The word Muslim literally means “one who willfully submits (to Allah).” Islam teaches that everything in Creation — microbes, plants, animals, mountains and rivers, planets, and so forth — is “Muslim”, testifying to the majesty of the Creator and submitting or committing to His divine laws. Human beings, also, are considered fundamentally ”Muslim” (submitters to Allah) in their original spiritual orientation, but being unique creations endowed with abilities of reason, judgment, and choice, they may remain on a God-conscious, righteous path towards a divine reward, or may veer away as a consequence of upbringing and life-choices.

More commonly, the term Muslim refers to one who believes in the Shahadah (the declaration of faith containing the basic creed of Islam) and embraces a lifestyle in accord with Islamic principles and values. Anybody may be or become a Muslim, regardless of gender, race, nationality, color, or social or economic status. A non-Muslim who decides to enter Islam does so by reciting the Shahadah, (pronounced La-Ilaha Ila Allah, Muhammad-un Rasool Allah) witnessing that “there is no deity but Allah (God), and Muhammad is His Messenger.”

Where do Muslims live?

Over 1.8 billion people throughout the world are adherents of Islam. Islam is the religion of diverse peoples living in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central, East, South and Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia, and North and South America. The global spectrum of races, ethnicities and cultures finds representation in the worldwide Muslim community.

Muslims throughout the world share the same essential beliefs, values, and God-centered approach to the world. Furthermore, all Muslims look to the Qur’an and the lifestyle and traditions of Prophet Muhammad for guidance in their daily affairs. In this respect, Muslims share a common Islamic culture, focusing on shared principles and values.

At the same time, the ethnic, regional or material cultures of Muslims vary tremendously across the globe. Muslims exhibit different styles of clothing, different tastes for food and drink, diverse languages, and varying traditions and customs.

Muslims view the diversity found throughout the world as a natural part of God’s plan for humanity and believe it contributes to Islam’s continued vitality and universal ethos. Consequently, rather than imposing arbitrary cultural uniformity, diverse cultural practices are encouraged and supported. So long as a given cultural practice or tradition does not violate the teachings of Islam it is considered legitimate and possibly even beneficial.

Where do Muslims live?

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