In our globalized world today, it remains more important than ever to remember just how vastly diverse and wonderfully unique Muslims around the world are.
While there is a Muslim ummah, or community with shared values and religious convictions, there is also the quite unique fact that Muslims make up one of the most diverse groups of people in the world.
Muslims remain the fastest-growing religious group in the world – there are more than 1.9 billion Muslims in the world today. Spread out across the globe, with countless different cultures, languages, and histories, here are just 12 of some of the most interesting facts on how diverse the Muslim community really is:
1. The country of Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world
With more than 220,000,000 Muslims in the country, Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world, making up more than 12.6% of the entire Muslim population across the globe. This means that Indonesian is one of the most commonly spoken languages for Muslims around the world!
2. The Asia-Pacific region is home to 61% of the world’s Muslim population
Making up the largest population of Muslims in the world, the Asia-Pacific region includes the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, and many more. The entire population of Muslims living in this region exceeds 972 million.
3. Top three countries with the largest minority population of Muslims are India, Ethiopia, and China
These countries have the highest percentage of Muslims living as a minority in the country – India with almost 161,000,000 Muslims, Ethiopia with more than 28,000,000 Muslims living in the country, and China with an estimated 21,600,000 Muslims. While Muslims live as a minority in these countries, the numbers show that they still constitute an important part of each country’s overall population.
4. India and Pakistan combined are home to more than 21% of the world’s population of Muslims
India and Pakistan share a long and turbulent history – however it cannot be denied that the Muslim population that spans across man-made borders make up a huge majority of the world’s population of Muslims. Combined, the two countries are home to a little over 21% of the world’s entire community of Muslims!
5. The Maldives has the highest percentage of Muslims in the world
At 100%, the country of the Maldives has the highest percentage of Muslims in the world! Islam was first introduced to the islands in the 11th century, mainly from Arab and East African traders and merchants. When the Buddhist King Dhovemi converted to Islam in the late 12th century and changed his title and name to Sultan Muhammed Al-Adil, the Maldives were forever changed into an Islamic nation.
6. The entire region of the Middle East and North Africa is home to only 20% of the world’s Muslim population
Many wrongfully hold views that all Arabs are Muslims and all Muslims are Arabs – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The entire region of the Middle East and North Africa make up 20% of the world’s population of Muslims – the other 80% of Muslims are therefore not Arab.
7. Russia has the largest number of Muslims in Europe
According to an analysis by Pew Research, Russia had 16.4 million Muslims in 2010 – and is expected to be home to more than 18 million by 2030! That means that almost 15% of the Russian population will be Muslim. About two-thirds of all Muslims in Russia (62.3%) resided in one of the traditional Muslim regions of Russia, which include Dagestan, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Chechnya, and Kabardino-Balkaria.
8. There are around 5 million Muslims in Latin America
Often ignored but just as important in the tale of Muslim diversity, Latin America is home to around 5 million Muslims – however this number is expected to be much higher with the number of Latino/a converts to the religion. It’s safe to say that the Spanish and Portuguese languages are growing in importance for the Muslims of today.
9. The Caribbean is home to around half a million Muslims
Muslims first came as traders to the Caribbean – and with the tragic history of slavery, more African Muslims were brought to the Caribbean islands as well. Today they make up a vibrant part of the culture and history of this region, with around half a million Muslims in total with an estimated 500 mosques across the numerous islands.
10. West Africa has the largest population of Muslims as a region in Sub-Saharan Africa
West Africa, home to countries such as Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Benin, currently has the largest population of Muslims as a region in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2030, it is estimated that the region will be home to more than 257 million Muslims!
11. Nigeria has the largest percentage of Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa
Nigeria has the largest percentage of Muslims in its population in Sub-Saharan Africa, with almost 50% of its population identifying as Muslim. By 2030, it is estimated that the population of Muslims in the country will be around 117,000,000.
12. More than 100 languages are spoken by Muslims around the world
It is almost impossible to pinpoint the exact number of languages spoken by Muslims across the world – the languages are just as varied as the different ethnicities and cultures that make up this diverse community. More than 100 languages are spoken, however, by communities with historic ties to the Muslim ummah – languages that include Berber, Malay, Tajik, Maldivian, Wolof, Uyghur, and Tartar.