The terms Muslim world
and Islamic world
commonly refer to the Islamic community
, which is also known as the Ummah. This consists of all those who adhere to the religion of Islam
or to societies where Islam is practiced.
In a modern geopolitical
sense, these terms refer to countries where Islam is widespread
, although there are no agreed criteria for inclusion.
The term Muslim-majority countries
is an alternative often used for the latter sense.
The history of the Muslim world
spans about 1,400 years and includes a variety of socio-political developments, as well as advances in the arts, science, philosophy, and technology, particularly during the Islamic Golden Age
. All Muslims
look for guidance to the Quran
and believe in the prophetic mission of Muhammad
, but disagreements on other matters have led to the appearance of different religious schools of thought
In the modern era, most of the Muslim world came under European colonial domination
. The nation states that emerged in the post-colonial era have adopted a variety of political and economic models, and they have been affected by secular and as well as religious trends.
As of 2013, the combined GDP (nominal)
of 49 Muslim majority countries was US$5.7 trillion,
As of 2016, they contributed 8% of the world's total.
As of 2015, 1.8 billion or about 24.1% of the world population are Muslims.
By the percentage of the total population in a region considering themselves Muslim, 91% in the Middle East
89% in Central Asia
40% in Southeast Asia
31% in South Asia
30% in Sub-Saharan Africa
25% in Asia
around 6% in Europe
and 1% in the Americas
Most Muslims are of one of two denominations
though in a large survey, about 25% identified as neither, but "just a Muslim
However, other denominations exist in pockets, such as Ibadi
(primarily in Oman
). About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia
, the largest Muslim-majority country;
31% of Muslims live in South Asia
the largest population of Muslims in the world;
20% in the Middle East–North Africa
where it is the dominant religion;
and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa
and West Africa
Muslims are the overwhelming majority in Central Asia
the majority in the Caucasus
and widespread in Southeast Asia
is the country with the largest Muslim population outside Muslim-majority countries.
Sizeable Muslim communities
are also found in the Americas
, and North Asia
Islam is the fastest-growing major religion in the world
In a modern geopolitical
sense, the terms 'Muslim world' and 'Islamic world' refer to countries where Islam is widespread
, although there are no agreed criteria for inclusion.
Some scholars and commentators have criticised the term 'Muslim/Islamic world' and its derivative terms 'Muslim/Islamic country' as "simplistic" and "binary", since no state has a religiously homogeneous population (e.g. Egypt
's citizens are c. 10% Christians
), and in absolute numbers, there are sometimes fewer Muslims living in countries where they make up the majority than in countries where they form a minority.
Hence, the term 'Muslim-majority countries' is often preferred in literature.
The Tabula Rogeriana
, drawn by Al-Idrisi
in 1154, one of the most advanced ancient world maps
. Al-Idrisi also wrote about the diverse Muslim communities found in various lands. Note: the map is here shown upside-down from the original to match current North/Up, South/Down map design
The history of the Islamic faith
as a religion and social institution begins with its inception around 610 CE
, when the Islamic prophet Muhammad
, a native of Mecca
, is believed by Muslims to have received the first revelation of the Quran, and began to preach his message.
In 622 CE, facing opposition in Mecca, he and his followers migrated to Yathrib (now Medina
), where he was invited to establish a new constitution
for the city under his leadership.
This migration, called the Hijra
, marks the first year of the Islamic calendar
. By the time of his death, Muhammad had become the political and spiritual leader of Medina, Mecca, the surrounding region, and numerous other tribes in the Arabian Peninsula
After Muhammad died in 632, his successors (the Caliphs
) continued to lead the Muslim community based on his teachings and guidelines of the Quran. The majority of Muslims consider the first four successors to be 'rightly guided' or Rashidun
of the Rashidun Caliphate
helped to spread Islam
beyond the Arabian Peninsula, stretching from northwest India, across Central Asia
, the Near East
, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula
, to the Pyrenees
. The Arab Muslims were unable to conquer the entire Christian Byzantine Empire
in Asia Minor
during the Arab–Byzantine wars
, however. The succeeding Umayyad Caliphate
attempted two failed sieges of Constantinople
. Meanwhile, the Muslim community tore itself apart into the rivalling Sunni
and Shia sects
since the killing of caliph Uthman
in 656, resulting in a succession crisis
that has never been resolved.
