The annual Muslim 500 ranking saw Morocco’s monarch move up one position relative to last year.
Rabat – The 2021 “Muslim 500” ranking of the world’s most influential Muslims has ranked Morocco’s King Mohammed VI as the sixth most influential Muslim globally. Every year the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan publishes its list of the most important figures in the Muslim world. This year’s ranking also saw the rapid rise of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who rose from sixth place in 2020 to return to the top spot, which he also occupied in 2019.
The top-50 ranking of influential Muslims included some of the world’s most famous Middle Eastern leaders. Saudi King Salman ranked second, followed by Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, King Abdullah II of Jordan, as well as Pakistani scholar Muhammad Taqi Usmani.
The “Muslim 500” highlighted King Mohammed VI’s direct descendancy from the prophet Muhammad and his family’s almost four century-long reign of Morocco as reasons for his ranking. Morocco’s Alouyite dynasty has ruled the country since 1641 as a continuation of the spirit of intellectualism and culture of the Golden Age of Al Andalus.
The ranking also took into account the King’s influence on promoting the important role of women in education and research and Moroccan society in general. The Jordanian organization that publishes the annual ranking also highlighted King Mohammed VI’s influence on the Maliki network through the world’s oldest university — Al Qarawiyyin — in Fez.
King Mohammed VI’s role as the leader of the largest and oldest African monarchy made him a logical choice as one of the world’s most influential Muslims. His influence in Africa goes beyond the deep political and developmental ties between Morocco and Africa and extends to the spiritual ties the King has with Muslims across Africa.
The ranking also recognized Morocco’s role as a host of multiple important Sufi shrines and its historic role in spreading Islam across West Africa.
In addition to recent political developments in Morocco, the ranking also lauded the King for hosting the conference that produced the Marrakesh Declaration in 2016.
The three-day summit invited the Islamic world’s most renowned scholars to discuss the treatment of religious minorities in Muslim-majority countires. The summit produced a document that called for the “freedom of movement, property ownership, mutual solidarity and defence of religious minorities in the Islamic world.”
The Muslim 500 report further emphasized King Mohammed VI’s role as head of the Al Quds agency that protects Islam’s holy sites in Jersusalem. The report highlighted that “the King and indeed all Moroccans show strong support for Palestinians and for Jerusalem.”
The report further described the King’s handling of recent political trends, including post-Arab Spring reforms, Morocco’s new constitution, and the country’s swift response to COVID-19.