Hinduism in Arab States
Get Hinduism in Arab States essential facts below. View Videos or join the Hinduism in Arab States discussion. Add Hinduism in Arab States to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Hinduism in Arab States
Hindus in Arab world
Total population
3.06 million (2020)
Regions with significant populations
United Arab Emirates986,900
Saudi Arabia451,347
Related ethnic groups
Middle-eastern Buddhists, Middle-eastern Sikhs and Middle-eastern Christians

Hinduism can be found in the Arab world from the mid of 19th century, millions of members of the Indian diaspora, of different religions, reside and work in Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Many of them are Hindu. Many came due to the migration of Indians and Nepalese expatriates and employees to the oil-rich states around the Persian Gulf.

Hindu temples have been built in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Oman.[1]


Distribution of Hindus among the Middle Eastern countries

  United Arab Emirates (32.2%)
  Saudi Arabia (14.7%)
  Kuwait (13.9%)
  Qatar (11%)
  Yemen (10%)
  Oman (9%)
  Bahrain (5.4%)
  Turkey (2.8%)
  Jordan (0.3%)
  Israel (0.3%)
  Lebanon (0.2%)
Hinduism by country in the Middle East
Country Population (2020E) % of Hindus Hindu total
 United Arab Emirates 9,869,000 10%[2][3] 986,900
 Saudi Arabia 34,719,000 1.3%[4][5] 451,347
 Kuwait 4,259,500 10%[6] 425,950
 Qatar 2,113,000 15.9%[7][8] 335,967
 Yemen 29,710,300 1%[9] 297,103
 Oman 5,081,600 5.5%[10][11][12] 279,488
 Bahrain 1,690,900 9.8%[13][14] 165,708
 Turkey 84,339,067 0.1%[15][16] 84,340
 Jordan 10,185,500 0.1%[17] 10,186
 Israel 8,639,800 0.1%[18] 8,640
 Lebanon 6,830,600 0.1%[19][20] 6,830
Total 197,438,267 1.6 3,062,645
Hinduism in West Asia
Region Total Population Hindus % of Hindus % of Hindu total
Central Asia 92,019,166 149,644 0.163% 0.016%
East Asia 1,527,960,261 130,631 0.009% 0.014%
West Asia 274,775,527 3,187,673 1.5% 0.084%
South Asia 1,437,326,682 1,068,728,901 70.05% 98.475%
Southeast Asia 571,337,070 6,386,614 1.118% 0.677%
Total 3,903,418,706 1,074,728,901 26.01% 99.266%

The number of Hindus in other Arab countries, including the countries of the Levant and North Africa, is thought to be negligible.[] It is not known whether any Hindu temples exist in these countries.[]

Historical background

Indian settlers came to live in Oman, creating settlements and practicing Hinduism. Arab sailors were using the southwest monsoon winds to trade with western Indian ports before the first century CE. An Arab army conquered Sindh in 711 and Arab traders settled in Kerala in the 6th century. In the opposite direction, medieval Gujaratis, Kutchis, and other Indians traded extensively with Arab and Somali ports, including Hormuz, Salalah, Socotra, Mogadishu, Merca, Barawa, Hobyo, Muscat and Aden. Arab merchants were the dominant carriers of Indian Ocean trade until the Portuguese forcibly supplanted them at the end of the 15th century. Indo-Arabian links were renewed under the British Empire, when many Indians serving in the army or civil service were stationed in Arab lands such as Sudan. The current wave of Indian immigration to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf dates roughly to the 1960s. Hinduism is also one of the fastest growing religions in the Middle East,[21] mainly due to immigration from the Indian Subcontinent.

In 2001, Belgian speleologists found a large number of inscriptions, drawings and archaeological objects on the Socotra island in Yemen[22][23] left by sailors who visited the island in the 1st century BC to 6th century AD and most of the texts found were written in the Indian Brahmi script.[24]


There is a small community of Indians in Egypt, the majority of whom are presumed to be adherents of Hinduism.[25]


There is a small community of Indians, most of whom are Hindus.


