From HandWiki
Prayer in Cairo 1865.jpg
Muslims praying in 1865 Cairo by Jean-Léon Gérôme
Total population
1.8 billion worldwide (2015 est.)[1][2][3]
Regions with significant populations
 Saudi Arabia27,143,182[20]
Rest of the world287,230,000[2]
65–75% Sunni Islam[22][note 1]
10–13% Shia Islam[22]
15–20% Non-denominational Islam[23]
~1% Ahmadiyya[24]
~1% Other Muslim traditions, e.g. Ibadi Islam[23]
Sacred languages:[26]

A Muslim (Arabic: مُسلِم) is someone who follows or practices Islam, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion. Muslims consider the Quran, their holy book, to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet and messenger Muhammad. The majority of Muslims also follow the teachings and practices of Muhammad (sunnah) as recorded in traditional accounts (hadith).[27] "Muslim" is an Arabic word meaning "submitter" (to God).[28]

The beliefs of Muslims include: that God (Arabic: الله Allāh) is eternal, transcendent and absolutely one (tawhid); that God is incomparable, self-sustaining and neither begets nor was begotten; that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that has been revealed before through many prophets including Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, and Jesus;[29] that these previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time (tahrif)[30] and that the Qur'an is the final unaltered revelation from God (Final Testament).[31]


The religious practices of Muslims are enumerated in the Five Pillars of Islam: the declaration of faith (shahadah), daily prayers (salat), fasting during the month of Ramadan (sawm), almsgiving (zakat), and the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in a lifetime.[32][33]

To become a Muslim and to convert to Islam is essential to utter the Shahada, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, a declaration of faith and trust that professes that there is only one God (Allah) and that Muhammad is God's messenger.[34] It is a set statement normally recited in Arabic: lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāhu muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh (لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله) "There is no god but Allah, (and) Muhammad is the messenger of God."[35]

In Sunni Islam, the shahada has two parts: la ilaha illa'llah (there is no god but God), and Muhammadun rasul Allah (Muhammad is the messenger of God),[36] which are sometimes referred to as the first shahada and the second shahada.[37] The first statement of the shahada is also known as the tahlīl.[38]

In Shia Islam, the shahada also has a third part, a phrase concerning Ali, the first Shia Imam and the fourth Rashid caliph of Sunni Islam: وعليٌ وليُّ الله (wa ʿalīyyun walīyyu-llāh), which translates to "Ali is the wali of God.[39]


The word muslim (Arabic: مسلم, IPA: [ˈmʊslɪm]; English: /ˈmʌzlɪm/, /ˈmʊzlɪm/, /ˈmʊslɪm/ or moslem /ˈmɒzləm/, /ˈmɒsləm/[40]) is the active participle of the same verb of which islām is a verbal noun, based on the triliteral S-L-M "to be whole, intact".[41][42] A female adherent is a muslima (Arabic: مسلمة) (also transliterated as "Muslimah"[43] ). The plural form in Arabic is muslimūn (مسلمون) or muslimīn (مسلمين), and its feminine equivalent is muslimāt (مسلمات). The Arabic form muslimun is the stem IV participle[note 2] of the triliteral S-L-M.

The ordinary word in English is "Muslim". It is sometimes transliterated as "Moslem", which is an older spelling.[citation needed] The word Mosalman (Persian: مسلمان‎, alternatively Mussalman) is a common equivalent for Muslim used in Central and South Asia. Until at least the mid-1960s, many English-language writers used the term Mohammedans or Mahometans.[44] Although such terms were not necessarily intended to be pejorative, Muslims argue that the terms are offensive because they allegedly imply that Muslims worship Muhammad rather than God.[45] Other obsolete terms include Muslimite[46] and Muslimist.[47]

Musulmán/Mosalmán (Persian: مسلمان‎) is a synonym for Muslim and is modified from Arabic. It is the origin of the Spanish word musulmán, the (dated) German Muselmann, the French word musulman, the Polish words muzułmanin and muzułmański, the Portuguese word muçulmano, the Italian word mussulmano or musulmano, the Romanian word musulman and the Greek word μουσουλμάνος (all used for a Muslim).[48] In English it was sometimes spelled Mussulman and has become archaic in usage.

Apart from Persian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Italian, and Greek, the term could be found, with obvious local differences, in Armenian, Dari, Pashto, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Panjabi, Turkish, Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Azeri, Maltese, Hungarian, Czech, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Dutch, and Sanskrit.


