Located on the Arabian Peninsula’s southeastern coast, Oman occupies an area of 309,500 square km and hosts a population of 4,424,762 people.
Islam is the dominant religion of Oman and virtually all citizens of Oman are Muslims. People of other religions are mainly foreign nationals who have migrated to Oman for work. Muslims account for 85.9% of the population of the country.
Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and others account for 6.5%, 5.5%, 0.8%, less than 0.1%, and 1% of the population of Oman, respectively. 2% of the population is not affiliated with any particular religion.
Islam In Oman
Nearly three-quarters of Oman’s Muslims adhere to the Ibadi School of Islam. Sunnis and Shia Muslims account for a significant part of the population of Oman. The Shia community is mainly found along the coasts of Al Batinah and Muscat. The adherence to Ibadism is one of the main reasons for the country’s historical isolation in a Sunni-dominated Arab world. Islam has been practiced in the country since ages and was one of the first places in the world to have a significant presence of the religion. Ibadism practiced in the country heavily influences the culture of the nation.
Ibadism demands strict adherence to the Sharia law, both in private and public. These laws are strictly implemented in Oman. Singing and dancing are frowned upon and discouraged. Oman’s mosques are also simple and clean and lack minarets and ornate decorations that characterize many mosques in other parts of Arabia.
Other Religions In Oman
Christianity is the largest minority religion in Oman. Most of the Christians living in the country are migrant workers who have arrived from South Asia or Southeast Asia. Oman’s Christians are affiliated with the various Christian denominations like Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. They are mainly found in and around the major urban areas like the capital city of Muscat. The Hindus of Oman are primarily immigrants from India. There are two Hindu temples in the country.
Status Of Freedom Of Religion In Oman
Although Islam is the official religion of Oman and the Sharia is the source of legislation, the country generally allows others to practice their religions without interference from the state. Discrimination on the basis of religion is not practiced by the state. The Omani society is mostly tolerant of the religion of others but social hierarchies do exist. Religious gatherings in private are discouraged by the government. Also, publications by non-Islamic religious institutions are required to take ministerial approval prior to printing. The religious organizations in the country must also be registered with the government.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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