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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Muslims are found throughout various parts of the world including the People's Republic of China
This article contains Arabic text, written from right to left in a cursive style with some letters joined. Without proper rendering support, you may see unjoined Arabic letters written left-to-right instead of right-to-left or other symbols instead of Arabic script.

A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم‎), pronounced /ˈmʊslɨm/, is an adherent of the religion of Islam. Literally, the word means "one who submits (to God)". Muslim is the participle of the same verb of which Islam is the infinitive.[1] The feminine form is sometimes used as Muslimah (Arabic: مسلمة‎), especially in recent years.[citation needed] All Muslims observe Sunnah, but differences in the definition of what is and what is not Sunnah has led to the emergence of sectarian movements. The well-organised and cohesive community of Muslims who accept the Sunnah as defined within one of the traditional Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi or Hanbali madhabs are the classical Sunni Muslims. Those who fall outside of this fold are the Shia Muslims, though often thinking themselves to be Sunni Muslims.

Muslims believe that there is only one God, translated in Arabic as Allah. Muslims also believe that Islam existed long before Muhammad though it was not called Islam until the revelation of Surah al-Maeda. Muslims believe that this religion had evolved with time from the time of Adam until the time of Muhammad and was completed with the revelation of verse 3 of Surah al-Maeda:

This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.

The Qur'an describes many Biblical prophets and messengers as Muslim: Adam, Noah (Arabic: Nuh), Moses and Jesus and his apostles. The Qur'an states that these men were Muslims because they submitted to God, preached his message and upheld his values. Thus, in Surah 3:52 of the Qur'an, Jesus’ disciples tell Jesus, "We believe in God; and you be our witness that we submit and obey (wa ashahadu bil-muslimūna)."

Muslims consider making ritual prayer five times a day a religious duty (fard) (see the section on Ismāˤīlīs below for exceptions); these five prayers are known as fajr, dhuhr, ˤasr, maghrib and ˤishā'. There is also a special Friday prayer called jumuˤah. Currently, the most up to date reports from an American think-tank and PBS have estimated 1.2 to 1.57 billion Muslims populate the world, or about 25% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.[2] With 60% in Asia and 20% of Muslims living in the Middle East and North Africa.[3][4][5][6]



Arabic muslimun is the stem IV participle[7] of the triliteral S-L-M "to be whole, intact". A literal translation would be "one who wants or seeks wholeness", where "wholeness" translates islāmun. In a religious sense, Al-Islām translates to "faith, piety", and Muslim to "one who has (religious) faith or piety".

The feminine form of muslimun is muslimatun (Arabic: مسلمة‎).

Other words for Muslim

The ordinary word in English is "Muslim", pronounced /ˈmʊslɪm/ or /ˈmʌzləm/. The word is pronounced [ˈmʊslɪm] in Arabic. It is sometimes transliterated "Moslem", an older, possibly Persian-based spelling, which some regard as offensive.[8]

Until at least the mid-1960s, many English-language writers used the term Mohammedans or Mahometans.[9] 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.

English writers of the 19th century and earlier sometimes used the words Mussulman, Musselman, Musulman, or Mussulmaun (plural -mans, rather than -men).[citation needed]

Variant forms of this word are still used by many Indo-European and Turkic languages. These words are similar to the French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Bosnian, Persian, Kurdish, and Hindi words for "Muslim".

In spite of that, the Polish word for Muslim almost certainly does come directly from the Turkish. While it appears as if it came directly from the Arabic, in "Muzułmanin", the "ł" sound is close to either the English "w", or to the "l" in Allah, when pronounced by the Turkic peoples.


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

Ash-hadu an laa ilaha illa-lah
Wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah

"I bear witness there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness, Muhammad is His final messenger".

The Amman Message[10] more specifically declared that a Muslim is one who adheres to one of the eight schools of Islamic legal thought.

Currently, there are between one billion and two billion Muslims, making it the second largest religion in the world.[11]

Muslim and mu'min

Zakir Naik is a popular Muslim figurehead. He is the founder and President of the Islamic Research Foundation and the first global Islamic television channel, Peace TV.

One of the verses in the Qur'an makes a distinction between a mu'min, a believer, and a Muslim:

The Arabs of the desert say, "We believe." (tu/minu) Say thou: Ye believe not; but rather say, "We profess Islam;" (aslamna) for the faith (al-imanu) hath not yet found its way into your hearts. But if ye obey [God] and His Apostle, he will not allow you to lose any of your actions: for [God] is Indulgent, Merciful ('The Koran 49:14, Rodwell).

According to the academician Carl Ernst, contemporary usage of the terms "Islam" and "Muslim" for the faith and its adherents is a modern innovation. As shown in the Quranic passage cited above, early Muslims distinguished between the Muslim, who has "submitted" and does the bare minimum required to be considered a part of the community, and the mu'min, the believer, who has given himself or herself to the faith heart and soul. Ernst writes:

"The Arabic term Islam itself was of relatively minor importance in classical theologies based on the Qur'an. If one looks at the works of theologians such as the famous al-Ghazali (d. 1111), the key term of religious identity is not Islam but iman (faith), and the one who possesses it is the mu'min (believer). Faith is one of the major topics of the Qur'an; it is mentioned hundreds of times in the sacred text. In comparison, Islam is a less common term of secondary importance; it only occurs eight times in the Qur'an. Since, however, the term Islam had a derivative meaning relating to the community of those who have submitted to God, it has taken on a new political significance, especially in recent history."[12]

For another term in Islam for a non-Muslim who is a monotheist believer (usually applied historically in a pre-Islamic context), see hanif.

See also

Part of a series on
Islam & Iman


References and notes

  1. ^ Burns & Ralph, World Civilizations, 5th ed., p. 371
  2. ^ PBS - Islam Today (Islam, followed by more than a billion people today, is the world's fastest growing religion and will soon be the world's largest. The 1.2 billion Muslims make up approximately one quarter of the world's population, and the Muslim population of the United States now outnumbers that of Episcopalians...)
  3. ^ "Mapping the Global Muslim Population". The report, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, took three years to compile, with census data from 232 countries and terrotories. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  4. ^ Tom Kington (2008-03-31). "Number of Muslims ahead of Catholics, says Vatican". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  5. ^ "Muslim Population". Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  6. ^ "Field Listing - Religions". Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  7. ^ also known as "infinitive", c.f. Burns & Ralph, World Civilizations, 5th ed., p. 371
  8. ^ "''Reporting Diversity'' guide for journalists" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  9. ^ See for instance the second edition of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H. W. Fowler, revised by Ernest Gowers (Oxford, 1965)).
  10. ^ The Islamic Ummah (2007). "The Amman Message (summary)". Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  11. ^ Teece (2003), p.10
  12. ^ Ernst, Carl, Following Muhammad, University of North Carolina Press, 2003, p. 63

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Muslim article)

From Wikiquote

A Muslim is a follower of the Islamic faith, known to most medieval people as a Saracen.[1]



External links

Look up Muslim in Wiktionary, the free dictionary


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also muslims


Proper noun


  1. Plural form of Muslim.

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