Is there any verse in the Holy Quran that provides a clear definition of who should be considered Muslim?

Some extremist groups of Muslims use their own definition of Muslim and call some other Muslims unbeliever (Kaafir) for political and worldly purposes. (Takfir)

So I would like to see how the Holy Quran defines Muslim. Please support your answers with verses and their respective translations from the Holy Quran.

In other words:

What are minimum requirements of being considered as a Muslim according to Islam and Quran?

  • 2
    Your question was vague and filled with unnecessary details. I cut some parts and tried to make it close to the point.
    – Noah
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 14:03
  • The only Verse that explains the word Muslim is in Surat al-Hojorat (49:14) and this only makes a distinction between Muslim and Mu'min, so without known the background of the Verse you couldn't take a definition from the Qur'an directly! But many Verses show the relation between Muslim and dedication!
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 15:27

6 Answers 6


I searched the whole Quran for the word Muslim. It seems there is no explicit definition of a Muslim, although it has been called to different people in different situations. Among them the following verses seem to match your question better than others:

1) قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ

Say, "O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you - that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah ." But if they turn away, then say, "Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him]." [ Ali-Imran: 64 ]

2) وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, "Indeed, I am of the Muslims." [Fussilat: 33]

3) وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ۚ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ

And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you "Muslims" before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah . He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper. [Al-Haj: 78]

4) وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ يَا قَوْمِ إِن كُنتُمْ آمَنتُم بِاللَّهِ فَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلُوا إِن كُنتُم مُّسْلِمِينَ

And Moses said, "O my people, if you have believed in Allah , then rely upon Him, if you should be Muslims." [ Yunus: 84]

5) وَإِذْ أَوْحَيْتُ إِلَى الْحَوَارِيِّينَ أَنْ آمِنُوا بِي وَبِرَسُولِي قَالُوا آمَنَّا وَاشْهَدْ بِأَنَّنَا مُسْلِمُونَ

And [remember] when I inspired to the disciples, "Believe in Me and in My messenger Jesus." They said, "We have believed, so bear witness that indeed we are Muslims [in submission to Allah ]." [Al-Ma'idah: 111]

But as you asked for the minimum reqiurements of a Muslim, I think the first verse (Ali-Imran: 64) has the key answer, since it points to the word that is equitable between different people of the Scripture. These requirements (as johan.i.zahri mentioned) are:

  • Worshiping just and just Allah
  • Not associating anything with him (Renounce Shirk)
  • Not taking one another as lords instead of Allah

So it could mean that Qur'an even calls Christians and Jews, 'Muslim'. Then how can we call some Muslims, 'non-Muslim'?

  • Bohot khoob, Ahamdi ho issi liye barai safayi se keh dia. Zara Khatam-e-Naboowat ka bhi tou mention karo.
    – KMX
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 16:42
  • Any newly-born son of a non-muslim is a muslim according to the Quran.
    – AnteDeum
    Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 16:13

According to (Al-Hojorat:14)

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

The desert Arabs say, "We believe." Say, "Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say, 'We have submitted our wills to Allah,' for not yet has Faith entered your hearts. But if ye obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not belittle aught of your deeds: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

Every person who starts Islam is a Muslim (although Muslim can be any submission to Allah as well, as may be the case for even people of the book). The name of Islam is Islam to show its highest goal (being submitted to Allah) but this submission has only one constraint, it should be truthful not only a word of mouth or even a decision of mind not backing with proper behavior at the times of examinations.

