The Secular West Declining and Resurgence of Islam and Muslims Worldwide

World population trends

According to the United Nations Population Fund, it took hundreds of thousands of years for the world population to grow to one billion – then in just another 200 years or so, it grew sevenfold.

In 2011, the global population reached the seven billion mark, and in November 2022, it reached eight billion.

It will grow to nearly ten billion by the middle of this century and will level off at around 10.4 billion by the 2080. This dramatic growth has been driven largely by increasing number of people surviving to reproductive age, accompanied by major changes in fertility rates, increased urbanization, and large scale migration.

The report said that many of the world’s least developed countries will have populations projected to double by 2050. On the other hand, the populations of more than 60 countries and areas around the world are projected to shrink due to falling fertility. In high income countries, it is migration, rather than fertility that will drive population dynamics over the next few decades.

A study by the Washington-based Pew Research Center titled the Changing Global Religious Landscape released on April 5, 2017 updated its data with more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers of the 2015 report “The future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050 (that used censuses, demographic surveys, and other studies from around the world by at least three researchers of the Pew Center). The results showed more babies were born to Christian mothers than members of any other religion in recent years, reflecting Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group.

But this is unlikely to be the case much longer: less than 20 years from now, the number of babies born to Muslims is expected to modestly exceed births to Christians, according to its new demographic estimates.

The Pew Research Center said that Muslims are projected to be the world’s fastest-growing major religious group in the decades ahead, and signs of this rapid growth already are visible. In the period between 2010 and 2015, births to Muslims made up an estimated 31% of all babies born around the world.

While the relatively young Christian population of a region like sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow in decades ahead, the same cannot be said for Christian population everywhere. This is especially true in Europe, where the number of deaths is estimated to exceed the number of births among Christians. In Germany alone, for example, there were an estimated 1.4 million more Christian deaths than births between 2010 and 2015, a pattern that is expected to continue across much of Europe in the decades ahead.

Africa will have the largest world population and most committed Christians

Anthony Celluffo and Neil G. Ruiz, researchers at the Pew Research Center analyzed the new UN data on world population and published results on June 17, 2019. The study showed that for the first time in modern history, the world’s population is expected to virtually stop growing by the end of century due to falling fertility rates. By 2100, the world population is projected to reach 10.9 billion, with an annual growth of less than 0.1% - a steep decline from the current growth rate of 2% each year.

The study found that global fertility rate per woman will fall from 2.5 to 1.9 births, below the replacement level, and increase in the median age from 24 in 1950 to 42 in 2100. Simultaneously, the number of people ages 80 and older are expected to increase from 146 million in 2020 to 881 million by 2100.

Africa is the only world region projected strong population growth for the rest of this century and its population expected to increase from 1.3 billion in 2020 to 4.3 billion in 2100, with gains mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, the population of Asia is expected to increase from 4.6 billion in 2020 to 5.3 billion in 2055, and then start to decline.

Europe and Latin America are to have declining populations by 2100. Europe’s population is projected to peak at 748 million in 2021, and Latin America and Caribbean surpass Europe by 2037 and peak at 768 million in 2058.

The United States and Canada will have migration from the rest of the world the primary driver of their continued population growth. The U.S. immigrant population is expected to increase from its current of over 45 million to 85 million over the next 80 years.

Africa is projected to overtake Asia in births by 2060, and half of babies born worldwide are expected to born in Africa by 2100. Nigeria is expected to have 864 million births, the most of any African country.

Six countries, including Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Pakistan are projected to account for more than half of world’s population growth through the end of this century.

Two-thirds, that is 32 of 48 countries and territories in Europe are expected to lose population. 50 countries in Latin America and Caribbean are expected to shrink, and the region is expected to have the oldest population of any in the world by 2100.

On August 22, 2018 the Pew Center reported the world’s most committed Christian live in Africa and Latin America. The level of commitment is particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa and over 75% in every country say religion is very important to them reflecting the rapid growth largely due to high fertility rates.

