Where Is Islam Found Today? (Solution)

The most populous Muslim countries are Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. The number of Muslims in Indonesia alone (175 million) exceeds the combined total in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran, the traditional heartlands of Islam.

  • Subsequently, one may also ask, where Islam can be found today? Islam is the dominant religion in the Central Asia, Indonesia, Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, the Sahel and some other parts of Asia. The diverse Asia-Pacific region contains the highest number of Muslims in the world, easily surpassing the Middle East and North Africa.

Where is Islam mostly found today?

The main regions of the world with a predominantly Islamic population are located in Central Asia, the entire Middle East and Western Asia (except Armenia and Israel), all of North Africa, and many countries in West Africa, South Asia, and Maritime Southeast Asia.

What countries is Islam found in?

Although Muslims can be found all over the world, the majority live in northern and central Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Many countries in these regions are more than 90% Muslim, including Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran.

Who is the founder of Islam?

The rise of Islam is intrinsically linked with the Prophet Muhammad, believed by Muslims to be the last in a long line of prophets that includes Moses and Jesus.

Is Turkey an Islamic country?

Turkey is a secular country with a majority Muslim population. There are no formal statistics on the population’s religious affiliation. The Turkish Constitution officially recognises Sunni Islam, Christianity (some Catholic and Orthodox sects) and Judaism.

How many Muslims are in the World 2021?

Earth is home to more than 1.9 billion Muslims. Islam is also the world’s fastest-growing religion. The Islamic population is mainly split between 1.5 billion Sunni Muslims and 240-340 million Shia Muslims, with the remainder scattered among a few smaller denominations.

Are there Muslims in North Korea?

Islam in North Korea The Pew Research Center estimated that there were 3,000 Muslims in North Korea in 2010, up from 1,000 in 1990. The Iranian embassy in Pyongyang hosts Ar-Rahman Mosque, the only mosque in the country.

Who wrote the Quran?

The Prophet Muhammad disseminated the Koran in a piecemeal and gradual manner from AD610 to 632, the year in which he passed away. The evidence indicates that he recited the text and scribes wrote down what they heard.

Who built Kaaba?

Muslims believe that Abraham—known as Ibrahim in the Islamic tradition—and his son, Ismail, constructed the Kaaba. Tradition holds that it was originally a simple unroofed rectangular structure.

How did Muhammad look like?

He had black eyes that were large with long lashes. His joints were rather large. He had little hairs that stood up, extending from his chest down to his navel, but the rest of his body was almost hairless. “He had thick palms and thick fingers and toes.

Can you kiss in Turkey?

The common greeting among friends and family is generally to give one or two kisses to the other person’s cheek. It is polite to give a slight bow or nod to someone of authority (older or superior) as you greet them. Women may only give a physical greeting to other women (i.e. with a handshake or kiss).

What is Syria religion?

According to CIA World Factbook, 87% of Syrians are Muslim, the majority being Sunni Muslims (74%). 1. A further 13% are Shi’a Muslims, following the Alawite (11%), Ismaili (1%) or Twelver Imami (0.5%) sects.

What is the religion of Israel?

About eight-in-ten (81%) Israeli adults are Jewish, while the remainder are mostly ethnically Arab and religiously Muslim (14%), Christian (2%) or Druze (2%). Overall, the Arab religious minorities in Israel are more religiously observant than Jews.

World Muslim population more widespread than you might think

Muslim belief in a single God lies at the heart of their monotheistic faith (Allah). By tracing its roots back to the patriarch Abraham, and eventually to the first prophet, Adam, it shares some beliefs with both Judaism and Christianity in this respect. A common message of belief in one God and goodwill to one’s fellow man was conveyed by all the prophets throughout history. According to Muslims, Muhammad was the final prophet in the line of prophets. Prophet Muhammad was born in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca about the year 570CE.

he was dissatisfied with the people in his immediate environment as a result of superstitions, social and economic injustices A large number of gods were being worshipped, and the teaching of prophet Abraham, that only one God should be worshipped, had been lost among the people.

During one of such times, in the year 610 CE, when he was around 40 years old, he got a revelation from God through the angel Jibril, who appeared to him (Gabriel).

In his fundamental message, he emphasized that there was only one God, Allah, and that people should spend their life in a way that was agreeable to Allah rather than gratifying themselves.