  1. So becoming Muslim starts from saying the world by mouth (say, after seeing a spark of light in the hearth, an evolution in hearth, feeling a presence of Allah and similarly other cases).
  2. Then this statement absorbs examinations to the new Muslim, he would be examined at the same time that he is gradually learning Islam, its ideology and Shari'ah. The examinations have at least one important objective, the person would find his weak points as Allah says "For thy Lord is (as a Guardian) on a watch-tower" (Al-Fajr:14), he can either choose to accept the weak point and try to resolve it or simply deny it arrogantly.
  3. He cannot pass to a higher level until he passes the examinations successfully, step by step.
  4. At some point (perhaps from the very beginning that he faces the examinations for the first time and decide to overcome his weak points, switching from only tongue to also mind situation?) the rather new Muslim will feel the joy of presence of Allah all over around as a sign of faith, as faith is now touching his hearth.
  5. However, he is now only a beginner in being faithful as Allah says: "O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denieth Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray."(An-Nesaa':136) or similarly "**O ye that believe! Fear Allah, and believe in His Messenger, and He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy: He will provide for you a Light by which ye shall walk (straight in your path), and He will forgive you (your past): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. **"(Al-Hadid: 28). The point to focus on here is "O ye who believe! Believe …" so that becoming faithful has degrees, the Muslim should travel his journey toward Allah step by step. There are a bunch of verses guiding the believer how to think and behave for him to improve, as Quran is the book of guidance for those who believe (according to Quran itself)!
  6. Faith and fear of Allah (fear of his Justice, being decent before his majesty: Taghva) are related to each other as faith in hearth causes Taghva (piety) in behavior (avoiding sins and not being in observance to his commands), Taghva in behavior brings back confidence (yagheen) which again makes the faith of the faithful person stronger. This chain is the right way (Serat-e-Mostaghim) toward Allah that no one reaches it but the truthful men, those who say we believe and then prove it in action (Al-Aghaf:13, Fosselat:30):

Only those are Believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and have never since doubted, but have striven with their belongings and their persons in the Cause of Allah: Such are the sincere ones. (Al-Hojorat:15)

And the 14 innocents A.S. are the most sincere ones, and the prophet S.A says:

"And I am commanded to be the first (foremost) of those who bow to Allah in Islam." (Az-Zomar:12)

To sum up all the above stated things, Muslim in Quran (when is used for Muslims really and not anyone who submits to Allah, whether or not has stated the words of "Shahaadatein": Allah is unique and Muhammad S.A. is his prophet) include both who have just entered Islam, no faith even touching their hearth, to the foremost of all the Muslims and faithful creatures of Allah the holy prophet Muhammad S.A., and should be easily understandable as anyone who enters a religion/ism would be called with a title taken from the name of that religion/ism, but the name of the religion/ism itself should already have an eye open to the ending point of that religion/ism as well. To speak strictly, anyone who says the "Shahaadaatein" (accepting Allah as the only God through the prophecy of his prophet Muhammad S.A.) will be Muslim, that is, not Kafir. So that even a "yet unbeliever" (different than unbeliever who is not also tended to believe) is not that unbeliever which is known as Kafir (atheist)! Confessing to be Muslim and not being hypocrite equals being Muslim in view of Allah.

PS. Shirk, opposite of Islam, has also a similar gradual structure, the biggest being stating that God is not unique or there are gods with Allah, to that we believe in uniqueness of Allah but follow our will instead of his will in action, although we know he is the only ruler of the world and has no coadjutor, not my will and not any will other than his, be it the will of my society, its government, my family, the world-wide will, or else.

  • 1
    thanks. only seems mixing your answer with different ranks of Believer and also Hidden Shirk made it complicated to understand what is your final define of Muslim. Question is only about Muslim. specially when it is the matter of Takfir and killing a Muslim by another Muslim. not higher ranks of a real Believer. Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 4:37
  • 1
    I was aimed to only answer your question, the definition of Muslim according to Quran, everyone from those who are named Muslim (while confessing to be Muslim by mouth) even if having yet no faith in their hearths are called Muslims (I hope you notice the difference between such Muslims and hypocrites, though, as they are not hiding an anger in their hearths against Allah and his prophet S.A.) to the best of Allah's creature his holy prophet S.A..
    – owari
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 5:35
  • Therefore, anyone who says the "Shahaadaatein" (accepting Allah as the only God through the prophecy of his prophet Muhammad S.A.) will be Muslim, that is, not Kafir. So that even a "yet unbeliever" (different than unbeliever who is not also tended to believe) is not that unbeliever which is known as Kafir (atheist)! Confessing to be Mulsim and not being hypocrite equals being Muslim in view of Allah.
    – owari
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 5:38
  • thanks. better to improve your answer with you clear define in comment. only about "not being hypocrite" how Muslims can understand who claims to be Muslim is Muslim or not? can Muslims Judge about it? its my fault asking in view of Allah. we do not know what God know. better to say in view of Islam laws. Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 6:12
  • 1
    Modified, thanks. God knows the hypocrites, but how we can recognize a Muslim from an atheist is another question that seems to be different than the question in the title of this page, maybe you would like to open another page for it?
    – owari
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 11:14

A Muslim is simply one who has accepted that "there is no god but God and Prophet is his messenger". That is it.

Firstly, since we have no knowledge what is in someone’s heart, we as people have no right after that to doubt anyone that says he/she is a Muslim.

Secondly, let us say for a second we had the ability to look into someone’s heart and determine that they are not really a Muslim but are just saying it, there is no injunction in Quran or Ahadith that states that we need to kill him/her.

You may not be a perfect Muslim, but once you have accepted that there is no god but God, then you are a Muslim. It is like you just brought a home and you entered into its door. You may be still in the hallway, but you are the resident of the house. It might take you time to settle down or you may never settle down but be in the hallway for a long time, you are still resident of the house. You may even make mistakes, in which case you will still be a Muslim but bad one.


Huge Topic, Bit lengthy but will be useful InshaAllah. Definitions According To the Quran:

  1. Background.
  2. Muslim
  3. Kafir.
  4. Munafiq.
  5. Mushriq.
  6. Wisdom.

Creating Background

  • To understand something the first and foremost thing is to understand the basics of that study and the basics of any field is always general.

    • But if the basics are strong you will never fluctuate in any of the advanced level of that study.

    • Example:

    • 2+2=4 is basic rule in mathematics and is known to every child. So if a Mathematician who is a great researcher comes with a theory which proves the base wrong then you need not be a scientist or PHD to say that there is a flaw that should be addressed.
    • Like Law of Conservation of Energy is the basic law of nature or physics. But when Stephen hawking came with a theory of Black Holes which says it consumes everything and nothing is reflected then it had gone against the base rule. Scientists at that time too were not able to address the problem but they knew for sure that the theory is wrong in itself, later we got good clarification and hawking himself refused it but it took more than 20 yrs(Hawking's paradox).

    • The Most important point is that the theory 2+2=4 and The Law of conservation of Energy and every other theory are the basic laws because we have 100 % proof of what we believe(Imaan) about the theory. So theory is never without proofs (Burhaan). And when we have 100% proof of something or some theory we are 100% satisfied (Momin). So in this condition when you are satisfied about the theory with enough evidences, even if the world tells you that 2+2=5, you will never implement 2+2=5 in your life(resisting falsehood) and someone comes in front of you with 2+2=5 then definitely your first reaction will be 'HOW' and you will start discussing that there is a flaw in your theory(Dawah).

    • That's why the very first verse of Quran starts from 'Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds' which means you are at such a stage where you ponder on the universe and in yourself and found enough proofs and a voice comes from your heart that Definitely without doubt 'THE PRAISE IS FOR THE ONLY LORD' who created everything flawless. Like when you see a beautiful painting you immediately say 'What a beautiful painting the painter had created, can i have a privilege to meet him', so that is what the first verse is. If we do not understand it then it just becomes a lip service.

    • Now the very important thing to understand is:

    • -

Lets's take two examples

  1. Let's suppose Kaifi is 'HONEST' and 'TRUTHFUl'(MUSLIM). Then it definitely means that we are talking about his property and Kaifi does not have two identities. Honesty is attribute which can be understood by means of a few rules:

    • He is truthful.
    • He does not speaks lie even in worst cases.
    • Even if his parents tell him to lie he will not.
    • Whenever there is a conflict and people wants to get witness they prefer kaifi over others.
    • Many More....
  2. Kaifi is a 'LIER'(MUNAFIQ - HYPOCRITE).

