Islam (Arabic: اَلْإِسْلَامُ) is an Arabic word meaning "submission". Obedience to God is a central theme in the Islamic faith. The monotheistic belief system originated in the 7th century through the teachings of Muhammad (SAW). Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last of all religious prophets (beginning with Abraham) and that the Koran was revealed to him by God.
According to Islamic theology, Islam is the original, complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.
Today adherents of Islam constitute the world's second-largest religious group. An estimated 1.8 billion or more than 24% of the world population identify themselves as Muslims. Islam is the official religion in 26 countries in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Islam is growing faster than any other religion worldwide (see: Pew Research Center
The Arabic script on the Saudi Arabian Flag is the Islamic creed, known as the Shahada; it translates to: "There is no god but God and Muhammad is His messenger." The Shahada is the first of the five pillars of Islam.
The two main branches of Islam today, Sunni
The two primary branches of Islam are Sunni and Shia. The sects split from each other soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, over a religiopolitical leadership dispute about the rightful successor to Muhammad.
The great majority of the world's Muslims are Sunnis; its followers make up 87 to 90% of the global Muslim population. Sunnis regard the first four caliphs as legitimate successors of Muhammad. The majority of the Muslims of Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia are Sunnis. They regard themselves as the traditional (original) followers of the Islamic faith.
Followers of the Shiite faith reject the first three Sunni caliphs and regard Ali, the fourth caliph, as Mohammed's first true successor. The majority of Shia Muslims live in Iran, southern Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, and Yemen. There are large Shia communities in Afghanistan, India, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
Sufism is an Islamic ascetic-mystical tradition, the esoteric dimension of the Islamic faith. Sufism has existed since the early days of Islam and is found in almost all Islamic countries. The devotions of many Sufi orders center on various forms of the dhikr (ذِكْر)
, (Dhikr Allah: Remembrance of God). The dedication can be expressed in a ceremony at which music, body movements, and chants induce a state of ecstatic trance in the disciples.
Countries where Islam is the state religion
26 predominantly Muslim countries have anchored Islam or a specific form of it in their constitution as a state religion.
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Brunei, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sahrawi Republic, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.