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Islam (Arabic: الإسلام[note 1]) is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (الله, Allah), and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah and composed of Hadith) of Muhammad, often 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',[1] 'peace', and 'way to peace'.[2] An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.

Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable.[3] 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.[4] Muslims maintain that previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time,[5] 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 and welfare, to warfare and the environment.[6][7]

Most Muslims belong to one of two denominations; with 80-90% being Sunni and 10-20% being Shia.[8][9][10] About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country,[11] 25% in South Asia,[11] 20% in the Middle East,[12] 2% in Central Asia, 4% in the remaining South East Asian countries, and 15% in Sub-saharan Africa.[13] Sizable communities are also found in China and Russia, and parts of the Caribbean[citation needed]. 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),[13][14] Islam is the second-largest religion and one of the fastest-growing religions in the world.[15][16][17][18][19]


As of 2015, Islamism, a form of fundamentalist Islam was the ideology driving several active militant political movements such as the Islamic State, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda.


  1. There are ten pronunciations of Islam in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the s is z or /s/, and whether the a is pronounced /ɑː/ as in father, /æ/ as in cat, or (when the stress is on the i) /ə/ as in the a of sofa (Merriam Webster). The most common are ˈɪzləm, ˈɪsləm, ɪzˈlɑːm, ɪsˈlɑːm (Oxford English Dictionary, Random House) and ˈɪzlɑːm, ˈɪslɑːm (American Heritage Dictionary).


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Lanes Lexicon
  2. Omar, Abdul Mannan (2003). Dictionary of the Holy Qur'an, NOOR Foundation International Inc..
  3. See:
  4. People of the Book. Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS. URL accessed on 2010-12-18.
  5. See: * Accad (2003): According to Ibn Taymiya, 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*
  6. Esposito (2002b), p.17
  7. See: * Esposito (2002b), pp.111,112,118*
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Britannica
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PRC
  10. (2010). Religions. Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. URL accessed on 2010-08-25.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Miller (2009), pp.8,17
  12. See:* Esposito (2002b), p.21* Esposito (2004), pp.2,43 * Miller (2009), pp.9,19
  13. 13.0 13.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named mgmpPRC
  14. The World Factbook. CIA Factbook. URL accessed on 2010-12-08.
  15. Islam Today. Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS. URL accessed on 2010-08-25.
  16. No God But God. Thomas W. Lippman. U.S. News & World Report. URL accessed on 2010-08-25.
  17. Understanding Islam. Susan Headden. U.S. News & World Report. URL accessed on 2010-08-25.
  18. The List: The World's Fastest-Growing Religions. Foreign Policy. URL accessed on 2010-05-16.
  19. Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents. URL accessed on 2007-07-03.
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