The following First
and Third Fitnas
and finally the Abbasid Revolution
(746–750) also definitively destroyed the political unity of the Muslims, who have been inhabiting multiple states ever since. Ghaznavids
' rule was succeeded by the Ghurid Empire
of Muhammad of Ghor
and Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad
, whose reigns under the leadership of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji
extended until the Bengal
, where Indian Islamic missionaries
achieved their greatest success in terms of dawah
and number of converts to Islam
.[page needed] Qutb-ud-din Aybak
in 1206 and began the reign of the Delhi Sultanate
a successive series of dynasties that synthesized Indian civilization with the wider commercial and cultural networks of Africa and Eurasia, greatly increased demographic and economic growth in India and deterred Mongol incursion into the prosperous Indo-Gangetic plain
and enthroned one of the few female Muslim rulers, Razia Sultana
Notable major empires dominated by Muslims, such as those of the Abbasids
and Warsangali in Somalia
in the Indian subcontinent (India
, were among the influential and distinguished powers in the world.
19th-century colonialism and 20th-century decolonisation have resulted in several independent Muslim-majority states around the world, with vastly differing attitudes towards and political influences granted to, or restricted for, Islam from country to country.
These have revolved around the question of Islam's compatibility with other ideological concepts such as secularism
(especially Arab nationalism
, as opposed to Pan-Islamism
(see also Arab socialism
and socialism in Iran
(see Islamic democracy
(see also Islamic republic
), liberalism and progressivism
and more.
The term "Islamic Golden Age
" has been attributed to a period in history wherein science
, economic development and cultural works in most of the Muslim-dominated world flourished.
The age is traditionally understood to have begun during the reign of the Abbasid
caliph Harun al-Rashid
(786–809) with the inauguration of the House of Wisdom
, where scholars from various parts of the world sought to translate and gather all the known world's knowledge into Arabic,
and to have ended with the collapse of the Abbasid caliphate due to Mongol invasions
and the Siege of Baghdad
The Abbasids were influenced by the Quranic injunctions and hadiths, such as "the ink of a scholar is more holy than the blood of a martyr," that stressed the value of knowledge. The major Islamic capital cities of Baghdad, Cairo
, and Córdoba
became the main intellectual centers for science, philosophy, medicine, and education.
During this period, the Muslim world was a collection of cultures; they drew together and advanced the knowledge gained from the ancient Greek
, and Phoenician
Between the 8th and 18th centuries, the use of ceramic glaze
was prevalent in Islamic art, usually assuming the form of elaborate pottery
was one of the earliest new technologies developed by the Islamic potters. The first Islamic opaque glazes can be found as blue-painted ware in Basra
, dating to around the 8th century. Another contribution was the development of fritware
, originating from 9th-century Iraq.
Other centers for innovative ceramic pottery in the Old world included Fustat
(from 975 to 1075), Damascus
(from 1100 to around 1600) and Tabriz
(from 1470 to 1550).
One of the common definitions for "Islamic philosophy" is "the style of philosophy produced within the framework of Islamic culture
Islamic philosophy, in this definition is neither necessarily concerned with religious issues, nor is exclusively produced by Muslims.
scholar Ibn Sina
(Avicenna) (980–1037) had more than 450 books attributed to him. His writings were concerned with various subjects, most notably philosophy and medicine. His medical textbook The Canon of Medicine
was used as the standard text in European universities for centuries. He also wrote The Book of Healing
, an influential scientific and philosophical encyclopedia.
Yet another influential philosopher who had an influence on modern philosophy
was Ibn Tufail
. His philosophical novel, Hayy ibn Yaqdha
, translated into Latin as Philosophus Autodidactus
in 1671, developed the themes of empiricism, tabula rasa, nature versus nurture
, condition of possibility
and Molyneux's problem
European scholars and writers influenced by this novel include John Locke
, Melchisédech Thévenot
, John Wallis
, Christiaan Huygens
, George Keith
, Robert Barclay
, the Quakers
and Samuel Hartlib
An illustration from al-Biruni
's astronomical works, explains the different phases of the moon
The Elephant Clock
was one of the most famous inventions of Al-Jazari.
