Grand Mufti

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The Grand Mufti (Arabic: مفتي عامmuftī ʿām , "general expounder" or كبير المفتين kabīr al-muftīn , "the great of expounders") is the highest official of religious law in a Sunni or Ibadi Muslim country. The Grand Mufti issues legal opinions and edicts, fatwas, and interpretations of Islamic jurisprudence for private clients or to assist judges in deciding cases. The collected opinions of the Grand Mufti serve as a valuable source of information on the practical application of Islamic law as opposed to its abstract formulation. The Grand Mufti's fatāwā (plural of "fatwā") are non-binding precedents in areas of civil laws regulating marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In criminal courts, the Grand Mufti's recommendations are generally not binding either.

The painting of an Ottoman Grand Mufti by Jean Baptiste Vanmour.


Muftis are Muslim religious scholars who issue influential legal opinions (fatwas) interpreting Sharia (Islamic law).[1]: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.[1]:5 The Grand Mufti of Istanbul had, since the late 16th century, come to be regarded as the head of the religious establishment.[2] 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.[2] This practice was subsequently borrowed and adapted by Egypt from the mid-19th century.[1]: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.[1]: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.


State-appointed Grand Muftis[edit]

Ottoman Caliphate[edit]

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


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.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

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


The State Mufti of Brunei is nominated by the Sultan.


According to Article 78 of the 2014 Constitution, the General Mufti of Tunisia is appointed and can be dismissed by the President of the Republic.[3]

Nations with elected Grand Muftis[edit]

In countries such as Australia where the office of Grand Mufti receives no official seal of government imprimatur, clerics can be elected to the position by one segment of the Islamic community in that country and yet not be recognised by other Muslim communities in that country.[4]

Nations with collective Grand Muftis[edit]

  • Indonesia has a system of collective mufti, in which the position of Grand Mufti is held by the Indonesian Ulama Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia). This assembly can make fatāwā.
  • 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.

Prominent past Grand Muftis[edit]


Saudi Arabia[edit]


  • Australian ex-Grand Mufti, Taj El-Din Hilaly
  • Abul Qasim Noori, Grand Mufti of Sunni Bangladesh
  • Dr. Syed Irshad Ahmad Al Bukhari, Grand Mufti of Sunni Bangladesh
  • Bosnian ex-Grand Mufti, Mustafa Cerić (1993 to 2012)
  • Ismail Omar Abdul Aziz (First State Mufti of Brunei)
  • Ismail Kacholwi, Grand Mufti of Europe (since 1988). In 2007 he migrated to India, although he still remains the Grand Mufti of Europe. In 2007, The president of The Islamic Consultative Assembly of Europe, His Excellency – Shaikh Muhammad Yusuf Motala Sahib appointed Mufti Muhammad Shabbir Ahmed Patel Sahib, of Darul-Uloom Bury as a Deputy of Mufti Ismail Kacholwi Sahib, as Mufti Ismail Kacholwi Sahib still comes to the UK frequently.
  • Mustafa Raza Khan Qadri (1950 to 1981), Grand Mufti of India (Barelvi movement)
  • Indonesia: Shaykh Abdul Qadir Hassan son of Hassan Bandung
  • Pakistan: Grand Mufti Mufti Muneeb Ur Rehman
  • Mufti Radha ul Haq Grand Mufti of South Africa
  • Syrian Arab Republic's Grand Mufti, Ahmed Kuftaro (deceased September 1, 2004)

List of current Grand Muftis[edit]

States recognised by the United Nations[edit]

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
 Bangladesh Grand Mufti of Bangladesh List of Grand Mufti 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 Akhtar Raza Khan
 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)[5] 20 June 2014
Mohd Tahrir Samsudin (Mufti of Johor)[6] 13 November 2008
Syeikh Fadzil Awang (Mufti of Kedah)[7] 20 July 2017
Mohamad Shukri Mohamad (Mufti of Kelantan)[8]
Abd Halim Tawil (Acting Mufti of Malacca)[9]
Mohd Yusof Ahmad (Mufti of Negeri Sembilan)[10] 1 April 2009
Abdul Rahman Osman (Mufti of Pahang)[11]
Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (Mufti of Penang)[12] 7 June 2014
Harussani Zakaria (Mufti of Perak)[13] December 1985
Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (Mufti of Perlis)[14] 2 February 2015
Bungsu Aziz Jaafar (Mufti of Sabah)[15] 10 August 2012
Kipli Yassin (Mufti of Sarawak)[16]
Mohd. Tamyes bin Abd. Wahid (Mufti of Selangor)[17] 16 March 1998
Zulkifly Muda (Mufti of Terengganu)[18] 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

Sui generis entities[edit]

Entity Grand Mufti Office assumed
Caucasus[19] Allahshukur Pashazade 1992
 Europe Muhammad Shabbir Ahmed Patel (acting) 2007

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Vogel, Frank E. (2000). Islamic Law and the Legal System of Saudí: Studies of Saudi Arabia. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004110625.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ Moore, Alexander (1998). Cultural Anthropology: The Field Study of Human Beings (2nd ed.). San Diego, California: Collegiate Press. p. 389. ISBN 0939693488.
  5. ^ "Laman Web Rasmi Pejabat Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan". 2016-11-25. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  6. ^ "Laman Web Rasmi Jabatan Mufti Johor". Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  7. ^ "Portal Rasmi Jabatan Mufti Kedah Darul Aman". 2016-06-26. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-07-11. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  9. ^ "Selamat Datang". Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  10. ^ "Laman Web Rasmi Jabatan Mufti Kerajaan Negeri Sembilan". Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  11. ^ "Jabatan Mufti Negeri Pahang - Laman Utama". Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-22. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  13. ^ "Jabatan Mufti Negeri Perak". Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  14. ^ Utama. "Utama | Portal Rasmi Jabatan Mufti Negeri Perlis". Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  15. ^ "Laman Utama". Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  16. ^ "Laman Web Rasmi Pejabat Mufti Negeri Sarawak". 2014-07-16. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  18. ^ "Menu Utama". Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  19. ^ 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 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine.