Encyclopedia > Ijma

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(Arabic) ijma refers to the consensus of the umma[?], the community of Muslims, those practicing Islam. Islamic law prescribes specific means of consensus decision making which Muslims are to follow in making and enforcing law. The independent thought of each participant is called the ijtihad, and has often been suppressed during the long history of sharia and Islam itself. Modern reformers of Muslim practice point to suppressions of ijma under the Ottoman Empire and seek to restore consensus decision making to religious, and ultimately political life. The grassroots democracy that would result would probably resemble progressive secular methods more than proponents of medieval sharia would feel comfortable with.

See also: Five Pillars of Islam, Four Pillars of the Green Party, deliberative democracy, consensus decision making, sharia, ijtihad

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