The Most Famous

RELIGIOUS FIGURES from Saudi Arabia

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This page contains a list of the greatest Saudi Arabian Religious Figures. The pantheon dataset contains 2,272 Religious Figures, 54 of which were born in Saudi Arabia. This makes Saudi Arabia the birth place of the 9th most number of Religious Figures behind Spain and Israel.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Saudi Arabian Religious Figures of all time. This list of famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figures is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Saudi Arabian Religious Figures.

Photo of Muhammad

1. Muhammad (570 - 632)

With an HPI of 100.00, Muhammad is the most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 193 different languages on wikipedia.

Muhammad (Arabic: مُحَمَّد‎, pronounced [muħamːad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet, sent to preach and confirm the monotheistic teachings of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. He is believed to be the final prophet of God in all the main branches of Islam, though some modern denominations diverge from this belief. Muhammad united Arabia into a single Muslim polity, with the Quran as well as his teachings and practices forming the basis of Islamic religious belief. Born approximately 570 CE (Year of the Elephant) in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at the age of six. He was raised under the care of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, and upon his death, by his uncle Abu Talib. In later years, he would periodically seclude himself in a mountain cave named Hira for several nights of prayer. When he was 40, Muhammad reported being visited by Gabriel in the cave and receiving his first revelation from God. In 613, Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "submission" (islām) to God is the right way of life (dīn), and that he was a prophet and messenger of God, similar to the other prophets in Islam.Muhammad's followers were initially few in number, and experienced hostility from Meccan polytheists. To escape ongoing persecution, he sent some of his followers to Abyssinia in 615, before he and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina (then known as Yathrib) later in 622. This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri Calendar. In Medina, Muhammad united the tribes under the Constitution of Medina. In December 629, after eight years of intermittent fighting with Meccan tribes, Muhammad gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts and marched on the city of Mecca. The conquest went largely uncontested and Muhammad seized the city with little bloodshed. In 632, a few months after returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage, he fell ill and died. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam.The revelations (each known as Ayah — literally, "Sign [of God]") that Muhammad reported receiving until his death form the verses of the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the verbatim "Word of God" on which the religion is based. Besides the Quran, Muhammad's teachings and practices (sunnah), found in the Hadith and sira (biography) literature, are also upheld and used as sources of Islamic law (see Sharia).

Photo of Ali

2. Ali (601 - 661)

With an HPI of 87.27, Ali is the 2nd most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 107 different languages.

Ali ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: عَلِيّ ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب‎, ʿAlī ibn ʾAbī Ṭālib; 13 September 601 – 29 January 661) was a cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who ruled as the fourth caliph from 656 until his assassination in 661. He is one of the central figures in Shia Islam and is regarded as the rightful immediate successor to Muhammad as an Imam by Shia Muslims. Ali was born inside the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam, to Abu Talib and Fatimah bint Asad. He was the first male who accepted Islam under Muhammad's watch. Ali protected Muhammad from an early age, and took part in almost all the battles fought by the nascent Muslim community. After migrating to Medina, he married Muhammad's youngest daughter Fatimah, and after her death, he had other wives, including Muhammad's granddaughter Umamah bint Zaynab. He was appointed caliph by Muhammad's companions in 656, after Caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated. Ali's reign saw civil wars and on 27 January 661, he was attacked and assassinated by a Kharijite while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, dying two days later on 29 January.Ali is important to both Shias and Sunnis, politically and spiritually. The numerous biographical sources about Ali are often biased according to sectarian lines, but they agree that he was a pious Muslim, devoted to the cause of Islam and a just ruler in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunnah. While Sunnis consider Ali the fourth Rashidun Caliph, Shia Muslims regard Ali as the first Caliph and Imam after Muhammad. Shia Muslims also believe that Ali and the other Shia Imams, all of whom are from the House of Muhammad, known as the Ahl al-Bayt, are the rightful successors to Muhammad.

Photo of Abu Bakr

3. Abu Bakr (573 - 634)

With an HPI of 86.67, Abu Bakr is the 3rd most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 100 different languages.

Abu Bakr Abdullah ibn Uthman (Arabic: أَبُو بَكْرٍ عَبْدُ ٱللهِ بْنِ عُثْمَانَ‎; c. 573 CE – 23 August 634 CE) was a companion and, through his daughter Aisha, a father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, as well as the first of the Rashidun Caliphs. Initially a rich and respected businessman, Abu Bakr later became one of the first converts to Islam and extensively contributed his wealth in support of Muhammad's work. He was among Muhammad's closest companions, accompanying him on his migration to Medina and being present at a number of his military conflicts, such as the battles of Badr and Uhud. Following Muhammad's death in 632, Abu Bakr succeeded in the leadership of the Muslim community as the first Rashidun Caliph. During his reign, he overcame a number of uprisings, collectively known as the Ridda wars, as a result of which he was able to consolidate and expand the rule of the Muslim state over the entire Arabian peninsula. He also commanded the initial incursions into the neighbouring Sassanian and Byzantine empires, which in the years following his death, would eventually result in the Muslim conquests of Persia and the Levant. Abu Bakr died of illness after a reign of 2 years, 2 months and 14 days.

