Country Listing

Afghanistan Table of Contents



Islam is one of the few commonalities in Afghan society despite the existence of sectarian differences and variations in Quranic and legal interpretations. It faces no competition from other religions as only scattered minorities of Hindus and Sikhs, who came originally as traders from India, and Jews, lived in urban centers. By 1985 virtually all Jews had emigrated.

In their war of liberation against the Soviet Union, resistance groups striving for a pan-Afghan constituency appealed to Afghans on the basis of their Muslim identity. The term used for the resistance fighters, mujahidin, translates as "those waging jihad." Jihad, meaning to strive or to struggle to follow God's will, both within oneself and in the defense of Islam, is an obligation incumbent on all Muslims.

Data as of 1997