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Waṭan (Arabic: وطن, literally: hometown), in its jurisprudential meaning, is a place where one was born or lives. As long as the person is in his hometown he must offer his prayers completely and his fasting is valid. Based on Shi'a jurisprudence, one can abandon his "Watan" and adopt a new one. Similarly, one can have more than one Watan.


Jurisprudentially, watan is one's birthplace or permanent place of residence.[1] Specifying watan is necessary for determining one's religious duty towards prayers and fasting while traveling. Everybody is obliged to do their prayers completely and perform fast in the month of Ramadan, provided they are in their watan, even if they pass by their watan while traveling to another place and have no intention to stay.

There are four types of watan in Shi'a jurisprudential sources,[2] each of which has its own ruling.

Original watan

One's original watan (al-watan al-asli) is his parental watan: the place where he was born and lived for a while.[3]

Conventional or new watan (al-watan al-'Urfi or Mustajad)

It is a place that one chooses for living, even if it is not his birthplace. Other terms used to refer to this type of watan are al-Watan al-Ikhtiyari (optional watan) or al-Watan al-Ittikhadhi (adopted watan).[4]

Religious watan

Terminologically, religious watan (al-watan al-Shar'i) is a place where one was born, lived for a while and possesses some property. According to majority of Shi'a jurists, religious watan has the same ruling of conventional watan and one is not considered as a traveller (Musafir) there.[5] However, many jurists do not recognize religious watan as watan and hold that prayers must be shortened and fast is not valid there. They argue that just possessing property in a place does not make it watan, so that the rulings of it would be applied.[6]

Equal to watan in edict

Al-Watan al-hukmi (al-watan al-hukmi) is a place where one lives for a long time without the intention of permanent residence. Some jurists see that such a place has the ruling of conventional watan on account of the length of residence. Hence, one should perform complete prayers and fast as well. On the other hand, some other think that ruling watan cannot be treated as a watan and therefore the rulings of traveler are applied to one living in his ruling watan.

Abandonment of Watan

Based on Shi'a jurists' fatwas, one can abandon his original and conventional watan, deciding never to live there again. Thereafter, prayers are shortened and no fasting is validated during the stay in that place.[7] Jurists who accepted religious watan, believe that abandonment of religious watan is not possible and till one possesses some property there, he must perform his prayers completely and fast.[8]

A large number of Shi'a jurists think of abandonment as both an intentional and practical act, i.e. for abandonment the watan one must depart the place and decide not to return back.[9] Some other look at abandonment as just a practical act; i.e. after living in a new place for a few years, neither the birthplace nor the former place of residence can be considered as watan, even though one intends to return back.

Adopting Several Watans

According to Shi'a jurists, one can adopt two or three other watans other than their original watan.[10] Nevertheless, some of them disapprove of adopting more than two watans.[11]

Hadith of "Loving the Hometown"

The well-known statement "loving the hometown is a part of faith"[12], which is regarded as a famous hadith, does not exist in early Shi'a hadith sources. The statement is narrated in Minhaj al-bara'a,[13] a commentary on Nahj al-balagha, written in 14th/20th century, and also in Safinat al-Bihar[14] quoted from the introduction of Amal al-amel written by al-Hurr al-'Amili. However, in both cases no chain of transmission was reported.

See Also


  1. Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 3, p. 471-472.
  2. Subḥānī, Ḍīyāʾ al-nāẓir, p. 222.
  3. Subḥānī, Ḍīyāʾ al-nāẓir, p. 227.
  4. Subḥānī, Ḍīyāʾ al-nāẓir, p. 227.
  5. Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 3, p. 473.
  6. Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 3, p. 473.
  7. Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 3, p. 472.
  8. Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 3, p. 473.
  9. Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 3, p. 474.
  10. Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 3, p. 473-474.
  11. Khomeini, Taḥrīr al-wasīla, vol. 1, p. 285.
  12. «حب الوطن من الإیمان»
  13. Khoei, Minhāj al-barāʿa, vol. 21, p. 394.
  14. Qummī, Safīnat al-biḥār, vol. 8, p. 524.


  • Khoei, Ḥabīb Allāh. Minhāj al-barāʿa fī sharḥ Nahj al-balāgha. Tehran: Maktabat al-Islāmīyya, 1400 AH.
  • Khomeini, Rūḥullāh. Taḥrīr al-wasīla. Qom: Dār al-ʿIlm, [n.d].
  • Qummī, Shaykh ʿAbbās al-. Safīnat al-biḥār wa madīnat al-ḥikam wa l-āthār. Qom: Intishārāt-i Uswā, 1414 AH.
  • Subḥānī, Jaʿfar. Ḍīyāʾ al-nāẓir fī aḥkām ṣalāt al-musāfir. Qom: Muʾassisat Imām al-Ṣādiq, 1376 Sh.
  • Yazdī, Muḥammad Kāẓim al-. Al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā maʿa l-taʿlīqāt. Qom: Nashr al-Islāmī, 1420 AH.