Ummah

Islam Ummah(the worldwide community of Muslim)

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Explain how the Muslim beliefs about the Ummah are
expressed in the practices of Zakat and hajj. (30)
The Ummah is the worldwide community of Muslims or Islam. This
essentially means that all Muslims are members of one family with no
barriers of race or status. All Muslims are equal before Allah and should
assist each other when in need of help.
The Ummah was created by Muhammad when the first Muslim
community established itself in Medina after the Hijra. Muslims had been
forced to leave Mecca because of oppression and so moved to Medina to
live with Jewish communities who were already settled there. This event
(Hijra) is a significant one with Islam and as a result the Muslim calendar
is dated from that event. Before this people had lived in tribal groups in
the desert with all loyalties towards each tribe but this changed and after
the Hijra, loyalties were to Islam only. At first Islam had been a divisive
force in Meccan society as loyalties were either to the tribe or the religion
but in Medina a theocracy was established and old tribal bonds were
broken.
To become a member of the Ummah one had to make a Hijra and leave
the tribe as no Muslim could ever fight another. The idea was
revolutionary but many willingly joined as they felt safe and protected in
the new community. As Muhammad was setting up a theocracy the
Qur'anic verses changed from being about ethics and spiritual matters to
addressing the question of building and maintaining a community with a
common religious tie. It was at this time that Muhammad started to
receive revelations telling him to pray towards Mecca rather than
Jerusalem. This is important for two reasons: it shows that the Ummah
was Muslim in identity and could not accept differences of belief as
practised by the Jews living there. It also shows that Muhammad was
given the 5 teachings now known as the Five Pillars of Islam.
Zakat, one of the five pillars, is `purification'. This means `cleaning' and
zakat is a means by which a person can cleanse themselves of selfishness.
Shirk, to put a thing above Allah is unforgiving in Islam and so if a person

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