Item Details

The Reality of Religious Labels: A Study of Muslim Religiosity

Issue: Vol 21 No. 2 (2008)

Journal: Journal for the Academic Study of Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies Islamic Studies Biblical Studies

DOI: 10.1558/arsr.v21i2.188


The meaning of the religious labels used by people to describe themselves and others is often problematic. Religiosity, religious behavior and experience vary in the way they are reported and understood. This study presents a methodological approach to investigating the relationship between self-reported religiosity and an objectively constructed index of religious intensity. The data were obtained from a multi-country study of Muslim religiosity in which over 6000 Muslim respondents were surveyed through a structured questionnaire. The survey questionnaire included questions on the self-reported religiosity of the respondent and forty four items to ascertain respondents’ attitudes toward key Islamic beliefs and practices. A multiple item religious intensity scale was extracted through factor analysis from these forty four items. The percentage distribution of self-reported religiosity is reported by country and globally and then cross tabulated against the religious intensity index. In all countries those who labeled themselves as very religious also had the strongest religious intensity. A correlational analysis between the two measures of religiosity was performed which revealed a highly significant correlation between the two measures. The sociological significance of this finding is that self-reported religiosity can be a reliable and valid measure of religious commitment. The paper concludes with a discussion of varying levels of religiosity found in different countries and offers some cultural explanations of the observed variations making a timely contribution to understanding Muslim religiosity in the modern world.

Author: Riaz Hassan, Carolyn Corkindale, Jessica Sutherland

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