The Muslim philosopher Ibn Arabi said:

A Muslim is a person who has dedicated his worship exclusively to God...Islam means making one's religion and faith God's alone.[49]

Other prophets

The Qur'an describes many prophets and messengers within Judaism and Christianity, and their respective followers, as Muslim: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus and his apostles are all considered to be Muslims in the Qur'an. The Qur'an states that these men were Muslims because they submitted to God, preached His message and upheld His values, which included praying, charity, fasting and pilgrimage. Thus, in Surah 3:52 of the Qur'an, Jesus' disciples tell him, "We believe in God; and you be our witness that we are Muslims (wa-shahad be anna muslimūn)." In Muslim belief, before the Qur'an, God had given the Tawrat (Torah) to Moses, the Zabur (Psalms) to David and the Injil (Gospel) to Jesus, who are all considered important Muslim prophets.


World Muslim population by percentage ((As of 2010) from Pew Research Center)
A map of Muslim populations by absolute number, (Pew Research Center, 2009)

The most populous Muslim-majority country is Indonesia, home to 12.7% of the world's Muslims,[22] followed by Pakistan (11.0%), Bangladesh (9.2%), and Egypt (4.9%).[50] About 20% of the world's Muslims lives in the Middle East and North Africa.[22][51]

Sizable minorities are also found in India, China, Russia, Ethiopia, the Americas, Australia and parts of Europe. The country with the highest proportion of self-described Muslims as a proportion of its total population is Morocco.[2] Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world.

Over 75–90% of Muslims are Sunni.[52][53] The second and third largest sects, Shia and Ahmadiyya, make up 10–20%,[54][55] and 1%[24] respectively.

With about 1.8 billion followers (2015), almost a quarter of earth's population,[56] Islam is the second-largest and the fastest-growing religion in the world.[57] due primarily to the young age and high fertility rate of Muslims,[58] with Muslim having a rate of (3.1) compared to the world average of (2.5). According to the same study, religious switching has no impact on Muslim population, since the number of people who embrace Islam and those who leave Islam are roughly equal.[58]

A Pew Center study in 2016 found that Muslims have the highest number of adherents under the age of 15 (or 34% of the total Muslim population) of any major religion, while only 7% are aged 60+ (the smallest percentage of any major religion). According to the same study, Muslims have the highest fertility rates (3.1) of any major religious group.[59] The study also found that Muslims have the lowest average levels of education after Hindus, with an average of 5.6 years of schooling.[59] About 36% of all Muslims have no formal schooling,[59] and Muslims have the lowest average levels of higher education of any major religious group, with only 8% having graduate and post-graduate degrees.[59]

See also


  1. Original source estimated 87–90% of Muslims to adhere to Sunni Islam but counted almost all non-denominational Muslims as Sunni. To get a more accurate estimation, percentage of Non-denominational Muslims (15–20%) was subtracted from the original estimation
  2. also known as "infinitive"


