(1,977 words)

(a., pl. umam ), in its meaning of "people, community", is possibly derived from Hebr. ummā or

Aram, umetha (Horovitz, 190), and ultimately from Akkad. ummatu (Jeffery, 69). Additional meanings (from Ar. amma , drawn principally from Lane) are: a mode of acting (cf. sunna ); a morally exemplary person; tallness, beauty, and justice of stature of a person. In the Ḳurʾān, umma usually refers to communities sharing a common religion, whereas in later history it almost always means the Muslim community as a whole while admitting of regional, essentially non-p…

Cite this page
Denny, F.M., “Umma”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 19 October 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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