What is “Ummatics” and what does the Ummatics Institute do?
“Ummatics” is an umbrella term for the discourses, beliefs, and practices in and through which the Muslim Umma and its divine mission are envisioned and expressed, its solidarity is felt, and its sociocultural, political, and ethical affairs are addressed and managed. “Umma” being a key Qur'anic concept, as a term, "ummatics" has the advantage of focusing our attention to concerns indigenous to Islamic tradition and Muslim history. For a detailed elaboration, see our paper, "What is Ummatics?" The Ummatics Institute is a research institute for the study of ummatic thought and practice that aims to empower Muslims toward the realization of a unified Islamic civilization. We view ourselves not as an exclusive vanguard, but one among many efforts that contribute to the development and mainstreaming of an ummatics discourse—of Muslims thinking about their affairs as Muslims—in a manner that is transparent, dialogical, and grounded in Islamic tradition and history. For more on the Institute, see the "About Us" page.
What are some of the activities of the Ummatics Institute?
The Ummatics Institute publishes research papers and essays, holds regular colloquia and conferences, develops and publishes educational curricula in addition to other related initiatives. The publications on our website are broadly of two types: research papers and guest contributions. The research papers are produced or solicited by Ummatics and undergo a thorough process of review and editorial oversight, representing the positions and views of the Institute. Guest contributions by external authors are published in the spirit of our commitment to fostering dialogue and cultivating discourse on ummatic thought and practice. Our public forums aim to convene academics, scholars, thinkers from a range of universities and think tanks worldwide to ideate on pertinent topics. They are discursive spaces designed for dialogue, deliberation and debate with the aim of testing new ideas and revisiting old ones. Ideas expressed in these forums and by guest contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Ummatics.
How does the Ummatics Institute relate to other Islamic movements that seek intellectual and political revival of the Umma?
We are neither an activist organization nor affiliated with any movement. We are an independent research institute focused on knowledge production and discourse development. Generations of Muslim scholars, institutions, and popular movements, including political, academic, and spiritual movements across the great variety of Muslim societies have defended the Islamic Umma against foreign threats and internal decay and advanced the cause of Muslim unity and Islamic flourishing. We stand on their shoulders and seek to constructively critique and build on their contributions, placing them in conversation with each other and with the broader bodies of contemporary human knowledge.
How can discursive and theoretical work lead to practical results to revive the Umma?
We believe that sound knowledge of Islam as well as Muslims’ lived reality is necessary for an Ummatic renaissance, and there is nothing more practical than good theory. Muslim discourse needs to be grounded in the knowledge of timeless revelation yet also be dynamic, academically rigorous, open, and responsive. To that end, we provide a platform for the thinkers, doers, and visionaries of the Umma to learn from its past, diagnose its present, and conceptualize its future on its own terms. We also believe that no organization can single-handedly revive the Umma. While multiple efforts are required for positive change to take root, we seek to contribute in the domain of discourse and knowledge production.
A modern unified Islamic civilization is a tall order, given the social, political, economic, and other challenges we face, not to mention the radical diversity within the Umma. What are your solutions to these challenges?
We fully appreciate the challenges involved. This is precisely why we start by studying these challenges, bringing together existing resources, and examining the constructs through which we think about them as Muslims. We are also confident in Islam’s relevance, beneficence for humanity, and bright future. Propelled by this optimism, in keeping with Prophetic guidance, we believe that learned helplessness is the key obstruction that prevents many of us from purposive, unified action. The Umma has immense material and spiritual resources to live up to its divine mandate, and the Ummatics Institute provides a platform to envision and delineate a better ummatic future. With a long-term horizon in mind, we therefore believe that by expanding the capacity of the Umma over time, we can effectively identify, analyze, and share knowledge about these challenges, ultimately working towards practical solutions.
How is the Ummatics Institute funded?
At the Ummatics Institute, we believe that an independent funding model––one that is 100% donor based––is critical to maintaining the integrity of our research and serving the cause of the Umma. This means that we do not receive any governmental funding or any funding from special interests. As a registered non-profit based in the United States, the Ummatics Institute relies solely on individual donations to advance its work.