    • He is a lier if he lies.
    • He promises many things and never fullfill them.
    • His lips say great things but he never implements himself.
    • Many More....
  3. Now without doubt anybody can know whether Kaifi is an Honest and Truthfull guy or a Lier based on the basic principles. And these rules are common for everyone. The properties of being a 'HONEST AND TRUTHFUL' guy and the properties of being a 'LIER' is told.

  4. Anybody falling in these categories whether he is born in any family, race, color, language (It does not matter) he will be called a 'HONEST AND TRUTHFULL' OR A 'LIER'.

  5. So it is very Important to understand that 'MUSLIM', 'MUNAFIQ', 'KAFIR', 'MUSHRIQ' are properties which can be conceived by any human being and the laws which define what are the properties of being a 'MUSLIM', 'MUNAFIQ', 'KAFIR', 'MUSHRIQ' are given by the CREATOR because the laws can only be given by the CREATOR because he created everything and he knows THAT WHAT WILL HARM YOU IN A LONGER RUN(WHICH YOU MAY DISCOVER WITH TRIAL AND ERRORS AND BY LOOSING LIVES AND HARMING OTHERS). Like if you create a motor bike with five gears, 1 is in front and 4 backwards then you will tell that 'IF YOU HIT BACK GEAR YOU THEN IT WILL NOT BE THE 1rst GEAR', AND '1 IS IN FRONT' ETC.


  • The definition is 'He who submits his will to ALLAH'. Muslim and Islam are made of same Arabic roots meaning 'PEACE' which comes only when you are satisfied internally, socially, universally. Which obviously means you have enough proofs.
  • That is why Quran had called Trees, Birds, and things in universe as Muslims because they never go against law.
  • Ibrahim(a.s) journey towards belief(Iman) in Allah The Great is wonderfully explained in Quran. Where at first he starts pondering on to the universe and rejecting false even though he was the son of the highest Priest. And thinks that sun is the Star is the God, then Moon is the God, then Sun but with an open mind and highest thinking he came to the conclusion of the ultimate reality the MOST HIGH and that was the moment when ALLAH said Ya Ibrahim become my MUSLIM.
  • So when did he became Muslim is a thought to be considered.
  • So whole of the Quran mentions the property of Being A MUSLIM.
  • You are a MUSLIM only if YOU ARE A MUSLIM BY CHOICE.


  • The Most important Ayah In context of MUNAFIQ(HYPOCRITE) is Quran 2:8-9.

    1. Quran 2:8,9 - 'And of the People are some who say,"We believe in Allah and the Last day," but they are not believers’. ‘They Deceive Allah and those who believe, but they deceive not except themselves and percieve it not'.
  • It goes again for everyone. He may be a Muslim or anyone.

  • That's why it was mentioned in a hadith that once Hazrat Umar(r.a.) once felt whether he became a munafiq and was frightened with the very thought.

  • It was the assessment of his deeds and Iman which made him think so which he could never be.
  • But our whole life goes without thinking whether i am a Muslim or Munafiq or what?


  • Is made from 'K','F','R' Arabic roots which have three meanings.

    1. Denier (Denying after knowing) - Denier is the one who knows and then deny. The reason could be anything often it is Ego. Nobody is denier until he does not know. That means it had to be proved with more than sufficient proofs that what is what. At the time of Prophet there was not a single man who denied because he did not knew. Everybody knew that he was a true prophet either by their scriptures or by internal proofs or universal proofs. And i personally never found a Hadith in which he said someone a Kafir or Munafiq.

    2. One Who Hides the Truth - Truth is often hidden by people who knows that they have The Truth. Which Often Falls on So called Muslims.

    3. Not Thankful (NaShukri) - A person is not thankful if he does not know the capabilities he is having and never wants to know. A person who does not care in a least Bit. This also goes on so called Muslims.

