’s past military career, his anti-corruption credentials and his promise and subsequent efforts to deal with the insurgent group, Boko Haram.
Moreover, it recognized his efforts in protecting environment.
Buhari is “an active environmentalist who has drafted several plans to preserve wildlife in Nigeria. He has also exerted great efforts on the conservation of nature in Nigeria; such as controlling the logging industry whereby he has ensured that double the number of trees felled are replaced by loggers. He has also worked on restricting the Ecological Fund Office so it can deliver on environmental challenges.”
The Muslim 500: The 500 Most Influential Muslims 2012, the fourth list in this series started in 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC) in Amman.
The report is issued annually in cooperation with Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at George Town University in the United States.
The book starts with an overall top 50 influential Muslims list, and then surveys the remaining 450 most prominent Muslims in 15 categories, from politics to religion, media, arts, science and development, but without ranking.
The top ten spots are all occupied with political and religious leaders.
Along with President Buhari, the publication recognized the efforts made by the Sultan of Sokoto and Muslim scholar Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh.
“Abubakar is the titular ruler of Sokoto in northern Nigeria and is also the head of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. 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 Muslim 500 also said the Sultan has started many initiatives to counter and reduce the influence of Boko Haram, including inviting an international joint Muslim/Christian Delegation to visit Nigeria.
As for Sheikh Saleh, the publication recognized him as a lecturer in the fields of Tafsir Al Qur’an (exegesis) and the Hadith as well as Islamic sciences, jurisprudence and ethics.
“He has over 100 written works. He has held and still heads several significant positions, some of which are, founder and mentor of the Islamic renaissance Organization, adviser to the Federal Government on its Islamic Affairs since 1992, Assistant Secretary-general for African Affairs in the World Islamic People’s Leadership 1989 and many more”.
It also said the Sheikh is currently the head of the Supreme Council for Fatwa and Islamic Affairs in Nigeria and recently became a member of the ‘Muslim Council of Elders’ which embraces prominent scholars.
The RISSC is an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.
The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought is an international Islamic non-governmental, independent institute headquartered in Amman, the capital of the Kingdom of Jordan.
This publication is part of an annual series that provides a window into the movers and shakers of the Muslim world.
It 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.