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1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Economy
a. Figures
4. Defense
5. Health
6. Education
a. Universities
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. Human rights
12. History
13. Cities and Towns

Open the online Arabic language course

Index / Religions
Open map of MauritaniaFlag of MauritaniaMauritania /

Figures in 1000.
3,100 100%
3,100 100%
Christianity 0.3 <0.1%
Roman Catholic
0.3 <0.1%
Baha'i 0.2 <0.1%


The famous mosque of Chinguetti.


Small mosque of Kiffa.

Almost all of the population belongs to Sunni Islam, also the state religion. In Mauritania Islam the political structures are shaped largely upon religious structures and organization. Officially this is linked to Sharia, Muslim law, but includes also traditional structures unique for Mauritania. Exceptions are bank regulations and insurance, organized after French patterns.
Sufism is an important dimension in Mauritanian Islam. There are two main orders: Qadiriya and Tijaniya, the two have major similarities in structures and rituals, but Qadiriya is more complex and less demanding on its members. Most Moors belong to the Qadiriya, while the Fulani, Toucouleur, Soninke, and Wolof and a few the Moorish tribes in the inner central regions belong to the Tijaniya.
A leader of a Sufi brotherhood is usually referred to as a marabout. His functions extends to have curing effects on the sick, as well as negotiation and mediation. Marabouts also make amulets used for protection by followers.
Mauritania has a long history of religious learning, attracting students from all over West Africa. Towns like Oualata and Chinguetti are considered holy even outside Mauritania.

By Tore Kjeilen