The Most Popular Religious Leaders in the World: A Ranking of Global Influence

Choose the religious leaders you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 6, 2024 07:59
Welcome to StrawPoll, your go-to destination for engaging, interactive polls and rankings! Today, we're excited to present a truly divine ranking – "Who are the most popular religious leaders in the world?" As spiritual seekers or simply curious minds, we invite you to explore this enlightening list featuring prominent, influential figures from various faiths and traditions. Cast your vote, share your thoughts, and join the global conversation as we embark on a journey to discover the spiritual leaders who have left an indelible mark on countless hearts and souls. Don't see your favorite? No worries – you can suggest a missing option and let the world know who inspires you! So, without further ado, let's dive into this celestial ranking and celebrate the spiritual guides who have illuminated the path for millions around the world.

Who Are the Most Popular Religious Leaders in the World?

  1. 1
    As the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has a global following and is known for his progressive views on social issues.
    Pope Francis in other rankings
  2. 2
    The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is revered for his teachings on compassion and nonviolence.
    The Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader and the highest-ranking monk in Tibetan Buddhism. He is known for his compassion, wisdom, and peaceful approach to resolving conflicts. The Dalai Lama is often regarded as the embodiment of the Bodhisattva of Compassion and acts as a moral and ethical guide for millions of people around the world.
    • Spiritual Leadership: The Dalai Lama is considered the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, guiding the spiritual practices and teachings of millions of followers worldwide.
    • Compassion: Compassion is at the core of the Dalai Lama's philosophy. He promotes non-violence, kindness, and empathy as means to achieve personal and global happiness.
    • Wisdom: The Dalai Lama is renowned for his vast knowledge and deep understanding of Buddhism, philosophy, psychology, and various fields of study. He shares his wisdom through teachings and writings.
    • Peace Advocacy: The Dalai Lama has been a strong advocate for peace, resolving conflicts through dialogue and understanding. He has actively promoted peacebuilding efforts worldwide.
    • Exiled Leader: The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has been living in exile since 1959 due to the Chinese occupation of Tibet. He continues to advocate for the rights and autonomy of the Tibetan people.
    Dalai Lama in other rankings
  3. 3
    As the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei is a key figure in the Shia Muslim world and wields significant political and religious influence.
  4. 4
    The spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and a symbol of peace and compassion worldwide. He has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to promote peace and nonviolence.
  5. 5
    As the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed is a key figure in the Islamic world and is known for his philanthropic work.
    Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in other rankings
  6. 6
    A prominent civil rights activist and Baptist minister, Jesse Jackson has been a vocal advocate for social justice and equality.
  7. 7
    A renowned Islamic preacher and scholar, Dr. Zakir Naik is known for his lectures on comparative religion and his efforts to promote interfaith dialogue.
    Dr. Zakir Naik in other rankings
  8. 8
    Joel Osteen
    RobertMWorsham · CC BY-SA 4.0
    A televangelist and senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Joel Osteen is known for his positive and uplifting messages.
    Joel Osteen in other rankings
  9. 9
    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
    Photo sent · CC BY-SA 3.0
    A spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is known for promoting peace and meditation.
    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in other rankings
  10. 10
    A prominent Christian pastor and author, Rick Warren is known for his best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life," and his work in global health and poverty alleviation.
    Rick Warren in other rankings

Missing your favorite religious leaders?


Ranking factors for popular religious leaders

  1. Number of followers
    The number of people following a particular religious leader or their organization can be a good indicator of their popularity.
  2. Influence
    The level of influence a religious leader has on their followers and the wider community can be another factor to consider.
  3. Cultural impact
    If the teachings of a religious leader have had a significant impact on society or culture, that can also be a factor in their popularity.
  4. Global reach
    The global reach of a religious leader's teachings and influence can be an important factor to consider in their popularity.
  5. Media coverage
    The amount of media coverage a religious leader receives can also be an indicator of their popularity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular religious leaders in the world. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or religious leader is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 200 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each religious leader once every 24 hours. The rank of each religious leader is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular religious leaders in the world

Religion has been a part of human civilization for centuries, and religious leaders have always played a significant role in shaping people's beliefs and values. From the Pope to the Dalai Lama, these leaders have millions of followers and wield enormous influence on their communities. But who are the most popular religious leaders in the world? This question has intrigued many, and there is no easy answer. The popularity of religious leaders varies widely depending on the religion, region, and cultural context. Nonetheless, some religious leaders have a global following and are widely recognized for their teachings, compassion, and charisma. In this article, we will explore the most popular religious leaders in the world and shed light on their impact on humanity.

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