View Full Version : The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History

11-09-2005, 10:33 PM
In 1978, Michael H. Hart published a book called The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. His book was a ranking of the 100 people who he felt had had the most impact on human history. His book was hotly debated and his book concept was widely copied. It is important to note that Dr. Hart is not ranking the greatest people. His criterion is influence.

The book was reprinted in 1992 with several noticeable revisions made to the original list of 100 people and their associated rankings. Chief among these revisions was the demotion of figures associated with Communism like Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and the introduction of Mikhail Gorbachev. Hart took sides in the Shakespearean authorship issue and substituted Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford for William Shakespeare. Hart also substituted Niels Bohr and Henri Becquerel with Ernest Rutherford, thus correcting an error in the first edition. Henry Ford was also promoted from the "Honorary Mentions" list, replacing Pablo Picasso. Finally, some of the rankings were re-ordered.

Hart's list

1 Muhammad Prophet of Islam;
2 Isaac Newton physicist, theory of universal gravitation, laws of motion, major developments in mathematics, optics
3 Jesus of Nazareth founder of Christianity
4 Gautama Buddha founder of Buddhism
5 Confucius founder of Confucianism
6 St. Paul proselytizer of Christianity
7 Cai Lun inventor of paper
8 Johann Gutenberg developed movable type and made great advances in printing
9 Christopher Columbus explorer, led Europe to Americas
10 Albert Einstein physicist, relativity, Einsteinian physics
11 Louis Pasteur scientist, pasteurization, Germ Theory
12 Galileo Galilei astronomer, accurately described heliocentric solar system, led way to Newton's work
13 Aristotle influential Greek philosopher
14 Euclid of Alexandria mathematician, Euclidean geometry, author of a very influential study book
15 Moses major prophet of Judaism
16 Charles Robert Darwin biologist, described evolution
17 Qin Shi Huang emperor who united China
18 Caesar Augustus first Roman Emperor, changed the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire
19 Nicolaus Copernicus astronomer, taught heliocentricity
20 Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier father of modern chemistry, philosopher, economist
21 Constantine the Great Roman emperor who made Christianity the state religion
22 James Watt developed steam engine
23 Michael Faraday physicist, chemist, discovery of Electromagnetic induction
24 James Clerk Maxwell physicist, electromagnetic spectrum
25 Martin Luther founder of Protestantism and Lutheranism
26 George Washington first president of the United States, general during American Revolution
27 Karl Heinrich Marx founder of Communism
28 Orville and Wilbur Wright inventors of the airplane
29 Genghis Khan Mongol conqueror
30 Adam Smith economist, expositor of capitalism
31 Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford Possibly wrote works attributed to William Shakespeare
32 John Dalton chemist, physicist, atomic theory, law of partial pressures (Dalton's law)
33 Alexander the Great Macedonian conqueror
34 Napoleon Bonaparte French conqueror
35 Thomas Alva Edison inventor of light bulb, phonograph, etc.
36 Antony van Leeuwenhoek microscopes, studied microscopic life
37 William Thomas Green Morton pioneer in anesthesiology
38 Guglielmo Marconi inventor of radio
39 Adolf Hitler conqueror, led Axis Powers in WWII
40 Plato founder of Platonism
41 Oliver Cromwell English political and military leader
42 Alexander Graham Bell inventor of telephone
43 Alexander Fleming penicillin, advances in bacteriology, immunology and chemotherapy
44 John Locke philosopher and liberal theologian
45 Ludwig van Beethoven composer
46 Werner Karl Heisenberg Codified the uncertainty principle
47 Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre an inventor/pioneer of photography
48 Simon Bolivar National hero of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
49 René Descartes Rationalist philosopher and mathematician
50 Michelangelo painter, sculptor, architect
51 Pope Urban II called for First Crusade
52 Umar ibn al-Khattab Second Caliph, expanded Muslim empire
53 Ashoka king of India who converted to and spread Buddhism
54 Saint Augustine Early Christian theologian
55 William Harvey discovered the circulation of blood
56 Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson physicist, pioneer of Nuclear physics and the orbital theory of the atom
57 John Calvin Protestant reformer, founder of Calvinism
58 Gregor Johann Mendel Mendelian genetics
59 Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck physicist, quantum mechanics
60 Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister principal discoverer of antiseptics which greatly reduced surgical mortality
61 Nikolaus August Otto built first four-stroke internal combustion engine
62 Francisco Pizarro Spanish conqueror in South America, brought down Tahuantinsuyu (Inca empire).
63 Hernando Cortes conquered Mexico for Spain
64 Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States, central author of the Declaration of Independence
65 Isabella of Castile united Spain, patron of Christopher Columbus
66 Joseph Stalin revolutionary and ruler of the USSR
67 Gaius Julius Caesar Roman general and politician
68 William the Conqueror laid foundation of modern England
69 Sigmund Freud founder of Freudian school of psychology, psychoanalysis
70 Edward Jenner discoverer of the vaccination for smallpox
71 Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered X-rays
72 Johann Sebastian Bach composer
73 Lao Tzu founder of Taoism
74 Voltaire writer and philosopher
75 Johannes Kepler astronomer, planetary motions
76 Enrico Fermi initiated the atomic age, father of atomic bomb
77 Leonhard Euler physicist, mathematician, differential and integral calculus and algebra
78 Jean-Jacques Rousseau French deistic philosopher and author
79 Niccolò Machiavelli author of The Prince (influential political treatise)
80 Thomas Robert Malthus economist, wrote Essay on the Principle of Population
81 John Fitzgerald Kennedy president of the United States, guiding force behind the US Space/Moon Program
82 Gregory Goodwin Pincus endocrinologist, developed birth control pill
83 Mani founder of Manicheanism
84 Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Russian revolutionary and ruler
85 Emperor Wen of Sui China Unified China, founder of the Sui dynasty
86 Vasco da Gama navigator, discovered route from Europe to India
87 Cyrus the Great founder of Persian empire
88 Peter the Great forged Russia into a great European nation
89 Mao Zedong founder of Maoism, Chinese form of Communism
90 Francis Bacon philosopher, delineated inductive scientific method
91 Henry Ford developed modern assembly line
92 Mencius philosopher, founder of a school of Confucianism
93 Zoroaster founder of Zoroastrianism
94 Queen Elizabeth I British monarch, restored Church of England to power after Queen Mary
95 Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev Russian premier who was instrumental to the collapse of Communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe
96 Menes unified Upper and Lower Egypt
97 Charlemagne Holy Roman Empire created with his baptism in 800 AD
98 Homer epic poet
99 Justinian I Roman emperor, reconquered Mediterranean empire, made great advances in law
100 Mahavira founder of Jainism


