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Islamic Beliefs and Practices

According to the Quran, God created jinn as well as angels and humans. Belief in jinn is relatively widespread – in 13 of 23 countries where the question was asked, more than half of Muslims believe in these supernatural beings.

In the South Asian countries surveyed, at least seven-in-ten Muslims affirm that jinn exist, including 84% in Bangladesh. In Southeast Asia, a similar proportion of Malaysian Muslims (77%) believe in jinn, while fewer in Indonesia (53%) and Thailand (47%) share this belief.

Across the Middle Eastern and North African nations surveyed, belief in jinn ranges from 86% in Morocco to 55% in Iraq.

Overall, Muslims in Central Asia and across Southern and Eastern Europe (Russia and the Balkans) are least likely to say that jinn are real. In Central Asia, Turkey is the only country where a majority (63%) of Muslims believe in jinn. Elsewhere in Central Asia, about a fifth or fewer Muslims accept the existence of jinn. In Southern and Eastern Europe, fewer than four-in-ten in any country surveyed believe in these supernatural beings.

In general, Muslims who pray several times a day are more likely to believe in jinn. For example, in Russia, 62% of those who pray more than once a day say that jinn exist, compared with 24% of those who pray less often. A similar gap also appears in Lebanon (+25 percentage points), Malaysia (+24) and Afghanistan (+21).

The survey also asked if respondents had ever seen jinn. In 21 of the 23 countries where the question was asked, fewer than one-in-ten report having seen jinn, while the proportion is 12% in Bangladesh and 10% in Lebanon.

It is important to note that while belief in jinn is widespread, relatively few Muslims in the countries surveyed believe it is an acceptable part of Islamic tradition to make offerings to jinn. As discussed in Chapter 6, Bangladesh is the only country surveyed in which more than a fifth of Muslims (28%) say appeals to jinn are acceptable. In 18 of the countries, no more than one-in-ten say this is an acceptable practice.



The Quran and hadith both make reference to witchcraft and sorcery in the time of the Prophet Muhammad.23 Today, the survey finds, substantial numbers of Muslims continue to believe in the existence of witchcraft, although levels of belief vary widely across the countries included in the study, and – as discussed later in this report – very few Muslims believe the use of sorcery is an acceptable practice under Islam. (See Use of Sorcery in Chapter 6.)

In sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of Muslims who say witchcraft or sorcery is real ranges from more than nine-in-ten in Tanzania (92%) to about one-in-six in Ethiopia (15%). A similar range of views is found in the Middle East and North Africa, where more than three-quarters of Muslims in Tunisia (89%) and Morocco (78%) believe in witchcraft, compared with as few as 16% in Egypt and 14% in the Palestinian territories.

Among the Southeast Asian countries surveyed, Indonesian Muslims are the most convinced that witchcraft is real (69%). In South Asia, Pakistani Muslims (50%) are more likely than their counterparts in Afghanistan (35%) or Bangladesh (9%) to believe in the existence of sorcery.

Meanwhile, in Southern and Eastern Europe, Albanian Muslims are the most likely to believe in witchcraft (43%), compared with a third or fewer elsewhere in the region.

Belief in the existence of witchcraft is least common in Central Asia. With the exception of Turkey, where about half of Muslims (49%) believe that sorcery exists, no more than three-in-ten in any of the Central Asian nations surveyed believe witchcraft is real.

Across most of the countries surveyed, Muslims who pray more than once a day are about as likely to accept the existence of witchcraft as those who pray less often. However, there are exceptions to this pattern. In Kosovo and Lebanon, Muslims who pray several times a day are significantly more likely to believe in sorcery (32 percentage points in the former, 16 points in the latter), while in Kyrgyzstan and Egypt the opposite is true: those who pray multiple times a day are slightly less likely to believe in witchcraft (by 10 and eight points, respectively).

This excerpt has been lifted from https://www.pewforum.org/. The full article and research can be accessed via this link: https://www.pewforum.org/2012/08/09/the-worlds-muslims-unity-and-diversity-4-other-beliefs-and-practices/

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