  1. 1.2 billion Muslims live around the world, with 7 million of them residing inside our borders.
  2. It is Indonesia and India, respectively, that have the greatest Muslim populations.
  3. Their fundamental principles are similar, but their opinions differ on who should be the true head of Islam following Muhammad’s passing.
  4. Simply said, “Allah” means “God” in the Arabic language.
  5. Because it is neither masculine nor feminine, the term “Allah” is frequently favored over the term “God.” Furthermore, the word “Allah” does not have a plural.

Try our email course on Muslims and Islam

Islam is a monotheistic religion focused on the belief in a single God (Allah). By dating its origins back to the patriarch Abraham, and eventually to the first prophet, Adam, it shares some ideas with both Judaism and Christianity. All of the prophets conveyed the same universal message of faith in a single God and compassion for all people. According to Muslims, Muhammad was the final prophet in the lineage of prophets. Muhammad was born in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca about the year 570 CE.

  • He was dissatisfied with the people in his immediate environment as a result of superstitions and social and economic inequality.
  • In the highlands, Muhammad enjoyed praying and meditating.
  • Throughout his life, he continued to receive messages from God, and he began to share what he had learned with others.
  • Islam expanded fast, first throughout Arabia and its neighboring nations, and then over the rest of the globe.
  • Only approximately 18 percent of Muslims are Arabs, and the vast majority of them live in the Middle East.
  • Islam is divided into two fundamental groups: the Sunnis (who account for around 80 percent of the world’s Muslims) and the Shi’ites (who account for approximately 20 percent of the world’s Muslims).
  • Islam is an Arabic term that denotes “surrender, submit, dedication, and peace.” It is derived from the word “Islam.” As a result, Islam might be characterized as a route to total peace achieved by voluntary obedience to the will of God.

The same global God is adored by people of all faiths and is known as Allah. Because it is neither masculine nor feminine, the name “Allah” is sometimes favored over the phrase “God.” In addition, the word “Allah” does not have a plural form. Muslims adhere to six fundamental beliefs:

Islamic world

It is also known as Islamdom, the complex of communities and cultures in which Muslims and their faith have long been widespread and socially powerful, also known as the Islamic world. The practice of Islam is a worldwide phenomenon: Muslims predominate in approximately 30 to 40 countries, spanning the Atlantic Ocean east to the Pacific Ocean and along a belt that stretches from northern Africa into Central Asia and south to the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent. Muslims are the majority religion in the United States and Canada.

  • Although there are no large-scale Islamic governmental structures, the Islamic faith continues to grow, according to some estimations at a higher rate than any other major religion on the planet.
  • What about sacred places of worship?
  • The Islamic faith as well as the life of the Prophet Muhammad are discussed in detail in the article Islam.
  • Islam is also mentioned in entries about certain nations or areas in which the religion is a factor, such as Egypt, Iran, Arabia, and North Africa, among others.
  • To understand the history of today’s Islamic world, it is necessary to have a very broad viewpoint.

In general, the events discussed in this article are dated according to theGregorian calendar, and eras are designated asbce (before the Common Era or Christian Era) andce (Common Era or Christian Era), terms that are equivalent tobc (before Christ) andad (after Christ) in the Gregorian calendar respectively (Latin:anno Domini).

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It is generally agreed that the Islamic period began with Muhammad’s journey (Hijrah) to Medina in 622CE, which corresponds to July 16, 622CE in the Gregorian calendar.

Muslim as an adjective defines elements of Islam as a religion, whereas Islamic as a noun discusses aspects of Islam’s believers.

The term “Islamicate” refers to the social and cultural complex that has historically been associated with Islam and Muslims, as well as the role and participation of non-Islamic and non-Muslim individuals and groups within that complex.

The term “Islamicate” is used to refer to the complex as a whole.

Prehistory (c.3000bce –500ce)

FromHammurabiof Babylon to the AchaemenidCyrus IIin Persia to Alexander the Greatto the Sassinian emperorAnshirvanto Muhammad in Arabia; or, fromAdamtoNoahtoAbrahamtoMosestoJesusto Muhammad according to a Muslim perspective, fromAdam to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to Jesus, to Muhammad. With the establishment of the first civilizations in western Asia, the possibility for Muslim empire building was formed. As a result of the emergence and spread of what have been referred to as the region’s Axial Age religions—Abrahamic, which was centered on the Hebrew patriarch Abraham, and Mazdean, which was centered on the Iranian deityAhura Mazd—as well as their later relative, Christianity—the region’s Axial Age religions were refined.

