For other uses, see Muslim (name) and Muslim (disambiguation).
See also: Muhammadan

A Muslim, sometimes spelled Moslem,[1] relates to a person who follows or practises the religion of Islam,[2] a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the Quran. Muslims consider the Quran to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet and messenger Muhammad. They also follow the sunnah teachings and practices of Muhammad as recorded in traditional accounts called hadith.[3] "Muslim" is an Arabic word meaning "one who submits (to God)".[4] A female Muslim is sometimes called a Muslimah.[5] There are customs holding that a man and woman or teenager and adolescent above the age of fifteen of a lunar or solar calendar who possesses the faculties of rationality, logic or sanity, but misses numerous successive Jumu'ahs without a valid excuse, no longer qualifies as a Muslim.[6][7]

Most Muslims will accept anyone who has publicly pronounced the declaration of faith (shahadah) as a Muslim.[8] The shahadah states:

There is no god but the God (Allah) and Muhammad is the last messenger of the God.[9]

The testimony authorized by God in the Quran can found in Surah 3:18 states.[10]

"There is no god except God", which in Arabic (La Ilahi Illallah), is the exact testimony which God Himself utters, also the angels and those who possess knowledge utter.[11]

Islamic beliefs commonly held by Muslims include: that God (Arabic: الله Allāh) is eternal, transcendent and absolutely one (monotheism); 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, Moses, Ishmael and Jesus;[12] that these previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time[13] and that the Qur'an is the final unaltered revelation from God (The Final Testament).[14]

The religious practices of Muslims are enumerated in the Five Pillars of Islam, which, in addition to Shahadah, consist of daily prayers (salat), fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan (sawm), almsgiving (zakat), and the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in a lifetime.[15][16]


The word muslim (Arabic: مسلم, IPA: [ˈmʊslɪm]; English /ˈmʌzlm/, /ˈmʊzlm/, /ˈmʊslm/ or moslem /ˈmɒzləm/, /ˈmɒsləm/[17]) 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".[18][19] A female adherent is a muslima (Arabic: مسلمة). 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[20] of the triliteral S-L-M. A female Muslim can variously be called in their etymologically Arabic form of Muslimah, also spelled Muslima, Muslimette, Muslimess or, simply, the standard term: Muslim.[21][22] General alternative epithets or designations given to Muslims include mosquegoer, masjidgoer, or archaic, dated and obsolete terms such as Muslimite[23] or Muslimist.[24]

The ordinary word in English is "Muslim". It is sometimes transliterated as "Moslem", which is an older spelling. The word Mosalman (Persian: مسلمان, alternatively Mussalman) is a common equivalent for Muslim used in Central Asia. Until at least the mid-1960s, many English-language writers used the term Mohammedans or Mahometans.[25] 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.[26]


Afghan Muslims praying inside Gardens of Babur in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In defining Muslim, 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.[27]

Used to describe earlier prophets in the Qur'an

The Qur'an describes many prophets and messengers as well as their respective followers as Muslim: Adam, Noah, Abraham, 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 Jesus, "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 Torah to Moses, the Psalms to David and the Gospel to Jesus, who are all considered important Muslim prophets.


World Muslim population by percentage (2010 data from Pew Research Center).

About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country,[28] 25% in South Asia,[28] 20% in the Middle East and North Africa,[28][29] 2% in Central Asia, 4% in the remaining South East Asian countries, and 15% in Sub-saharan Africa.[28] Sizable communities are also found in China and Russia, and parts of the Caribbean. The country with the highest proportion of self-described Muslims as a proportion of its total population is Morocco.[30] Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world.

