Islam in the Comoros

98% of the 798,000 population in the Comoros, a group of 4 islands in the Indian Ocean, are Muslim. Most are of Arab-Swahili or Persian descent, but there are also people of Indian descent. The name Comoros is derived from the Arabic Qamar, meaning moon. Arabic is one of the official languages.

Locals claim Islam was brought to the islands during the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam’s lifetime by two Comorian nobles, Fey Bedja Mwamba and Mtswa Mwandze, who visited Makkah. Arab merchants and exiled Persian Shirazi princes played a role in introducing Islam. Comoros was an important stop in early Islamic trade routes.
Islam has long played a central role. Ruling families learned Arabic, performed Hajj, and maintained ties with other Muslim communities such as Kilwa, Zanzibar and Oman. Hassan ibn Issa, a 16th century Shirazi chief, encouraged conversion and constructed numerous Musjids. Sheikh Al-Ami ibn Ali al-Mazruwi (d. 1949) was the first of the region's ulama to author Islamic literature in Swahili.

Hundreds of Musjids and Madrassas are scattered throughout the islands. All children attend Quranic School for two or three years, starting around the age of five; there they learn the basics of Islam and Arabic.

Comoros had only three murder cases in the last 30 years and violent crime is almost unheard of. An Islamic scholar was elected President in 2006 after years of political turmoil engineered by France and other countries. Islamists hope to create an Islamic state.