Muslim World League

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Muslim World League
Abbreviation MWL
Formation 1962
Type NGO
Legal status foundation
Headquarters Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Leader Dr. Abdullah bin Abdul Mohsin Al-Turki

–The United Nations Organization: Observer in consultative status with the ECOSOC.
– Organization of the Islamic Conference: Observe status in attendance at all meetings and conferences.
ISESCO: Member

UNICEF: Member

The Muslim World League (MWL, or Rabita from Arabic: رابطة العالم الإسلامي‎) ( Rabita al-Alam al-Islami) is a group of Islamic non-governmental organizations. One of the largest Islamic nongovernmental organizations, it has 36 satellite offices on five continents (including offices in New York, the District of Columbia, and London, as well as ten "external centers" in Europe, and ten "external offices" in Africa and the Middle East).[1]

The League is primarily funded by Saudi Arabia and has a Salafi orientation. Notable activities are sending out religious missionaries, distributing the works of its main ideologists (particularly Ibn Taymiyya and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab) and "above all by raising funds for building mosques and subsidizing Islamic associations".[2] Among the League's goals in its charter are spreading the message of Islam, uniting "the ranks of the Muslims", and calling “on individuals, communities and state entities to abide by the rules of the Sharia.”[1]


Muslim religious figures from 22 states founded the League in Makkah in 1962. It was established as a counter-initiative to the more secular Arab nationalism of the then Egyptian leader, Gamal Abdul Nasser.[3][4] Then Saudi Crown Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz is seen as its founding figure.[3] The League is widely regarded as promoting the strict Salafi brand of Islam but broadens its reach by teaming up with other Islamic movements, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood[4][5] and Jamaat-e-Islami. Among the original nine members of the League's "Constituent Council" were "important representatives of the Salafi tendency": Said Ramadan, (son-in-law of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hasan al-Banna), Abul A'la Maududi, and Maulanda Abu 'l-Hasan Nadvi (d. 2000) of India.[6]

In 1974 the League had a budget of $50 million.[7] As of 2003, according to political scientist Gilles Kepel, the league was "managed by members of the Saudi religious establishment", who work "with other Arabs who either belonged to the Muslim Brothers or were close to them". (The Brotherhood and Saudi have since fallen out.) Clerics from Indian subcontinent "connected to the Deoband School or to the party founded" by Abul A'la Maududi, were considered "close".[2]


According to various sources, the MWL is funded primarily by the Saudi-Arabian government.[2][8]

The current Secretary General is Dr. Abdallah Ben Abdel Mohsen At-Turki, a Saudi cleric. According to its website, the Secretariat General is the executive wing of the League. It supervises the Leagues day-to-day activities, and implements the policies and resolutions adopted by the Constituent Council. According to Hamid Algar, the statutes of the League require that the head of the Secretariat General be a Saudi citizen.[6]

The League website lists three councils affiliated with the League:

  • The General Islamic Conference – the body that originally founded the League. There have been four meetings of the conference, in 1962, 1965, 1987, 2002.[9]
  • The Constituent Council – the council has "about 60 members who are "prominent Muslim scholars representing Muslim peoples and minorities".[9] The presidency of the council is vested in the chief mufti of Saudi Arabia.[6]
  • World Supreme Council for Mosques – "has an independent legal personality". It was founded was in 1975 at the "Message of the Mosque" conference, held "under the auspices of the Muslim World League."[9]

In addition to the councils, the League has seven other "bodies" with various functions;[1][10]


The League states its functions and objectives to be the following: advocating the application of the rules of the Shariah either by individuals, groups, or states; coordinating the efforts of Islamic preachers the world over; developing methods for the propagation of Islam, peacefully in accord with the Qur'an and the Sunnah; education and culture; holding symposia, rehabilitation, and refresher courses; bringing intellectuals and opinion leaders together during the pilgrimage season with the aim of fostering closer relations among them and urging them to develop practical methods of raising the standard of Muslims in the world; overseeing the activities of the Fiqh Council and lending it the support it needs to find Islamic solutions to contemporary problems; promoting activities that aim at spreading the Arabic language and raising the standard of teaching to both Arabs and non-Arabs; setting up branch offices as well as Islamic centers to serve the purpose of Islam; extending urgent relief to Muslims affected by war and natural disasters; and making the activities and construction of mosques more effective.[5]


In addition to using its own funds for activities, the League connects recipients with donors. It will "identified worthy beneficiaries" of funds to build a mosque or subsidize an Islamic association, "invited them to Saudi Arabia, and give them the recommendation (tazkiya) that would later provide them with largesse from a generous private donor, a member of the royal family, a prince, or an ordinary businessman."[2]

In a rare decision on orthodox Muslim faith the Muslim World League declared in April 1974 (by fatwa) that followers of the Ahmadiyyah movement are to be considered "non-Muslims“.[12]

Federal agents raided the U.S. offices of the Muslim World League after the attacks of 9/11. Abdurahman Alamoudi, who worked for the League, was convicted for sending funds to terrorist groups.[13]

The League also actively engages in inter-faith dialogue with Jewish, Christian and Sikh personalities.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Muslim World League
  2. ^ a b c d Kepel, Gilles (2003). Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. I.B.Tauris. p. 52. In 1962, the Muslim World League, a non-governmental organization funded by the Saudis, had been founded in Mecca; this was the first coherent and systematic institution whose avowed intent was to `Salafize` Islam worldwide and thereby negate the influence of Nasser's Egypt. It operated by sending out religious missionaries, distributing the works of its main ideologists (Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Wahhab notably) and above all by raising funds for building mosques and subsidizing Islamic associations. 
  3. ^ a b Henderson, Simon (10 September 2003). "Institutionalized Islam: Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Policies and The Threat They Pose" (Testimony). London: Islam Daily. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Martin Kramer, "Muslim Congresses", The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World
  5. ^ a b "Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth". Pew Research. Sep 15, 2010. Retrieved Aug 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Algar, Hamid (2002). Wahhabism: A Critical Essay. Oneonta, NY: Islamic Publications International. pp. 49, 50. 
  7. ^ Landau, Jacob M. (1994). The Politics of Pan-Islam. Clarendon Press. p. 284. 
  8. ^ Dore Gold quotes a local representative of the Muslim World League as saying: "Let me tell you one thing. The Muslim World League, which is the mother of IIRO, is a fully government-funded organization. In other words, I work for the government of Saudi Arabia." Dore Gold (April 6, 2003). "Reining in Riyadh". Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c "Muslim World League. Profile". Muslim World League. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Muslim World League Islamic Focus
  11. ^ Holy Qur’an Memorization International sees more than 40,000 Qur’an students| Arab News| 1 December 2012
  12. ^ Yohanan Friedmann. Prophecy Continuous. Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background. Oxford University Press, New Delhi. p. 44. 
  13. ^ Paul Sperry. Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives have Penetrated Washington. Thomas Nelson. p. 80,106,212. 
  14. ^ "World Conference on Dialogue". Muslim World League. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Johannes Grundmann: Islamische Internationalisten – Strukturen und Aktivitäten der Muslimbruderschaft und der Islamischen Weltliga. Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2005, ISBN 3-89500-447-2 (Review by I. Küpeli)
  • Dore Gold: Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism, pages 74–78, ISBN 978-0895260611, Regnery Publishing, 2004

External links[edit]