Muslim scientists placed far greater emphasis on experiment than the Greeks
This led to an early scientific method
being developed in the Muslim world, where progress in methodology was made, beginning with the experiments of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) on optics
1000, in his Book of Optics
. The most important development of the scientific method was the use of experiments to distinguish between competing scientific theories set within a generally empirical orientation, which began among Muslim scientists
. Ibn al-Haytham is also regarded as the father of optics, especially for his empirical proof of the intromission theory
of light. Jim Al-Khalili
stated in 2009 that Ibn al-Haytham is 'often referred to as the "world's first true scientist".' al-Khwarzimi
's invented the log base systems that are being used today, he also contributed theorems in trigonometry as well as limits.
Recent studies show that it is very likely that the Medieval Muslim artists were aware of advanced decagonal quasicrystal
geometry (discovered half a millennium later in the 1970s and 1980s in the West) and used it in intricate decorative tilework in the architecture.
Muslim physicians contributed to the field of medicine, including the subjects of anatomy
: such as in the 15th-century Persian work by Mansur ibn Muhammad ibn al-Faqih Ilyas
entitled Tashrih al-badan
(Anatomy of the body
) which contained comprehensive diagrams of the body's structural, nervous
and circulatory systems
; or in the work of the Egyptian physician Ibn al-Nafis, who proposed the theory of pulmonary circulation
. Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine
remained an authoritative medical textbook in Europe until the 18th century. Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi
(also known as Abulcasis
) contributed to the discipline of medical surgery with his Kitab al-Tasrif
("Book of Concessions"), a medical encyclopedia which was later translated to Latin and used in European and Muslim medical schools for centuries. Other medical advancements came in the fields of pharmacology
In astronomy, Muḥammad ibn Jābir al-Ḥarrānī al-Battānī
improved the precision of the measurement of the precession
of the Earth's axis
The corrections made to the geocentric model
by al-Battani, Averroes, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
, Mu'ayyad al-Din al-'Urdi
and Ibn al-Shatir
were later incorporated into the Copernican heliocentric
theories were also discussed by several other Muslim astronomers
such as Al-Biruni, Al-Sijzi
, Qotb al-Din Shirazi
, and Najm al-Dīn al-Qazwīnī al-Kātibī
, though originally developed by the Greeks, was perfected by Islamic astronomers and engineers, and was subsequently brought to Europe.
Advances were made in irrigation
and farming, using new technology such as the windmill
. Crops such as almonds
fruit were brought to Europe through al-Andalus
, and sugar cultivation was gradually adopted by the Europeans. Arab merchants dominated trade in the Indian Ocean until the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century. Hormuz
was an important center for this trade. There was also a dense network of trade routes
in the Mediterranean
, along which Muslim-majority countries traded with each other and with European powers such as Venice
. The Silk Road
crossing Central Asia passed through Islamic states between China and Europe. The emergence of major economic empires with technological resources after the conquests of Timur
(Tamerlane) and the resurgence of the Timurid Renaissance
include the Mali Empire
and the India's Bengal Sultanate
in particular, a major global trading nation in the world, described by the Europeans to be the "richest country to trade with".
Muslim engineers in the Islamic world made a number of innovative industrial uses of hydropower
, and early industrial uses of tidal power
and wind power
, fossil fuels
such as petroleum, and early large factory complexes (tiraz
The industrial uses of watermills
in the Islamic world date back to the 7th century, while horizontal-wheeled
and vertical-wheeled water mills were both in widespread use since at least the 9th century. A variety of industrial mills were being employed in the Islamic world, including early fulling
, paper mills
, ship mills
, stamp mills
, steel mills
, sugar mills
, tide mills
and windmills. By the 11th century, every province throughout the Islamic world had these industrial mills in operation, from al-Andalus and North Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia.
Muslim engineers also invented crankshafts
and water turbines
, employed gears
in mills and water-raising machines, and pioneered the use of dams as a source of water power, used to provide additional power to watermills and water-raising machines.