  1. Lipka, Michael; Hackett, Conrad (6 April 2017). "Why Muslims are the world's fastest-growing religious group". Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010–2050". Pew Research Center. 2 April 2015. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017. 
  3. "Muslim Population by Country". Pew Research Center. Archived from the original on 9 February 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  4. Alford T. Welch, Ahmad S. Moussalli, Gordon D. Newby (2009). "Muḥammad". in John L. Esposito. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. "The Prophet of Islam was a religious, political, and social reformer who gave rise to one of the great civilizations of the world. From a modern, historical perspective, Muḥammad was the founder of Islam. From the perspective of the Islamic faith, he was God's Messenger (rasūl Allāh), called to be a “warner,” first to the Arabs and then to all humankind.". 
  5. "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency" (in en). Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. 
  6. "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency" (in en). Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. 
  7. "Muslim Population in India - Muslims in Indian States". Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. 
  8. "The Future of the Global Muslim Population" (in en-US). Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 2011-01-15. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. 
  9. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 2 May 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  10. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  11. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 19 November 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  12. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 20 September 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  13. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Refworld - 2010 Report on International Religious Freedom - China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau)". Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  14. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  15. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 13 May 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  16. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  17. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 20 September 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  18. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  19. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 12 June 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  20. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  21. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 "Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population". Pew Research Center. October 2009. Archived from the original on 5 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017. "Of the total Muslim population, 10–13% are Shia Muslims and 87–90% are Sunni Muslims." 
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Chapter 1: Religious Affiliation". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 9 August 2012. Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 See:
  25. Grim, Brian J.; Johnson, Todd M. (2013). Chapter 1: Global Religious Populations, 1910–2010 (Report). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.. p. 22. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  26. Al-Jallad, Ahmad (in en). Polygenesis in the Arabic Dialects. Archived from the original on 15 August 2016. 
  27. The Qurʼan and Sayings of Prophet Muhammad: Selections Annotated & Explained. SkyLight Paths Publishing. 2007. pp. 21–. ISBN 978-1-59473-222-5. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  28. "Muslim". Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. 
  29. "People of the Book". PBS. Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  30. See:
    • Accad (2003): According to Ibn Taymiyya, although only some Muslims accept the textual veracity of the entire Bible, most Muslims will grant the veracity of most of it.
    • Esposito (1998), pp.6,12
    • Esposito (2002b), pp.4–5
    • F. E. Peters (2003), p.9
    • F. Buhl; A. T. Welch. "Muhammad". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. 
    • Hava Lazarus-Yafeh. "Tahrif". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. 
  31., Quran: The Final Testament, Authorized English Version with Arabic Text, Revised Edition IV,ISBN:0-9729209-2-7, p. x.
  32. Hooker, Richard (14 July 1999). "arkan ad-din the five pillars of religion". United States: Washington State University. Archived from the original on 3 December 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  33. "Religions". United States: Central Intelligence Agency. 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
  34. From the article on the Pillars of Islam in Oxford Islamic Studies Online
  35. Gordon, Matthew; Gordon, Professor of Middle East Islamic History Matthew S (2009). Matthew S. Gordon and Martin Palmer, ''Islam'', Info base Publishing, 2009. p. 87. ISBN 9781438117782. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  36. Lindsay, p. 140–141
  37. Cornell, p. 9
  38. Michael Anthony Sells (1999). Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations. White Cloud Press. p. 151. ISBN 9781883991265. 
  39. The Later Mughals by William Irvine p. 130
  40. "Muslim" . Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary: /ˈmʌzlɪm/, /ˈmʊzlɪm/, /ˈmʊslɪm/; moslem /ˈmɒzləm/, /ˈmɒsləm/
  41. Burns & Ralph, World Civilizations, 5th ed., p. 371.
  42. Entry for šlm, p. 2067, Appendix B: Semitic Roots, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000, ISBN:0-618-08230-1.
  43. Muslimah . Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. 2016
  44. See for instance the second edition of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H. W. Fowler, revised by Ernest Gowers (Oxford, 1965).
  45. Gibb, Sir Hamilton (1969). Mohammedanism: an historical survey. Oxford University Press. p. 1. "Modern Muslims dislike the terms Mohammedan and Mohammedanism, which seem to them to carry the implication of worship of Mohammed, as Christian and Christianity imply the worship of Christ." 
  46. Muslimite (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, September 2005,  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  47. Abbas, Tahir (2005). Muslim Britain: Communities Under Pressure. pp. 50. 
  48. Musalman – Internet Encyclopedia of Religion
  49. Commentary on the Qur'an, Razi, I, p. 432, Cairo, 1318/1900
  50. "Number of Muslim by country". Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2007. 
  51. Esposito, John L. (15 October 2002). What everyone needs to know about Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-19-515713-0.  and Esposito, John (2005). Islam : the straight path (Rev. 3rd ed., updated with new epilogue. ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 2, 43. ISBN 978-0-19-518266-8. 
  52. See:
  53. From Sunni Islam: See:
  54. "Shīʿite". Archived from the original on 9 August 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010. "Shīʿites have come to account for roughly one-tenth of the Muslim population worldwide." 
  55. "Religions". Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2010. "Sunni Islam accounts for over 75% of the world's Muslim population... Shia Islam represents 10–20% of Muslims worldwide..." 
  56. "The Changing Global Religious Landscape". April 5, 2017. 
  57. Burke, Daniel. "The fastest growing religion in the world is ...". CNN. Archived from the original on 11 May 2016. 
  58. 58.0 58.1 The Future of the Global Muslim Population (Report). Pew Research Center. 27 January 2011. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.3 "Religion and Education Around the World". Pew Research Center. 13 December 2016. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. 

External links