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Ibn Abi Ahmed
11-09-2005, 10:43 PM

Alhamdullilah Prophet Muhammed is #1, but if u actually take that book and read it, there are some mistakes about Islam in there, for example the author writes that the Quran was written and made by the Prophet Muhammed, which we all know isnt true.

11-10-2005, 05:46 PM

thank-you for sharing that! sounds like an interesting book, alhamdulilah muhammad (peace be upon him) is number one, but it was interesting to see some other familiar names, Umar ibn al khattab (rdh).


11-11-2005, 06:59 AM

In addition to being the the most influential, I think these rankings are based how much the concepts changed.

Our Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) teachings still remain the same as it was 1400 years ago. Newton's theory also remains unchanged and still acknowledged worldwide today. While Jesus's (pbuh) teachings were altered in the Bible, so it falls in third place.


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11-11-2005, 09:49 AM
This is quite impressive.

Alhamdulillah for our beloved Prophet(saw) gettign #1



11-11-2005, 10:44 AM
alhamdulillah our Prphet SAW is top
no surprise coz our Prophet SAW was and is the top and perfect role for everyone

04-02-2008, 04:38 PM
Here is how we could respond to things like the Danish cartoons. :)

04-02-2008, 05:31 PM
As Salaam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu

Alhamdulillah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the top of most influential person for 1400 years and more!

Hart decided to choose Muhammad over Jesus or Moses despite the fact that Islam was not the largest religion and that it was from a distant part of the world from where he lived. Hart attributes this to the fact that Muhammad was successful in both the religious and political realms. He also writes that Muhammad's role in the development of Islam is far more influential than Jesus's collaboration in the development of Christianity. He attributes the development of Christianity to St. Paul, who played a pivotal role in the spreading Christianity.