Libya has an Indian community of about 10,000[26] individuals (in 2007), many of whom are likely to be Hindu.


Shiva temple in Old Muscat is one of the oldest Hindu temple in Middle East.

Oman has an immigrant Hindu minority. The number of Hindus has declined in the 20th century although it is now stable. Hinduism first came to Muscat in 1507 from Kutch. The original Hindus spoke Kutchi language. By the early 19th century there were at least 4,000 Hindus in Oman, all of the intermediate merchant caste. By 1900, their numbers had plummeted to 300. In 1895, the Hindu colony in Muscat came under attack by the Ibadhis. By the time of independence, only a few dozen Hindus remained in Oman. The historical Hindu Quarters of al-Waljat and al-Banyan are no longer occupied by Hindus. The most prominent immigrant Hindus (Kutchi), are Visoomal Damodar Gandhi (Aulad Kara), Khimji Ramdas, Dhanji Morarji, Ratansi Purushottam and Purushottam Toprani.[27] The only Hindu crematorium is located in Sohar, northwest of Muscat.


Hindu temples once located in Ma'bad al Banyan and Bayt al Pir, no longer exist. The only active Hindu temples today are the Shiva temple complex in Muscat (locally known as Motishwar Mandir,[28] and the Krishna temple located in Darsait.[29]


Hindus make up 15.1% of Qatar. There are an estimated 422,118 Hindus in the country.[30][31] Many Hindus are from South and Southeast Asia.[32][33]

Saudi Arabia

Saudi authorities interpret Hindu icons as idols, and idol worship is strongly condemned in Sunni Islam. This is likely the foundation for the stringent position of Saudi authorities when it comes to idol worshiper religious practice.[34]


There is a small community of Indian expiates in 300 people with 100 families, of which almost every one follows hinduism.

United Arab Emirates

South Asians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) constitute the largest ethnic group in the country.[35] Over 2 million Indian migrants (mostly from the southern Indian states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Coastal Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) are estimated to be living in the UAE, constituting 28% of the total population of the Emirates as of 2017.[36] A majority of Indians live in the three largest cities of the UAE -- Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. From the estimated 2 million migrants, 1 million are from Kerala and 450,000 from Tamil Nadu, thus constituting a majority of the Indian community in the UAE. The population of Indian migrants in the UAE had grown from 170,000 in 1975 to an estimated value of 750,000 in 1999. By 2009, this value had grown to an estimated value of 2 million. A majority of Indians in the UAE (approximately 50%--883,313 in 2011) are from the South Indian state of Kerala, followed by migrants from Tamil Nadu. The majority of Indian migrants to UAE are Muslim (50%), followed by Christian (25%) and Hindu (25%). Estimates suggest Hindu population in UAE to be anywhere from 6-10%.


Despite a sizable of the population practicing the Hindu faith, there is currently just one Hindu temple in the two largest sheikhdoms. The Hindu Temple, Dubai (locally referred to as Shiva and Krishna Mandir) has been pointed out as just a small prayer hall operating on the upper floor of a rented commercial building, with two altars.

Permitted to be built in 1958, the small temple had become a foreign policy issue during the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE in late 2016.

Instead, Hindus living in Abu Dhabi and Dubai practice their religion within their homes. The first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi is currently under construction.[37] The new temple, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Abu Dhabi, had its foundation stone laying ceremony in April, 2019.[38][39]

There are two operating cremation facilities for the Hindu community, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Dubai.


There are about 297,103 Hindus in Yemen.[40] Many of them are from India and Nepal.[41]

