The Kelantan mentri besar since 1990, Nik Aziz was listed as the 42nd most influential in 2009. No Malaysian made it to the top 50 list this year.
The other newcomers from Malaysia are Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim, the country’s first astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, and Professor Dr Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti.
Muhammad Afifi was one of the first Malaysians to be appointed to the Oxford University’s Theology Faculty after the 2005 London bombings.
The book also included the views of Mashitah, who is also a motivational expert on contemporary Islamic issues.
She entered the political scene six years ago by contesting the 2004 general election on Umno’s ticket.
Other Malaysian leaders who stayed on the list are Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim; Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak; SIS founder Zainah Anwar; vice president of the Penang consumer association Mohideen Abdul Kader; Raihan group members, Che Amran Idris, Abu Bakar Md Yatim, Amran Ibrahim and Zulfadli Mustaza; and world-renowned expert and writer in Islamic studies and modern law comparison, Professor Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali.
Notable absentees from this year’s list were former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, activist and leader of Sisters In Islam (SIS) Sharifah Zuriah Aljefferi, and also academic expert Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Osman Bakar.
“The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” was first published last year by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.
Muslim personalities worldwide who make the list are considered influential and to have contributed to mankind.
The ranking covers 15 different categories including scholars, politicians, intellectuals, women, youth, scientists, personnel in the medical, technology and the media fields.
The top 10 in the list this time includes Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al Saud; Iranian leader Syed Ali Khamenei; Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan; chief Imam of Al-Azhar and University Al-Azhar leader Dr Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al Tayeb; Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono; chief of the international Muslim scholars Yusuf Al-Qaeadawi; social activist Amr Khaled; Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah; leader of Ikhwanul Muslimim Mesir Syeikh Mohammad Mahdi Akef; and Hamas leader Khaleed Mishal.