Grand Mufti

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 ArticleListGrand MuftiOffice assumed
 Albania Muslim Community of AlbaniaList of Grand Muftis of AlbaniaSkënder BruçajMarch 2014
 Australia Grand Mufti of AustraliaList of Grand Muftis of AustraliaIbrahim Abu MohamedSeptember 2016
 Bangladesh Grand Mufti of BangladeshList of Grand MuftiAbul Qasim Noori
Dr. Syed Irshad Ahmad Al Bukhari
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Reis-ul-ulema of the Islamic Community of Bosnia and HerzegovinaList of Grand Muftis of Bosnia and HerzegovinaHusein KavazovićNovember 2012
 Brunei State Mufti of BruneiList of State Muftis of BruneiAbdul Aziz Juned1 September 1994
 Bulgaria Dr. Mustafa Hadzhi2008
 Egypt Grand Mufti of EgyptList of Grand Muftis of EgyptShawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim AllamFebruary 2013
 Ghana Chief Imam of GhanaOsman Nuhu Sharubutu1993
 Guinea Grand Imam of GuineaEl Hadj Mamadou Saliou Camara
 India Grand Mufti of India Grand Muftis of India

Sheikh Abubakr Ahmad

 Iraq Mehdi Ahmed al-Sumaidaie
 Jordan Mohammad Khalaileh22 January 2017
 Kazakhstan List of Supreme Muftis of KazakhstanYerzhan Mayamerov2013
 Kosovo Islamic Community of KosovaList of Grand Muftis of Kosovode:Naim Tërnava2008
 Kyrgyzstan List of Grand Muftis of KyrgyzstanMaksatbek Toktomushev2014
 Lebanon Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan10 August 2014
 Libya Sadiq Al-Ghariani2012
 Lithuania Romualdas Jakibauskas2008
 Macedonia Reis-ul-ulema of the Islamic Religious Community of MacedoniaList of Grand Muftis of MacedoniaSulejman 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 MontenegroRifat Fejzić
 Nigeria Sharif Ibrahim Saleh Al Hussainy
 Oman Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Khalili1975
 Pakistan Muhammad Muneeb ur Rehman2000
 PalestineGrand Mufti of JerusalemMuhammad Ahmad HusseinJuly 2006
 Poland Tomasz Miśkiewicz2004
 Romania Islam in RomaniaList of Grand Muftis of RomaniaMurat Yusuf2005
 Russia Chief Mufti of RussiaRavil Gainutdin1 July 1996
 Saudi ArabiaGrand Mufti of Saudi ArabiaAbdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-SheikhJune 1999
 Sri LankaPresident for All Ceylon Jamiyyathul UlamaRizwe Mufti
 Serbia Sead NasufovićJuly 2016
 Syria Ahmad Badreddin HassounJuly 2005
 Tunisia Othman Battikh12 January 2016
 United Arab Emirates Ahmed al Haddad (Grand Mufti of Dubai)
 Uzbekistan List of Grand Muftis of UzbekistanUsman Alimov8 August 2006
 Yemen Mufti of the Republic of YemenMohammed bin Ismail Al Amrani
 Zimbabwe Ismail ibn Musa Menk

Other polities

EntityGrand MuftiOffice assumed
Caucasus[26]Allahshukur Pashazade1992
 EuropeMuhammad Shabbir Ahmed Patel (acting)2007

See also


  1. John L. Esposito, ed. (2014). "Grand Mufti". The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. James Broucek (2013). "Mufti/Grand mufti". In Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone (ed.). The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought. Princeton University Press.
  3. Vogel, Frank E. (2000). Islamic Law and the Legal System of Saudí: Studies of Saudi Arabia. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004110625.
  4. 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
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