Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Islam is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: الله‎, Allah), and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah and composed of Hadith) of Muhammad, considered by them to be the last prophet of God. In addition to referring to the religion itself, the word Islam means 'submission to God', 'peace', and 'way to peace'. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.

Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable. Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Muslims maintain that previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time, but consider the Qur'an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation from God—Final Testament. Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, encompassing everything from banking, politics, and welfare, to warfare and the environment.

Most Muslims belong to one of two denominations; with 80-90% being Sunni and 10-20% being Shia. About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, 25% in South Asia, 20% in the Middle East, 2% in Central Asia, 4% in the remaining South East Asian countries, and 15% in Sub-saharan Africa. Sizable communities are also found in China and Russia, and parts of the Caribbean. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world. With about 1.41-1.57 billion Muslims, comprising about 21-23% of the world's population (see Islam by country), Islam is the second-largest religion and one of the fastest-growing religions in the world.