Giving to God

Islamic Charity in Revolutionary Time

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Amira Mittermaier
  • Oakland, CA: 
    University of California Press
    , February
     248 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Aaron Rock-Singer forthcoming.


Giving to God examines the everyday practices of Islamic giving in post-revolutionary Egypt. From foods prepared in Sufi soup kitchens, to meals distributed by pious volunteers in slums, to almsgiving, these acts are ultimately about giving to God by giving to the poor. Surprisingly, many who practice such giving say that they do not care about the poor, instead framing their actions within a unique non-compassionate ethics of giving. At first, this form of giving may appear deeply selfish, but further consideration reveals that it avoids many of the problems associated with the idea of “charity.” Using the Egyptian uprising in 2011 and its call for social justice as a backdrop, this beautifully crafted ethnography suggests that “giving a man a fish” might ultimately be more revolutionary than “teaching a man to fish.”

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Amira Mittermaier is Associate Professor of Religion and Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Dreams That Matter: Egyptian Landscapes of the Imagination.


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