Rise of secularism in the West

Today’s Western societies are secularized, religion is restricted, has little social power, and public life proceeds without reference to the supernatural. Christian church in Europe was dominant in the Medieval Ages, but it developed conflict with free thinking inherent in sciences.

Scientists were considered heretics and subjected to inquisitions. At European Renaissance in the 18th century reason became the primary source of legitimacy and many European intellectuals questioned the authenticity of Christianity and religion in general. This gave rise to secularism, defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations in human affairs.

Compared to Europe, the United States was religious, but the elitists who saw their future secured in secularism brought it from their European progenitors, as discussed by Christian Smith and his colleagues in Secular Revolution: Power, Interest, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life published by the University of California Press, 2003.

Today, the U.S. as a leader of the West serves as the guardian of secularism and uses it as the yardstick in its relations with other countries.

European population declining and greying

Eurostat, the European Union statistical office estimated that EU’s population will peak at 543 million people in 2026 and then decrease to 420 million by 2100. It projected close to half a million centenarians in the EU-27 by 2050, and women outnumbering men at older ages.

According to the Pew Research Center Europe will be the only region in the world to see a decline in its total population between 2010 and 2050. Although Christians will continue to be its largest religious group in Europe, its Christian population is projected to drop by about 100 million due to declining fertility, older age, religious switching and migration into the region.

Christians will make less than half of the U.S. population within a few decades

The Pew Research Center report September 13, 2022 Modeling the Future of Religion in America said that since the 1990s, large number of Americans have left Christianity to join the growing ranks of U.S. adults who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “none in particular”. This accelerating trend is reshaping the U.S. religious landscape, leading many people to wonder what the future of religion in America might look like.

Another report by the Center on December 14, 2021 said about three-in-ten U.S. adults are now religiously unaffiliated. In 2018 and 2019, 65% of Americans described themselves as Christian when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade.

Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of population consisting of people who described their religious identity as atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular”, stood at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

Both Protestants and Catholics experienced losses as a share of population, 43% of U.S. adults identify themselves as Protestants, down from 51% in 2009, and 20% identify as Catholic, down from 23% in 2009. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated population, known as religious “nones” went up in their numbers.

More young adults in the U.S. religiously unaffiliated

The Center determined that the rate of religiously unaffiliated millennials in the U.S. is increasing rapidly. In 2014 35% born from 1981 to 1996 reported themselves as “nones” or agnostics, atheists, and religiously unaffiliated. In 2016, the number of “nones” raised in a religion (49%) lacked belief and led them away from religion.

In 2019 the self-described atheists accounted for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009. Agnostics made 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago, and 17% described their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009.

According to a 2024 Pew Center survey, 80% of respondents believe that religion’s role in public life is shrinking in the United States, which is the highest percentage in two decades. The survey also found that 63% of U.S. adults identify as Christians, down from 75% a decade ago. and that 29% of Americans are unaffiliated, up from 19% in 2011.

Secularization of American Public Schools

In an article, Zachary Garris, J.D., M.Div. on September 14, 2015 under above title said, ”Most education in early America was private, founded by Christians, and teachers prayed in class and used Bible for instruction. Today, in much larger public school systems, prayer and religious instructions are not allowed as schools have come under increased state control in the mid-1800s.

In conclusion he said, “American government under the mask of neutrality has actually propagated atheism and immoral ethics that come along with it . Government schools have now indoctrinated generations of Americans into more secular worldview, and we are seeing the fruit of such education politically and socially... Socially, America has destroyed the family unit, reaping astronomical rates of divorce and fatherlessness (around 40%) and a birth rate (1.9 children per woman) below even that of stabilization (2.1). All of this is a recipe for social disaster.”(Italics are his).