Photo of Husayn ibn Ali

4. Husayn ibn Ali (626 - 680)

With an HPI of 84.44, Husayn ibn Ali is the 4th most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 79 different languages.

Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: ٱلْحُسَيْن ٱبْن عَلِيّ ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب‎, romanized: Al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlīy ibn ʾAbī Ṭālib‎; 10 January AD 626 – 10 October 680) was a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a son of Ali ibn Abi Talib (the fourth caliph of Sunni Muslims and the first imam of Shia Muslims) and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah. He is an important figure in Islam as he was a member of the Household of Muhammad (Ahl al-Bayt) and the People of the Cloak (Ahl al-Kisā'), as well as the third Shia Imam. Prior to his death, the Umayyad ruler Mu'awiya appointed his son Yazid as his successor, contrary to the Hasan-Muawiya treaty. When Muawiya died in 680, Yazid demanded that Husayn pledge allegiance to him. Husayn refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid, even though it meant sacrificing his life. As a consequence, he left Medina, his hometown, to take refuge in Mecca in AH 60. There, the people of Kufa sent letters to him, asking his help and pledging their allegiance to him. So he traveled towards Kufa, after getting some favorable indications along with a small caravan of his relatives and followers but near Karbala his caravan was intercepted by Yazid's army. He was killed and beheaded in the Battle of Karbala on 10 October 680 (10 Muharram 61 AH) by Yazid, along with most of his family and companions, including Husayn's six-month old son, Ali al-Asghar, with the women and children taken as prisoners. Anger at Husayn's death was turned into a rallying cry that helped undermine the Umayyad caliphate's legitimacy, and ultimately its overthrow by the Abbasid Revolution.The annual commemoration of Husayn and his children, family and companions occurs during Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and the day he was martyred is known as Ashura (the tenth day of Muharram, a day of mourning for Shi'i Muslims). Husayn's actions at Karbala fueled later Shi'a movements, and his death was decisive in shaping Islamic and Shi'a history. The timing of Husayn's life and death were crucial as they were in one of the most challenging periods of the seventh century. During this time, Umayyad oppression was rampant, and the stand that Husayn and his followers took became a symbol of resistance inspiring future uprisings against oppressors and injustice. Throughout history, many notable personalities, such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, have cited Husayn's stand against oppression as an example for their own fights against injustice.

Photo of Hasan ibn Ali

5. Hasan ibn Ali (624 - 670)

With an HPI of 82.19, Hasan ibn Ali is the 5th most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 61 different languages.

Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: ٱلْحَسَن ٱبْن عَلِيّ ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب‎, romanized: Al-Ḥasan ibn Alīy ibn Abī Ṭālib; 1 December 624 – 1 April 670 CE), also spelled Hasan or Hassan, was the older son of Ali and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah, and was the older brother of Husain, as well as the fifth of Rashidun, or "Rightly Guided Caliphs". Muslims respect him as a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Among Shia Muslims, Hasan is revered as the second Imam. Hasan was elected for the caliphate after his father's death, but abdicated after six or seven months to Muawiyah I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty to end the First Fitna. After Hasan's abdication, the caliphate turned into kingship. Al-Hasan was known for donating to the poor, his kindness to the poor and bondsmen, and for his knowledge, tolerance and bravery. For the rest of his life, Hasan lived in Medina, until he died at the age of 45 and was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi cemetery in Medina. His wife, Ja'da bint al-Ash'at, is commonly accused of having poisoned him.

Photo of Bilal ibn Rabah

6. Bilal ibn Rabah (580 - 642)

With an HPI of 80.00, Bilal ibn Rabah is the 6th most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Bilal ibn Rabah (Arabic: بِلَال ٱبْن رَبَاح‎, Bilāl ibn Rabāḥ , 580–640 AD) was one of the most trusted and loyal Sahabah (companions) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was born in Mecca and is considered to have been the first mu'azzin, chosen by Muhammad himself. He was a former slave and was known for his voice with which he called people to their prayers. He died in 640 AD, at the age of 60 (or just over 60 in Hijri lunar years).

