A Holistic View of Muslim Religiosity: Introducing BASIC

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Dr. Tamer Desouky
Dr. Tamer Desouky

Data Scientist, Yaqeen Institute

Dr. Osman Umarji
Dr. Osman Umarji

Associate Editor, Director of Survey Research and Evaluation



September 15, 2021

Religiosity is a multifaceted construct. It includes beliefs, emotions, behaviors, and interactions with a community. This report highlights Yaqeen’s new tool to measure Muslim religiosity, which we call BASIC. BASIC stands for Beliefs, Attitudes, Spirituality, Institutional Connection, and Contribution. We believe BASIC holistically captures some of the major markers of religiosity. Throughout this report we highlight different aspects of Muslim religiosity worldwide, including how religiosity affects well-being and mental health, the prevalence of religious doubts, and demographic differences in religiosity and religious doubts.

Chapter 1

The Impact of Muslim Religiosity on Well-Being Outcomes

September 15, 2021

What does it mean to be religious? Religiosity includes more than believing in Allah or praying five times a day. In this chapter, we explain BASIC, our holistic measure of religiosity. We then investigate how religiosity influences the mental health and well-being of Muslims worldwide. We find that Muslims are generally religious, and that religiosity positively influences their lives. Religiosity is related to having a higher purpose in life, life satisfaction, and overall well-being. Additionally, religiosity is associated with lower levels of religious doubts, depression, and anxiety.

Chapter 2

Doubt Among Generations: How Uncertainty Tolerance Affects Religiosity

February 11, 2022

Every generation grows up in a different historical context. The use of technology, such as smartphones, is a fundamental difference in how younger and older generations interact with the world. The modern world may also have additional intellectual challenges with the spread of liberal values. In such rapidly changing times, how does the faith of younger Muslims compare to their elders? Do they have more religious doubts? Do attitudes towards uncertainty have anything to do with differences in religiosity and religious doubts? In this chapter, we investigate these questions and find differences between age groups in religiosity, religious doubts, and attitudes towards uncertainty. Younger Muslims report lower levels of religiosity and higher levels of religious doubt. They also report lower levels of tolerating uncertainty in life, which relates to religiosity and religious doubts. However, their approach to understanding doubt is unique in that they view it as an opportunity to grow more than any other age group.