In many ways, the Muslims were the successors of ancient Egypt, Babylonian civilisation, Persian civilization, Hebrew civilization, even Greek and Indian civilisation; the civilizations they built crossed time and space, from antiquity to modernity and from the east to the west.

The rise of agrarian-based citied societies

The Arab coalition of the 7th century, which included sedentary and migratory groups from both inside and outside the Arabian Peninsula, seized political and fiscal control of western Asia, specifically the lands between the Nile and the Oxus (Amu Darya) rivers, territory that had previously been controlled by the Byzantines in the west and the Ssanianians in the east. In the 4th millennium BC, the rise of agrarian-based citied communities in western Asia signaled the beginning of a protracted period of consolidation of the variables that surrounded and controlled their accomplishment.

  • This sort of social structure opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities.
  • Some individuals were able to gain enough riches to patronize a wide range of arts and crafts by taking advantage of the physical labor of others; a few of these persons were able to build territorial monarchies and support religious organizations that had a broader appeal.
  • The new governing groups developed expertise in managing and integrating non-kin-related groups into their societies.
  • Several new institutions, like as money, territorial deities, royal priesthoods, and permanent armies, aided in the consolidation of their authority.
  • The religious beliefs of these new social entities mirrored and supported the new social circumstances in which they existed.
  • As indicated by the intricate funeral ceremonies of pharaonic Egypt, the link between worldly existence and the afterlife became increasingly complicated.
  • But large-scale organization had resulted in social and economic inequities that rulers and religions were able to confront but were unable to eliminate.

Many people believed that an absolute monarch who could unite a diverse range of ethnic, religious, and interest groups was their greatest hope for justice.

Muslim Population by Country 2021

Muslims are adherents of the religion Islam, who adhere to the teachings of the prophet Muhammad and strive to live according to those teachings. Muslims account for more than two billion people on the planet, making Islam the world’s second-largest religion, trailing only Christianity in terms of population. Many analysts predict that Muslims will outnumber Christians by the year 2050, and that this will happen sooner rather than later. Despite the fact that Muslims may be found all over the world, the bulk of them dwell in northern and central Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia.

In general, any country in which Muslims constitute 50% or more of the population is regarded as a Muslim majority country.

This represents 86.7 percent of Indonesia’s entire population and approximately 13 percent of the world’s total Muslim population, according to the United Nations.

Top 10 Countries with the Largest Number of Muslims (2021):

  1. Among those who live in Indonesia are 231,000,000 people
  2. Pakistan has 212,300,000
  3. India has 200,000,000
  4. Bangladesh has 153,700,000
  5. Nigeria has 95,000,000–103,000,000 people
  6. Egypt has 85,000,000–90,000,000 people
  7. Iran has 82,500,000 people
  8. Algeria has 41,240,913 people
  9. And Sudan has 39,585,777 people.

Surprisingly, while the nations listed above have the greatest number of Muslims overall, several smaller countries have a larger percentage of Muslims within their populations.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Percentage of Muslims (2021):

  1. The Maldives received 100 percent
  2. Mauritania received 99.9 percent
  3. Somalia received 99.8 percent – a tie
  4. Tunisia received 99.8 percent – a tie
  5. Afghanistan received 99.7 percent – a tie
  6. Algeria received 99.7 percent – a tie
  7. Iran received 99.4 percent
  8. Yemen received 99.2 percent
  9. Morocco received 99 percent
  10. Niger received 98.3 percent.

*Note: The disputed area of Western Sahara would have ranked eighth if it were not for the fact that it has not been recognized as a country by the United Nations. However, because it has not been recognized as a country, it was disqualified. It may come as a surprise to many Westerners to learn that Islam is an Abrahamic religion, which means that Muslims worship the same God as Christians, Jews, and adherents of the Bahá’ Faith—though there are significant differences between them in terms of scripture, theology, doctrine, and application.

There are two major denominations in Islam: Sunni (which accounts for 75-90 percent of the population) and Shi’a (10-13 percent), as well as a number of smaller branches.

