For other uses, see Islam (disambiguation).
The Kaaba in Mecca is the direction of prayer and destination of pilgrimage for Muslims all over the world.

Islam ( /ˈɪslɑːm/; [note 1] Arabic: الإسلام‎‎, al-ʾIslām IPA:  [alʔisˈlaːm]; [note 2]) is a religion articulated by the Quran, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Allāh), and, for the vast majority of adherents, the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad ( c. 570–8 June 632 CE). It is the world's second-largest religion [1] and the fastest-growing major religion in the world, [2] [3] [4] with over 1.7 billion followers [5] or 23% of the global population, [1] known as Muslims. [6] Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion that upholds that God is one and incomparable [7] and that the purpose of existence is to worship God. [8] Muslims consider Muhammad to be the last prophet of God. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

Muslims also believe that 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. [14] [15] [16] As for the Quran, Muslims consider it to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. [17] Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment. [18] [19] Certain religious rites and customs are observed by the Muslims in their family and social life, while social responsibilities to parents, relatives, and neighbors have also been defined. Besides, the Quran and the sunnah of Muhammad prescribe a comprehensive body of moral guidelines for Muslims to be followed in their personal, social, political, and religious life.

Islam began in the early 7th century. Originating in Mecca, [20] it quickly spread in the Arabian Peninsula and by the 8th century the Islamic empire was extended from Iberia in the west to the Indus River in the east. The Islamic Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century when much of the historically Islamic world was experiencing a scientific, economic and cultural flourishing. [21] [22] [23] The expansion of the Muslim world involved various caliphates and empires, traders and conversion to Islam by missionary activities. [24]

Most Muslims are of one of two denominations: [25] [26] Sunni (75–90%) [27] or Shia (10–20%). [28] About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, [29] the largest Muslim-majority country, 32% in South Asia, [30] 20% in the Middle East, [31] and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa. [32] Sizable Muslim communities are also found in Europe, China, Russia, and the Americas. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world.

Etymology and meaning

Islam is a verbal noun originating from the triliteral root s-l-m which forms a large class of words mostly relating to concepts of wholeness, submission, safeness and peace. [33] In a religious context it means "voluntary submission to God". [34] [35] Islām is the verbal noun of Form IV of the root, and means "submission" or "surrender". Muslim, the word for an adherent of Islam, is the active participle of the same verb form, and means "one who submits" or "one who surrenders". The word sometimes has distinct connotations in its various occurrences in the Quran. In some verses, there is stress on the quality of Islam as an internal state: "Whomsoever God desires to guide, He opens his heart to Islam." [36] Other verses connect Islām and dīn (usually translated as "religion"): "Today, I have perfected your religion (dīn) for you; I have completed My blessing upon you; I have approved Islam for your religion." [37] Still others describe Islam as an action of returning to God—more than just a verbal affirmation of faith. [38] In the Hadith of Gabriel, islām is presented as one part of a triad that also includes imān (faith), and ihsān (excellence). [39] [40]

Islam was historically called Muhammadanism in Anglophone societies. This term has fallen out of use and is sometimes said to be offensive because it suggests that a human being rather than God is central to Muslims' religion, parallel to Jesus Christ in Christianity. Some authors, however, continue to use the term Muhammadanism as a technical term for the religious system as opposed to the theological concept of Islam that exists within that system. [41]