Muslims are people who follow or practice Islam, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion. Muslims consider the Quran, their holy book, to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet and messenger Muhammad. The majority of Muslims also follow the teachings and practices of Muhammad ( sunnah) as recorded in traditional accounts ( hadith).
The beliefs of Muslims include: that God (الله ) is eternal, transcendent and absolutely one ( tawhid); that God is incomparable, self-sustaining and neither begets nor was begotten; that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that has been revealed before through many prophets including Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, and Jesus; that these previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time ( tahrif) and that the Quran is the final unaltered revelation from God (Final Testament).Submission.org, Quran: The Final Testament, Authorized English Version with Arabic Text, Revised Edition IV,, p. x.
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), 81% in Central Asia, 65% in the Caucasus, 40% in Southeast Asia, 31% in South Asia, 30% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 25% in Asia–Oceania, around 6% in Europe, and 1% in the Americas.
Most Muslims are of one of two denominations; Sunni Islam (75–90%)
To become a Muslim and to convert to Islam, it is essential to utter the Shahada, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, a declaration of faith and trust that professes that there is tawhid God (Allah) and that Muhammad is God's messenger. From the article on the Pillars of Islam in Oxford Islamic Studies Online It is a set statement normally recited in Arabic: lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāhu muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh (لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله) "There is no god but Allah, (and) Muhammad is the messenger of God."
In Sunni Islam, the shahada has two parts: la ilaha illa'llah (there is no god but Allah), and Muhammadun rasul Allah (Muhammad is the messenger of God),Lindsay, p. 140–141 which are sometimes referred to as the first shahada and the second shahada.Cornell, p. 9 The first statement of the shahada is also known as the tahlil.
In Shia Islam, the shahada also has a third part, a phrase concerning Ali, the first Shia Imam and the fourth Rashidun of Sunni Islam: وعليٌ وليُّ الله (), which translates to "Ali is the wali of God". The Later Mughals by William Irvine p. 130
The ordinary word in English is "Muslim". The word Mosalman (مسلمان, alternatively Mussalman) is a common equivalent for Muslim used in Central Asia and South Asia. In English it was sometimes spelled Mussulman and has become Archaism in usage. Until at least the mid-1960s, many English-language writers used the term or Mahometans.See for instance the second edition of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H. W. Fowler, revised by Ernest Gowers (Oxford, 1965). 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. Other obsolete terms include Muslimite and Muslimist.
Sizable minorities are also found in India, China, Ethiopia, the Americas, Australia and parts of Europe. The country with the highest proportion of self-described Muslims as a proportion of its total population is Morocco. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world.
With about 1.8 billion followers (2019), almost a quarter of world population, Islam is the second-largest and the fastest-growing religion in the world. due primarily to the young age and high fertility rate of Muslims, with Muslim having a rate of (3.1) compared to the world average of (2.5). According to the same study, religious switching has no impact on Muslim population, since the number of people who embrace Islam and those who leave Islam are roughly equal.
A Pew Center study in 2016 found that Muslims have the highest number of adherents under the age of 15 (or 34% of the total Muslim population) of any major religion, while only 7% are aged 60+ (the smallest percentage of any major religion). According to the same study, Muslims have the highest (3.1) of any major religious group. The study also found that Muslims (tied with Hindus) have the lowest average levels of education with an average of 5.6 years of schooling, though both groups have made the largest gains in educational attainment in recent decades among major religions. About 36% of all Muslims have no formal schooling, and Muslims have the lowest average levels of higher education of any major religious group, with only 8% having Academic degree and post-graduate degrees.