“The effects of the public school system on this country are evident. Yet Christian parents continue to send their children to government schools. They hand them over to secular teachers for 13 years and then wonder why their kids stop going to church once they get out of college. Spiritually-negligent parenting and entertainment-based youth group will not do much to counteract the secular worldview inculcated from government school (which continue in and even worse in the public university”, Garris said.

Limits of secularism and search for meaning

At Renaissance when reason became the ultimate criterion, the Western intellectuals considered religion was a relic of the superstitious past and as more knowledge is gained it will disappear with time. But religion has grown more relevant with time, since it answers questions that every reflective person must ask. These are the questions about the very meaning of life; who am I? Why I am here? How shall I live? What will happen after I die? Jonathan Sacks, a Harvard sociologist in his article reproduced on AC May 17, 2012 said we can take science, technology, liberal democratic state, and market economy that characterize modernity, but none of these four gives answers to these questions that humans ask.

Science explains but not why I am here, it is descriptive, but not perspective. It can tell us about causes but not about purposes. Indeed, science disavows purposes. Technology, gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it does not tell what to say. A liberal democratic state, gives us the maximum freedom to live as we choose, but minimum direction as how we should choose. The market gives us choices but it does not tell us what constitutes the wise or the good or the beautiful choice. Therefore, as long as we ask those questions, we will always find ourselves turning to religion. Religion remains the main repertoire of those meaning-based questions.

Science and religion are extreme cases of those different ways of thinking about the world.

Science is atomistic and analytic whereas religion is synthetic and integrative. Science takes things apart to see how they work; religion puts things together to see what they mean. Those are two irreducibly different ways of thinking.

Secular Worldview

The Western civilization in the age of modernism, that existed until the beginning of 21 st century considered that scientific positivism will solve all our problems and lead us to reality without recourse to any outside source. But we know now that science has definite limits as discussed in the above, and science does not tell us how to use scientific knowledge, how to make moral judgements, and draw conclusions about supernatural entities intervening human affairs.

In fact, religion and science deal with different realms of human experience: Science investigates the natural world, religion deals with spiritual and supernatural aspects of life.
Postmodernism, a broad movement that developed in the late 20 th century, defined by an attitude of skepticism, rejected grand narratives and idea of a single and objective truth and concluded that the notion of truth is relative and context-dependent.

Post-positivists recognize that all human observations are fallible, and all theories are relative to time and place, as well as revisable. They recognize that scientists like everyone else are biased by their cultural experience, world views, and other inherent weaknesses. Thus it is impossible for an individual to achieve objectivity, and that only collectively we could come to approximate the reality.

The secular worldview looks at the world from a materialistic point and without reference to either God or religion. Mankind is the norm and everything is measured in relation to it. Secularism based on Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest – a biological concept of fitness understood as survival of the form that will leave most copies. Its adherents over the years misused it to support eugenics and policies of racism.

However, in the present world order it has resulted in the North-South divide between the developed North and underdeveloped/developing South, and the differences between them are witnessed in protests whenever the world’s richest meet.

Secular living

According to the secular way of thinking s life ends at death. Science does not tell us anything after we die, and it cannot project into life after death. However, humans are endowed with God-given conscience, and living together in common humanity have come up with certain guiding principles. Secularists live by the golden principle of “do to others what you want others to be done to you.”

For living collectively, the best system devised is democracy. In a democratic system collective matters are decided by a preponderance of public opinion. A constitutional democracy is considered fair for minorities in protecting their rights.

Democracies work under three branches; legislative, executive, judiciary providing checks and balances, and ensures no one organization has excessive powers.

Problems of secularism

1. Unstable families and destruction of the family institution. The family constitutes the basic foundation of a society, and it is being destroyed systematically by the dominant secularists in the Western societies. Majorities of Europeans and Americans stay single and do not marry, and 60% of Americans cohabit to avoid the responsibilities of marriage. A majority of marriages of Europeans and Americans end up in divorce, and children are born to women who are not married.

Mary Eberstadt, a researcher at Hoover Institution and ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. authored How the West Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization, 2007. She argued family was the most important factor driving secularization trends in the Western world.

