Around 23% of the world's population, or 1.7 billion people, currently believes in Islam. What do Muslims believe and value? The Pew Research Center has taken an introductory look at this question.
While Pew's research has been carried out in almost 40 countries, it's worth noting that it did not include India, Western Europe, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and a number of other countries in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere.
As such, their findings statistically represent the views of, at most, around 1.15 billion of the roughly 1.7 billion Muslims in the world.
If we combine data from the Pew surveys with information about population sizes and the percentage of Muslims within the counties polled, though, it is possible to calculate how many Muslims believe and value as a concrete figure. The results are below.
Sharia law is a set of ethical and legal principles based on what is written in the Quran and the hadith. While sharia covers a diverse range of topics, including marriage, divorce, inheritance, and religious observances, it is most notoriously known for prescribing severe punishments for theft, adultery, and apostasy.
Favoring sharia law does not necessarily mean desiring all elements of it. For example, some Muslims might want all parts of sharia applied as the legal code within their country, while others might want it to apply only in cases of property or family disputes (but not, for example, in criminal proceedings).
Wide consensus exists on the question of the immorality of unmarried sex and homosexuality. Out of more than a billion Muslims in 36 countries, 88% regard sex outside of marriage as immoral, while 89% regard homosexual sex as immoral.
The only poll questions on which greater consensus exists among Muslims relates to the belief that there is one god, Allah, and that Muhammad is his prophet (97%) and that angels exist (92%). After that, the next most agreed-upon thing is that homosexuality and unmarried sex are immoral.
For comparison, research published in 2013 by Pew indicates that 60% of people in the United States, 80% in Canada, 79% in Australia, 76% in Britain, 60% in Brazil, 21% in China, and 16% in Russia think homosexuality should be socially accepted.
The maximum number of wives a male is permitted to have in Islam is four (Muhammad was granted exception by god to have as many wives as he pleased). Though permitted, the Quran says that a man should have more than one wife if he can treat them all fairly and equally. It then proceeds to say that they will not be able to do that, implying that a man should not actually have more than one wife.
The majority of Muslims represented in the survey (68%) think that women should have the right to choose whether they wear the veil or not. A majority (86%) also completely or mostly agree that a wife must always obey her husband.
These responses can be taken as evidence of a conflict or tension embedded in the values of Muslims concerning female autonomy. It is worth emphasizing that these questions were asked of both male and female respondents.