Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of Citizenship (1) Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of Citizenship (1)
By: Prof. Mohy Ad-Din Afify
Secretary General of Islamic Research Academy
 
   
     
 
Citizenship is of a paramount importance to countries in our contemporary world, as national belonging to the homeland and understanding this affiliation make citizens keen to maintain the fundamentals of their State. This affiliation augments citizens’ self-worth and their communal and national roles since they would enjoy their citizenship and consequently would be eager to fulfill its requirements. Since we are about to address Fiqh of citizenship, we should define the concept of citizenship.  

First: definition of citizenship 
Homeland in Arabic language: the home that you reside in. It is the origin of the human being, and its plural is homelands.
Watan in a place: stay, awtanahu: to take it as a homeland, Awtan: to take it as residence and domicile and mawten: battlefield. In the Quran Allah says: "Allah has already helped you on many fields" [Q. 9:25] istawtant: to take it as homeland.

Thus, citizenship has an Arabic origin related to person’s homeland, his residence and geographic affiliation. However, the concept of citizenship has recently been coined, technically and linguistically, to express the political, social, civil and legal status of the individual in the state.

Not to mention that citizenship, in its most comprehensive form in the contemporary political philosophy, is to affiliate to the homeland, in which the citizen enjoys full equal membership with others who experience the same equal rights and duties before the law, without any discrimination on the basis of color, race, religion, the financial position or the political affiliation. Every citizen must respect his fellow citizens and they should tolerate each other despite their diversity and difference.

Second: Citizenship … Rights and Duties
Citizenship has its rights and duties. If the citizenship gives the citizen his rights; "civil, political, social and legal rights, etc., it reciprocally places a set of legal and moral obligations and responsibilities of citizenship on him. As a matter of fact, it dictates full loyalty on the part of citizens.

It is dutiful on the citizen to reciprocally respect the others' choices commensurate with their cultural and linguistic identities and their freedom to change their choice. Moreover, the citizen should also take part in the framed policies for cultural cooperation and dialogue, so as to ensure identifying their culture peacefully and become versant with the national cultural heritage and the common universal cultural heritage. One of the important issues of citizenship is to carry out its duties, because the rights of citizenship have due rights as well. Needless to say that these rights are to respect the cultures of others, as well as to respect their beliefs and choices, in addition to cooperation between all citizens, opening dialogue to enrich the intellectual life and come up with the suitable solutions to the problems that the citizens face.  

Thus, citizenship is a comprehensive idea that comprises all citizens, regardless of the diversity of their religions, ethnics, races, tribes and sects; this idea is the common denominator that includes all these components and achieves its national interrelationship in the framework of the state.

Mistakenly is to limit the concept of citizenship to the religious diversity, such as the relations between the followers of the different religions in a society; this is only one aspect of the concept. Not to mention that the concept of citizenship includes also equality of citizens on the basis of gender, equality of sects in the same religion, equality of services that offered to the citizens who live in different regions in the same country, in addition to equality of citizens regardless of their origin or color. As a result, the relation between the state and its citizens is mostly political and legal; this relation would be promoted by equality among all citizens. Competency and efficiency should be the basis of the enjoyment of rights and services provided by the state bodies.