She compared family to the double helix of DNA required for its reproduction and said; likewise “Family and faith are the invisible double helix of society. They are like two spirals that when linked to one another can effectively reproduce, but whose strength and momentums depend on one another.”

Trends that signal a decline in the traditional family – rising rates of out-of-wedlock births, cohabitation and divorce, associated with falling rates of marriage and ever-shrinking family size – aren’t simply the consequences of secularization, they are part of its cause.

Eberstadt supported her proposition through examples, with most recent example of Ireland. The decline in weekly Mass-going of Irish Catholics dropped from 91 percent in 1973 to 34 percent in 2005. Ireland now stands out as the first country to legalize homosexual marriage by popular vote.

Eberstadt concluded that there are things associated with families that drive people to religion and make them religious. She said her proposition also explained the exception of the United States vs Europe, and the differences in fertility rates within the U .S. broadly tracking differences in religious pattern.

She said that child birth is a phenomenal experience for many fathers and just about every mother and is an event as transcendental as no other. The sequences of events that culminate in birth are universally interpreted as a moment of communion and a cross-cultural bond like no other- a formulation to which most world parents would instantaneously agree.

Eberstadt stated there are sex differences in religiosity, and women on the whole are more religious than men, and generally inclined to be more humble about their own powers and the possibility of opening up to the transcendent, making it easier for women to believe in an all- caring God for the helpless mortals in all ages.

She said that many of the great atheist and secularists have been childless. And questioned, Could this familial inexperience have left them less than well-equipped to understand the symbiotic relationship between religion and the family?

She said the more we materialize and retool our lives to suit material desires and busy ourselves in the pursuit of these ends, the more we would lose spiritually and be less inclined religiously.

Harvard sociologist Carl Zimmerman went further in discussing the problems of families in Western societies in his book Family and Civilization published in 2008. He stated that families in Western societies were deteriorating since Renaissance with the shift of culture away from tradition towards the interest of individual as its primary beneficiary. Even more disturbing is the observation that the West was following the same disastrous course which plagued the civilizations of Greece and Rome before their collapse. As a result of the prevalent secular culture the Western civilization will end in collapse as they did.

The subject is discussed in my book Western Families in Crisis Muslims Resurging published in 2019 and available at Amazon.

2. Loss of meaning and higher purpose in life. With loss of faith, secularists experience a general loss of meaning and purpose to life. Nihilism or loss of meaning was proclaimed by Friedrich Nietzsche who said “God is dead” along with the traditional values and religious moral restraints and emphasized that humans could create their own values.

However, as discussed above it is religion that answers questions on the meaning of life and is relevant to our very existence as humans.

3. Increased recourse to intoxicants and drugs. With loss of values inherent in religion, a void is created in life in secularized societies. There is recourse to chemicals to fill up this void. Research shows increased secularization results in higher engagement in riskier behavior, such as drug intoxication and alcohol consumption.

Drug intoxication with or without alcohol consumption are a major cause of death in the United States, killing while driving, and multiple problems at home. Opioid addiction, facilitated by an influx of illicitly manufactured drugs, is a major cause of death of Americans under 50 years of age. The problem is getting worse and predictions are it could kill more people in the coming decades.

Opium production in Afghanistan nearly came to zero by 2000 before U.S. invasion but started to reach record high level after invasion in 2001. The opioid addiction in America simultaneously spiraled out of control.

4. Changing values and violence of majority on minority. Since matters are decided by the opinion of the majority, it could change with time, and what is permitted today may not be permitted tomorrow.

Also a majority could ignore the rights of minorities. This is what is happening in India where the Hindu majority ignores Muslims, Christians and other minorities, and is unfair to them.