04-02-2008, 05:42 PM

Many Muslims have written to us about this webpage. All that have written to us are in agreement with Hart's assessment of Muhammad's top-ranked place on this list, but many have written to disagree with parts of Hart's description of Muhammad. In particular, a number of correspondents have written to point out that Muhammad is not the author of the Qu'ran, but is in fact the Prophet through whom Allah delivered the Qu'ran to humanity. Hamzah Jaradat's notes on this are representative of this discussion: Mohammad is the not the author of the Qu'ran.

Excerpt from Hart's book:

My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels...

Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world's great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive... Like all religions, Islam exerts an enormous influence upon the lives of its followers. It is for this reason that the founders of the world's great religions all figure prominently in this book. Since there are roughly twice as many Christians as Muslims in the world, it may initially seem strange that Muhammad has been ranked higher than Jesus. There are two principal reasons for that decision. First, Muhammad played a far more important role in the development of Islam than Jesus did in the development of Christianity. Although Jesus was responsible for the main ethical and moral precepts of Christianity (in so far as these differed from Judaism), St. Paul was the main developer of Christian theology, its principal proselytizer, and the author of a large portion of the New Testament.

Muhammad, however, was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its main ethical and moral principles. In addition, he played the key role in proselytizing the new faith, and in establishing the religious practices of Islam. Moreover, he is the author of the Muslim holy scriptures, the Qur'an, a collection of certain of Muhammad's insights that he believed had been directly revealed to him by Allah. Most of these utterances were copied more or less faithfully during Muhammad's lifetime and were collected together in authoritative form not long after his death. The Qur'an therefore, closely represents Muhammad's ideas and teachings and to a considerable extent his exact words. No such detailed compilation of the teachings of Christ has survived. Since the Qur'an is at least as important to Muslims as the Bible is to Christians, the influence of Muhammed through the medium of the Qur'an has been enormous It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. On the purely religious level, then, it seems likely that Muhammad has been as influential in human history as Jesus.

Furthermore, Muhammad (unlike Jesus) was a secular as well as a religious leader. In fact, as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time... the Arab conquests of the seventh century have continued to play an important role in human history, down to the present day. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.


04-02-2008, 08:24 PM
format_quote Originally Posted by Osman
Here is how we could respond to things like the Danish cartoons. :)
Jazaka Allahu Khair, brother, exactly.
(btw, i tried to give you reps, but i needed to spread some around)

04-02-2008, 08:27 PM
I would have put Bach lower than Francis Bacon, but I agree with Mohammed being top guy.

07-09-2008, 01:57 PM

1 Muhammad Prophet of Islam;

07-09-2008, 02:07 PM
RasoolAllah (saw) obviously noombaa 1

some surprises in the list, many of them i havent heard off!! :D and Hadhrat Umar (Ra) is in their aswell mashallah!! he should have been in the top 5!!! but then Abu Bakr (Ra) should have also been in the list lol

07-09-2008, 05:45 PM
format_quote Originally Posted by - Serene -



Allaahu Akbar!!!!!


07-09-2008, 06:06 PM
I was about to say I heard about this agesss ago, until I seen the date the thread was started in.

07-10-2008, 01:24 PM

^ Lol...there's a reason why the :bump: smiley was invented bro!!

07-11-2008, 01:59 PM
What reason was that?

07-11-2008, 07:31 PM

To bump up the good threads :-[

07-11-2008, 11:52 PM
mashallah :D

04-02-2009, 07:18 PM

Alhamdulillah for our beloved Prophet(saw) gettign #1


04-03-2009, 02:54 AM
I've heard about this and was surprised that a non Muslim picked Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as number 1! :) Alhamdullilah

04-03-2009, 03:03 AM
format_quote Originally Posted by mmc
Finally, some of the rankings were re-ordered.
Hart's list
3 Jesus of Nazareth founder of Christianity

Alhumdulillah and as muslims we could of told him that long long time ago.
I think he should also adjusted the Jesus PBUH ranking to state, "Jesus Son Of Mary" Because he wasn't the founder of christianity and never claimed to be christian himself, So I regard that as an Error.

04-03-2009, 03:34 AM
Alhamdulillah No suprise.. Our beloved Prophet(saw) will always be #1!! :)

saba muslimah
04-03-2009, 04:59 AM
format_quote Originally Posted by Bint-Al-Islam
Alhamdulillah No suprise.. Our beloved Prophet(saw) will always be #1!! :)

But some of names in Hart's List I never Listen about.... :D
Ah..& num 2; is ISAAC Newton ....Isn't it strange???

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