The “Ummah”: Qur’anic Meaning, Prophetic Practice, and Modern Relevance with Dr. Katrin Jomaa

December 9-10 and December 16-17 from 10am-5:30pm

ISBCC (Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center)


This course explores a comprehensive analysis of the word “Ummah” in the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah in order to activate the concept in the modern period. Half the course is dedicated to a detailed analysis of the word ummah in the Quran. First, Meccan verses of the Quran mentioning the word ummah will be analyzed through the lens of four Quranic tafāsīr to determine the conceptual meaning of the word. Then, Medinan Quranic verses will be analyzed to understand the more particular meaning of the word. After the Quranic study, the concept will be analyzed in the prophetic Sunnah through the socio-political document “the Medina Constitution” which organized the first ummah in Islamic history uniting Muslims and Jews. The aim of the latter ideological and historical study is to have enough material to consequently explore how the Quran sees the function of the ummah in the political sphere. This will be done comparatively through studies in philosophy (Aristotle) and political science. How to activate the meanings of khalīfa, practice of shūra and sharīʿa to achieve an ummah wasaṭ. Is the Quranic ummah composed only of Muslims? What is the meaning of justice in such an ummah? What is the difference between ummah and the modern nation state? Can the ummah provide an alternative model to the nation state, both at a local and global level? What is the relationship between the ummah and political power? The course will explore and discuss the latter questions and more ideas pertinent to the meaning and practice of citizenship, not only for Muslims but globally.



Dr. Katrin Jomaa is an Assistant Professor of Islam and Politics of the Middle East at the University of Rhode Island. She completed her PhD degree (2012) at Indiana University Bloomington in Middle Eastern Studies. Her research interests include Islamic thought and philosophy, Qur’anic exegesis, as well as classical and modern political philosophy. She also taught Arabic Language at Emory University, Indiana University, American University of Beirut and Beloit College. In addition to her interest in the field of humanities, Dr. Jomaa has a dual passion for science and technology. She had a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the American University in Cairo and a Masters degree in Applied Materials Science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her scientific background has informed her study of religion and politics as she employs structural analysis to the understanding of religious texts and political events.

Dr. Jomaa teaching interest include Politics of the Middle East, Islamic Political Thought, Political Philosophy, Islam and Democracy, Religion & State, as well as Introduction to Islam, Islam & Modernity, and the Quranic Studies and Exegesis.


The Boston Islamic Seminary offers competitive tuition rates when considered against other non-degree academic programs offered by a variety of institutions throughout Greater Boston. Standard tuition is $850 per course, however, in our startup phase, we are offering all courses at a substantial discount.

Weekend Intensives – 24 Credit Hours – Price Listing

General Rate Student Rate
Startup Discount Price $450 $250
Early Bird Discount (Before 11/12/2017) $270 $150


The Boston Islamic Seminary is committed to providing quality instruction to all, regardless of financial circumstances, through a generous financial aid program.

Please note that the financial aid application deadline is one week before the start-date of any given course. Financial aid is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis until available funds are exhausted.  Please apply as early as possible to increase your chances of being awarded.

Boston Islamic Seminary admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.