5. Rising societal inequality. Secularists are self-centered, and the human greed is the cause of corruption, and accumulation of huge amount of wealth and resources with individuals. It leaves little for commoners who vastly outnumber them yet support the rich with their labor. This eventually leads to the breakdown of society because the portion of wealth allocated to it is not enough. It causes the collapse of elite due to absence of labor.

Today, the world’s richest one percent acquired nearly twice as much as the bottom 99 percent of the world population.

To remedy the situation, Oxfam the global NGO recommends that governments around the world must act to have a human economy that truly matters to society rather than the individual pursuit of profit and wealth.

6. Influx of refugees and anti-immigration In Europe. In order to maintain its productivity, Europe is dependent on labor force from outside. People in developing countries in order to improve living conditions immigrate to Europe, causing an inflow of refugees. While some countries opened their arms, others erected fences and closed their borders. The International Organization for Migration called Europe the most dangerous destination for irregular migration in the world, and the Mediterranean world’s most dangerous border crossing.

Despite the escalating human toll, the Europeans response to migrant influx has been ad hoc, and more focused on securing borders than protecting the rights of migrants and refugees. With the ascendance of nationalist parties in many European states, concerns about Islamic terrorism have loomed large across the continent.

7. Prevalence of Islamophobia. Islamophobia, defined as irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against Islam and Muslims is rampant in Europe and the U.S. In 2011 the United Nations organization identified it as an important area of concern. Islamophobia exacerbated after the 9/11 incidents and with the rise of populist nationalist politicians in Europe. A Gallup study on December 10, 2014 said that globally, many Muslims report not feeling respected by those in the West.

Studies of countries with large Muslim populations

Several demographic studies show that Islam is the fastest growing faith and Muslims the fastest-growing group in the world. A report on January 27, 2011 by the Pew Research Center indicated the world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years, rising to 2.2 billion by 2030. Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades – an average annual growth rate of 1.5% for Muslims, compared with 0.7% for non-Muslims.

If the current continue, Muslims will make up 26.4% of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030 of the world population of 6.9 billion. A majority of the world’s Muslims, about 60% will continue to live in Asia-Pacific region and 20% in the Middle East and North Africa, as is the case today.

The portion of world’s Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to rise, and in 20 years more Muslims are likely to live in Nigeria than in Egypt. Muslims will remain relatively small in Europe and the Americas, but are expected to constitute a growing share of the total population in these regions.

According to these studies, there are several factors that account for the faster projected growth of Muslims than non-Muslims worldwide. Generally, Muslim populations tend to have higher fertility rates (more children per woman) than non-Muslims populations. In addition, they have a larger portion of the populations in their prime productive years, median age of -24 years. But in reality the population dynamics are the work of providence and controlled by the supernatural.

Islamic worldview

A Muslim believes in the same universal God that a believing Jew or Christian does and together they constitute as part of Abrahamic faiths. However, Islam advocates God is unique in existence without any associates.

According to Islamic worldview God is the creator of this universe, or universes as shown by recent research and sustains all that is within them. God has infinite knowledge, wisdom and grace, and he must be thanked, worshipped and obeyed. In service to him lies human good. A believer’s life revolves around this basic understanding.

God created a human being as his representative on earth, and as such endowed humans with appropriate faculties and a great potential to make use of these faculties. Thus civilization could advance and achieve all that is good and beneficial for humankind. However, all that God granted is given as a trust or Amana, and there will be its accountability in the Hereafter.

This above worldview, although its applications may have varied from time to time, has existed in the same form, from the beginning of humankind on earth and the Quran repeatedly mentions the Hereafter and human answerability to God in the Hereafter. God raised prophets such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus among others for guidance of humankind. A prophetic saying ascribes 240,000 prophets through human history some of whom came with a revealed scripture, such Torah and Bible. The last of these prophets was Muhammad ﷺ came about 570 years after Jesus with final testament, the Quran.

Every word of the Quran is in its original form, and remains unaltered to this day.

