(Last Updated On: November 28, 2014)
Royalty in the Middle East often hold the title sheikh, but this title can mean so much more. The term sheikh means man of old age in Arabic, and it is a title not easily earned. Only the most holy and respected Muslims can earn this honorable title, and that usually means a sheikh is male over the age of 40. But women can earn the title sheikha or shaykhah. Wives and daughters of sheikhs can frequently hold this title. Muslims who earn the term sheikh have frequently carefully studied the religion of Islam, as well versed in the teaching of the Qur’an and live according to Sunnah, which is the way of life designated to Muslim by Muhammad. A sheikh can be assigned to a person if the person has completed undergraduate university studies in Islamic studies and is also trained to give lectures.
The second largest religion in the world is Islam, beaten only by Christianity, and it is also the fastest growing. Islam is most widely followed in Asia. More than 1 billion people in Asia see themselves as Muslim; most of these people live in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia. There are over 500 million Muslims in the Middle East and in Africa.
Some Sheikhs in the Middle East are really rich because of the large oil reserves and the number of wealthy families in the region. Some of the world’s richest billionaires are some Sheikhs in the Middle East. In a lot of the Arab nations, members of the Gulf Royal Houses use the terms sheikh and sheikh, so many royals are found in the list of richest sheikhs. Since the wealth of a couple of royal families in the Arab peninsula is so secretly guarded, there is a possibility that some of the world’s richest sheikhs are even richer than we think, but with information publicly available, the richest sheikhs in the world are listed here.
7. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Net Worth: $2 billion
The current ruler of Qatar is Sheikh Tamar bin Hamad Al Thani. After his father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, left the throne in 2013, he became the Emir of the State of Qatar. This makes him the youngest reigning monarch in the planet. As the head of the Qatar Investment Authority, he invested billions in British companies, including Barclays, Harrods and Sainsbury’s.
6. SheikhFaisal bin Qassim Al Thani, Net Worth: $2.2 billion
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani became a success in spite of his family name, not because of it. No royalty/political position is related to his title of Sheikh. He is a distant relative of the ruling Al Thani’s in Qatar; it is said that some family branches can be marginalized to avoid coups. He is the owner of Al Faisal Holding Company, which works in a number of industries like real estate; Al Faisal Holding Company is very involved in high-end commercial real estate development and luxury hotels.
5. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Net Worth: $2.4 billion
From 1995 till 2013, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was the Emir of Qatar. During his time, the nation made nearly 85 million tons of natural gas, which made Qatar to be the richest country in the world per capita. He gave up the throne last year to be replaced by his son. After a bloodless coup, Sheikh Hamad took power from his father.
4. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Net Worth: $4.5 billion
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has seen his net worth go down in the past few years because of the heavy debt loads of the United Arab Emirates, – which he is vice president of – according to a report by Forbes in 2010. Apart from being vice president, he is also the constitutional Monarch of Dubai. His investment company in Dubai Holding owed banks $12 billion since 2010. As the Crown Prince of Dubai, he named his yacht – the third largest in the planet – ‘Dubai’. He is interested in horse racing and owns horse-breeding operation Darley Stud; he is said to be the largest spender in the sport of horse racing.
3. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Net Worth: $4.9 billion
The deputy president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is also the half brother of the nation’s president. He is also the minister of presidential affairs for Abu Dhabi. Apart from that, he is the chair of Al Jazira sprots company which controls soccer, volleyball, handball and basketball teams in Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Mansour also owns English soccer club Manchester City F.C. through the holding company City Football Group (parent company Abu Dhabi United Group). The chair of Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Investment Company is also him.
2. Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi, Net Worth: $14.3 billion
Ranked as the 63rd richest person in the world, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi divides his time between Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. He is also the richest black person and the second richest Saudi citizen. His title as Sheikh is strictly because of his wealth and accomplishments, since he is not a member of any royal family (Saudi Arabia does not officially give members of its royal family the title Sheikh). It is said that he is not only the largest foreign investor in Ethiopia, but also Sweden. He earned his wealth thanks to his large large portofolio of oil, agriculture and mining assets.
1. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayaed Al Nahyan, Net Worth: $18 billion
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayaed Al Nahyan has a personal net worth of around $18 billion. However, $150 billion plus may be the net worth of the Al Nahyan family. Sheikh Khalifa is currently the president of the United Arab Emirates and the Emir of Abu Dhabi. Since 2004, he has officially held presidential office, but since the 1990s he was acting in a president position when he was Crown Prince due to his father’s poor health. He operates Abu Dhabi Investment Authority the world’s second largest wealth fund. This holds assets estimated at $773 billion. The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, is named after him.