Ecumenical Community

Language and Politics of the Ummah in the Qurʾan


Author: Hamza M. Zafer
In Ecumenical Community, Hamza M. Zafer explores the language and politics of community-formation in the Qurʾan. Zafer proposes that ecumenism, or the inclusivity of social difference, was a key alliance-building strategy in the western Arabian proto-Muslim communitarian movement (1st/7th century). The Proto-Muslims imagined that their pietistic community—the ummah—transcended but did not efface prior social differences based in class, clan, and custom. In highlighting the inclusive orientation of the Qurʾan's ummah-building program, Zafer provides new insights into the development of early Islam and the period preceding the Arab conquests.

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Hamza M. Zafer, Ph.D. (2014), Cornell University, is Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington. He has published articles on the Qurʾan and early Islam, and co-edited The Qurʾan Seminar Commentary (De Gruyter, 2016) and His Pen and Ink are a Powerful Mirror (Brill, 2020).
Note on Translation, Transliteration, and Dates

 1  The Qurʾan as a Historical Text
 2  Historical-Material Context
 3  The Ecumenical Community
 4  The Ummah Proclamation
 5  Translation of the Ummah Proclamation (Q. 2:122–152)

1 The Ummah and Collectivity
 1  The Communal Meaning
 2  The Salvific Community
 3  The Prophet-Arbitrator
 4  Conclusion

2 The Ummah and Class
 1  The Theology of Resources
 2  God’s Surplus
 3  The Acts of Welfare
 4  Conclusion

3 The Ummah and Clan
 1  The Dissolution of Clans
 2  Abraham and the Clan
 3  The Assembly of Abraham
 4  The Patrimony of Israel
 5  Conclusion

4 The Ummah and Custom
 1  Supra-Sectarian Solidarity
 2  The Altar of Abraham
 3  The Dye of God
 4  Conclusion


Appendix 1: The Ummah Proclamation
Appendix 2: The Ummah Pact
Appendix 3: The Ummah Surah Sequence
General Index
Index of Quranic Verses
All interested in the Qurʾan and the history of early Islam, and anyone concerned with scriptural movements and religious transformations in the Near East during the first millennium.