Grand Mufti

  (Redirected from Reis-ul-ulema)

A Grand Mufti is the leading mufti (Islamic jurisconsult) of a state. The office originated in the early modern era in the Ottoman empire and has been later adopted in a number of modern countries.[1][2]

Muftis are Islamic jurists qualified to issue a nonbinding opinion (fatwa) on a point of Islamic law (sharia). In the 15th century, muftis of the Ottoman empire, who had acted as independent scholars in earlier times, began to be integrated into a hierarchical bureaucracy of religious institutions and scholars. By the end of the 16th century, the government-appointed mufti of Istanbul came to be recognized under the title Shaykh al-Islam (Turkish: şeyhülislam) as the Grand Mufti in charge of this hierarchy. The Ottoman Grand Mufti performed a number of functions, including advising the sultan on religious matters, legitimizing government policies, and appointing judges. After the dissolution the Ottoman empire the office of the Grand Mufti has been adopted in a number of countries across the Muslim world, often serving the role of providing religious support for government policies.[2] The Grand Mufti is generally an individual appointed by the state, although the office has collective or elective character in some modern countries.[1][2]


Muftis are Muslim religious scholars who issue legal opinions (fatwas) interpreting Sharia (Islamic law).[3]:16–20 The Ottoman Empire began the practice of giving official recognition and status to a single mufti, above all others, as the Grand Mufti.[3]:5 The Grand Mufti of Istanbul had, since the late 16th century, come to be regarded as the head of the religious establishment.[4] He was thus not only pre-eminent but bureaucratically responsible for the body of religious-legal scholars and gave legal rulings on important state policies such as the dethronement of rulers.[4] This practice was subsequently borrowed and adapted by Egypt from the mid-19th century.[3]:5 From there, the concept spread to other Muslim states, so that today there are approximately 16 countries with sizeable Muslim populations which have a Grand Mufti.[3]:85 The relationship between the Grand Mufti of any given state and the state's rulers can vary considerably, both by region and by historical era.

Nations with state-appointed Grand Muftis


The State Mufti of Brunei is nominated by the Sultan.

India (Mughal)

In the Mughal Empire, the Grand Mufti was a state official.


Throughout the era of British colonialism, the British retained the institution of Grand Mufti in some Muslim areas under their control and accorded the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem the highest political stature in Palestine. During World War I (1914–1918), there were two competing Grand Muftis of Jerusalem, one endorsed by the British and one by the Ottoman Empire. When Palestine was under British rule, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a position appointed by the British Mandate authorities. In the Palestinian National Authority, the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Grand Mufti is appointed by the president.

Ottoman Empire

In the Ottoman Empire, the Grand Mufti was a state official, and the Grand Mufti of Constantinople was the highest of these.

Saudi Arabia

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, with office created in 1953, is appointed by the King.


According to Article 78 of the 2014 Constitution, the Grand Mufti of Tunisia is appointed and can be dismissed by the President of the Republic.[5]

Nations with elected Grand Muftis

Nations with collective Grand Muftis

  • Indonesia has a system of collective mufti, in which the position of Grand Mufti is held by the Indonesian Ulama Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia).[2] This assembly can issue fatwas.
  • Malaysia also has a unique system of collective mufti. Nine of the fourteen Malaysian states have their own constitutional monarchy; nine are ruled by their own constitutional monarch while the country is led by a monarch elected from the nine. These nine monarchs have authority over religious matters within their own states: therefore, each of these nine states have their own mufti who usually controls the Islamic Council or Islamic Department of the state. At the national level, a National Council of Fatwa (Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan) has been formed under the Department of Islamic Advancement of Malaysia (Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia or JAKIM). JAKIM appoints five Muftis for the five states which do not have monarchs. The muftis of the nine monarchical states, together with the five officials appointed by JAKIM in the National Council of Fatwā, collectively issue fatāwā at the national level.
  • Sri Lanka has a system of collective ulama from different traditions of Islam. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama has a President who oversees the decisions but does not necessarily have the powers to overturn any decisions made by rest of the ulama. The concept is similar to a democratic coalition system. The current president is Ash-Sheikh Mufti M.I.M. Rizwe.

List of prominent past Grand Muftis



Saudi Arabia

Other countries

List of current Grand Muftis

States recognised by the United Nations

State Article List Grand Mufti Office assumed
  Albania Muslim Community of Albania List of Grand Muftis of Albania Skënder Bruçaj March 2014
  Australia Grand Mufti of Australia List of Grand Muftis of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohamed September 2016
  Bangladesh Grand Mufti of Bangladesh List of Grand Mufti Abul Qasim Noori
Dr. Syed Irshad Ahmad Al Bukhari
  Bosnia and Herzegovina Reis-ul-ulema of the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina List of Grand Muftis of Bosnia and Herzegovina Husein Kavazović November 2012
  Brunei State Mufti of Brunei List of State Muftis of Brunei Abdul Aziz Juned 1 September 1994
  Bulgaria Dr. Mustafa Hadzhi 2008
  Egypt Grand Mufti of Egypt List of Grand Muftis of Egypt Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam February 2013
  Ghana Chief Imam of Ghana Osman Nuhu Sharubutu 1993
  Guinea Grand Imam of Guinea El Hadj Mamadou Saliou Camara
  India Grand Mufti of India Grand Muftis of India

