Privacy, modesty, hospitality and the design of Muslim homes in Australia

Othman, Zulkeplee (2015) Privacy, modesty, hospitality and the design of Muslim homes in Australia. (Unpublished)


The home environment is conceptualised in prolific ways within the academic literature. A home is an unparalleled base for human settlement and habitation that embodies a sensorial space that is layered with personal memories and traces of history. The success of a home in providing a strong ‘sense of place’ depends on various factors such as geographical location, monetary funds or personal perceptions. A home too, is an influential medium that allows its dwellers to express, perform and continue their cultural traditions and religious faiths.

Traditional Islamic teachings and practices involve guidelines that apply directly to the domestic space. The principles of privacy, modesty and hospitality are paramount to these guidelines and each has a significant influence upon the design of Muslim homes and the home owners’ or dwellers’ domestic behaviours. Despite a significant increase of Muslim population in Australia over the last decade, very little is known about their perceptions of domestic life and their use of domestic spaces within an Australian context.

This research investigated on how Muslims in Brisbane live and adapt within their Australian homes and if these homes meet their personal and familial needs to perform their daily activities, as well as maintaining and practising their Islamic faiths and traditions. Specific attention has been given to their perceptions on tripartite principles of privacy, modesty, and hospitality (PMH) and how they achieve these three objectives.

A qualitative case study approach was used to investigate six Muslim families living in four Brisbane suburbs, consisting of: a) Case Study 1: three Muslim families residing in one suburb of Brisbane and, b) Case Study 2: three international Muslim students living in three different Brisbane suburbs.

This research indicates that apart from minor ‘design-related’ difficulties, case study participants were able to continue to perform their daily activities within their current homes through minor changes to the use of the available interior spaces. Above all, case study participants opined that their current Australian homes provide them with adequate safety and privacy for their families without any major disturbances.

Insight gained from these cases suggests that greater research attention needs to be given to the potential development of Australian home designs that are adaptable to the ever-changing needs of the Australian multicultural society. Awareness of the multifactorial nature of the influences on Muslims’ perceptions of home and their use of domestic space is needed if architects, building designers, engineers and builders are to be properly equipped to meet the needs of their Muslim clients.

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ID Code: 84156
Item Type: Other
Refereed: No
Keywords: Home, Muslim, Australia, Islam, privacy, modesty, hospitality, qualitative, case study, exploratory research
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author
Deposited On: 15 May 2015 00:28
Last Modified: 15 May 2015 00:28

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