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Islam surpasses Roman Catholicism as World’s Largest Religion

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foam.jpgThe Ummah is growing quite healthily, alhumdulillah, and according to the Vatican, the world Muslim population now exceeds that of Roman Catholics (not all Christians).

I remember while having ice cream with Shaykh Yasir in Chicago, he mentioned that the majority of the Ummah, particularly here in the West, are under the age of five. This boom of Muslim children, among many factors, is probably what helped bring about this statistic.

I feel the question now is with such a large population, what can we account for ourselves as an Ummah and our responsibility as inheriters of Allah’s religion? How much of an impact will such a large population of Muslims have in the world? Will we use it to further better humanity with Islam, or are we just more of a percentage of foam on the sea?

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May Allah (SWT) strengthen us. The following is the article from AP.

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Muslims more numerous than Catholics
By ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer
Sun Mar 30, 2:48 PM ET

Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world’s largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday.

“For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us,” Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Formenti compiles the Vatican’s yearbook.

He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population — a stable percentage — while Muslims were at 19.2 percent.

“It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer,” the monsignor said.

Formenti said that the data refer to 2006. The figures on Muslims were put together by Muslim countries and then provided to the United Nations, he said, adding that the Vatican could only vouch for its own data.

When considering all Christians and not just Catholics, Christians make up 33 percent of the world population, Formenti said.

Spokesmen for the Vatican and the United Nations did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Sunday.

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SaqibSaab is an average Desi Muslim guy living in Chicago. He enjoys videography and design as side hobbies, and helps out with AlMaghrib Institute in Chicago, Wasat Studios, and other projects here and there. His go-around vehicle is a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta 5-speed Wolfburg Edition. Originally born in Michigan, he and his wife reside in Chicagoland with his parents who come from Bangalore, India. He blogs personally at SaqibSaab.com.

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. S

    April 1, 2008 at 12:06 PM

    Interesting, although I wonder how accurate those figures are. If anything, the precentages/numbers of Muslims should be even *higher* than what is quoted. The article says they generated these percentages from data submitted by ‘Muslim’ countries to the UN. What about all the countries where Muslims are living as minorities (US, China, Russia, to name a few)? Are those Muslims not reflected in this figure? How about converts who might not be as easily identifiable as ‘Muslim’ because of non-Muslim names, etc. Just something to think about

    Well whatever it is, alhamdullilah. May Allah guide our ever-expanding ummah.

  2. Irum Sarfaraz

    April 1, 2008 at 12:10 PM

    Takbeer!

  3. Amad

    April 1, 2008 at 12:57 PM

    Thauban reported that the messenger of Allah said:

    “It is near that the nations will call one another against you just as the eaters call one another to their dishes.”

    Somebody asked: “Is this because we will be few in numbers that day?”

    He said: “Nay, but that day you shall be numerous, but you will be like the foam of the sea, and Allah will take the fear of you away from your enemies and will place weakness into your hearts.”

    Somebody asked: “What is this weakness?”

    He said: “The love of the world and the dislike of death.” (Abu Dawud)

    • Dr S.M.Tariq Zafar

      December 5, 2009 at 4:47 AM

      Assalm Alay Kum It is true because it is said by Prophet Mohammad (PBOH). Now it is our duty to follow the true Islam and protect the dignity of Islam. Just passing out the comment is not the way of exploring the Islam. It can be explored to optimum if we work for humanity and save the world from capitalisim religion.

      Dr S.M.Tariq Zafar
      Professor Finance
      D.I.T, Dehradoon
      India

      smtz2005@yahoo.co.in

  4. Dawud

    April 1, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    Remember Surah al-Nasr!