The schism between Sunni and Shi’a Islam is nearly as ancient as the religion itself, having originated in a debate over who should follow Muhammad as leader of the faith in AD 632.

The struggle between diverse Muslim sects, notably between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims, has periodically resulted in military combat and terrorist activities.

Check out the chart below for a full analysis of how many Muslims live in each of the world’s countries, as well as what proportion of that country’s population it equates to.


Islam, after Christianity, is the second most popular religion in the world, with around 1.8 billion Muslims practicing their faith globally. Despite the fact that Islam’s origins trace back far older, experts generally agree that it was founded in the 7th century, making it the most recent of the major global faiths. Islamic teachings were first taught at Mecca, which is now part of modern-day Saudi Arabia, during the prophet Muhammad’s lifetime. Today, the faith is expanding at an alarming rate around the world.

Islam Facts

  • The term “Islam” literally translates as “submission to God’s will.”
  • Muslims are those who adhere to Islam
  • Muslims are monotheistic and worship a single, all-knowing God, known in Arabic as Allah
  • Muslims are those who adhere to other religions. Islamic adherents strive to live lives of total surrender to Allah and His will. Despite their belief that nothing can happen without Allah’s approval, they acknowledge that humans possess free choice. Islamic teachings hold that Allah’s word was given to the prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, and Muslims believe that other prophets were sent to teach Allah’s law throughout history. They hold several of the same prophets in high regard as Jews and Christians, including Abraham, Moses, Noah, and Jesus, among others. According to Muslims, Muhammad was the final prophet. Moschees are sites of religious prayer for Muslims. In addition to the Kaaba shrine in Mecca and the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, some notable Islamic holy sites are the Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina and the Kaaba in Mecca. The Quran (also known as the Koran) is the most important religious document in Islam. Another significant literature is the Hadith (also known as the Sunnah). Muslims also hold some passages from the Judeo-Christian Bible in high regard
  • Followers of Islam worship Allah via prayer and recitation of the Quran. It is their belief that there will be a day of judgment and that there is life after death. “Jihad,” which literally translates as “battle,” is a major concept in Islam. Despite the fact that the phrase has been used negatively in popular society, Muslims feel it refers to internal and outward attempts to protect their religious beliefs. Although uncommon, military jihad may be used in the event of a “just war” being declared.


Muhammad, also known as Mohammed or Mohammad, was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, around 570 A.D., and is considered to be the founder of Islam. According to Muslims, he was the final prophet sent by God to proclaim their beliefs to the rest of the world. Islam’s sacred writings and traditions claim that an angel called Gabriel came to visit Muhammad during his meditation session in a cave in the year 610 AAD. Muhammad was instructed by the angel to repeat the words of Allah. Muslims believe that Muhammad continued to receive revelations from Allah for the rest of his life, despite his physical limitations.

He preached that there was only one God, Allah, and that Muslims should devote their lives to worshipping this one and only God.


Muhammad and his supporters embarked on a journey from Mecca to Medina in 622. The Hijra (sometimes written Hegira or Hijrah) is a voyage that marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar and is commemorated on the Islamic calendar. A little more than seven years later, Muhammad and his throngs of followers returned to Mecca and completely subjugated the surrounding area. He preached until his death in 632, at the age of 84.

Abu Bakr

Following Muhammad’s death, Islam began to spread at an alarming rate. Following Muhammad’s death, a succession of leaders known as caliphs ascended to the throne. A caliphate was a system of leadership in which a Muslim monarch was in charge and was administered by a Muslim king. The first caliph was Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s father-in-law and close friend, who reigned as the Prophet Muhammad’s successor. Caliph Umar, another father-in-law of Muhammad, ascended to the throne in 634 when Abu Bakr died around two years after he was chosen.

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Caliphate System

The job of caliph was taken up by Uthman, Muhammad’s son-in-law, when Umar was slain six years after being proclaimed caliph. Uthman was assassinated as well, and Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, was chosen to be the caliph in his place. During the tenure of the first four caliphs, Arab Muslims conquered vast swaths of the Middle East, including Syria, Palestine, Iran, and Iraq, among other places. Islam also expanded throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, as well as throughout the Middle East.

The caliphate system endured for decades and eventually gave rise to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over significant areas of the Middle East from around 1517 until World War I brought the Ottoman Empire to an end on November 11, 1917.

