India is a diverse and secular country with people of different religions living together. Islam is the second-largest religion in India after Hinduism, with about 15% of the population identifying as Muslims.
According to the government estimates, the Muslim population in India is expected to be 19.7 crore by 2023. In this article, we will look at the top 10 Indian states with the high Muslim population in 2023, based on the census 2011 data and the projected growth rates.
India is home to the world’s third-largest Muslim population, after Indonesia and Pakistan, with about 200 million Muslims, or 14.2% of the total population, according to the 2011 census. Islam is the second-largest religion in India, after Hinduism, which comprises about 79.8% of the population.
However, India’s Muslim community is not a monolithic entity, but a tapestry woven with threads of diverse identities, cultures, beliefs, and histories. India’s Muslims belong to different sects, such as Sunni, Shia, Ahmadiyya, and Sufi, and have different linguistic, ethnic, and regional backgrounds. They also have varying levels of education, income, and political representation.
Which is the fastest-growing religion in India?
Islam is growing the fastest religion in India. The growth rate of Muslims has consistently been higher than the growth rate of Hindus, ever since the availability of census data of independent India. For example, during the 1991-2001 decade, the growth rate of Muslims was 29.5% (compared to 19.9% for Hindus).
Lakshadweep is a union territory of India consisting of a group of islands in the Arabian Sea. It has the highest percentage of Muslims in India, with 96.58% of its population following Islam. In 2023, it is estimated that the total population of Lakshadweep will be 64,473, with 62,268 Muslims. People know Lakshadweep for its coral reefs, lagoons, and beaches due to its rich cultural heritage.
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is a union territory of India located in the northern part of the country. It has the second-highest percentage of Muslims in India, with 68.31% of its population adhering to Islam. The total population of Jammu and Kashmir is estimated to be 12,541,302 in 2023, out of which 8,567,485 are Muslims. Jammu and Kashmir is famous for its scenic beauty, snow-capped mountains, lakes and valleys.
Assam is a state of India located in the northeastern part of the country. It has the third-highest percentage of Muslims in India, with 34.22% of its population following Islam. In 2023, we estimate that the total population of Assam will be 31,205,576, with 10,679,345 being Muslims. Assam is renowned for its tea gardens, wildlife sanctuaries, and cultural diversity.
West Bengal is a state of India located in the eastern part of the country. It has the fourth-highest percentage of Muslims in India, with 27.01% of its population adhering to Islam. In 2023, it is estimated that the total population of West Bengal will be 91,276,115, with 24,654,825 of them being Muslims. West Bengal is famous for its literature, art, cuisine and festivals.
Kerala is a state of India located in the southern part of the country. It has the fifth-highest percentage of Muslims in India, with 26.56% of its population following Islam.
They estimate the total population of Kerala to be 33,406,061 in 2023, out of which 8,873,472 are Muslims. Kerala is renowned for its backwaters, beaches, ayurveda, and spices.
Uttar Pradesh is a state of India located in the northern part of the country. It has the sixth-highest percentage of Muslims in India, with 19.26% of its population adhering to Islam. In 2023, experts estimate Uttar Pradesh’s total population at 199,812,341, with 38,494,667 being Muslims. Uttar Pradesh is famous for its historical monuments, religious places and cuisine.
Bihar is a state of India located in the eastern part of the country. It has the seventh-highest percentage of Muslims in India, with 16.87% of its population following Islam. The estimated population of Bihar in 2023 is 104,099,452, with 17,566,087 being Muslims. Its ancient civilization, Buddhist heritage, and culture make Bihar renowned.
Some of prominent Muslim groups in India
- The Mappilas of Kerala, who trace their ancestry to Arab traders who married local women and converted them to Islam.
- The branch of Shia Islam followed by the Bohras of Gujarat and Maharashtra, who are known for their business acumen and philanthropy, is followed by them.
- The Kashmiri Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir, who are mostly Sunni and have a distinct culture and cuisine influenced by Persian and Central Asian influences.