    This is my prediction for what will happen as a result of this:
    http://muslimology.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/ramifications-and-predictions-of-being-1-religion-in-the-world/

  5. Shirien

    April 1, 2008 at 2:33 PM

    It’s definitely better for dawah. Instead of saying it’s the second largest religion. I’ve seen people question on other blogs if this is necessarily a “good thing” saying that although we have high numbers we also have high numbers of muslims not doing what they should be doing.

    but honestly how can people question if this is a good thing or not? Muslims believing in the oneness of Allah but committing serious sins is still incomparably better than people of shirk.

    wallahu ta’ala alem.

  6. Nadia

    April 1, 2008 at 3:16 PM

    Alhamdulillah it’s encouraging to know the Muslim ummah is strong in numbers. However, we need to focus now on the quality of our ummah, setting quantity aside. Especially with this surge of Muslim children, more Islamic schooling/Muslim after-school programs need to be put in place so our children will be raised Islamically and hold on fast to their identity. Alhamdulillah this is taking place, but it’s always fresh to have a reminder that we need to best serve our Muslim children because they will be our leaders of tomorrow.

  7. theManOfFewWords

    April 1, 2008 at 3:52 PM

    Amad,

    Exactly what I was thinking.

  8. DrM

    April 1, 2008 at 10:03 PM

    When I read the original headline on yahoo, it had a subtle alarmist tone to it. Many countries under count Muslim minorities eg. – India which has more Muslims then Indonesia.
    Coincidental that this headline came out as the same time as zioNAZI Wilders’ “fitna”? The Muslim population of the world is much higher then they wish to admit.

  9. umm esa

    April 2, 2008 at 12:13 AM

    Agree with DrM.
    CBS used the word “Overtaken.”

    Such reports want to make European Christians feel that they are under attack by the increasing Muslim population.

    This religion will have the most followers, so let’s not worry about that. The worry should be whether we are holding fast to the rope of Allah.

    Wallaahu ‘alem.

  10. Amad

    April 2, 2008 at 6:59 AM

    But atleast they (the catholics) got one back… Scorecard baby! ;)

    P.S. I am ofcourse talking about the so-called conversion of that egyptian/italian zio-con wacko dude. Now obviously the pope knew of this “muslims overtaking” report. Could he have timed this farce of a conversion to try to dampen what he may have perceived as “bad news”?? Seems there is indeed more to the timing!

  11. AbdelRahman Murphy

    April 2, 2008 at 7:39 AM

    Amad’s reference to the hadith is on point. That’s the first thing I thought of when I read this post.

    When we look at our next generation, particularly in America, we can see that we have both extremes extending outwards. While we have a lot of youth memorizing Qur’an, going overseas to study, and becoming active in the community, a lot of youth are straying further away from the deen, some of which aren’t even being raised up on it properly.

    So instead of just having kids who pray, we’re going to have teenage students of knowledge on one end, and instead of just having Muslim guys and girls dating, we may have…pregnancies and abortions?

    Subhan Allah. The future looks bright and bleak at the same time, Allah help us.

  12. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 2, 2008 at 12:01 PM

    “So instead of just having kids who pray, we’re going to have teenage students of knowledge on one end, and instead of just having Muslim guys and girls dating, we may have…pregnancies and abortions? ”

    Dude, we’re way past pregnancies and abortions already.

    Siraaj

  13. SaqibSaab

    April 2, 2008 at 12:30 PM

    Dude, we’re way past pregnancies and abortions already.

    Siraaj, AbdelRahman spoke to me about this. It wasn’t the occurances of pregnancies/abortions in and of themselves that we feared, especially since, as you mentioned, we’re “past” that. It’s the potential for them to become much more widespread and common in our communities.

    No doubt they happen, and we all can think of instances of them occuring with people in our communities. But I think it’s safe to say that it’s not the widespread norm of Muslim youth, w’alhumdulillah.

    We just thought while common issues for our generation are inappropriate Facebook/text message relationships and dating/dinner plans, the next generation could be dealing with much worse.

    InshaAllah we pray that Allah (swt) protects us from that, and, as AbdelRahman said, there is also much potential for things to become much better. Basically, increased polarization in the next Muslim generation.

