Spread of Islam

The expansion of the Arab Empire in the years following Prophet Muhammed's death led to the creation of caliphates, occupying a vast geographical area and conversion to Islam was boosted by missionary activities particularly those of Sufis, who easily intermingled with local populace to propagate the religious teachings.[1] These early caliphates, coupled with Muslim economics and trading and the later expansion of the Ottoman Empire, resulted in Islam's spread outwards from Mecca towards both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the creation of the Muslim world. Trading played an important role in the spread of Islam in several parts of the world, notably southeast Asia.[2][3]

Muslim dynasties were soon established and subsequent empires such as those of the Abbasids, Fatimids, Almoravids, Seljukids, Ajuran, Adal and Warsangali in Somalia, Mughals in India and Safavids in Persia and Ottomans were among the largest and most powerful in the world. The people of the Islamic world created numerous sophisticated centers of culture and science with far-reaching mercantile networks, travelers, scientists, hunters, mathematicians, doctors and philosophers, all contributing to the Golden Age of Islam. Islamic expansion in South and East Asia fostered cosmopolitan and eclectic Muslim cultures in the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.[4]

As of January 2011, there were 1.62 billion Muslims,[5][6] making Islam the second-largest religion in the world.[7]

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  • Conversions 1