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UMMAH

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

"The word ummah (pl. umam) is derived from amma yaumma, meaning to intend. According to others, the word ummah is rooted from the Aramaic, umma'tha, meaning tribe, nation or community. It occurs 62 times in the Koran including 15 times plural in the following senses:-

1. In the sense of a nation: "This was a nation (ummah) who have passed away" (2:134, 5:48), "And every nation (ummah) hath its terms" (7:34) and "And verily We raised in every nation (ummah) a messenger" (16:37).

2. In the sense of a party or a group of people: "And there may spring from you a party (ummah) who invites to goodness and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency" (3:109) and "And of Moses folk there is a group of people (ummah) who led with truth and establish justice" (7:5).

3. In the sense of a religion: "Nay, for they say only: Lo, we found our fathers following a religion (ummah) (42:22).

"Lo, we found our fathers following in their foot-steps (ummah)" (42:23).

4. In the sense of a period or time: "And if We delay for them the doom until a reckoned time (ummah), they will

surely say....." (11:8).

But, when the Koran uses the word ummah for the followers of the Prophet, it refers to the believers. Thus, the concept of the Muslim Ummah is based on the unity of faith which consists in the recognition of homogenous belief, i.e., belief in One God, in the Prophet of God and in a score of common doctrines.

But its very nature, the ummah is international, and not an territorial consideration. The ummah is therefore not a political concept, it is the confessional term, uniting all the believers of Islam in one world community.

Thus, the concept of community (ummah), or to be exact, ummah muslimah which originally meant a "community (of people who have) surrendered (themselves to God), ended by acquiring the meaning of the "Muslim Community," to which the Prophet constantly refers by calling it ummati (my community).

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