    Allahu ‘alim. May Allah protect and strengthen us.

  14. Siraaj

    April 2, 2008 at 2:21 PM

    Salaam alaykum Saqib,

    If you mean a widespread norm, then it’s really not a widespread norm of most “youth”, Muslim or nonMuslim.

    Percentage-wise, it may not even be as widespread (that’s my guess). I will say, though, that both it as well as the “main activities” that lead to it are more widespread than most think, and due to the cultural stigma and closeness of our communities, more pains are taken to hide it, and if you don’t keep relationships with people who are in that sort of lifestyle, chances are you’ll hear little or anything about it.

    Wallaahu A’lam

    Siraaj

  15. AbdelRahman Murphy

    April 2, 2008 at 4:57 PM

    If you mean a widespread norm, then it’s really not a widespread norm of most “youth”, Muslim or nonMuslim.

    Speaking as someone who is currently in undergrad and was in college as recent as 3 years ago, I can say that there were 7 pregnant girls in my class in high school, 4 of which got abortions.

    And no one cared! That seems pretty norm and widespread to me. Keep in mind not everyone wants to get pregnant or have abortions when they commit zina, so occurrences aren’t going to be anything near the numbers of high schoolers/college kids have pre-marital sex.

    Basically, amongst non-Muslim youth, it’s no longer that big of a deal when a girl gets pregnant or has an abortion. And my fear is that it will grow to be as such amongst youth of the ummah. Insha Allah, Allah will protect us from that.

  16. Solomon2

    April 2, 2008 at 5:17 PM

    [W]hat can we account for ourselves as an Ummah and our responsibility as inheriters of Allah’s religion?

    Will we use it to further better humanity with Islam, or are we just more of a percentage of foam on the sea?

    The second question assumes that Islam no matter what form it takes, is and has been an unqualified benefit to humanity. With such a mindset, how can an answer to the first question be sensibly evaluated?

  17. Amad

    April 2, 2008 at 5:47 PM

    I am sorry Solomon, YOU are assuming those extra words.

    There is only one true form of Islam, the one upon the Prophet’s universal message. And there is no doubt in the Muslim’s heart that this Islam is the answer to all of humanity’s questions.

  18. Solomon2

    April 2, 2008 at 6:04 PM

    Then how do you answer question #1, Amad?

  19. ibn insaan

    April 2, 2008 at 8:32 PM

    Answer to question #1:

    Delivering the Message of all the Propehts of God: to worship only One God, and believe in His Messengers. It is, Solomon, what saves souls

    Beyond that the question is there for continual reform back to the blessed teachings of Islam, and away from the deviation which is ultimately the only real cause of any such purported shortcoming.

  20. Solomon2

    April 2, 2008 at 8:41 PM

    ibn insaan, don’t you think the priority of responses here should be reversed? First to work out “deviation”, then to deliver Message of all the Prophets of God? Otherwise, how do you know that you are delivering the right message?

  21. ibn insaan

    April 3, 2008 at 6:44 AM

    The case is not always one of not knowing the right message or the deviation for that matter, it is one of – as I said – reforming back to the way of the Prophets – upon whom be Peace. It is not that people, muslims included (perhaps even specifically) do not know the truth, but rather is a case of falling short of the mark at times in certains domains- as a result of human weakness and transient strengths of the inner capriciousness. It can never be a prerequisite to be coming close to perfection before endeavouring to save some one else from burning for ever.

    There is no worse crime than trespassing the Rights of God Almighty.

    The muslim is only a muslim, because he *knows* it to be the truth and the Divine guidance. Otherwise he would not be a muslim in the first place. In fact such is equally the case with many other religions, by definition. Of course the difference here being that Islam demands humans to use their minds based on Proof and Evidence in this journey; and engage in dialogue with others. How well that second (or even the first) is practically conducted by some is not the point here.

    Truth, Solomon, stands clear from falsehood. It always has, and always will.