Such advances made it possible for industrial tasks that were previously driven by manual labour
in ancient times
to be mechanized
and driven by machinery instead in the medieval Islamic world. The transfer of these technologies to medieval Europe had an influence on the Industrial Revolution
, particularly from the proto-industrialised Mughal Bengal
and Tipu Sultan
's Kingdom, through the conquests of the East India Company
"Why do the Christian nations, which were so weak in the past compared with Muslim nations begin to dominate so many lands in modern times and even defeat the once victorious Ottoman armies?"..."Because they have laws and rules invented by reason."
Map of colonial powers throughout the world in the year 1914 (note colonial powers in the pre-modern Muslim world).
Beginning with the 15th century, colonialism
by European powers profoundly affected Muslim-majority societies in Africa
, the Middle East
. Colonialism was often advanced by conflict with mercantile initiatives by colonial powers and caused tremendous social upheavals in Muslim-dominated societies.
A number of Muslim-majority societies reacted to Western powers with zealotry and thus initiating the rise of Pan-Islamism
; or affirmed more traditionalist and inclusive cultural ideals; and in rare cases adopted modernity that was ushered by the colonial powers.
The only Muslim-majority regions not to be colonized by the Europeans were Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan.
Turkey was one of the first colonial powers of the world with the Ottoman empire ruling several states for over 6 centuries.
The end of the European colonial domination has led to creation of a number of nation states with significant Muslim populations. These states drew on Islamic traditions to varying degree and in various ways in organizing their legal, educational and economic systems.
After September 11
, scholars considered the ramifications of seeking to understand Muslim experience through the framework of secular Enlightenment
principles. Muhammad Atta
, one of the September 11
hijackers, reportedly quoted from the Quran
to allay his fears: "Fight them, and God will chastise them at your hands/And degrade them, and He will help you/Against them, and bring healing to the breasts of a people who believe", referring to the ummah
, the community of Muslim believers, and invoking the imagery of the early warriors of Islam who lead the faithful from the darkness of jahiliyyah
The secular values of Kemalist
Turkey, which separated religion from the state by the abolition of the Caliphate
in 1924, has sometimes been seen as the result of Western influence.
By Sayyid Qutb
's definition of Islam
, the faith is "a complete divorce from jahiliyyah". He complained that American churches served as centers of community social life that were "very hard [to] distinguish from places of fun and amusement". For Qutb, Western society was the modern jahliliyyah
. His understanding of the "Muslim world" and its "social order" was that, presented to the Western world as the result of practicing Islamic teachings, would impress "by the beauty and charm of true Islamic ideology". He argued that the values of the Enlightenment and its related precursor, the Scientific Revolution
, "denies or suspends God's sovereignty on earth" and argued that strengthening "Islamic character" was needed "to abolish the negative influences of jahili
is currently the most populous Muslim-majority country.
According to a 2010 study and released January 2011,
Islam had 1.5 billion adherents, making up c. 22% of the world population.
Because the terms 'Muslim world' and 'Islamic world' are disputed, since no country is homogeneously Muslim, and there is no way to determine at what point a Muslim minority in a country is to be considered 'significant' enough, there is no consensus on how to define the Muslim world geographically.
The only rule of thumb for inclusion which has some support, is that countries need to have a Muslim population of more than 50%.
According to the Pew Research Center
in 2015 there were 50 Muslim-majority
Jones (2005) defines a "large minority" as being between 30% and 50%, which described nine countries in 2000, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina
, Ivory Coast
, North Macedonia
, and Tanzania
In its list of Islamic countries of the world, WorldAtlas identifies six major Islamic states, meaning countries that base their systems of government on Sharia law: Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mauritania, and Yemen. Other countries not considered Islamic states, but which politically define Islam as the state religion, are listed as: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Algeria, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Somalia, and Brunei. It is noted that Libya also has 18 other official state religions. Neutral Muslim majority countries, in which Islam is not the state religion, are: Niger, Indonesia, Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sierra Leone, and Djibouti. Countries with a majority of Muslims, that have declared an official separation of religion and state, are listed as secular Muslim majority countries: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Northern Cyprus, Nigeria, Senegal, Syria, Lebanon, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
Some countries have declared Islam as the official state religion. In those countries, the legal code is largely secular. Only personal status matters pertaining to inheritance and marriage are governed by Sharia
have adopted Islam as the ideological foundation of state and constitution.