  • All the Properties are mentioned by Allah Subhan-o-Tala in Quran. And whoever falls in the laws mentioned had done Kufr.


  • Often I think if ALLAH the most Great is with us then why is the condition of MUSLIMS is as is today.
  • Beloved Prophet said 'He is not a MUSLIM, by whom his neighbours are Distorted or worried', 'Momin aur Kufr ke beech Namaz Deewar hai','When asked whose Islam is best, replied the one who does not harm his brother neither through his hands nor through his tongue' and thousands more....
  • Sahaba were the examples of Muslims (or even greater Momin) and i do not find a single evidence in which they fall out of the rules of Allah Azwajjal. And Allah was with Them and they conquered their innerselves(nafs) and the world through peace and love.
    • So I have to decide who i am?
  • So I have to become a MUSLIM as prescribed by ALLAH until then the tables will not turn. And until then i may be a Munafiq because if i fall under the laws of Munafiq mentioned by ALLAH then i have to repent and make TAUBA and return towards ALLAH and become a best MUSLIM.

قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّـهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ
Say, "O People of the (Divine) Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you - that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah." But if they turn away, then say, "Bear witness that we are Muslims [in peace with Him]."
[Aali Imran 64]

As per the above ayah, a Muslim has these characteristics:

  1. They come to a word that is equitable between us and you (will look for commonalities rather than differences which opt for a peaceful settlements)
  2. They will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him (allegiance is only to the Prime One / the Creator of All, to be a slave/servant to only Him)
  3. They do not take one another as lords (against slavery on each other)

Muslims are the common denominating factor of the Yahood (Jews), the NaSara (Christians), the Sabeans (the monotheistic Hindus? and prior) and the mu'mins (the believers commonly misrepresented as the "traditional/conventional Sunni/Shi'a Muslims") as per 2:62 and 3:19.

For example in the Qur'an, Ibraheem AS was a Muslim and was not a Jew nor was he a Christian as per 3:67. But he might be a Sabean or a mu'min, but either way he was a Muslim.

  • so: a jew is a muslim.. a christian is a muslim.. a sabean is a muslim.. a mu'min is a muslim.. but : a muslim may not necessarily be a jew.. a muslim may not necessarily be a christian.. a muslim may not necessarily be a sabean.. a muslim may not necessarily be a mu'min.. a muslim may not necessarily be etc.. Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 6:47
  • what you are saying is the fact that we have only one religion with different versions revealed throughout history of the mankind: Islam. However, the original poster seems to be talking about the common phrase Islam as used by people around the world, not as it really means by word!
    – owari
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 13:18
  • i believe the questioner asks according to the Quran. If what in common phrase contradicts the Quranic outlook then maybe we ought to revisit the understanding of our common phrase lest we fall into cognitive dissonance praising the Quran but not understanding it pure and wholeheartedly? Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 18:53
  • @johan.i.zahri this answer looks as if it is based on theory of oneness of religions, which comes or is a part of the theory of Wihdatul Wujud, oneness of existence (everything is Allah) which has no place in Islam and is not part of it.
    – مجاهد
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 20:37
  • no place for islam? but we are discussing what constitute the word islam itself.. Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 4:21

Muslim is the one who submit's to the Will of Allah:

As per Surah Al Imran verse 52: We see Christ Jesus Calling out to his disciples: "Who will be my helper in the works of Allah - This is the "First Dawah" to an independent group.

The Desciples respond "We will be your helper and we believe in Allah - This as such is the "first Shahadah" by an independent group - six hundred years prior to the Dawn of Islam in Arabia.

This message has been given to us by Allah through his Prophet Mohammad (PBUH): Also it is stated in the Quran: All those who follow Jesus will be superior in this world and the hereafter - as such we follow Jesus not as God but as the only Messiah of mankind and declare to be "Senior Muslims"

All are invited to join this first but new group.

  • 1
    Salam and Welcome to Islam.SE, we strongly suggest that you read the FAQ.
    – مجاهد
    Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 18:38

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