What does ‘shura’ mean?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: shura…

I enjoyed Amy Waldman’s remarkable first novel, Submission, so much that I asked for a copy of her second book, A Door in the Earth as a Christmas gift.

The story of a young college senior, who had been born in Afghanistan but raised in California, this newer book addresses issues of truth, cultural ideals and morality. The main character travels back to Afghanistan to work as a volunteer in a remote village but is discouraged by the poverty, the American attitude towards war and the lack of gratitude she receives from villagers.

Author Amy Waldman was a reporter with the New York Times for a total of eight years and for three of those she was co-chief of the South Asia bureau.

The book also gave me my word of the week, shura. Here is how Waldman used it.

The soldiers didn’t sit at all, nor did they lay down their guns. Instead, they spread out in a perimeter around the meeting, their backs to the shura and their weapons aimed outward.

An Islamic noun, the word refers to the principle of consultation, in particular as applied to government. The etymology of the word is Arabic and it comes from šūrā, meaning ‘consultation’.

Scroll to Top