Unclear or no declaration
These are neutral states where the constitutional or official announcement regarding status of religion is not clear or unstated.
in the Muslim world have declared separation between civil/government affairs and religion.
Law and ethics
Regional variations in the application of sharia
In some places, Muslims implement Islamic law, called sharia in Arabic. The Islamic law exists in a number of variations, called schools of jurisprudence
. The Amman Message
, which was endorsed in 2005 by prominent Islamic scholars around the world, recognized four Sunni
), two Shia
), the Ibadi
school, and the Zahiri
- Hanafi school in Pakistan, North India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, other Balkan States, Lower Egypt, Spain, Canada, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Russia, Caucasus Republics, China, and Central Asian Republics.
- Maliki in North Africa, West Africa, Sahel, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.
- Shafi'i in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Eritrea, Somalia, Yemen, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and South India
- Hanbali in Saudi Arabia,
- Jaferi in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan. These four are the only "Muslim states" where the majority is Shia population. In Yemen, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, and Syria, are countries with Sunni populations. In Lebanon, the majority Muslims (54%) were about equally divided between Sunni and Shia in 2010.
- Ibadi in Oman and small regions in North Africa.
In a number of Muslim-majority countries
the law requires women to cover either their legs, shoulders and head, or the whole body apart from the face. In strictest forms, the face as well must be covered leaving just a mesh to see through. These hijab rules for dressing
cause tensions, concerning particularly Muslims living in Western
countries, where restrictions are considered both sexist and oppressive. Some Muslims oppose this charge, and instead declare that the media in these countries presses on women to reveal too much in order to be deemed attractive, and that this is itself sexist and oppressive.
During much of the 20th century, the Islamic identity and the dominance of Islam on political issues have arguably increased during the early 21st century. The fast-growing interests of the Western world
in Islamic regions, international conflicts and globalization
have changed the influence of Islam on the world in contemporary history
Democracy and compulsion indexes
The Open Doors
USA organization, in its 2012 survey of countries around the world that persecute Christians
, listed 37 members of the Muslim world amongst the top 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution. 9 of the top 10 countries are Islamic-majority states.
Ideologies dubbed Islamist may advocate a "revolutionary" strategy of Islamizing society through exercise of state power, or alternately a "reformist" strategy to re-Islamizing society through grass-roots social and political activism.
Islamists may emphasize the implementation of sharia; pan-Islamic
including an Islamic state;
or selective removal of non-Muslim, particularly Western
military, economic, political, social, or cultural influences in the Muslim world that they believe to be incompatible with Islam.
Others (Graham E. Fuller
) describe it as a form of identity politics
, involving "support for [Muslim] identity, authenticity, broader regionalism, revivalism, [and] revitalization of the community."
The term itself is not popular among at least many Islamists who believe the term implies violent tactics, human rights violations, and political extremism when used by the Western mass media.
Some authors prefer the term "Islamic activism",
and one prominent Islamist politician (Rached Ghannouchi
) uses the term "Islamic movement" rather than Islamism.
Central and prominent figures in twentieth-century Islamism include Hassan al-Banna
, Sayyid Qutb
, Syed Rezaul Karim
, Abul A'la Maududi
and Ruhollah Khomeini
Many Islamist movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood
, have been willing to pursue their ends by peaceful political processes, rather than revolutionary means.
Others, Sayyid Qutb in particular, called for violence, and his followers are generally considered Islamic extremists
, although Qutb denounced the killing of innocents.
According to Robin Wright
, Islamist movements have "arguably altered the Middle East more than any trend since the modern states gained independence", redefining "politics and even borders".
Following the Arab Spring
, some Islamist currents became heavily involved in democratic politics,
while others spawned "the most aggressive and ambitious Islamist militia" to date, ISIS
Islamism is a concept whose meaning has been debated in both public and academic contexts.
The term can refer to diverse forms of social and political activism advocating that public and political life should be guided by Islamic principles.
In academic usage, the term Islamism
does not specify what vision of "Islamic order" or sharia is being advocated, or how the advocates intend to bring about that vision.
Islam-based intergovernmental organizations
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
(OIC) is an inter-governmental organization grouping fifty-seven states
. 49 are Muslim-majority countries, the others have significant Muslim minorities. The organization claims to be the collective voice of the Muslim world to safeguard the interest and ensure the progress and well-being of their peoples and those of other Muslims in the world over.