Sunnis and Shiites

When Muhammad died, there was a heated controversy over who should take over as leader of the Muslim community. Due to this division among the Islamic community, two major sects emerged: the Sunnis and the Shiites. Sunnis constitute roughly 90 percent of all Muslims in the globe. They acknowledge that Muhammad’s first four caliphs were the legitimate successors to him. Muslims who follow the Shiite school of thought believe that only the caliph Ali and his descendants are legitimate heirs to Muhammad.

Shiite Muslims now have a significant presence in Iran, Iraq, and Syria, among other places.

Other Types of Islam

Other, minor Muslim denominations exist within the Sunni and Shiite communities, in addition to the larger ones. Some of these are as follows:

  • Wahhabi: This Sunni sect, which was created in Saudi Arabia in the 18th century by members of the Tameem clan, is a branch of Islam. Followers adhere to Muhammad ibn Abd al-exceedingly Wahhab’s stringent interpretation of Islam, which he taught them. Alawite: This Shiite branch of Islam is widely practiced in Syria. Followers of the caliph Ali retain similar views about him, but they also mark various Christian and Zoroastrian feasts, as well. Nation of Islam (also known as the Muslim Brotherhood): This Sunni sect with a majority of African-American members was created in Detroit, Michigan, in the 1930s. A disagreement over the method of selecting a new leader caused this group to split from the Shiites. They are well-known for their hardline fundamentalism, and they are now referred to as Ibadis.


The Holy Quran. Nazaruddin Abdul Hamed/EyeEm/Getty Images Nazaruddin Abdul Hamed For Muslims, the Quran (also known as the Koran or the Qur’an) is regarded to be the most significant sacred book in existence. In addition to certain essential material that can be found in the Hebrew Bible, it also contains revelations that were delivered to Muhammad. The text is regarded to be God’s sacred word, and it supersedes all prior works in this regard. The majority of Muslims believe that Muhammad’s scribes recorded his utterances, which were later compiled into the Quran.

It is divided into 114 chapters, which are referred to as surahs.

Why the Quran Was a Bestseller Among Christians in Eighteenth Century America.

Islamic Calendar

The Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijra calendar, is a lunar calendar used in Islamic religious devotion that is based on the lunar month of Ramadan. The calendar began in the year 622 A.D., commemorating Muhammad’s trip from Mecca to Medina, and has been in use ever since. According to the Islamic calendar, religious festivals and festivities are held on the appropriate days, including the month-long period of fasting and prayer known as Ramadan, which takes place during the ninth month of the calendar.

Islam Symbols

Just as there is no internationally acceptable image or symbol of Islam, there is no single image or symbol of Islam that is universally approved by all Muslims worldwide. Despite the fact that the crescent moon and star picture is considered to have predated Islam and was first used as a sign of the Ottoman Empire, the crescent moon and star image has been embraced as a symbol of Islam in several mostly Muslim nations. In various other contexts, like as the International Red Cross and Red Crescenthumanitarian help movement, a red crescent signifies that Muslims are accepted and treated as such by their fellow citizens.

As a result, the color green is sometimes connected with Islam, as it was supposedly a favorite hue of Muhammad’s, and it is frequently depicted prominently on the flags of nations with a largely Muslim population.

Five Pillars of Islam

Muslims adhere to five fundamental pillars that are fundamental to their faith. These are some examples:

  • Declaring one’s trust in God and confidence in Muhammad is known as a Shahada. Salat: a five-times-a-day prayer (at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening) that includes the following: Zakat is a religious obligation to contribute to people in need. Sawm: to refrain from eating or drinking during Ramadan
  • It is obligatory for all Muslims to do the Hajj at least once throughout their lifetime (if they are physically able to do so).

Sharia Law

The legal system of Islam is referred to as Sharia Law. This faith-based code of behavior advises Muslims on how they should live their lives in practically every aspect of their lives, including marriage and family life. Men and women are required to dress modestly under Sharia law. It also includes recommendations for Muslim marriages as well as other moral concepts for Muslims. Those who break the rule are subjected to draconian penalties under Sharia law, which is well-known. In certain countries, for example, the punishment for stealing is amputating the offender’s hand.

Many Muslims, on the other hand, are opposed to such harsh measures.

