Islam Arabic: الإسلام, IPA: is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion which professes that there is only one and incomparable God (Allah), that Muhammad is the last messenger of God, and that submission to God is the means to get eternal salvation. It is the world’s second-largest religion and the fastest-growing major religion in the world, with over 1.7 billion followers or 23% of the global population, known as Muslims. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique; and He has guided mankind through revealed scriptures, natural signs, and a line of prophets sealed by Muhammad. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, traditionally viewed as the verbatim word of God, and the Hadith, which reports the sayings and normative behavior of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE).
Muslims believe that Islam is the original, complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. As for the Quran, Muslims consider it to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment. Certain religious rites and customs are observed by the Muslims in their family and social life, while social responsibilities to parents, relatives, and neighbors have also been defined. Besides, the Quran and the sunnah of Muhammad prescribe a comprehensive body of moral guidelines for Muslims to be followed in their personal, social, political, and religious life.
Islam began in the early 7th century. Originating in Mecca, it quickly spread in the Arabian Peninsula and by the 8th century the Islamic empire was extended from Iberia in the west to the Indus River in the east. The Islamic Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century when much of the historically Islamic world was experiencing a scientific, economic and cultural flourishing. The expansion of the Muslim world involved various caliphates and empires, traders and conversion to Islam by missionary activities.
Most Muslims are of one of two denominations: Sunni (75–90%) or Shia (10–20%). Islam is the dominant religion in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Central Asia and some other parts of Asia. About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country, 31% in South Asia, the largest population of Muslims in the world, 23% in the Middle East & North Africa, and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sizable Muslim communities are also found in Europe, China, Russia, and the Americas. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world.