Religion in Oman is dominantly Islam as Muslims account for a total of 88% per cent of the entire population. The rest are immigrants who have settled in Oman creating an influx of outside religions in Oman like Christianity, Buddhism, Jew, Hinduism. A few people or almost 2 per cent of the population follow no religion. They recognize themselves as atheists.
Islam in Oman - Official Oman ReligionBefore we dig into more detail, there are a few terminologies you must understand. Just like most religions, Muslims also have different sects within it such as Shia, Sunni and Ibadi. All these sects have different rules pertaining to marriage, food habits and follow different levels of proximity towards religious offering. Most of the people in Oman recognize themselves as Ibadis and adhere to the Ibadi School of thought. They make up almost 30 per cent of the population. The Shia Muslims are mostly found along the coasts of Al Batinah and Muscat, two popular cities in Oman.
Ibadism also has a large following. The impact of this faith can be seen in the culture and laws of the country. Sharia law is the law according to Islam. It is practised in many pockets of Oman and sometimes takes precedence over the criminal law. Ibadism expects nothing but strict adherence to Sharia law at all times and at all places. Things like singing and dancing are looked down upon in their culture.
Famous Mosques in Oman: Al Zawawi Mosque, Sultan Taimur bin Faisal Mosque, Mosque of the Great Prophet, Al Khor Mosque, Sayyidah Maizoon bint Ahmed Mosque
Immigrant Religions In Oman
Christianity is the largest minority religion in Oman. They make up approximately 7% of the population. They are mainly situated and work in the major urban areas such as the capital city of Oman, Muscat. The Hindus living in Oman are Indians who relocated there due to work purposes. Hinduism hence does not have a huge following in Oman and there are only two major Hindu temples in the country. Sikhism is another religion in Oman brought by the Indian immigrants.
Hindu Temples in Oman: Lord Shiva Temple and Sri Krishna Temple in Muscat
Gurudwaras in Oman: Gurdwara Sahib at Seeb
Churches in Oman: Oman Evangelical Christian Church in Muscat, English Speaking Congregation in Salalah, Protestant Church Oman, Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka, Holy Spirit Catholic Church
Freedom Of Religion In OmanOne of the great things about Oman is that it allows atheism and people following different religions. Although most people are Muslims, the law does not overlook the needs of the people of other faiths. The Omani society is accepting of different faiths but they still do have a social hierarchy system. Religious gatherings are discouraged by the government and are thus held in private. There are also issues regarding censorship and publications by non-Islamic religious institutions require approval from a special ministry.
With a slowly growing tourism as well as business industry, Oman is a beautiful country with the culture as rich as any other Arab nation. Breathtaking landscapes of Salalah, to the big city life in Muscat, the culture and religion in Oman are slowly growing more diverse.