  22. Peaches

    April 3, 2008 at 10:33 AM

    I remembered looking at a program that was talking about the 9/11. The reporters were discussing how the Muslim faith INCREASED after the incident, especially with women converts and as a current non-Muslim, I understand the appeal of the religion.

    It’s just baffling how media degrades the religion. I’ll never forget about my first visit the the masjid. I came out wth feelings of relief( far as learning the truth about it) and at peace. My classmates and I (it was 7 of us who visited the masjid) was talking about how the great times that we had going there and learning the truth about it. The Islam that we learned teaches peace, about nurturing families and to stray from violence. (Ironically, that was the initial feeling I got from the faith, when i noticed the civil atmosphere in the masjid). The people didn’t just want for us to accept their words, they got their words from the book of the Qur’an.
    Even if other people may not obey the words in the book, I just like what the religion stands for.

  23. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 3, 2008 at 3:59 PM

    “Speaking as someone who is currently in undergrad and was in college as recent as 3 years ago, I can say that there were 7 pregnant girls in my class in high school, 4 of which got abortions.

    And no one cared! That seems pretty norm and widespread to me.”

    LOL, Murphy, bro, I think you ought to look up the definition of the word norm:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/norm

    I assume you went to a public high school? 7 pregnancies out of on average 2000 students is NOT what is called a “norm” let alone a widespread norm.

    I think what you meant to say is that we don’t want to get to the point where we have widspread “apathy” towards pregnancies as our norm.

    I agree we’re not at that point yet – look what I said in my previous post:

    “…and due to the cultural stigma and closeness of our communities, more pains are taken to hide it…”

    But since Saqib’s post indicated you were talking about numbers of pregnancies, and not perceptions on pregnancies, I addressed it in those terms.

    Siraaj

  24. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 3, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    “ibn insaan, don’t you think the priority of responses here should be reversed? First to work out “deviation”, then to deliver Message of all the Prophets of God? Otherwise, how do you know that you are delivering the right message?”

    The main message has always been beautifully simple – to worship God alone, and associate no partners in that worship with Him, and to obey the teachings of the Prophets and Messengers that are passed to them from God.

    Siraaj

  25. Abdul Ghani

    October 17, 2008 at 9:25 AM

    Alhamdulillah…
    Just as I predicted last year, Muslim’s number will overtake the Christians. Takbir !!!
    Allahu Akbar !~~

  26. Nur el Masih Ben Haq

    January 17, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    In response to Abdul Ghani,

    Muslims will NEVER overtake Christians in number. This is because the West has the tendency to wake from too much indulgence in scientific and technological destractions to promote Christianity, once the population of Muslims becomes ‘alarmingly’ high. The West would so response not necessarily because of God but because of self pride and security aswell.

  27. Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    January 17, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    @ Nur el Masih Ben Haq

    That’s pure conjecture. Besides, even if your reason was true, it doesn’t have to be Christianity that they rally around.

  28. Nur el Masih Ben Haq

    January 17, 2009 at 7:50 PM

    Hi Abu Musa,

    Don’t you think it is unscientific and a wrong scholarship to think that the West will continue to indulge in scientific and technological enjoyments even when Islam starts to advance in an ‘alarming’ rate? Don’t you think the West is relatively indifferent to the ‘fast’ growth of Islam largely because Christianity has the highest number of followers? The fact is that, while Islam is desperately trying to catch up with Christianity, the later is taking things for granted largely because it thinks with tremendous scientific and technological powers, Islam is not a threat. However, it would naturally react when the population of Muslims in the World threatens Western pride and paramouncy!!

  29. Pingback: 1 in 4 are Muslim: Highlights from Pew Forum Study « IBN AL HYDERABADEE

  30. soomaali muslim

    June 19, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    we are seeing excactly what our prophet said even though we are big in numbers there is fear in us which is loving the world and being afraid of death. i dont know why all of earth is not muslim oviously its the only religion that shows you the road to janah and greatness.

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