President Muhammadu Buhari, the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar and a renowned  Maiduguri-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh have risen on the list of top 50 influential Muslim leaders in the world.

They were listed in the 8th edition of the annual “The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims”, 2017 released yesterday.

The Chief Imam Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Dr. Abdrahman Olanrewaju Ahmad, was listed as the only new Nigerian entrant among the other top 450, Daily Trust reports.

The publication revealed that there were approximately 1.76 billion Muslims in the world today, making up 23.85 percent of the world’s population, or just under one-quarter of mankind, an improvement on last year’s estimate which put Muslim population at 1.7 billion.

While President Buhari was listed as number 17 (20 in 2016 even as a first timer), the sultan whose highest ranking was in 2009 at number 16, was listed as 22 (24 in 2016) and Sheikh Saleh retained his 38 (37 in 2014/2015) position.

The publication listed Professor Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb, the Grand Sheikh of the Al-Azhar University and Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque as the number one (number two in 2016) after displacing King Abdullah Al-Hussein of Jordan who was number one on 2016 to number two in the current ranking. King Salman Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia retained his third position.

Other Nigerians on the ranking are Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, Prince Bola Ajibola, Imam Muhammad Ashafa, Sheikh Tahir Usman Bauchi, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Sheikh Yakubu Musa Katsina, Prof Ishaq Olanrewaju Oloyede, Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

‘Disappointedly’, Boko Haram supposedly dead leader, Abubakar Shekau, and currently detained Shiite leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, were also named.

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