In most Muslim-majority countries, illiteracy
is a problem, whereas in others literacy rates are high. In Egypt, the largest Muslim-majority Arab country, the youth female literacy rate exceeds that for males.
Lower literacy rates are more prevalent in South Asian countries such as in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but are rapidly increasing.
In the Eastern Middle East, Iran has a high level of youth literacy at 98%,
whereas Iraq's youth literacy rate has sharply declined from 85% to 57%, during the American-led war and subsequent occupation.
Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, has a very high youth literacy rate at 99%.
A 2016 Pew Research Center
study about religion and education around the world found that Muslims
have the lowest average levels of education after Hindus
, with an average of 5.6 years of schooling.
About 36% of all Muslims have no formal schooling,
Muslims have also the lowest average levels of higher education
of any major religious group, with only 8% having graduate
The highest of years of schooling among Muslim-majority countries found in Uzbekistan
In addition, the average of years of schooling in countries where Muslims are the majority is 6.0 years of schooling, which lag behind the global average (7.7 years of schooling).
In the youngest age (25–34) group surveyed, Young Muslims have the lowest average levels of education of any major religious group, with an average of 6.7 years of schooling, which lag behind the global average (8.6 years of schooling).
The study found that Muslims
have a significant amount of gender inequality
in educational attainment, since Muslim women have an average of 4.9 years of schooling; compare to an average of 6.4 years of schooling among Muslim men.
The literacy rate in the Muslim world varies. Azerbaijan
is in second place in the Index of Literacy of World Countries. Some members such as Iran, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have over 97% literacy rates, whereas literacy rates are the lowest in Mali
and parts of Africa
. In 2015, the International Islamic News Agency reported that nearly 37% of the population of the Muslim world is unable to read or write, basing that figure on reports from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
More than 24.1% of the world's population is Muslim.
Current estimates conclude that the number of Muslims in the world is around 1.8 billion.
Muslims are the majority in 49 countries,
they speak hundreds of languages and come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The city of Karachi
has the largest Muslim population in the world
The two main denominations of Islam are the Sunni and Shia sects. They differ primarily upon of how the life of the ummah ("faithful") should be governed, and the role of the imam
. Sunnis believe that the true political successor of the Prophet according to the Sunnah should be selected based on ٍShura
(consultation), as was done at the Saqifah
which selected Abu Bakr
, Muhammad's father-in-law, to be Muhammad's political but not his religious successor. Shia, on the other hand, believe that Muhammad designated his son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib
as his true political as well as religious successor.
The overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world, between 87 and 90%, are Sunni.
Shias and other groups make up the rest, about 10–13% of overall Muslim population. The countries with the highest concentration of Shia populations are: Iran – 89%,
Azerbaijan – 85%,
Iraq – 60/70%,
Bahrain – 70%, Yemen – 47%,
Turkey – 28%,
Lebanon – 27%, Syria – 17%, Afghanistan – 15%, Pakistan – 5%/10%,
and India – 5%.
Muslims, who are less known, have their own stronghold in the country of Oman holding about 75% of the population.
Islamic schools and branches
were initially divided into five major branches: Sufris
, Adjarites and Ibadis
. Among these numerous branches, only Hanafi
, Nizārī Ismā'īlī
communities have survived. In addition, new schools of thought and movements like Quranist Muslims
, Ahmadi Muslims
and African American Muslims
later emerged independently.
According to the UNHCR
, Muslim-majority countries hosted 18 million refugees by the end of 2010.
Since then Muslim-majority countries have absorbed refugees from recent conflicts, including the uprising in Syria
In July 2013, the UN stated that the number of Syrian refugees
had exceeded 1.8 million.
In Asia, an estimated 625,000 refugees from Rakhine, Myanmar, mostly Muslim, had crossed the border into Bangladesh
since August 2017.
Throughout history, Muslim cultures have been diverse ethnically, linguistically and regionally. According to M.M. Knight
, this diversity includes diversity in beliefs, interpretations and practices and communities and interests. Knight says perception of Muslim world among non Muslim is usually supported through introductory literature about Islam, mostly present a version as per scriptural view which would include some prescriptive literature
and abstracts of history as per authors own point of views, to which even many Muslims might agree, but that necessarily would not reflect Islam as lived on the ground, 'in the experience of real human bodies'.
