From Raji Bello, Sokoto
The Sultan of Sokoto and spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad has been named 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.
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.
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.