Muslim Prayer

Building the first mosque in Medina is attributed to the prophet Muhammad, who did it in the courtyard of his residence in Medina. Some of the precepts he established in 622 A.D. continue to be followed by mosques today. A mosque’s big open area or outdoor courtyard is frequently used for Muslim prayer. When praying in a mosque, a mihrab is a decorative feature or niche that symbolizes the direction to Mecca and, consequently, the direction to face when praying. Separate prayers are offered for men and women, and Muslims are permitted to attend a mosque five times a day for each of the five prayer periods.

Muslim Holidays

The two most important Muslim festivals are as follows: The festival of Eid al-Adha commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in the service of Allah. Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, comes to a conclusion on Eid al-Fitr, the feast of the harvest. Muslims also observe other religious festivals, such as the Islamic New Year and the birth of Muhammad, among others.

Islam Today

Recently, Islam’s alleged relationship with terrorism and mass murder has provoked heated political controversy in a number of nations, particularly in the Middle East. Radical Islam” has become a well-known moniker to define the religion’s association with acts of violence, despite its use being contentious at the time. Surveys recently conducted have revealed that in nations with large Muslim populations, the vast majority of Muslims hold highly unfavorable attitudes about terrorist organizations such as ISIS.

Islam is currently the fastest-growing religion in the world.


Islam,BBC. Islam is the second most popular religion in the world. Religious Tolerance is increasing in number. Islam in a Nutshell, CNN. The Fundamentals of Islam, and PBS. What is Sharia Law, and how does it work in practice? BBC. ISIS is reviled in countries with large Muslim populations, and this is especially true in Europe.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan research organization. The Religion Library’s Islam Rituals and Worship: Symbolism section has further information. The Islamic Calendar is available at TimeandDate.com.

Sunnis and Shia: Islam’s ancient schism

AP is the source of the image. Caption for the image The pilgrimage to Mecca is one of many rites that both religions practice, and it is one of the most important. The schism that exists between Sunnis and Shias is the greatest and most ancient in Islamic history. Historically, members of the two religions have lived side by side for centuries and have a number of core beliefs and practices in common. However, there are significant differences in philosophy, ritual, law, theology, and religious organization.

Many recent conflicts, ranging from Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Pakistan, have emphasized the sectarian difference, driving families and communities apart.

Who are the Sunnis?

It is estimated that Sunnis constitute between 85 percent and 90 percent of the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims. Sunnis constitute 90 percent or more of the populations of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, respectively, in the Middle East. Getty Images is the source of this image. Caption: Egypt is home to a number of Sunni Muslims. The earliest centers of study in Islam Sunnis consider themselves to be the religiously orthodox branch of Islam. The term “Sunni” comes from the Arabic word “Ahl al-Sunnah,” which translates as “People of the Tradition.” Specifically, the term “tradition” refers to actions that are founded on what the Prophet Muhammad said or did or agreed to or condemned.

Shia are also directed by the wisdom of Muhammad’s descendants, who are represented by Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin.

Who are the Shia?

Shia Muslims account for around 10% of the world’s Muslim population, with a global population estimated to be between 154 and 200 million people. AP is the source of the image. Caption for the image The deaths of Ali, Hassan, and Hussein paved the way for the development of the Shia notion of martyrdom. Shia Muslims constitute the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, and, according to some estimates, Yemen. Shia Muslims are also the majority in Syria. Afghanistan, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are also home to significant Shia populations.

Ali was killed in 661 at the end of a five-year caliphate that had been beset by internal conflict.

While Hassan is supposed to have died from poisoning in 680 at the hands of Muawiyah, the first caliph of the Sunni Umayyad dynasty, Hussein is believed to have been murdered by the Umayyads on the battlefield in 681.

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There are three major sects of Shia Islam practiced today: the Zaidis, the Ismailis, and the Ithna Asharis (or Ithna Asharis) (Twelvers or Imamis).

In 878, the 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, is reported to have vanished from a cave beneath a mosque, according to legend. It is believed by Ithna Asharis that the so-called “expected imam” did not die, and that he will return to earth at the end of time to restore justice.

What role has sectarianism played in recent crises?

