University of Sussex
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Islamic reform, piety and charity among Muslim businessmen and entrepreneurs in Birmingham, UK

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posted on 2023-06-08, 21:13 authored by Sufyan Abid
This thesis explores the practices of Muslim businessmen and entrepreneurs in Birmingham in relation to their beliefs in a variety of Islamic reformisms, ideals of piety and responses towards charity and philanthropy. The thesis problematizes various streams of Islamic reformisms among different groups of reformist Muslims and elaborates how these groups engage with Muslim businessmen and entrepreneurs in order to establish and assert their identity as ‘authentic and good Muslims’ in public spheres. The thesis discusses how reformist Muslim businessmen and entrepreneurs give public performances of their pious lives and how their ideals of piety and living a moral life are reshaped and negotiated among Birmingham Muslims while they search for role models in social and economic spheres of life. Finally, this thesis explores and establishes the links between charity and donation related practices of Birmingham Muslims with their beliefs in any particular reformist interpretation of practicing Islam in everyday life; and how doing charity and philanthropy becomes a site for the public performance of piety. This thesis further explores charity practices of Birmingham Muslims in order to understand the context, motivations and background of Muslim charitable organisations and Muslim philanthropists. One year ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods of Birmingham, UK as part of this anthropological research. This thesis claims its originality by filling the gap of lack of anthropological research on Birmingham Muslims in the context of ongoing anthropological debate on Islamic reformism, piety and charity that has emerged as a result of anthropological researches conducted in other Muslim societies. My argument, in this thesis is that there is an element of Islamic reforms in all forms of different Islamic streams or sects of Muslims. The charity practices of Muslim businessmen and entrepreneurs are highly influenced by their adherence to any interpretation of reformist Islam that too, is greatly influenced by local realities and global trends.


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  • eng


University of Sussex

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