This messaging program Jami
has an interesting name. Its website claims that the name comes from the Swahili word for "community". Though of course Swahili is related to Arabic and in Arabic Jamia
جامعة means a gathering, and by extension a mosque, as well as a university. Friday in Arabic is Yum al-Jumaa
- the day of the mosque. As such, the Arabic word has a close parallel to similar words in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Sanskrit. The Hebrew word for synagogue
( which itself is Greek for a "place of assembly" is Beit Knesset
בית כנסת- also a "house of assembly". The Knesset is also Israel's parliament, and a Kenes
means a conference.
The words for church in several European languages come from the Greek Ecclesia ἐκκλησία which was originally the [principal assembly of the democracy of ancient Athens] ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesia
). (The Hebrew word for church is Knissia
In Sanskrit (and later Pali), a group or gathering is a Sangha
(संघ ). This also means an assembly. A satsangha
- an "assembly of the wise" is often used to mean a time for chanting, reading from holy books, etc. Sangha - as the gathering of students of the Buddha, is one of the important three refuges of Buddhism
: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Sangha, which can also be spelt samgha
, originally means "to come together as one" and originated in the proto-Indo-European root Sem
. which means "as one"; like the English word "same" and the same
word in Sanskrit which also
means "same" or "equal". Consider the German word zusammen
(together), which became in old English tosamne
There's another important use of the name Jami
: he's the medieval mystic Sufi poet
who hailed from the city of Jam, in the province of Khorasan, in present day Afghanistan. I would love to read more about this Jami and his works. He lived much of his life in the city of Herat, for which I have a certain nostalgia. He was a scholar in a school of Ibn Arabi
. If there is one area of shameful lack of modern English translation, it is of the Persian poets. In a future lifetime I will learn Parsi.