Muslim world

The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the unified Islamic community (Ummah), consisting of all those who adhere to the religion of Islam, or to societies where Islam is practiced. In a modern geopolitical sense, these terms refer to countries where Islam is widespread, although there are no agreed criteria for inclusion. Some scholars and commentators have criticised the term 'Muslim/Islamic world' and its derivative terms 'Muslim/Islamic country' as "simplistic" and "binary", since no state has a religiously homogeneous population (e.g. Egypt's citizens are c. 10% Christian), and in absolute numbers, there are sometimes fewer Muslims living in countries where they make up the majority than in countries where they form a minority. Hence, the term Muslim-majority countries is often preferred in literature.

The history of the Muslim world spans about 1400 years and includes a variety of socio-political developments, as well as advances in the arts, science, philosophy, and technology, particularly during the Islamic Golden Age. All Muslims look for guidance to the Quran and believe in the prophetic mission of Muhammad, but disagreements on other matters have led to appearance of different religious schools and branches within Islam. In the modern era, most of the Muslim world came under influence or colonial domination of European powers. The nation states that emerged in the post-colonial era have adopted a variety of political and economic models, and they have been affected by secular and as well as religious trends.

As of 2013, the combined GDP (nominal) of 49 Muslim majority countries was US$ 5.7 trillion, As of 2016, they contributed 8% of the world's total. As of 2015, 1.8 billion or about 24.1% of the world population are Muslims. By the percentage of the total population in a region considering themselves Muslim, 91% in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA), 89% in Central Asia, 40% in Southeast Asia, 31% in South Asia, 30% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 25% in AsiaOceania, around 6% in Europe, and 1% in the Americas.

Muslim history involves the history of the Islamic faith as a religion and as a social institution. The history of Islam began in the Arabian Peninsula when the Islamic prophet Muhammad allegedly received the first revelation of the Quran in the 7th century in the cave of Hira in the month of Ramadan. According to tradition, he was supposedly commanded by Allah to convey this message to the people, and to be patient with those hostile to it. These included the leaders of the Quraysh, the ruling tribe of Mecca, who opposed the assertion of tawhid (monotheism) and abolishing what Muhammed branded "idolatry", meaning the worship of gods other than Allah at the Kaaba, such as Hubal and the goddesses al-Lāt, Al-‘Uzzá and Manāt. After 13 years of spreading this message, despite increased persecution by the Quraysh, Muhammad and his followers migrated to Medina to establish a new state under the prophet's leadership and away from persecution. This migration, called the Hijra, marks the first year of the Islamic calendar. Islam was then spread to other parts of the Arabian Peninsula over the course of Muhammad's life.

After Muhammad died in 632, his successors (the Caliphs) continued to lead the Muslim community based on his teachings and guidelines of the Quran. The majority of Muslims consider the first four successors to be 'rightly guided' or Rashidun. The Rashidun Caliphate's conquests spread Islam beyond the Arabian Peninsula, stretching from northwest India, across Central Asia, the Near East, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. The Arab Muslims were unable to conquer the entire Christian Byzantine Empire in Asia Minor, however. The succeeding Umayyad Caliphate attempted two failed sieges of Constantinople in 674–678 and 717–718. Meanwhile, the Muslim community tore itself apart into the rivalling Sunni and Shia sects since the killing of caliph Uthman in 656, resulting in a succession crisis that has never been resolved. The following First, Second and Third Fitnas and finally the Abbasid Revolution (746–750) also definitively destroyed the political unity of the Muslims, who have been inhabiting multiple states ever since.

Subsequent empires dominated by Muslims, such as those of the Abbasids, Fatimids, Almoravids, Seljukids, Ajuran, Adal and Warsangali in Somalia, Mughals in the Indian subcontinent (India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan e.t.c), Safavids in Persia and Ottomans in Anatolia, were among the influential and distinguished powers in the world. 19th-century colonialism and 20th-century decolonisation have resulted in several independent Muslim-majority states around the world, with vastly differing attitudes towards and political influences granted to, or restricted for, Islam from country to country. These have revolved around the question of Islam's compatibility with other ideological concepts such as secularism, nationalism (especially Arab nationalism and Pan-Arabism, as opposed to Pan-Islamism), socialism (see also Arab socialism and socialism in Iran), democracy (see Islamic democracy), republicanism (see also Islamic republic), liberalism and progressivism, feminism, capitalism and more.

This page was last edited on 19 March 2018, at 14:58.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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