Findings of the Pew Center about Muslims around the world

In contrast to increasing secularization of Western societies discussed in the above, Muslim societies are very religious, as shown by the Pew Research Center in demographic surveys of Muslim countries and its findings reported under The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society on April 30, 2013, and discussed in the following.

Pew Survey: Muslims want sharia as the law of land in their countries

The Pew survey showed overwhelming percentage of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law (sharia) to be the official law of the land. Sharia, or Islamic law, offers moral and legal guidance for nearly all aspects of life – from marriage and divorce, to inheritance and contracts, to criminal punishment. Sharia, in its broadest definition, refers to the ethical principles set down in Islam’s holy book, the Quran and example of actions by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ called Sunna.

The Islamic jurisprudence that comes out of the human exercise of codifying and interpreting these principles is known as fiqh. Muslim scholars and jurists continue to debate the boundary between sharia and fiqh as well as other aspects of Islamic law.

Pew Survey: Muslim morality is derived from belief in God

The Pew survey said Muslims around the world overwhelmingly agree that in order for a person to be moral, he or she must believe in God. Muslims across all the regions surveyed also generally agree that certain behaviors – such as suicide, homosexuality and consuming alcohol – are morally unacceptable. However, Muslims do not always line up on the same side issues such as morality of divorce, birth control and polygamy.

The survey asked Muslims if it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values and for the majority of Muslims the answer is clear yes. Muslims around the world also share similar views about the immorality of some behaviors, e.g. across the six regions surveyed, median percentages of roughly eight-in-ten or more consistently say prostitution, homosexuality and suicide are morally wrong. Medians of at least 60% also condemn sex outside marriage, drinking alcohol, abortion and euthanasia. However, moral attitudes are less uniform when it comes to questions of polygamy, divorce and family planning.

Family is central to Islamic society and strengthened through a variety of means

Islam advocates family as the basic institution of its society, and puts into place various means to strengthen it. I wrote an article on the family institution in Islam in Islamicity on April 2, 2017.

Among others, Khurshid Ahmad wrote on Family Life in Islam published by the Islamic Foundation, Leicester, U.K. and Ismael Faruqi on the role of family in the Spread of Islam. For further reading on the subject, refer to chapters on the Foundation and Fundamentals of Islamic Family and Basic Principles and Objectives of Islamic Family Muslim in my book Western Families in Crisis, Muslim Resurging, published in 2019 by Amazon.

Islam considers family as divinely ordained institution that came into being with the creation of man and it did not evolve through a process of trial and error over time, as erroneously thought.

God created man and then his wife and human race came into existence from this original pair.

Islam advocates that the two mates should live in peace and tranquility through love and mercy between them, as stated in the Qur’an, and prophetic tradition.

According to Islam God has endowed humans with natural ability to procreate, it should be pursued through legitimate means. And that sexual instinct between a husband and wife must be restricted to marriage for the express purpose of procreation rather than seeking other unsound and illicit relationships. A family should come about through an express commitment in marriage between a man and woman in a way that sexual pleasure and responsibility go together.

Sex through marriage and marriage alone provides the control mechanism for sexual urge, generates love between couples, and brings about peace and tranquility in the society.

Islam builds families through a binding social contract between a man and woman guarding their mutual rights and obligations. The consent of both spouses must be clearly expressed for the marriage to take to take place. Marriage is not a sacrament made in heaven but a pledge right here on earth through which the partners agree to regulate their mutual relationships and divorce is allowed as the final recourse if it does not work out.

Family is central not only for Islamic society but also for Islamic faith. It is here that children must be brought up with good upbringing (tarbiyya), and taught basics of Islamic faith and practice. As such the husband and wife should share an Islamic outlook as marriage partners and jointly endeavor to fulfil their destiny as God’s agents on earth. The Qur’an warns that members of its society safeguard against those who are indecent in their matrimonial relationship and clearly stated the Qur’an. And role of the spouses is emphasized in several prophetic sayings.

