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Ijma

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Ijma

Ijma( Arabic: إجماع) means consensus and supposedly refers to the consensus of the Muslim umma (community).

A hadith that states that "My community will never agree upon an error" is often cited as the basis of the validity of ijma. Sunni Muslims regard ijma as the third fundamental source of Sharia law, after the divine revelation of the Qur'an and  the prophetic practice or Sunnah. Many conservative Muslim authorities have claimed that the use of ijma' makes Islamic law compatible with democracy. Some Western apologists have argued that Ijma or consensus provides Islamic societies with a "democratic" culture that can evolve to democracy. In practice, the ijma is the consensus of the Ulema, the religious scholar class, and it reflects only their views and interests. Moreover, in societies like Iran, the "supreme leader" is considered to be the Marj al Taqlid, the teacher to be emulated. Consequently the opinion of the leader is very often going to be taken as the 'consensus.' When there is no leader, or in matters where the leader doesn't have a set opinion, consensus government must lead to relative paralysis, since it can be difficult to achieve unanimity on an issue.

 

 


Synonyms and alternate spellings: 

Further Information: See History of Islam and the Arabs Islam


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Encyclopedia of the Middle East

Note - This encyclopedia is a work in progress. It is far from complete and is being constructed and improved all the time. If you would like to contribute articles or expansions of existing articles, please contact news (at) mideastweb.org.  Suggestions and corrections are welcome. The concise version of this dictionary is at our Middle East Glossary.

Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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Ijma