For other uses, see Muslim (name) and Muslim (disambiguation).

A Muslim, sometimes spelled Moslem,[1] is an adherent of Islam. The Qur'an is the holy book of Islam and Muslims believe that it is the verbatim word of God as revealed to the prophet Muhammad. Muslims also follow the teachings and practices of Muhammad as recorded in traditional accounts called hadith.[2] "Muslim" is an Arabic word meaning "one who submits to God". A female Muslim is sometimes called a Muslimah.

Muslims believe that God (Allāh) is eternal, transcendent and absolutely one (monotheism). They also believe Allāh is incomparable, self-sustaining and neither begets nor was begotten. The core of Muslim beliefs are to be found in Chapter 112 of the Qur'an, The Purity, in which Allāh instructs the faithful in purity of faith.[3][4] Muslims believe 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.[5] Muslims also believe that these previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time[6] and that the Qur'an is the final unaltered revelation from God (The Final Testament).[7] Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets and the final prophet. Muslims have a high regard for Muhammad's companions such as Fatimah, Ali, Khadija and Umar.


Most Muslims accept as a Muslim anyone who has publicly pronounced the Shahadah (declaration of faith) which states:

I testify that there is no god except for the God, and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

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 Ramadan (sawm), almsgiving (zakat), and the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in a lifetime.[8][9]

The majority of Muslims are Sunni, being over 75–90% of all Muslims.[10] The second largest sect, Shia, makes up 10–20%.[11] 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%).[12] Sizable minorities are also found in India, China, Russia, Ethiopia, Americas, Australia and parts of Europe. With about 1.6 billion followers, almost a quarter of earth's population,[13][14][15] Islam is the second-largest and one of the fastest-growing religions in the world.[16][17][18]


The word muslim (Arabic: مسلم‎, IPA: [ˈmʊslɪm]; English /ˈmʌzlɨm/, /ˈmʊzlɨm/, /ˈmʊslɨm/ or moslem /ˈmɒzləm/, /ˈmɒsləm/[19]) is the participle of the same verb of which islām is the infinitive, based on the triliteral S-L-M "to be whole, intact".[20][21] A female adherent is a muslima (Arabic: مسلمة‎). The plural form in Arabic is muslimūn (مسلمون), and its feminine equivalent is muslimāt (مسلمات). The Arabic form muslimun is the stem IV participle[22] of the triliteral S-L-M.

Other words for Muslim

The ordinary word in English is "Muslim". It is sometimes transliterated as "Moslem", which is an older spelling.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]


In defining Muslim, the Sufi spiritual leader 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.[26]

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.


Main article: Islam § Demographics

About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country,[14] 25% in South Asia,[14] 20% in the Middle East,[14][27] 2% in Central Asia, 4% in the remaining South East Asian countries, and 15% in Sub-saharan Africa.[14] 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.

See also

References and notes

  1. From Sunni Islam: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide "Sunni Islam is the dominant division of the global Muslim community, and throughout history it has made up a substantial majority (85 to 90 percent) of that community."

External links

  • Ritual Prayer: Its Meaning and Manner The Islamic Supreme Council of America.
  • Muhammad and the First Muslim Ummah University of Chicago.

Template:Characters and names in the Quran