Sheikh Abubakr Ahmad

  Iraq Mehdi Ahmed al-Sumaidaie
  Jordan Mohammad Khalaileh 22 January 2017
  Kazakhstan List of Supreme Muftis of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Mayamerov 2013
  Kosovo Islamic Community of Kosova List of Grand Muftis of Kosovo de:Naim Tërnava 2008
  Kyrgyzstan List of Grand Muftis of Kyrgyzstan Maksatbek Toktomushev 2014
  Lebanon Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan 10 August 2014
  Libya Sadiq Al-Ghariani 2012
  Lithuania Romualdas Jakibauskas 2008
  Macedonia Reis-ul-ulema of the Islamic Religious Community of Macedonia List of Grand Muftis of Macedonia Sulejman Rexhepi
  Malaysia Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri (Mufti of the Federal Territories)[12] 20 June 2014
Mohd Tahrir Samsudin (Mufti of Johor)[13] 13 November 2008
Syeikh Fadzil Awang (Mufti of Kedah)[14] 20 July 2017
Mohamad Shukri Mohamad (Mufti of Kelantan)[15]
Abd Halim Tawil (Acting Mufti of Malacca)[16]
Mohd Yusof Ahmad (Mufti of Negeri Sembilan)[17] 1 April 2009
Abdul Rahman Osman (Mufti of Pahang)[18]
Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (Mufti of Penang)[19] 7 June 2014
Harussani Zakaria (Mufti of Perak)[20] December 1985
Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (Mufti of Perlis)[21] 2 February 2015
Bungsu Aziz Jaafar (Mufti of Sabah)[22] 10 August 2012
Kipli Yassin (Mufti of Sarawak)[23]
Mohd. Tamyes bin Abd. Wahid (Mufti of Selangor)[24] 16 March 1998
Zulkifly Muda (Mufti of Terengganu)[25] 1 April 2013
  Montenegro Reis-ul-ulema of the Islamic Community of Montenegro Rifat Fejzić
  Nigeria Sharif Ibrahim Saleh Al Hussainy
  Oman Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Khalili 1975
  Pakistan Muhammad Muneeb ur Rehman 2000
  Palestine Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein July 2006
  Poland Tomasz Miśkiewicz 2004
  Romania Islam in Romania List of Grand Muftis of Romania Murat Yusuf 2005
  Russia Chief Mufti of Russia Ravil Gainutdin 1 July 1996
  Saudi Arabia Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh June 1999
  Sri Lanka President for All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama Rizwe Mufti
  Serbia Sead Nasufović July 2016
  Syria Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun July 2005
  Tunisia Othman Battikh 12 January 2016
  United Arab Emirates Ahmed al Haddad (Grand Mufti of Dubai)
  Uzbekistan List of Grand Muftis of Uzbekistan Usman Alimov 8 August 2006
  Yemen Mufti of the Republic of Yemen Mohammed bin Ismail Al Amrani
  Zimbabwe Ismail ibn Musa Menk

Other polities

Entity Grand Mufti Office assumed
Caucasus[26] Allahshukur Pashazade 1992
  Europe Muhammad Shabbir Ahmed Patel (acting) 2007

See also


  1. ^ a b John L. Esposito, ed. (2014). "Grand Mufti". The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ a b c d James Broucek (2013). "Mufti/Grand mufti". In Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone (ed.). The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought. Princeton University Press.
  3. ^ a b c d Vogel, Frank E. (2000). Islamic Law and the Legal System of Saudí: Studies of Saudi Arabia. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004110625.
  4. ^ a b Faroqhi, Suraiya N. (2006). The Cambridge History of Turkey. The Later Ottoman Empire, 1603-1839 (1st ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 213. ISBN 9780521620956. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Title four, chapter one, article 78". THE CONSTITUTION OF THE TUNISIAN REPUBLIC (Unofficial english translation) (PDF). UNDP and International IDEA. 26 January 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  6. ^ Moore, Alexander (1998). Cultural Anthropology: The Field Study of Human Beings (2nd ed.). San Diego, California: Collegiate Press. p. 389. ISBN 0939693488.
  7. ^ "10 lakh people attend funeral of Taajush Shariah Mufti Mohammad Akhtar Raza Khan Quadri". The Siasat Daily. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Renowned religious scholar Mufti Akhtar Raza Khan Azhari passes away". The Siasat Daily. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Noted Barelvi cleric Azhari Miyan dies - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Azhari Miyan; A great man died with lots of love". Newsfolo. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Thousands throng funeral of noted Barelvi cleric; traffic blocked for eight hours - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Laman Web Rasmi Pejabat Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan". 25 November 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Laman Web Rasmi Jabatan Mufti Johor". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Portal Rasmi Jabatan Mufti Kedah Darul Aman". 26 June 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Selamat Datang". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Laman Web Rasmi Jabatan Mufti Kerajaan Negeri Sembilan". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Jabatan Mufti Negeri Pahang - Laman Utama". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Jabatan Mufti Negeri Perak". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  21. ^ Utama. "Utama | Portal Rasmi Jabatan Mufti Negeri Perlis". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Laman Utama". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Laman Web Rasmi Pejabat Mufti Negeri Sarawak". 16 July 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Menu Utama". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  26. ^ Includes Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Georgia, and Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Karachay–Cherkessia, and Adygea in the Russian Federation - Sheikh-ul-islam Haji Allahshukur Pashazadeh marks his 60th birthday Archived 11 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine