"The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World" is the title of the 202 pages book that contains the names and introduction of these personalities. The list is Edited and Prepared by Ed Marques and Usra Ghazi. Prof John Esposito and Prof Ibrahim Kalin served as the Chief Editors of the project.
The first chapter of the book sets the tone of the enterprise. The introduction of Islam is taken from the writings of the Italian Muslim scholar, Vincenzo Olivetti, the author of a controversial book: Terror's Source: The Ideology of Salafism and Its Consequences.
Echoing the Rand Corporation's arbitrary division of 1.5 billion Muslims into four categories (Fundamentalists, Traditionalists, Modernists and Secularists), the authors divided Muslims into three broad ideological categories i.e. Traditionalists, Moderates and Fundamentalist. Not only that, they also provided a specific percentage of the Muslims belonging to each category. According to the authors, 96% Muslims are Traditionalists, one percent Moderates and three percent Fundamentalists. No source is given for this important and specific data.
The authors describe the Traditional or orthodox Islam, to which 96% Muslims belong, as non-politicized Islam, largely based on consensus of "correct opinion." The Traditionalist Muslims include the adherents of all the Sunni and Shi'a sects as well as the Ibadi sect. The followers of Islamic mysticism (Sufism) or mystic brotherhoods are also included in this category.