Religious Authority

Shi’ite cleric Ali al-Sistani is said to be more influential than any Shi’ite politician.  As a Grand Ayatollah, he holds the highest rank in Iraq’s Shi’ite community.

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Mohamed Aman Al-Gamy (b. 1930, Tagha Tab village, Habasha, Ethiopia) started his schooling in Mecca in 1949. He received his high school degree from the Scientific Institute (Al-Ma’had Al-‘elmy) in Riyad and received his Bachelors degree in Shari’a in 1960.

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Rabee’ Ibn Hady Al-Madkhaly (b. 1932, Al-Garadeyya village, southern Saudi Arabia) belongs to Al- Madakhela tribe in southern Saudi Arabia. He graduated from the Islamic University in Media, Faculty of Shari’a..He received his Masters degree and PhD in hadith from King Abdul Aziz University in 1979 and later taught at the university.

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Sheikh Rashad El-Shafei (b. October 15, 1919, El-Menoufeyya governorate) is the second founder of Ansar Al-Sunnah. He made use of the tolerance of President Sadat towards Islamic groups, and convinced him to reestablish Ansar Al-Sunna. This was done after Ansar Al-Sunnah was integrated within Al-Gam’eyya Al-Shar’eyya under Nasser in 1969.

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Sheikh Mohamed Hamed El-Fiqi graduated from Al-Azhar in 1916. He was a student of Muhammed Abdou. Under al-Fiqqi’s leadership, Ansar Al-Sunna proclaimed its dedication to tawhid as preached by Ibn Taymeyya. Al-Fiqi was a scholar in Al-Azhar, and also an attendant of Al-Gam’eyya Al-Shar’eyya. Despite being a member of both, he disagreed with its scholars.

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Mohamed Ismael Al-Mokaddem (b. July 26th, 1952, Alexandria) graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University. Later, he studied in the Faculty of Sharia, at Al-Azhar University. Since 1965, he was involved in Ansar Al-Sunna and then the Salafi Calling from 1972. 

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Ahmed Sobhy Mansour (b. 1949) is the founder of the International Quranic Center (IQC). The IQC board includes Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Mansour studied history and Islamic civilization at Al-Azhar University and graduated in 1973. He further received his Master and PhD from Al-Azhar. He is the founder of the Quranist sect in Egypt. He

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Mohamed Said Tantawy (b. October 28th, 1928, Suhag governorate) was appointed the Grand Mufti in 1986. He received his bachelors and doctoral degree from Al-Azhar University. He was the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar from 1996 until his death in 2010. Some of his views raised much controversy among conservatives.

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Jad Al-Haq Ali Jad Al-Haq (b. April 15th, 1917, El-Dakahleyya governorate) was appointed the Grand Muftii in August 1978. He was also appointed as the Minister of Religious Endowments in 1982 for a few months, and was then appointed Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar. He died on March 15th, 1996.

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Sheikh Mohamed Abdel Aziz Wasel is the current deputy of Al-Azhar.

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