•Belief in something sacred (for example, gods or other supernatural beings).
•A distinction between sacred and profane objects.
•Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.
•A moral code believed to have a sacred or supernatural basis.
•Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual.
•Prayer and other forms of communication with the supernatural.
•A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.
•A more or less total organization of one’s life based on the world view.
•A social group bound together by the above.
This is the definition of religion used here. It describes religious systems but not non-religious systems. It encompasses the features common in belief systems generally acknowledged as religions without focusing on specific characteristics unique to just a few.
What is Islam?:
The name of the religion is Islam, which comes from an Arabic root word meaning “peace” and “submission.” Islam teaches that one can only find peace in one’s life by submitting to Almighty God (Allah) in heart, soul and deed. The same Arabic root word gives us “Salaam alaykum,” (“Peace be with you”), the universal Muslim greeting.
Who is a Muslim?:
A person who believes in and consciously follows Islam is called a Muslim, also from the same root word. So, the religion is called “Islam,” and a person who believes in and follows it is a “Muslim.”
How Many and Where?:
Islam is a major world religion, with over 1 billion followers worldwide (1/5 of the world population). It is considered one of the Abrahamic, monotheistic faiths, along with Judaism and Christianity. Although usually associated with the Arabs of the Middle East, less than 10% of Muslims are in fact Arab. Muslims are found all over the world, of every nation, color and race.
World’s Muslim Population:
Nearly one-fourth of the world’s population today is Muslim. The Muslim population is a diverse community of believers spanning the globe. Over fifty countries have Muslim-majority populations, while other groups of believers are clustered in minority communities on nearly every continent.
Although Islam is often associated with the Arab world and the Middle East, fewer than 15% of Muslims are Arab.
Countries With The Largest Muslim Populations:
Country Number of Muslims
Indonesia 203 million
Pakistan 174 million
India 161 million
Bangladesh 145 million
Egypt 79 million
Nigeria 78 million
Iran 74 million
Turkey 74 million
Algeria 34 million
Morocco 32 million
Iraq 30 million
Sudan 30 million
Afghanistan 28 million
Ethiopia 28 million
Uzbekistan 26 million
Saudi Arabia 25 million
Yemen 23 million
China 22 million
Syria 20 million
Russia 16 million
Who is Allah?:
Allah is the proper name for Almighty God, and is often translated merely as “God.” Allah has other names that are used to describe His characteristics: the Creator, the Sustainer, the Merciful, the Compassionate, etc.
Muslims believe that since Allah alone is the Creator, it is He alone that deserves our devout love and worship. Islam holds to a strict monotheism. Any worship and prayers directed at saints, prophets, other human beings or nature is considered idolatry.
What do Muslims believe about God, prophets, the afterlife, etc.?:
The basic beliefs of Muslims fall into six main categories, which are known as the “Articles of Faith”:
The “five pillars” of Islam:
In Islam, faith and good works go hand-in-hand. A mere verbal declaration of faith is not enough, for belief in Allah makes obedience to Him a duty.
The Muslim concept of worship is very broad. Muslims consider everything they do in life to be an act of worship, if it is done according to Allah’s guidance. There are also five formal acts of worship which help strengthen a Muslim’s faith and obedience. They are often called the “Five Pillars of Islam.”
Daily life as a Muslim:
While often seen as a radical or extreme religion, Muslims consider Islam to be the middle road. Muslims do not live life with complete disregard for God or religious matters, but nor do they neglect the world to devote themselves solely to worship and prayer. Muslims strike a balance by fulfilling the obligations of and enjoying this life, while always mindful of their duties to Allah and to others.