Shia Muslims are disproportionately represented among the weakest elements of society in nations where Sunnis have ruled. They frequently believe that they are the victims of prejudice and injustice. Sunni radicals routinely decry Shia as heretics who should be put to death, and they have a point. AFP is the source of this image. Caption for the image The killing by Saudi Arabia of a famous Shia cleric sparked a diplomatic crisis with Iran, which has since been resolved. A hardline Shia Islamist agenda was initiated by the Iranian revolution of 1979, which was viewed as posing a threat to traditional Sunni countries, notably those in the Persian Gulf.

Many of the battles taking place in the region today have significant sectarian undertones.

While this is happening, Sunni jihadist organizations, especially the Islamic State (IS), have been targeting Shia and their sites of worship in Syria and its neighboring country of Iraq.

The murder sparked a diplomatic crisis with Iran as well as protests across the region.

More on this story

Recent polls have found that about half of the population in the Middle East and Iran is weakening their links to Islam, which is a significant trend. In response to requests for reforms of institutional religion, different governments have taken different approaches. Few issues are as delicate as religion — particularly in the Middle East — and few debates are as heated. Officially, Arab countries have large Muslim populations, ranging from around 60 percent in Lebanon to almost 100 percent in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to name a few examples.

However, multiple recently performed and extremely extensive polls across the Middle East and Iran have arrived to the same results as the one above: Across the board, they demonstrate an increase in secularization and an increase in requests for reform of Christian political institutions.

Lebanon losing the religion

A number of recent studies have found that over half of people in the Middle East and Iran are distancing themselves from their religious beliefs. In response to calls for reform of institutional religion, governments have reacted in a variety of ways. In the Middle East, religion is one of the most touchy subjects to discuss. Officially, Arab countries have large Muslim populations, ranging from around 60 percent in Lebanon to almost 100 percent in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

However, multiple recently performed and extremely extensive polls across the Middle East and Iran have reached to the same results as the previous one: Across the board, they demonstrate an increase in secularization and an increase in requests for changes in religiously based political organizations.

Iranians quest for religious change

GAMAAN (Group for Analyzing and Measuring Views in Iran), which investigated Iranians’ attitudes about religion, conducted a study among 40,000 interviewees in which they discovered that no less than 47 percent had “transitioned from being religious to non-religious.” Pooyan Tamimi Arab, an assistant professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University and a co-author of the poll, believes that Iran’s secularization has resulted in this transformation, as well as the yearning for religious reform.

In her interview with DW, Tamimi Arab stated that “the Iranian society has undergone enormous transformations.” “The literacy rate has increased dramatically, the country has experienced massive urbanization, economic changes have affected traditional family structures, the internet penetration rate has grown to be comparable with that of the European Union, and fertility rates have decreased,” Tamimi Arab said.

Comparing the results of the GAMAAN survey to Iran’s 99.5 percent Shiite census, the researchers discovered that 78 percent of participants believed in God, but only 32 percent classified themselves as Shiite Muslims.

Around 22 percent of the population claimed no affiliation with any of these religions.

As Tamimi Arab told DW, “we are seeing a growth in secularization as well as a plurality of religions and views.” However, in his opinion, the most important element is “the intertwining of state and religion, which has driven the populace to despise institutional religion, despite the fact that the great majority still believes in God.” According to a woman in Kuwait who asked that her name not be published for fear of her safety, Islam is carefully divided into two categories: Islam as a religion and Islam as a system.

“As a teenager, I was disappointed to discover that the Quran had no evidence of the government’s alleged restrictions.” The shift in people’s attitudes toward Islam can be felt all around the world, according to her, compared to roughly 20 years ago when such beliefs were mostly hated.

The rise of the ‘nones’

A study of more than 100 nations, conducted between 1981 and 2020, by the sociologist Ronald Inglehart, emeritus Lowenstein Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and author of the bookReligious Sudden Decline, has been studied. Inglehart has noticed that fast secularization is not limited to a particular nation in the Middle East, as some have claimed. According to Tamimi Arab, “the development of the so-called ‘nones,’ who do not identify with a specific religion, has been observed in Muslim majority nations as diverse as Iraq, Tunisia, and Morocco.” Saudi Arabia has reclassified anti-religious ideas as terrorism, rather than religious intolerance.