The term "Islamic art
" denotes the works of art and architecture produced from the 7th century onwards by people who lived within the territory that was inhabited by culturally Islamic populations.
Early Islamic architecture was influenced by Roman
architecture and all other lands which the Early Muslim conquests
conquered in the seventh and eighth centuries.
Further east, it was also influenced by Chinese
and Mughal architecture
as Islam spread to Southeast Asia
. Later it developed distinct characteristics in the form of buildings, and the decoration of surfaces with Islamic calligraphy
and geometric and interlace patterned ornament. New architectural elements like cylindrical minarets, muqarnas, arabesque, multifoil were invented. The principal Islamic architectural types for large or public buildings are: the mosque
, the tomb
, the palace
, and the fort
. From these four types, the vocabulary of Islamic architecture is derived and used for other buildings such as public baths
and domestic architecture.
No Islamic visual images or depictions of God
are meant to exist because it is believed that such artistic depictions may lead to idolatry
. Moreover, Muslims believe that God is incorporeal, making any two- or three- dimensional depictions impossible. Instead, Muslims describe God by the names and attributes
that, according to Islam, he revealed to his creation. All but one sura
of the Quran begins with the phrase "In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
". Images of Mohammed are likewise prohibited. Such aniconism
can also be found in Jewish and some Christian theology
Islamic art frequently adopts the use of geometrical floral or vegetal designs in a repetition known as arabesque
. Such designs are highly nonrepresentational, as Islam forbids representational depictions as found in pre-Islamic pagan religions
. Despite this, there is a presence of depictional art in some Muslim societies, notably the miniature
style made famous in Persia
and under the Ottoman Empire
which featured paintings of people and animals, and also depictions of Quranic stories and Islamic traditional narratives. Another reason why Islamic art is usually abstract is to symbolize the transcendence, indivisible and infinite nature of God, an objective achieved by arabesque.Islamic calligraphy
is an omnipresent decoration in Islamic art, and is usually expressed in the form of Quranic verses. Two of the main scripts involved are the symbolic kufic
scripts, which can be found adorning the walls and domes of mosques
, the sides of minbars
, and so on.
of Islamic architecture have always been ordered repetition, radiating structures, and rhythmic, metric patterns. In this respect, fractal
geometry has been a key utility, especially for mosques and palaces. Other features employed as motifs include columns, piers
and arches, organized and interwoven with alternating sequences of niches and colonnettes.
The role of domes in Islamic architecture has been considerable. Its usage spans centuries, first appearing in 691 with the construction of the Dome of the Rock
mosque, and recurring even up until the 17th century with the Taj Mahal
. And as late as the 19th century, Islamic domes had been incorporated into European architecture.
Example of an Arabesque
Example of an Arabesque
Example of an Arabesque
These paragraphs are an excerpt from Girih
decoration is believed to have been inspired by Syrian Roman
knotwork patterns from the second century. The earliest girih
dates from around 1000 CE, and the artform flourished until the 15th century. Girih
patterns can be created in a variety of ways, including the traditional straightedge and compass construction
; the construction of a grid of polygons; and the use of a set of girih tiles
with lines drawn on them: the lines form the pattern. Patterns may be elaborated by the use of two levels of design, as at the 1453 Darb-e Imam
shrine. Square repeating units of known patterns can be copied as templates
, and historic pattern books may have been intended for use in this way.
The development of Islamic calligraphy is strongly tied to the Qur'an
; chapters and excerpts from the Qur'an are a common and almost universal text upon which Islamic calligraphy is based. Although artistic depictions of people and animals are not explicitly forbidden by the Qur'an, pictures have traditionally been limited in Islamic books in order to avoid idolatry
. In the ancient world, though, artists would often get around this prohibition by using strands of tiny writing to construct lines and images. Calligraphy was a valued art form, even as a moral good. An ancient Arabic proverb illustrates this point by emphatically stating that "Purity of writing is purity of the soul."
However, Islamic calligraphy is not limited to strictly religious subjects, objects, or spaces. Like all Islamic art
, it encompasses a diverse array of works created in a wide variety of contexts.
