Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Umma: Overview
(3,179 words)

The term umma designates one of the most fundamental concepts in Islam. Often translated as the “Muslim community” of men and women, the term has assumed different meanings in evolving historical circumstances. Conceptually, the meaning of the term umma underwent significant transformations in three main contexts: the early, formative use of the term in the Qurʾān and ḥadīth; the elaboration of the concept in Islamic legal and political thought; and finally, the extension of the use of the term to denote national communities and the concept of a nation. The sources for the study of…

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Dallal, Ahmad, “Umma: Overview”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 09 February 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0150>
First published online: 2009

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