Photo of Malik ibn Anas

7. Malik ibn Anas (711 - 795)

With an HPI of 79.26, Malik ibn Anas is the 7th most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Malik ibn Anas (Arabic: مَالِك ابْن أَنَس‎, ‎ 711–795 CE / 93–179 AH), whose full name is Mālik bin Anas bin Mālik bin Abī ʿĀmir bin ʿAmr bin Al-Ḥārith bin Ghaymān bin Khuthayn bin ʿAmr bin Al-Ḥārith al-Aṣbaḥī al-Madanī (مَالِك بِن أَنَس بِن مَالِك بن أَبِي عَامِر بِن عَمْرو بِن ٱلْحَارِث بِن غَيْمَان بِن خُثَين بِن عَمْرو بِن ٱلْحَارِث ٱلْأَصْبَحِي ٱلْحُمَيْرِي ٱلْمَدَنِي), reverently known as al-Imām Mālik (ٱلْإِمَام مَالِك) by Maliki Sunnis, was an Arab Muslim jurist, theologian, and hadith traditionist. Born in the city of Medina, Malik rose to become the premier scholar of prophetic traditions in his day, which he sought to apply to "the whole legal life" in order to create a systematic method of Muslim jurisprudence which would only further expand with the passage of time. Referred to as the "Imam of Medina" by his contemporaries, Malik's views in matters of jurisprudence were highly cherished both in his own life and afterwards, and he became the founder of one of the four schools of Sunni law, the Maliki, which became the normative rite for the Sunni practice of much of North Africa, Andalusia, a vast portion of Egypt, and some parts of Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, and Khorasan, and the prominent Sufi orders, including the Shadiliyya and the Tijaniyyah.Perhaps Malik's most famous accomplishment in the annals of Islamic history is, however, his compilation of the Muwatta, one of the oldest and most revered Sunni hadith collections and one of "the earliest surviving Muslim law-book[s]," in which Malik attempted to "give a survey of law and justice; ritual and practice of religion according to the consensus of Islam in Medina, according to the sunna usual in Medina; and to create a theoretical standard for matters which were not settled from the point of view of consensus and sunna." Composed in the early days of the Abbasid caliphate, during which time there was a burgeoning "recognition and appreciation of the canon law" of the ruling party, Malik's work aimed to trace out a "smoothed path" (which is what al-muwaṭṭaʾ literally means) through "the farreaching differences of opinion even on the most elementary questions." Hailed as "the soundest book on earth after the Quran" by al-Shafi'i, the compilation of the Muwatta led to Malik being bestowed with such reverential epithets as "Shaykh of Islam", "Proof of the Community", "Imam of the Abode of Emigration", and "Knowledgeable Scholar of Medina" in later Sunni tradition.According to classical Sunni tradition, the Islamic Nabi (Prophet) Muhammad foretold the birth of Malik, saying: "Very soon will people beat the flanks of camels in search of knowledge and they shall find no one more expert than the knowledgeable scholar of Medina," and, in another tradition, "The people ... shall set forth from East and West without finding a sage other than the sage of the people in Medina." While some later scholars, such as Ibn Hazm and Tahawi, did cast doubt on identifying the mysterious wise man of both these traditions with Malik, the most widespread interpretation nevertheless continued to be that which held the personage to be Malik. Throughout Islamic history, Malik has been venerated as an exemplary figure in all the traditional schools of Sunni thought, both by the exoteric ulema and by the mystics, with the latter often designating him as a saint in their hagiographies. Malik's most notable student, al-Shafi'i (who would himself become the founder of another of the four orthodox legal schools of Sunni law) later said of his teacher: "No one constitutes as great a favor to me in the Religion of God as Malik ... when the scholars of knowledge are mentioned, Malik is the guiding star."

Photo of Aminah

8. Aminah (557 - 577)

With an HPI of 79.25, Aminah is the 8th most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  Her biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Amna bint Wahb (Arabic: آمِنَة بِنْت وَهْب‎ ʾĀmna ʾibnat Wahb, died 577 AD) was the mother of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Photo of Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib

9. Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib (548 - 570)

With an HPI of 78.97, Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib is the 9th most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib (; Arabic: عَبْد ٱللَّٰه ٱبْن عَبْد ٱلْمُطَّلِب‎, romanized: ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib; c. 546-570) was the father of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was the son of Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim and Fatimah bint Amr of the Makhzum clan.He was married to Āminah bint Wahb. Muhammad was their only offspring.

Photo of Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib

10. Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib (539 - 619)

With an HPI of 77.53, Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib is the 10th most famous Saudi Arabian Religious Figure.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib (Arabic: أَبُو طَالِب ٱبْن عَبْد ٱلْمُطَّلِب‎ ʾAbū Ṭālib ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib; c. 535 – c. 619) Abu Talib means; The father of Talib, born ʿImrān (عِمْرَان) or ʿAbd Manāf (عَبْد مَنَاف), was the leader of Banu Hashim, a clan of the Qurayshi tribe of Mecca in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula. He was an uncle of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and father of the Rashid Caliph Ali. After the death of his father Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, he inherited this position, and the offices of Siqaya and Rifada. He was well-respected in Mecca, despite a declining fortune.

Pantheon has 54 people classified as religious figures born between 430 and 2000. Of these 54, 2 (3.70%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living religious figures include Saud Al-Shuraim and Rahaf Mohammed. The most famous deceased religious figures include Muhammad, Ali, and Abu Bakr. As of October 2020, 7 new religious figures have been added to Pantheon including Sumayyah bint Khabbat, Umm Kulthum bint Ali, and Ubayy ibn Ka'b.

Living Religious Figures

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Deceased Religious Figures

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Newly Added Religious Figures (2020)

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