The Ur-Migrants: The Qur'anic Narratives of Adam and Eve and Their Contribution to a Constructive Islamic Theology of Migration
The study of contemporary migration from a theological standpoint has been mainly approached from within the Christian perspective. Islamic theological reflections on the phenomenon of immigration are rare. The contested legal discourse of fiqh al-aqallīyāt (jurisprudence specifically adapted to Muslim minorities) remains insufficient to address issues like identity or xenophobia. This work aims to engage the phenomenon of contemporary migration from a qur’anic perspective. At the same time, it is also a particular reading of the Qur’an from a migrant’s viewpoint – a reading which develops in the experience of being an immigrant. More specifically, the narrative of Adam and Eve is the departure point for demonstrating that the Qur’an provides the contours for shaping a fully-rounded Islamic theology of migration addressing Muslim migrant and Muslim host communities alike. To understand migration in a qur’anic light has important theological and practical relevance for Muslims. Theologically, it is to understand the divine in the midst of extensive human movement and mobility and to make deeper sense of God’s actions in this world. The Qur’an speaks of the events in this world including all motion – as ayāt, signs disclosing something about God.On the practical side, to understand migration from a qur’anic perspective is to be informed by the moral and ethical ramifications such a reading of the Qur’an might bring to the surface. Which insights can a contemporary re-reading of the Qur’an offer to Muslims – whether they be migrants or hosts – who experience challenges in the face of migration? How can these ethical principles guide believers in their attempts to address a recent phenomenon like migration? These questions are at the core of this study.
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