Islam is the official and predominant religion in Jordan, and it is crucial to understanding the country’s daily life. Therefore, on this page, we detail its presence in society, its pillars, sacred sites, and main mosques.
The Constitution of Jordan, in its Article 2, declares Islam as the official religion of the country. This is not just a formality, but also a social reality, with over 97% of Jordanians professing the Muslim faith, while Christians and other faiths, including Buddhism, make up less than 3% of the population. Within the Muslim population, the predominant denomination is Sunni Islam, with approximately 90% of the faithful, and less than 10% being Shia Muslims.
Despite this, Jordan is a relatively tolerant country when it comes to religious freedom. Even though less than 3% of the population follows other beliefs, there is freedom of worship. This can be seen in the existence of churches in different cities and the respect for Christian and Jewish holy sites in Jordan, which attract religious tourists.
Islam is deeply ingrained in all aspects of Jordanian society, from politics to family, education, and work. Daily life is influenced by the rhythms of this religion, as Jordan follows the Islamic lunar calendar, with one of its months being Ramadan, which significantly slows down daily activities due to the obligatory fasting during the day.
Friday is generally the sacred day of rest, with the most important weekly prayers taking place, and it marks the beginning of the Jordanian weekend, which also includes Saturday. Other aspects that highlight the central role of religion in Jordan include halal food practices and the importance of marriage as a turning point in the life of any Jordanian.
However, it should be noted that while religion has a significant influence in Jordan, the practical application of its customs and practices is relatively relaxed compared to other countries in the Middle East. This is largely due to Jordan’s role as a balancing point between Arab traditions of the region and its openness to the Western world.
As a result, you will see many women in Jordan who do not cover their heads with a veil and adopt a more international style of clothing. The public role of women is also more visible in society, including in the workforce, academia, and politics, although there is still progress to be made in this regard.
The central element of Islam in Jordan is, logically, the Qur’an: it is the sacred book of this religion, considered the written reproduction of God’s word to the Prophet Muhammad through the Archangel Gabriel. It consists of 114 chapters or surahs, which contain the basic beliefs of Muslims, as well as historical events that occurred before and during the life of Muhammad.
As stated in the Sunni tradition, which is the majority in Jordan, every devout Muslim must abide by five basic pillars:
For Islam and its followers, Jordan holds a significant place, both for events related to the life of Muhammad and historical episodes that took place during the expansion of this faith in the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.
For example, it is believed that the Prophet Muhammad must have traversed this land during his famous night journey from Mecca to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, from where he ascended to Heaven riding his winged horse Buraq.
This episode narrated in the Quran took place around 621 AD, but in the years following the death of Muhammad, Jordan was also the scene of other significant events. For instance, it was the first place where Islam expanded beyond the Arabian Peninsula, i.e., the first land where this religion came into contact with the non-Muslim world.
Furthermore, it was the battlefield of the first battles fought to expand the Muslim faith, in this case against the Byzantine Empire that dominated the region: the Battle of Mu’tah (Governorate of Karak) in 629, and the two Battles of Yarmouk (634 and 636), with the second one being the truly decisive and victorious battle that opened the doors to Muslim expansion.
In addition, here is another aspect especially relevant to this religion: Jordan It houses the tombs of some of Muhammad’s main companions, who adopted different roles to spread the Muslim faith and who, some time later, are the object of veneration and pilgrimage. The following can be highlighted:
In addition to these sacred places for this religion, Jordan also has important and impressive mosques. And to the delight of non-Muslims, some of these mosques can be visited for tourism purposes, always respecting the rules of behavior and never during prayer times.
Some of the most interesting mosques in the country are:
On the pages dedicated to each destination, you can find more information about these mosques and other sacred places for this religion in Jordan, which are often included in guided tours and circuits.