Home / All / Ummah: A New Paradigm for a Global World

Ummah: A New Paradigm for a Global World

How can we live together without alienation, avoidance, and fear? How can we complement one another such that each of us can uniquely contribute to the making of our societies?

To address these and other questions, Katrin A. Jomaa examines the moral, political, and spiritual understanding of the Qur’anic term ummah, which is commonly used to refer to the worldwide Muslim community but is employed more broadly in the Qur’an itself. Drawing on theology, history, philosophy, and political science, Jomaa argues that ummah, while often defined as a group of people united by ethnicity or religion, is, in its ideal sense, a community that demands active commitment and a conscious and continuous dedication to the highest moral ideals of that community rather than mere affiliation with a particular set of religious doctrines and practices. Jomaa begins by chronologically and thematically analyzing the word “ummah” in the Qur’an, a comprehensive study currently missing from Islamic scholarship, in order to propose a novel understanding of the term that connects all its different meanings. She then compares this new definition to the Aristotelean polis, which highlights the political features of ummah, thereby situating it within contemporary discourses on liberal politics and community and creating the space for an alternative sociopolitical order to the nation-state, both as a local unit and a global system.

About the Author

Katrin A. Jomaa is Assistant Professor of Islam and Politics at the University of Rhode Island.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Conceptual Meaning of Ummah in the Meccan Verses of the Qur’an

Ummah in the Literature

Analysis of the word ummah in the Meccan verses of the Qur’an

Ummah, Appointed Term (ajal), and Associated Responsibility

Ummah, Religion, and Forefathers

Ummah and al-Kitab

Ummah and Imam

Ummah and the Covenant (al-Mithaq)

A Possible Order of a Global Ummah Composed of Different Umam?

Ummah, Ummi Prophet, and the Global Ummah

Ummah and Sovereignty

Leadership, the Book, and Justice

Land (Territory)

Ummah and Nation-State

Al-Ummah al-Wahidah and Its Differentiation across Human History

Ummah of the Prophets

Dealing with Religious Diversity

Confederates of Evil (al-Ahzab)

The Reformers (Muslihan)


Chapter 2

Ummah in the Medinan Verses of the Qur’an

The Notion of a Shared Ummah: Rights and Obligations

Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) Was an Ummah

Defining the Ideology and Outlook of the Muslim Ummah through Prophet Abraham

The Best Religion (Din) is Following Millat Ibrahim “al-Hanif”

Al-Manclsik (the Rituals)

The Middle Ummah (al-Ummah al-Wasat) and the Witness (Shahada)

Ummah from Ahl AI-Kitabb (Jews and Christians)

The Best Ummah (Khayr Ummah) Ever Raised Up for Humankind

Ummah of the Book and Governance


Chapter 3: Ummah in the Medina Constitution

Al-Mu’minan (“The Believers”)

Decrees Addressing the Believers

Decrees Addressing the Jews

Decrees Addressing Ahl as-Sahifah (the People of the Constitution)

Sacred Land (haram)


Chapter 4

The Ummah and Political Governance—Comparative

The Ummah and the Aristotelian Polls  Khalifa and Political Animal


Khalifa in Early, Classical, and Modern Exegesis

Khalifa in Islamic Literature

Aristotelian Polls and Qur’anic Ummah

Polls and Ummah: Medium Whereby Citizens Exercise

Virtuous Activity

Difference between Law and Shari ah

Rule of Law (Polis and Ummah)

Resolving Conflict by Invoking Competing Virtues in Aristotle and the Qur’an

Community and State in Contemporary Political Theory

Polls and Constitution versus Ummah and al-Kitab

Introducing Reforms through the Constitution

Introducing Reforms through the Constitution

The Characters of Constitution and the Citizen Minor Each Other

Constitutional Law Transformed into Community Norm

Polls and Justice versus Urnmah and Wasiiyyah

Justice as a “Mean” and the Concept of “Wasat”

Understanding “Prophet Abraham Was an Ummah” through Aristotle’s “Unity of Virtues”

Ummah Attains Justice through Shura (Collective Judgment of Khulafa)

Justice Is Manifested in the “Common Good”

Resulting from Collective Judgment

Ummah and Political Power

The Just Leadership versus Taghut

Ulul Amr (Those Entrusted with Authority)

‘Ulul Amr in the Medina Constitution

‘Ulul Amr in the Modern Period

Bibliographic Information

Title: Ummah: A New Paradigm for a Global World

Author(s): Nadeem A. Memon, Mariam Alhashmi & Mohamad Abdalla

Publisher: ‎ ‎ SUNY Press

Length:  346 pages

ISBN:  9781438482040

Pub. Date: January 2022

To Buy the Book Click Here.

About Ali Teymoori

Check Also

Understanding Islam: Positions of Knowledge

Bryan S. Turner, in this book, argues that understanding Islam has in recent years been dominated by political events – the Iran Hostage crisis, the fall of the Iranian Shah, 9/11, Afghanistan and the foreign policy of Donald Trump – leading to western intellectuals and...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Google Analytics Alternative