The Second volume of The 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010 ranks Sheikh Salman al-Oadah at number 25.
This is the second volume of the annual series published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman Jordan. In the first volume, published in 2009 in coperation with Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Sheikh Salman was ranked as number 19. The 2009 edition was highly popular, with its e-book version being downloaded more than 150,000 times.
Political leaders top the list in both 2009 and 2010, with HRH King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ranking first both times. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved from the fifth to the second slot.
There are certain significant changes. In the 2009 edition, because women were poorly represented in the 500, the editors felt the need to list “women” as a category on its own. In the 2010 edition, no such gender segregation is made. Rather, women are mentioned under various categories, like “Scholarly”, “Media”, “Youth”, and “Arts and Culture”. Moreover, there is a section on “Women’s Issues” listing those women who “have been trailblazers in their respective fields, often being the first in breaking social boundaries.”
The book categorizes Sheikh Salman as a “Saudi scholar and educator” and describes him as an “advocate of peaceful coexistence”.
He is seen as “increasingly influential due to his innovative reach in the Muslim world propagated via IslamToday.net and his persistent efforts ministering to the needs of the global Muslim community.”
“His work has far-reaching impact in an age when religion is spread through media and technology, with IslamToday.net at the forefront of this trend.”
The entry on Sheikh Salman al-Oadah singles out his defense of Facebook as an example of his positive influence, mentioning his response to a 2010 ruling from the Al Azhar Fatwa Committee condemning the use of Facebook. Sheikh Salman defended the social networking website, stating that he uses it to communicate with Muslims across the globe and to provide Islamic guidance online.
Sheikh Salman has over 4,000 Facebook friends and over 11,000 fans through the site.
The entry on Sheikh Salman also describes him as an “Innovative Educator”, saying he has “become an authority for Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide who access IslamToday.net—a Saudi-funded website dedicated to providing Islamic educational resources in English, Arabic, French and Chinese. He also addresses Islamic issues on the Saudi satellite channel MBC.”
Finally, Sheikh Salman is defined as an “advocate of non-violence” who is “outspoken about the importance of inculcating love and mercy as opposed to violence (except in valid cases of self-defense) in the daily lives of Muslims.”