Digest of terms

umma

the Arabic word for a community, a people, a nation. It has great resonance for Muslims as their ideal of a religiously united worldwide community of believers. Defense of the umma is a powerful motive for people volunteering to take part in violent conflicts construed as jihad. Arguably, in the Qur'an it represents the oneness of all humanity, corresponding with the oneness of God. In principle it is a challenge to the boundaries of interim communities, both national and religious, including lesser denominational forms within Islam and self-proclaimed Islamic states.

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