- The Bengali Muslims of West Bengal and Assam, who are mostly Sunni and speak Bengali as their mother tongue.
- The Urdu-speaking Muslims of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, and Hyderabad, who are mostly Sunni and have a strong literary and cultural heritage.
- The Meos of Rajasthan and Haryana, who are mostly Sunni and have a mixed Hindu-Muslim ancestry and culture.
Muslims shaped India’s history, culture
India’s Muslims have contributed significantly to the country’s history, culture, art, literature, science, and politics. Some of the notable Muslim figures in India are:
- Emperor Akbar, who ruled over most of India in the 16th century and promoted religious tolerance and cultural synthesis.
- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was a freedom fighter, scholar, and the first education minister of independent India.
- Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who was a scientist, engineer, and the 11th president of India.
- AR Rahman, who is a composer, singer, and Oscar-winning musician known for his fusion of Indian and Western music styles.
- Shah Rukh Khan, who is a Bollywood actor, producer, and one of the most popular celebrities in the world.
However, India’s Muslims also face many challenges and difficulties in the country. They often suffer from discrimination, violence, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and underrepresentation in various sectors. They also face threats from communalism, extremism, radicalization, and hate crimes.
The government appointed the Sachar Committee in 2006 to study the socio-economic status of Muslims in India, according to a report.
- Muslims have a lower literacy rate (59.1%) than the national average (64.8%).
- Muslims have a lower share of public sector jobs (4.9%) than their population share (14.2%).
- Muslims have a lower representation in parliament (4.7%) than their population share (14.2%).
- Muslims have a higher poverty rate (31%) than the national average (22%).
State-wise population of Muslims in India
|State||Total Population||Muslim Population||Percentage|
|Jammu & Kashmir||12.5 million||8.6 million||68.3%|
|Assam||31.2 million||10.7 million||34.2%|
|West Bengal||91.3 million||24.6 million||27%|
|Kerala||33.4 million||8.8 million||26.6%|
|Uttar Pradesh||199.8 million||38.5 million||19.3%|
|Bihar||104.1 million||17.6 million||16.9%|
|Karnataka||61.1 million||7.9 million||12.9%|
|Delhi||16.8 million||2.1 million||12.9%|
|Gujarat||60.4 million||5.8 million||9.7%|
|Rajasthan||68.5 million||6.2 million||9.1%|
|Andhra Pradesh*||84.6 million||6.9 million||8.2%|
|Maharashtra||112.4 million||12.9 million||11.5%|
|Madhya Pradesh||72.6 million||4.8 million||6.6%|
|Tamil Nadu*||72 million||4,229,479||5,86%|
Muslim Population by States in 2023
|Rank||State||Total Population||Muslim Population||Percentage of Total Population|
|7||Jammu and Kashmir||12,541,302||8,567,485||68.31%|
Amnesty International report
- Hindu vigilante groups disproportionately targeted Muslims with mob violence and lynching over allegations of cow slaughter or beef consumption.
- The police and authorities harassed and intimidated Muslims over their citizenship status or participation in anti-government protests.
- Access to health care and relief during the COVID-19 pandemic discriminated against Muslims as well.
Historical Muslim Population in India
|Year||Muslim Population||Percentage of Total Population|
|1951||35 million (3.5 crore)||9.8%|
|1961||47 million (4.7 crore)||10.7%|
|1971||62 million (6.2 crore)||11.2%|
|1981||83 million (8.3 crore)||11.7%|
|1991||101 million (10.1 crore)||12.6%|
|2001||138 million (13.8 crore)||13.4%|
|2011||172 million (17.2 crore)||14.2%|
|2019*||204 million (20.4 crore)||15%*|
|2020*||213 million (21.3 crore)||15%*|
India’s Muslim population is a diverse and dynamic community that has enriched the country’s culture and society. However, the government and society need to address many challenges and threats that the organization also faces. India’s Muslims deserve respect, dignity, justice, and equality as citizens of the country.
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