Is Islam really the fastest growing Religion?
The answer may surprise you!
According to CNN Worldnews, In the United States, nearly 80 percent of the more than 1,200 mosques have been built in the past 12 years. The American Muslim Council, claims there are 2,000 mosques and Islamic community centers in the United States and The Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) struggles to keep up with the growth of new Muslims.
It may be growing fast, but it is really slowing down too. But why is Islam growing? Keep reading.
Now most Arabs (my heritage) are Muslims but most Muslims are not Arab. The country with the largest number (about 209 million) is Indonesia, where 87.2% of the population identifies as Muslim. India has the world’s second-largest Muslim population in raw numbers (roughly 176 million) though Muslims just make up just only 14.4% of India’s total population. See World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might .. See here for details on the number of Muslims per country. Think….what is the most common baby name in the world?
Yes, Muhammad–or Mohmad or Mohammad, or something similar. The trend has even followed Muslim immigrants to Europe; Mohammed became the most popular boys’ name for Brussels in 2008 and London in 2009. Read more.
Yes, Islam is growing and growing faster than it has ever been. But the more interesting question is, “why is it that Islam are growing so fast?” And “Why is it slowing down?”
I submit (pun intended ) that Islam was growing so fast, not because of conversions but because of reproduction.
Muslims on average have more children than any other major religious group. Thus their numbers were growing fast. See the following chart from Pew Research Center.
Philip Jenkins is a Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University and author of The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade.
Jenkins wrote in his article “The World’s Fastest Growing Religion” :
At first sight, the contest should be a shut-out, leaving Christianity the clear winner. During the twentieth century, Christian numbers expanded mightily around the world, but especially in the Global South. According to the respected World Christian Database, since 1900 the number of African Christians has grown by an incredible 4,930 percent, and the growth in Latin America was 877 percent..… During the twentieth century, Africa’s Catholic population grew from 1.9 million to 130 million — an increase of 6,700 percent. The total number of African believers of all shades soared, from just 10 million in 1900 to almost 500 million today… Put another way, the number of African Christians in 2050 will be almost twice as large as the total figure for all Christians alive anywhere in the globe back in 1900. …, but in some ways, Muslims have significantly outpaced Christians. However staggering their growth rate might seem, Christian numbers have actually proved strikingly stable as a share of global population. .. Islam’s surge has been still more impressive. In 1900, the 200-220 million Muslims then living comprised some twelve or thirteen percent of humanity, compared to 22.5 percent today, and a projected figure of 27 percent by 2050. Christians in 1900 outnumbered Muslims by 2.8 to 1. Today the figure is 1.5 to 1, and by 2050 it should be 1.3 to 1. In historical terms, the gap is closing fast. …In 1900, there were three Europeans for every African. By 2050, there should be three Africans for every European…
This data and information is fascinating to say the least. But I have my doubts. If immigrant Muslims continue to grow in Europe and in the US they will, if they continue to have the children they do have, become the predominate religion and people group in the world. But I don’t think that will be the case
It is not for theological reasons that I believe this but for demographic and educational reasons.
My key point here is that the growth of Islam will show down if Muslims continue to educate their daughters.
Yes, the more a girl is educated, the longer she will take to have children and the less children she will have. She may marry in her late 20 and early 30s, as must Europeans and Americans do. Thus the number of children they produce will be significantly less than a girl who marries in her early teens will have–just like the educated ladies of Judaism and Christianity. This is true in Asia- Pacific region, the Middle East-North Africa and Europe, and less sharp in sub-Saharan Africa.
Doug Sanders of the Huffington Posts wrote
Two generations ago, it seemed as if Islamic countries were destined for out-of-control population growth. People spoke of an “Islamic fertility rate” – – more than 5 children per family, on average – – and predicted minaret spires foresting the Earth. Today, it is readily apparent that Islam is not connected with population growth. Just look at Iran, the world’s only Islamic theocracy, where the average family had around 7 children in the 1980s – – and has 1.7 today, a lower rate than France or Britain. Or look at the United Arab Emirates, with 1.9 children per family. Or Turkey, ruled by an elected party of devout Muslims for a decade, which now has 2.15 children per family. Or Lebanon, where, despite Hezbollah’s rise, has only 1.86 children per family (so that its population will be shrinking). Around the world, the average Muslim family size has fallen from 4.3 children per family in 1995 to 2.9 in 2010, and is expected to fall below the population-growth rate, and converge with Western family sizes, by mid-century. This is a crucial sign that Muslim societies are undergoing a major modernizing, secularizing wave – – even if they elect Islamist parties while doing so.
Consider that “The only region where Muslim population growth is accelerating through 2020 is the Americas, largely because of immigration… As in the rest of the world, fertility rates in countries with Muslim-majority populations are directly related to educational attainment. Women tend to delay childbearing when they attain higher levels of education. As Muslim women continue to receive more education, their fertility rates are projected to decline.” See the Pew for more information.
In conclusion, as Muslims in the West begin educating their daughters, encouraging them to obtain at least an MA or an MS degree, this will in turn cause them to delay having children. Islam in the West will not be growing as it once was in the non-Western countries where Muslim girls marry earlier in life.