The threat of changing attitudes

The greater the number of individuals who distinguish between religion as a belief system and religion as a belief system, the louder the cries for change become. A senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, James Dorsey, said that the trend “undermines the efforts of Iran as well as its rivals Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, which are competing for religious soft power and leadership within the Muslim world.” Dorsey, a regional specialist, cites two cases that are diametrically opposed to one another.

Dorsey uses the case of Saudi dissident and activist Raif Badawi, who was convicted of apostasy, which is defined as insulting Islam, as an example.

He also received a death sentence.

Muslim World Facts

Arabic-Speaking Muslimsare spread out across North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Southwest Asia, comprising 20% of Muslims globally (362 million).
  • Saudi Arabian Arab
  • Bedouins
  • Berbers
  • Hassaniya
  • Levantine
  • Libyan
  • Maghrebi
  • Palestinian
  • Shuwas
  • Sudanese
  • Tuareg
  • Tunisian Arab
  • Yemeni
Malay Muslimsare concentrated in Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar, comprising 14% of the world’s Muslims (243 million).
  • Acres of land in Aceh
  • Bali-Sasak
  • Banjar
  • Bugi-Makassar
  • Bungku-Bajau
  • Gorontalo
  • Jawa
  • Kaili-Tomini
  • Lampung
  • Madura
  • Maguindanao
  • Minangkabau-Rejang
  • Musi
  • Ogan
  • Pasemah
  • Sunda-Betawi
  • Tukangbesi
  • Tukangbe
Persian-Median Muslimslive in Iran and parts of Central, South, and Southwest Asia, comprising 10% of Muslims worldwide (181 million).
  • Baloch
  • Domari
  • Kurd
  • Kurdish
  • Luri-Bakhtiari
  • Nuristan
  • Persian
  • Pashtun
  • Tajik
  • Talysh
  • Turkmenistan
South Asian Muslimsare the most numerous of the Muslim cultural groups, comprising 29% of Muslims (525 million), and are located in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.
  • Ansari, Assamese, Bengali, Bihari, Brahui, Jat, Kashmiri, Maldivian, Marathi-Konkani, Punjabi, Shaikh, Sindhi, and Urdu Muslims are all examples of minorities.

How did the Christian Middle East become predominantly Muslim?

What factors contributed to the ancient Middle East’s transformation from a mostly Christian civilization to the predominantly Muslim one we know today, and what role did violence play in this transformation? Christian C. Sahner, associate professor of Islamic history at Princeton University, has written a new book, Christian Martyrs under Islam: Religious Violence and the Making of the Muslim World (Princeton University Press), which explores these and other themes. Professor Sahner of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford discusses his results in a guest article for Arts Blog.

According to historical records and popular culture, despite depictions of “conversion by the sword” circulating widely, the process of Islamisation in the early era was gradual, difficult, and frequently nonviolent.

For the most part, non-Muslims were permitted to continue practicing their religions as long as they complied with the rules of their rulers and paid specific levies.

This was exacerbated by the view held by some that Islam was an unique dispensation reserved just for the Arab people.

However, because there are no reliable demographic data from the pre-modern period with which to make precise estimates (such as censuses or tax registers), historians believe that Syria-Palestine crossed the threshold of a Muslim demographic majority in the 12th century, and that Egypt may have done so even later, possibly in the 14th century.

As a result of this historical context, the phenomenon of Christian martyrdom came into being.

They are set in a variety of locations, including Córdoba, the Nile Delta, Jerusalem, and the South Caucasus, and chronicle the stories of Christians who fell foul of Muslim rulers, were executed, and were afterwards venerated as saints by the Muslim community.

The earliest and most significant group comprised of Christians who had converted to Islam but had later renounced their conversion and returned to Christianity.

The second group consisted of Muslim converts to Christianity who had had no prior exposure to their new religion before being placed in this group.

At the time, the victims were few in number – no more than 270 distinct individuals between Spain and Iraq – which was a testimonial to the absence of organized persecution in the region.

These sources, on the other hand, must be handled with extreme caution.

Following an examination of the sources in conjunction with modern Islamic writings, the book contends that many biographies have a solid foundation in truth.


Muslim officials executed the most egregious boundary-crossers in order to ensure that conversion and assimilation went exclusively in the direction of Islam, and Christians, in turn, revered some of these individuals as saints in order to ensure that conversion and assimilation went exclusively in the direction of Islam.

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