Islam in Pakistan: Wikis


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Pakistani Muslims
Total population
175,376,000 (2009)[1]
97% of the Pakistani Population[2]
Regions with significant populations
Majority in all Provinces

Urdu · English · Pakistani Languages

Islam in Pakistan

Badshahi Mosque July 1 2005 pic32 by Ali Imran (1).jpg



Mughal · Indo-Islamic · Indo-Saracenic

Major figures

Mohammad bin Qasim · Baba Fareed
 · Khwaja Sheikh Pak
 · Bulleh Shah
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan · Bahadur Yar Jung


Punjabis  · Sindhis  · Kashmiris  · Pashtuns  · Seraikis  · Balochs  · Muhajirs

Schools of law

Hanafi · Shia · Shafi`i · Maliki · Hanbali

Schools of thought

Shia ·  · Barelvi · Deobandi · Ahle Hadith

Sects in Pakistan

Sunni · Shia · Ahmadiyya

Mosques in Pakistan

Faisal Mosque · Badshahi Mosque
Mosques in Pakistan

Other topics

Ahle Sunnat Movement in South Asia
Indian Muslim nationalism
Muslim chronicles for Indian history

Part of a series on
Islam by country


Islam is the official religion of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In the 1998 census, it found 97% of the total population were Muslims[3], and in 2007 at 97% and out of Muslim population (Sunni 75%, Shi'a 20%, Ahmadi 1.42%[4])[5]. The estimated population of Muslims of Pakistan in 2009 is 175,376,000[6]. Pakistan has the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. The majority of Muslims in Pakistan are Sunnis, and the Shi'a Muslim population is the second largest in the world after Iran, more than 50 million.


Umayyad invasion of Sindh and the arrival of Islam

The Badshahi Masjid, literally the 'Royal Mosque', was built in 1674 by Aurangzeb. It is one of Lahore's best known landmarks, and epitomizes the beauty and grandeur of the Mughal era.

Islam arrived in the area now known as Pakistan in 711 CE, when the Umayyad dynasty sent a Muslim Arab army led by Muhammad bin Qasim against the ruler of Sindh, Raja Dahir, this was due to the fact that Raja Dahir had given refuge to numerous Zorostrian Princes who had fled the Islamic conquest of Iran. Mohummad Bin Qasim's army was defeated in his first thee attempts. The Muslim army conquered the northwestern part of Indus Valley from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea. The arrival of the Arab Muslims to the provinces of Sindh and Punjab, along with subsequent Muslim dynasties, set the stage for the religious boundaries of South Asia that would lead to the development of the modern state of Pakistan as well as forming the foundation for Islamic rule which quickly spread across much of South Asia. Following the rule of various Islamic empires, including the Ghaznavid Empire, the Ghorid kingdom, and the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughals controlled the region from 1526 until 1739. Muslim technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and Sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to Islamic Sultanate and Mughal Empire in South Asia and in the land that became Pakistan.

Sufism in Pakistan

Sufism has a strong tradition in Pakistan. The Muslim Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting the millions of native people to Islam. As in other areas where Sufis introduced it, Islam to some extent syncretized with pre-Islamic influences, resulting in a religion with some traditions distinct from those of the Arab world. The Naqshbandiya, Qadiriya, Chishtiya and Suhrawardiyya silsas havea a large following in Pakistan. Sufis whose shrines receive much national attention are Data Ganj Baksh (Ali Hajweri) in Lahore (ca. 11th century), Baha-ud-din Zakariya in Multan and Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan (ca. 12th century). and Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai in Bhit, Sindh and Rehman Baba in North-West Frontier Province.

Islam and the Pakistan Movement

The Muslim poet-philosopher Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal first proposed the idea of a Muslim state in northwestern South Asia in his address to the Muslim League at Allahabad in 1930. His proposal referred to the four provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and the NorthWest Frontier -- essentially what would became Pakistan. Iqbal's idea gave concrete form to two distinct nations in the South Asia based on religion (Islam and Hinduism) and with different historical backgrounds, social customs, cultures, and social mores.

Islam was thus the basis for the creation and the unification of a separate state, but it was not expected to serve as the model of government. Mohammad Ali Jinnah made his commitment to secularism in Pakistan clear in his inaugural address when he said, You will find that in the course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State. This vision of a Muslim majority state in which religious minorities would share equally in its development was questioned shortly after independence.

Politicized Islam

From the outset, politics and religion have been intertwined both conceptually and practically in Islam. Because Prophet Muhammad established a government in Madina, precedents of governance and taxation exist. Through the history of Islam, from the Ummayyad (661-750) and Abbasid empires (750-1258) to the Mughals (1526- 1858), Safavis (1501-1722) and the Ottomans (1300-1923), religion and statehood have been treated as one. Indeed, one of the beliefs of Islam is that the purpose of the state is to provide an environment where Muslims can properly practice their religion. If a leader fails in this, the people have a right to depose him.

