Do muslims see Australia as their homeland? The notion of watan al-asli and watan al-sukna in Islam

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The concept of 'country' or homeland in Islam was defined by Muslim jurists in the eighth century in the light of the sacred text. They set three categories: watan al-asli, the country of birth, the country of one's spouse or the place of permanent residence; watan al-sukna, the country of temporary residence and employment; and watan al-safari, the country that is traveled to. Accordingly, for Muslims immigrating to Australia, their new country falls into one of these categories. Muslim contact with Australia stretches back centuries. However, although early Muslims arrived on Australian shores before Europeans, they did not settle. It was not until the late 1960s, when Muslims came in mass immigration, that permanent communities were established. Since then, particularly over the last two decades, Muslims have become gradually more visible. This increase in prominence has raised anxiety from some segments of the Australian community. There are groups who view Islam as an obstacle for integration. The loyalty of Muslims to Australia is being debated, discussed and questioned by some intellectuals, politicians, media and other Australians with little or no knowledge of the Islamic theological perspective of the 'notion of country'. In this article, I will argue that the 'notion of country', a concept of which even the majority of Muslims are not aware, supports integration. This article will also explore the concept of 'homeland' in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and discuss the findings of a survey on Muslims' views about Australia as home.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Muslim Minority Affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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