The predominant religion in the Comoros is Islam, with a small Christian minority. Although the constitution, as revised in 2018, removed the reference to a state religion in the 2009 constitution, stating simply that Sunni Islam is the source of national identity, a 2008 law promulgated in January 2013 outlawed the practice of other forms of Islam in the country.[1][2] Propagation of non-Islamic religions is prohibited.[3]


A mosque in Moroni, Comoros (left), and in Mutsamudu.

Islam is followed by over 98 percent of nearly 800,000 Comorians, almost all of whom belong to the Shafi'i madhhab of Sunni Islam.[4] Following a 1999 military coup, the new constitution of Comoros that was ratified in December 2001 provided for "the equality of all concerning rights and duties without distinctions based on sex, origin, race, religion or belief".[5][3] The Article 41 of the new constitution also set up the Council of Ulemas (Islamic scholars) to assist the Government of Comoros in their decisions affecting the religious life in Comoros.[5] The Comoros' constitution states that the "Islamic nature of the state" can not be changed, and makes Islamic law binding on all citizens of Comoros.[3]

Abandoning Islam and converting to another religion is a crime, and like in Mauritania, Saudi Arabia and Iran, this can lead to capital punishment.[6] The study of Islamic scriptures is mandatory in public schools, even for children of those who are not Muslims; however, the minorities have a right to operate their own school without the use of Islamic scriptures.[3][7]


Further information: Islam in the Comoros

A Comorian in traditional Muslim dress.

According to local legend, Islam was brought to Comoros in the 7th century by Mtswa Mwindza, ruler of Mbude on Ngazidja, and Muhammad ibn Uthman, son of Uthman ibn Affan.[8] Their tombs are to be found in Ntsaweni, capital of Mbude.[8]

About 98% of the population in the Comoros are Sunni Muslim.[3] Islam and its institutions have helped to integrate Comorian society and provide identification with a world beyond the islands' shores. Most adherents are of Arab, African or Malagasy origin, but there are also people of Indian and European descent.

Comorians follow religious observances conscientiously and strictly adhere to religious orthodoxy.[9] During colonization, the French did not attempt to supplant Islamic practices and were careful to respect the precedents of sharia as interpreted by the Shafi'i school of thought.[9] All Muslim holidays are observed, including Id al-Adha, Muharram, Ashura, Mawlid, Laylat al-Mi'raj and Ramadan. Mawlid is marked by celebrations culminating in a feast prepared for the ulama. Comorians often consult mwalimus or fundi and marabouts for healing and protection from jinn. Mwalimus activate jinn to determine propitious days for feasts, a successful marriage, conduct healing ceremonies and prepare amulets containing Quranic ayat.[10]


Further information: Christianity in the Comoros

In 2009, approximately 2% of the Comoros population practiced Christianity; these are generally Roman Catholics.[11][3] In 2020, the figure was 0.5%.[12]

Proselytizing of Christianity or any other non-Islamic religion is prohibited.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Projet de révision de la Constitution de l'Union des Comores" (PDF). Gouvernement de l'Union des Comores. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  2. ^ Loi n° 08-011/AU du 24 juin 2008, portant reglementation generale de pratiques religieuses en Union des Comores
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Scott A. Merriman (2009). Religion and the State: An International Analysis of Roles and Relationships. ABC-CLIO. pp. 145–146. ISBN 978-1-59884-134-3.
  4. ^ Martin Ottenheimer; Harriet Ottenheimer (1994). Historical Dictionary of the Comoro Islands. Scarecrow. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-8108-2819-3.
  5. ^ a b "Comoros 2001 (rev. 2009)" (PDF). Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  6. ^ Erwin Fahlbusch (2005). The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-8028-2416-5.
  7. ^ Martin Ottenheimer; Harriet Ottenheimer (1994). Historical Dictionary of the Comoro Islands. Scarecrow. pp. 47–48. ISBN 978-0-8108-2819-3.
  8. ^ a b Martin Ottenheimer; Harriet Ottenheimer (1994). Historical Dictionary of the Comoro Islands. Scarecrow. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-8108-2819-3., Quote: "Islam - the official and predominant religion of the Comoros, (...) According to local legend, Islam was first introduced to the islands in 650 AD (...)".
  9. ^ a b Ercolano, Vincent (1995). "Comoros". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Indian Ocean: five island countries (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. p. 177. ISBN 0-8444-0857-3. OCLC 32508646. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.((cite encyclopedia)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  10. ^ "marriage feast - Translation into Arabic - examples English | Reverso Context". Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  11. ^ Catholic Hierarchy - Vicariate Apostolic of Archipelago of the Comores
  12. ^ The ARDA website, retrieved 2023-08-01

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from The World Factbook. CIA.