In 1977, the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto outlawed alcohol and changed the weekend from Sunday to Friday, but no substantive Islamic reform program was implemented prior to General Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization program. Starting in February 1979, new penal measures based on Islamic principles of justice went into effect. These carried considerably greater implications for women than for men. A welfare and taxation system based on Zakat and a profit-and-loss banking system were also established in accordance with Islamic prohibitions against usury but were inadequate.

Muslim sects in Pakistan

Data Durbar in Lahore, Pakistan is the tomb of Ali Hajweri, eleventh century Sufi. People come each year to pay their respects and to say prayers. The large complex also includes Jamia Hajweri, or Hajweri Mosque.

Census data[7] indicates that over 97% of the population is Muslim. The Muslims belong to different schools which are called Madhahib (singular: Madhhab) i.e., schools of jurisprudence (also 'Maktab-e-Fikr' (School of Thought) in Urdu). Around 75% of Pakistani Muslims are Sunni Muslims and there is a minority 20% Shi'a Muslims. The Hanafi school includes the Barelvis and Deobandis schools. Although the majority of Pakistani Shia Muslims belong to Ithna 'ashariyah school, there are significant minorities: Nizari Ismailis (Aga Khanis) and the smaller Mustaali Dawoodi Bohra and Sulaimani Bohra branches. The Salafi sect is represented by the Ahle Hadith movement in Pakistan. Many people on the Makran coast of Balochistan follow the Zikri sect of Islam.

The two subsects of Sunni Hanafi school, Barelvis and Deobandis, have their own Masjids. The Shia Ithna 'ashariyah school has its own Masjids and Hussainias (Imambargahs). Mustaali Dawoodi Bohra and Sulaimani Bohra also have their own Masjids. While the Nizari Khoja Ismailis (Aga Khanis) pray in Jama'at Khanas.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a minority Muslim group is also present. Ahmadis have been declared non-Muslims by the Government of Pakistan, although international organisations such as Amnesty International have viewed that such a decision is a move against the international human rights. In 1974, the government of Pakistan amended Constitution of Pakistan to define a Muslim "as a person who believes in finality of Prophet Muhammad".[8] For this reason, Ahmadis are persecuted on behalf of their beliefs. Ahmadis believe in Muhammad as the best and the last law bearing prophet and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Christ of Muslims who was prophesized to come in the latter days and unite the Muslims. Consequently they were declared non-Muslims by a tribunal, the records of which have not been released to date. According to the last Pakistan census, Ahmadis made up 0.25% of the population. However the website[9] proposes that the Ahmadiyya Muslim community made up 1.42% of the population; which is likely to be a less biased source. The Ahmadis claim their community is even larger.

There are small non-Muslim religious groups: Christians (1.6%), Hindus (1.85%), Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis, Bahá'ís, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and others making up approximately 3% of the population.

Laws and customs

There is no law in Pakistan enforcing hijab, although there is strong social pressure for women to observe Purdah in some regions. The practice of wearing Hijab among younger women is growing due to media influence from the Middle East and Persian Gulf countries. Pakistan is also the country with the highest number of Niqab (full-veil) wearing women in the world. In the North-West Frontier Province, Balochistan and some areas in the Punjab they make significant of females.

The episodes of sectarian violence have significantly decreased in frequency over the years due to the conflictual engagement of the Islamic militant organizations with the state's armed forces and intelligence agencies.

Media and pilgrimages

Media and pilgrimages has influenced Pakistani Muslims to learn more about Islam as a result the local heterodox beliefs and practices are being replaced with orthodox beliefs from Quran and Sunnah. The inexpensive travel, simpler visa rules and direct air travel to Saudi Arabia has resulted in large number Pakistani Muslims going to Madina and Mecca for Haj and Umrah. This has helped to increase Pan-Islamic identity of Pakistani Muslims. The Muslim print media has always existed in Pakistan which included newspapers, books and magazines. The Muslim satellite channels are widely available and are watched by Pakistani population.

Islamic education

Islamic education is compulsary for all Muslim students upto Matriculation in all schools in Pakistan. Islamic education to the masses is also propagated mainly by Islamic schools and literature. Islamic schools (or Madrasahs) are for the devoted Muslims, mostly comprising youth and those learning to be Islamic clerics. More casual and even research oriented material is available in the form of books. While the most prominent of these schools are being monitored, the latter are being 'moderated' by both the government and some of the scholars, thereby also removing in the process the various material present in it that is used by Anti-Islam/Anti-Sunni writers. Oldest and universally accepted titles such as the Sahih Bukhari have been revised into 'summarised' editions and some of the old, complete titles, translated to Urdu, the national language, are not available for purchase now. These changes are also a herald to new outbreaks of religious controversy in the region.

See also

Further reading

External links



Simple English

Islam is the official religion of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In the 1998 census, it found 97% of the total population were Muslims[1], and in 2007 at 97% and out of Muslim population (Sunni 75%, Shi'a 20%)[2]. The estimated population of Muslims of Pakistan in 2009 is 175,376,000[3]. Pakistan has the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. The majority of Muslims in Pakistan are Sunnis, and the Shi'a Muslim population is the second largest in the world after Iran, more than 50 million.


  1. [1] US Department of State
  2. [2] CIA World Factbook - Pakistan
  3. 2008 World Population Data Sheet


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