What Religions are Practiced in Somalia?

A mosque in Hargeisa, Somaliland, Somalia. Editorial credit: Free Wind 2014 / Shutterstock.com.
A mosque in Hargeisa, Somaliland, Somalia. Editorial credit: Free Wind 2014 / Shutterstock.com.

Somalia is an African nation that is located in the Horn of Africa. The country has a long coastline on the Indian Ocean, the longest in African mainland. The 637,657 square km country houses a population of around 14.3 million individuals. Ethnic Somalis account for about 85% of the country’s population. Islam is the religion of the vast majority in Somalia. 99.8% of the population are Muslims according to data provided by Pew Research. Islam is the state religion in the country and Islamic sharia governs the country’s legal system. Any law that goes against the basic tenets of Shari’a will not be enacted in the country.

Islam In Somalia

Sunni Muslims constitute a majority of Somalia’s Muslim population. Sufism is also quite popular in the country. A small population of Shia Muslims also live in the country. Islam arrived in Somalia at a very early time, soon after the hijra which refers to Prophet Muhammad journey from Mecca to Medina. On the advice of the Prophet, a small group of Muslims entered the Horn of Africa to seek refuge from persecution in their home country. Some of the earliest mosques in the country date back to the 7th century. Over the centuries, numerous Islamic figures were produced by the country whose works greatly influenced the spread of Islam in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere.

Christianity In Somalia

A very small population of about 1,000 individuals, representing only about 0.01% of the entire population of Somalia, practice Christianity. The religion came in Somalia only recently. There were virtually no Christians in the nation at about 1913. The Christian population in the country grew only slightly during the colonial era. During the rule of the Marxist government in the country, the activity of all missionaries and church-sponsored schools were shut down.

Traditional African Religions In Somalia

Only a very small percentage (0.1%) of Somalians adhere to their traditional religions and beliefs. Such religions preach belief in the Supreme being, ancestral worship, magic, and curses. Most of these believers are non-Somali in origin and are mainly settled in the southern parts of the country where they practice animism.

Other Religions In Somalia

Other religions practiced in the country include Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and those not claiming affiliation to any religion. Less than 0.1% of the population of Somalia adhere to these religions.

The Major Religions of Somalia

RankReligionPopulation Practicing (%)
2Other 0.1

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