An Islamic family is created through arranged marriage by involving the two families who are looking for suitable mates for their sons and daughters. It develops affinity between two families and the prospective spouses. The courtship between couples starts after marriage and grows as determined through tradition to make it succeed by understanding of each other, and as it grows it becomes secure and stronger. Marriage is the beginning not the consummation of this process – it begins on the wedding day and has all the future to grow and become stronger.

And if any problems are encountered, their families are there to help them in all possible ways.

Arranged marriages are the cultural norm for Muslims across the world, as well as Muslims from Western nations like the U.S. and U.K. In fact, arranged marriages are the norm in the East for all faith groups, including the Christian, Japanese and Hindu cultures, and a google search shows 90% of marriages in India are still arranged.

Since arranged marriages signify a marriage of two families, the resources of two families along with their entire human, economic, and wisdom potential are at the service of newly married couples, who are in need of all these resources and the necessary advice from both sides of marriage to solve any problems encountered by the couples.

In quite contrast when young men and women meet in Western societies, fall in love, and decide to enter marriage there is no organization to support the newlyweds. They are literally left in the lurch without any help since most marriages are contracted even without the knowledge of parents or even close relatives.

Marriage in Islam requires the consent of two prospective spouses entering marriage, is signed and agreed upon, and witnessed by their guardians and elders and becomes a legal and binding document. According to Faruqi, This document serves as constitution for the home, and Islamic marriage is built upon a constitution with its terms spelled out in the marriage contract.

It is in accord with the Qur’anic injunction of committing in writing, and this writing down makes it a blessed act which saves the marriage a great deal of unhappiness and suffering. This document and its guardian and witnesses could be called upon to settle the affairs between the couples, even in case of death or separation by divorce.

Islam confers different roles of man and woman. As such, a woman does not have to compete with men, but husband are wife complement each other. This is clear from the following Qur'anic verse: 'Husbands are the protectors and maintainers of their wives because God has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means.' (Al Nisa 4:34).

Islam assigns the family leadership role to men because God has endowed them with somewhat greater physical and emotional strength and endurance. As such men are responsible for supporting all female relatives in addition to their own household. On the other hand, God made women biologically and psychologically very much suited to concentrate on the home and family and all that is required to operate and develop this institution and its associated areas. This is a tremendous responsibility. And no one else can either take it away from her or adequately attend to it, according to Khurshid Ahmad.

The case for sex after marriage in the U.S. is supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormons. The LDS Church advocates two doctrinal principles for its youth: first, virtually everyone who can should marry; second, sexual relations must wait until after marriage.

The LDS youth who join its mission are allowed no dating, and maintain fairly strict rules regarding the opposite sex, such as no flirting, keep at arm’s length away from opposite sex. The faculty, administration, and staff are selected and retained who voluntarily live the principles of LDS church.

Published research points out the drawbacks of the prevalent American culture where a single’s life is associated with hookups and sexual experimentation. Being intimate has somehow become a polite way of talking about sex, and yet sex and intimacy are not synonymous.

Sometimes singles will just do anything to get close to someone they find interesting, intriguing or just plain irresistible. The problem for such a relationship is to ignore or minimize deeper compatibilities in relationships. Intimacy in a relationship is a feeling of being close, and emotionally and supported. It means sharing a whole range of thoughts, feelings and experiences that we share as human beings.

Having shared spiritual intimacy can bring two people close together. Studies have shown that couples who report stronger shared faith report a stronger and more satisfying marriage.

According to the American Psychological Association, religion and spirituality can positively impact romantic relationships and marital satisfaction. Research has shown that spiritual intimacy can strengthen physical and emotional intimacy due to the shared connection and meaning.

Jason Carroll, a researcher at Brigham Young University who participated in several research studies, speculated on the underlying reasons and said, “Our brains are hardwired connecting with our bodies – we do not just experience pleasure during sex but also have strong sensations of attachment and bonding. Rapid sexual intimation can get confused for true intimacy and lasting love, and create sort of counterfeit intimacy making two people think they are closer to each other than they really are. It can cause people to “fall in love”, even get married to someone who is not a good choice for their future.

