The ordinary word in English is "Muslim". In the 20th century the preferred spelling in English was "Moslem", but this has now fallen into disuse.[better source needed] The word Mosalman (Persian: مسلمان, alternatively Mussalman) is a common equivalent for Muslim used in Central and South Asia. In English it was sometimes spelled Mussulman and has become archaic in usage. Until at least the mid-1960s, many English-language writers used the term Mohammedans or Mahometans. 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. Other obsolete terms include Muslimite and Muslimist. In Medieval Europe, Muslims were commonly called Saracens.
To become a Muslim and to convert to Islam, it is essential to utter the Shahada, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, a declaration of faith and trust that professes that there is only oneGod(Allah) and that Muhammad is God's messenger. It is a set statement normally recited in Arabic: ašhadu ʾal-lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāhu wa ʾašhadu ʾanna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh (أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأشهد أن محمداً رسول الله) "I testify that there is no god [worthy of worship] except Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."
In Sunni Islam, the shahada has two parts: la ilaha illa'llah (there is no god but Allah), and Muhammadun rasul Allah (Muhammad is the messenger of God), which are sometimes referred to as the first shahada and the second shahada. The first statement of the shahada is also known as the tahlīl.
The Qur'an describes many prophets and messengers within Judaism and Christianity, and their respective followers, as Muslim. Some of those that were mentioned are: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus and his apostles are all considered to be Muslims in the Qur'an. The Qur'an states that these men were Muslims because they submitted to God, preached His message and upheld His values, which included praying, charity, fasting and pilgrimage. Thus, in Surah 3:52 of the Qur'an, Jesus' disciples tell him, "We believe in God; and you be our witness that we are Muslims (wa-shahad be anna muslimūn)." In Islamic belief, before the Qur'an, God had given the Tawrat (Torah) to Moses, the Zabur (Psalms) to David and the Injil (Gospel) to Jesus, who are all considered important Muslim prophets.
The most populous Muslim-majority country is Indonesia, home to 12.7% of the world's Muslims, followed by Pakistan (11.0%), Bangladesh (9.2%), Nigeria (5.3%) and Egypt (4.9%). About 20% of the world's Muslims live in the Middle East and North Africa.
A Pew Center study in 2016 found that Muslims have the highest number of adherents under the age of 15 (34% of the total Muslim population) of any major religion, while only 7% are aged 60+ (the smallest percentage of any major religion). According to the same study, Muslims have the highest fertility rates (3.1) of any major religious group. The study also found that Muslims (tied with Hindus) have the lowest average levels of education with an average of 5.6 years of schooling, though both groups have made the largest gains in educational attainment in recent decades among major religions. About 36% of all Muslims have no formal schooling, and Muslims have the lowest average levels of higher education of any major religious group, with only 8% having graduate and post-graduate degrees.
^"Penduduk Menurut Wilayah dan Agama yang Dianut" [Population by Region and Religion] (PDF). Sensus Penduduk 2018. Jakarta, Indonesia: Badan Pusat Statistik. 15 May 2018. Archived(PDF) from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2020. Religion is belief in Almighty God that must be possessed by every human being. Religion can be divided into Muslim, Christian (Protestant), Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Hu Khong Chu, and Other Religions. Muslim 231,069,932 (86.7), Christian (Protestant)20,246,267 (7.6), Catholic 8,325,339 (3.12), Hindu 4,646,357 (1.74), Buddhist 2,062,150 (0.72), Confucianism 71,999 (0.03), Other Religions/no answer 112,792 (0.04), Total 266,534,836
"Sunnite". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 9 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. They numbered about 900 million in the late 20th century and constituted nine-tenths of all the adherents of Islām.
"Quick guide: Sunnis and Shias". BBC News. 6 December 2011. Archived from the original on 6 December 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011. The great majority of Muslims are Sunnis – estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85% and 90%.
"Religions". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011. Sunni Islam accounts for over 75% of the world's Muslim population
"Quick guide: Sunnis and Shias". BBC News. 6 December 2011. Archived from the original on 24 November 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011. The great majority of Muslims are Sunnis – estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85% and 90%.
^Khan, Muhammad Mojlum (2013). The Muslim Heritage of Bengal: The Lives, Thoughts and Achievements of Great Muslim Scholars, Writers and Reformers of Bangladesh and West Bengal. England: Kube Publishing. p. 2. Bengali-speaking Muslims... one of the largest linguistic groups... second only to the Arabs
^Welch, Alford T, Moussalli, Ahmad S, Newby, Gordon D (2009). "Muḥammad". In Esposito JL (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017. The Prophet of Islam was a religious, political, and social reformer who gave rise to one of the great civilizations of the world. From a modern, historical perspective, Muḥammad was the founder of Islam. From the perspective of the Islamic faith, he was God's Messenger (rasūl Allāh), called to be a "warner," first to the Arabs and then to all humankind.
^Lippman, Thomas W. (7 April 2008). "No God But God". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on 16 November 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2013. Islam is the youngest, the fastest growing, and in many ways the least complicated of the world's great monotheistic faiths. It is based on its own holy book, but it is also a direct descendant of Judaism and Christianity, incorporating some of the teachings of those religions—modifying some and rejecting others.
^Gibb, Sir Hamilton (1969). Mohammedanism: an historical survey. Oxford University Press. p. 1. Modern Muslims dislike the terms Mohammedan and Mohammedanism, which seem to them to carry the implication of worship of Mohammed, as Christian and Christianity imply the worship of Christ.