The majority of Muslims are Sunni, being over 75–90% of all Muslims.[31][32] The second and third largest sects, Shia and Ahmadiyya, make up 10–20%,[33] and 1%[34] respectively. The most populous Muslim-majority country is Indonesia home to 12.7% of the world's Muslims followed by Pakistan (11.0%), Bangladesh (9.2%), and Egypt (4.9%).[35] Sizable minorities are also found in India, China, Russia, Ethiopia, the Americas, Australia and parts of Europe. With about 1.6 billion followers, almost a quarter of earth's population,[28][36][37] Islam is the second-largest and the fastest-growing religion in the world.[38]

See also

References and notes

  1. "muslim"
  2. "Muslim". Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  3. 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.
  4. "Muslim".
  5. Muslimah. Oxford Dictionarie. Oxford University Press. 2016
  6. Rippin, Andrew (1986). Textual Sources for the Study of Islam. p. 91.
  7. The Five Pillars of Islam, p 101, Musharraf Hussain - 2012
  8. "How to become a Muslim" (pdf). Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  9. "Arabic phrases and about Islam".
  10. "True Islam - Al-Shahada". True Islam - Al-Shahada. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  11. "True Islam - Al-Shahada". True Islam - Al-Shahada. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  12. "People of the Book". Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  13. 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.
  14., Quran: The Final Testament, Authorized English Version with Arabic Text, Revised Edition IV,ISBN 0-9729209-2-7, p. x.
  15. 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.
  16. "Religions". The World Factbook. United States: Central Intelligence Agency. 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  17. "Muslim". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary: /ˈmʌzlm/, /ˈmʊzlm/, /ˈmʊslm/; moslem /ˈmɒzləm/, /ˈmɒsləm/
  18. Burns & Ralph, World Civilizations, 5th ed., p. 371.
  19. 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.
  20. also known as "infinitive", cf. Burns & Ralph, World Civilizations, 5th ed., p. 371
  21. Brown, Jamie (1994). S2s Magazine. p. 40.
  22. Redhouse, James (1885). Notes on prof. E.B. Tylor's 'Arabian matriarchate. p. 20.
  23. "Muslimite". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  24. Abbas, Tahir (2005). Muslim Britain: Communities Under Pressure. p. 50.
  25. See for instance the second edition of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H. W. Fowler, revised by Ernest Gowers (Oxford, 1965).
  26. 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.
  27. Commentary on the Qur'an, Razi, I, p. 432, Cairo, 1318/1900
  28. 1 2 3 4 5 Miller, Tracy, ed. (October 2009). Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population (PDF). Pew Research Center. pp. 8–9, 17–19. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
  29. 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.
  30. "Muslim Population by Country". The Future of the Global Muslim Population. Pew Research Center. Retrieved 13 January 2015
  31. See:
  32. From Sunni Islam: See:
  33. "Shīʿite". Encyclopædia Britannica. 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.
    • Breach of Faith. Human Rights Watch. June 2005. p. 8. Retrieved 29 March 2014. Estimates of around 20 million would be appropriate
    • Larry DeVries; Don Baker & Dan Overmyer. Asian Religions in British Columbia. University of Columbia Press. ISBN 978-0-7748-1662-5. Retrieved 29 March 2014. The community currently numbers around 15 million spread around the world
    • Juan Eduardo Campo. Encyclopedia of Islam. p. 24. ISBN 0-8160-5454-1. Retrieved 29 March 2014. The total size of the Ahmadiyya community in 2001 was estimated to be more than 10 million
    • "Ahmadiyya Muslims". Retrieved 6 October 2013.
    • A figure of 10-20 million represents approximately 1% of the Muslim population. See also Ahmadiyya by country.
  34. "Number of Muslim by country". Retrieved 30 May 2007.
  35. "Nearly 1 in 4 people worldwide is Muslim, report says". CNN. 12 October 2009.
  36. The World Factbook Retrieved 8 December 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  37. Burke, Daniel. "The fastest growing religion in the world is ...". CNN. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  • "No God But God". Thomas W. Lippman. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2010. Islam is the youngest, the fastest growing, and in many ways the least complicated of the world's great monotheistic faiths. It is a unique religion based on its own holy book, but it is also a direct descendant of Judaism and Christianity, incorporating some of the teachings of those religions—modifying some and rejecting others. 
  • "Understanding Islam". Susan Headden. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
  • "Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents". Retrieved 3 July 2007. 
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