With the onslaught of current culture when most Americans live together without getting married, it is heartening to know there are groups and organizations working to support marriage tradition that was followed until the 1950s and earlier, before the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Among these organizations are Waiting Till Marriage which advocate chastity and reject the prevailing culture now accepted as the norm.

Muslims want Democracy, Personal Freedoms, and Islam in Political Life. An overview by the Pew Research on July 10, 2012 said more than a year after the first stirring of the Arab Spring, a strong desire for democracy continues in Arab and other predominantly Muslim nations. Solid majorities in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan believe democracy is the best form of government, as do a plurality of Pakistanis. Indeed, these publics do not just support the general notion of democracy – they also embrace specific features of a democratic system, such as competitive elections and free speech.

A substantial number in key Muslim countries want a large role for Islam in political life. However, there are significant differences over the degree to which the legal system should be based on Islam.

However, the United States is not seen as promoting democracy in the Middle East. And despite the tumult and uncertainty of the Arab Spring, the Pew Center found Muslim views about democracy are mostly unchanged since 2011, although the support has declined somewhat in some countries such as Jordan.

Growing global appeal of Islamic finance and rise of Sharia-based financial institutions

Islamic finance is increasingly attracting investors worldwide. Despite the adverse impact of COVID-19, there is growing interest in Islamic financing due to three reasons.

  1. Greater appreciation of the role Islamic financing plays in responsible investing.
  2. Geographical interest in markets where Islamic finance is gaining prominence.
  3. Digital transformation, which makes Islamic investments more accessible.

A report in Al Jazeera published on March 28, 2024 by Faras Ghabi said the global Islamic halal economy is set to reach a market value of $7.7 trillion by 2025, more than double the $3.2 trillion reached in 2015, and significantly higher than the $5.7 trillion valued in less than three years ago in 2021, according to industry experts.

The statistics show a rise in demand for halal investments and opportunities. Islam permits investing, but certain aspects of its practice such as charging or paying interest are not allowed. Transactions cannot involve interest, investments must not be made in unlawful assets or commodities such pork products, alcohol, or military equipment, among others. And investments cannot be made based on what is described as “highly uncertain transactions that run contrary to the idea of certainty and transparency in business called gharar in Islamic terminology.

Omar Shaikh, Director of Islamic Finance Council United Kingdom told Al Jazeera, “Muslims believe earning money in a way that is halal is better than earning it (even if that is more) in a way that is harmful to society and against the morals of the religion.”

An example of halal investment is an Islamic financial certificate that represents a share of ownership in the company. A Goldman Sachs report published in December 2022 estimated that by 2075 five of the world largest 10 economies- India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Egypt will have Muslim populations of more than 850 million people. And with the rise in population, there will be greater demand for Islamic financing.

More recently, the demand for halal investments has received a boost from Israel’s war on Gaza, and consumer boycott of brands seen as supportive for Israel. While Muslims are nearly a quarter of world population, but barely one percent of financial assets qualify as Sharia compliant. This is set to change, say experts, with the arrival of “fintech” financial technology that can make investment much more accessible for ordinary consumers and individual investors.

An article in Fintech futures on August 4, 2020 said as of July 2020 there were 142 Islamic fintech around the world, UK had 27, Malaysia 19, UAE 15, Indonesia 13 and Saudi Arabia and US 9 each. Another report on April 18, 2024 had 45 top fintechs and startups in Indonesia.

In any case with the rise of Muslim population and as the necessary legal frameworks and regulatory bodies are enacted by the respective governments to help people, especially those in underserved rural areas and with the mass education people become more internet savoy, there would be corresponding growth in financial markets including the fintech companies.

Dr. Siraj I. Mufti is a retired faculty member from the University of Arizona and a retired chaplain from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Related Suggestions

The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.