The prevalence of calligraphy in Islamic art is not directly related to its non-figural tradition; rather, it reflects the centrality of the notion of writing and written text in Islam.
It is noteworthy, for instance, that the Islamic prophet Muhammad is related to have said: "The first thing God created was the pen."
Islamic calligraphy developed from two major styles: Kufic
. There are several variations of each, as well as regionally specific styles. Arabic or Persian calligraphy has also been incorporated into modern art
, beginning with the post-colonial period in the Middle East, as well as the more recent style of calligraffiti
Islamic lunar calendar
The Hijri calendar
: ٱلتَّقْوِيم ٱلْهِجْرِيّ
), also known as the Lunar Hijri calendar and (in English) as the Islamic, Muslim or Arabic calendar, is a lunar calendar
consisting of 12 lunar months
in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to determine the proper days of Islamic holidays
and rituals, such as the annual period of fasting
and the proper time for the Hajj
. In almost all countries where the predominant religion is Islam, the civil calendar
is the Gregorian calendar
, with Syriac month-names
used in the Levant and Mesopotamia
). Notable exceptions to this rule are Iran and Afghanistan, which use the Solar Hijri calendar
. Rents, wages and similar regular commitments are generally paid by the civil calendar.
The Islamic calendar employs the Hijri era
was established as the Islamic New Year
of 622 CE
During that year, Muhammad
and his followers migrated from Mecca
and established the first Muslim community (ummah
), an event commemorated as the Hijra
. In the West, dates in this era are usually denoted AH (Latin
: Anno Hegirae
, "in the year of the Hijra") in parallel with the Christian
(CE) and Jewish eras
(AM). In Muslim countries, it is also sometimes denoted as H
from its Arabic form (سَنَة هِجْرِيَّة
, abbreviated ھ
). In English, years prior to the Hijra are denoted as BH ("Before the Hijra").
As of January 2021 CE, the current Islamic year is 1442 AH. In the Gregorian calendar
reckoning, 1442 AH runs from approximately 20 August 2020 to 9 August 2021.[a]
Solar Hijri calendar
Its determination of the start of each year is astronomically accurate year-to-year as opposed to the more fixed Gregorian
or Common Era
calendar which, averaged out, has the same year length, achieving the same accuracy (a more simply patterned calendar of 365 days for three consecutive years plus an extra day in the next year, save for exceptions to the latter in three out of every four centuries). The start of the year and its number of days remain fixed to one of the two equinoxes, the astronomically important days when day and night each have the same duration. It results in less variability of all celestial bodies when comparing a specific calendar date from one year to others.
Each of the twelve months corresponds with a zodiac sign
. The first six months have 31 days, the next five have 30 days, and the last month has 29 days in usual years but 30 days in leap years
. The Iranian New Year's Day
always falls on the March equinox
According to Riada Asimovic Akyol
while Muslim women's experiences differs a lot by location and personal situations such as family upbringing, class and education;
the difference between culture and religions is often ignored by community and state leaders in many of the Muslim majority countries,
the key issue in the Muslim world regarding gender issues is that medieval religious texts constructed in highly patriarchal environments and based on biological essentialism
are still valued highly in Islam; hence views emphasizing on men's superiority in unequal gender roles
– are widespread among many conservative Muslims (men and women) .
Orthodox Muslims often believe that rights and responsibilities of women in Islam are different than that of men and sacrosanct since assigned by the God.
According to Asma Barlas
patriarchal behaviour among Muslims is based in an ideology which jumbles sexual and biological differences with gender dualisms and inequality. Modernist discourse
of liberal progressive movements
like Islamic feminism
have been revisiting hermeneutics of feminism in Islam
in terms of respect for Muslim women's lives and rights. Riada Asimovic Akyol
further says that equality for Muslim women needs to be achieved through self-criticism.
- ^ The constitution of Bangladesh declares Islam as the state religion, but also guarantees equal rights and treatment for other religions, and separation of government and religion.
- ^ The constitution of Bangladesh declares Islam as the state religion, but also guarantees equal rights and treatment for other religions, and separation of government and religion.
exact dates depend on which variant of the Islamic calendar is followed.
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