Hindu temples

See also


  1. ^ "Hindu temples of Gulf countries: more exist than you imagined". catchnews. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report: United Arab Emirates".
  3. ^ "Country Profiles". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
  4. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report: Saudi Arabia".
  5. ^ http://www.globalreligiousfutures.org/countries/saudi-arabia#/?affiliations_religion_id=0&affiliations_year=2020&region_name=All%20Countries&restrictions_year=2016
  6. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report: Kuwait".
  7. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report: Qatar".
  8. ^ "CIA World FactBook: Qatar".
  9. ^ "Global Religious Futures: Yemen".
  10. ^ "Religious Freedom Nation Profile: Oman". Archived from the original on 2007-11-06.
  11. ^ "Religious Freedom Nation Profile: Oman". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  12. ^ http://www.globalreligiousfutures.org/countries/oman#/?affiliations_religion_id=0&affiliations_year=2010&region_name=All%20Countries&restrictions_year=2016
  13. ^ "Global Religious Landscape: Hindus". Pew Research Center. December 18, 2012.
  14. ^ http://www.globalreligiousfutures.org/countries/bahrain#/?affiliations_religion_id=0&affiliations_year=2010&region_name=All%20Countries&restrictions_year=2016
  15. ^ "Religious Freedom Nation Profile: Turkey". Archived from the original on 2007-12-04.
  16. ^ http://www.globalreligiousfutures.org/countries/turkey#/?affiliations_religion_id=0&affiliations_year=2010&region_name=All%20Countries&restrictions_year=2016
  17. ^ "Gloabal Religious Futures: Jordan".
  18. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report: Israel".
  19. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report: Lebanon".
  20. ^ http://www.globalreligiousfutures.org/countries/lebanon#/?affiliations_religion_id=0&affiliations_year=2010&region_name=All%20Countries&restrictions_year=2016
  21. ^ "The Hindu Diaspora In The Middle East". kashmir blogs-Truth about Kashmir-" kashmir blog"".
  22. ^ "La grotte sanctuaire de Suqutra". Archéologia (in French) (396). 26 March 2020.
  23. ^ Robin, C.; Gorea, M. (2002). "Les vestiges antiques de la grotte de Hôq (Suqutra, Yémen) (note d'information)". Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (in French). 146 (2): 409-445. doi:10.3406/crai.2002.22441.
  24. ^ Bukharin, Mikhail D.; De Geest, Peter; Dridi, Hédi; Gorea, Maria; Jansen Van Rensburg, Julian; Robin, Christian Julien; Shelat, Bharati; Sims-Williams, Nicholas; Strauch, Ingo (2012). Strauch, Ingo (ed.). Foreign Sailors on Socotra. The inscriptions and drawings from the cave Hoq. Bremen: Dr. Ute Hempen Verlag. p. 592. ISBN 978-3-934106-91-8.
  25. ^ Color Me Indian Egypt Today - June 2009. archive url: [1]
  26. ^ "Indian Community in Libya" (PDF). archive. Archived from the original on October 4, 2007. Retrieved 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  27. ^ J.E. Peterson,Oman's diverse society: Northern Oman, Middle East Journal, Vol. 58, Nr. 1, Winter 2004
  28. ^ "Shri Shiva Temple".
  29. ^ "Shri Krishna Temple".
  30. ^ Global Religious Landscape. Pew Forum.
  31. ^ "Population By Religion, Gender And Municipality March 2004". Qatar Statistics Authority. Archived from the original on 2013-05-18.
  32. ^ "Population structure". Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. 31 January 2020.
  33. ^ "Population By Religion, Gender And Municipality March 2020". Qatar Statistics Authority.
  34. ^ Marsh, Donna (May 11, 2015). Doing Business in the Middle East: A cultural and practical guide for all business professionals. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 9781472135674. Retrieved 2020.
  35. ^ "UAE´s population - by nationality". bq magazine. April 12, 2015. Archived from the original on March 21, 2017. Retrieved 2016.
  36. ^ "India is a top source and destination for world's migrants". Pew Research Center. Retrieved .
  37. ^ Bhattacherjee, Kallol (6 February 2018). "PM to lay foundation stone of temple in UAE". The Hindu. Retrieved 2018.
  38. ^ "First Hindu Mandir In Abu Dhabi, UAE, To Be Built By BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha | Indo American News". www.indoamerican-news.com. Retrieved .
  39. ^ "First Hindu Temple's Foundation Ceremony Laying Ceremony in Abu Dhabi". Gulf News.
  40. ^ "Religions in Yemen".
  41. ^ "Religious Beliefs In Yemen".

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes