Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times

By Jonathan Benthall

Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9308-5
  • Pages: 236
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: March 2016
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Charities, voluntary services & philanthropy, Islamic Studies, Islamic Studies, Religion, Social groups: religious groups & communities, Social & cultural anthropology, Relating to Islamic people & groups, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Philanthropy & Charity, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Islamic Studies
  • Series: Humanitarianism: Key Debates and New Approaches


This book is the fruit of twenty years' reflection on Islamic charities, both practically and as a key to understand the crisis in contemporary Islam. On the one hand Islam is undervalued as a moral and political force whose admirable qualities are epitomised in its strong tradition of charitable giving. On the other hand, it suffers from a crisis of authority that cannot be blamed entirely on the history of colonialism and stigmatisation to which Muslims have undoubtedly been subjected - most recently, as a result of the "War on Terror".

The book consists of seventeen previously published chapters, with a general introduction and new prefatory material for each chapter. Part one reviews the current situation of Islamic charities from many different viewpoints. Part two expands the coverage to explore the potential for a twenty-first century global "Islamic humanism" devised by Muslims. This means addressing contentious topics such as religious toleration.


'A very nuanced and valuable contribution.'
TLS November 2016

'Given the continuing (and increasing) need for charities working within or for Muslim communities, the challenges facing Islamic charities in the current and deadly global climate of 'the war on terror', and the opportunity to embrace the lessons learned by other faiths, the publication of this collection of essays is very welcome. Jonathan Benthall, with his many years of experience, is a voice that needs to be heard.'
Amelia Fauzia, Contemporary Islam November 2016

''all one can do is draw on the widest spread of evidence available and keep an open mind' (p. 2). This approach has made Benthall a great inspiration-to many students of Muslim aid, including myself, and there is no doubt that he remains a key figure in this field.
Islamic Charities and Islamic Humanism in Troubled Times, is a collection of some of Benthall's many writings, spanning the period 2005-15. These include articles, book chapters, book reviews, reports and legal statements, and serve as a good introduction to Benthall's work, both academic and non-academic, in this field.
While waiting for farther analysis, I strongly recommend Islamic Charities and Islamic Humanism in Troubled Times. It is an important contribution to the field, and its balanced, detailed and empathetic account of Muslim charities will inspire anyone engaging in studies of these organizations, their ideologies and practices.'
Marie Juul Peterson, Journal of Islamic Studies

'Benthall writes with the flair of a latter-day observer-participant aid worker. His phrases are models in clarity and vivacity, not rarely enlivened with wry authorial aptness. He demonstrates a researcher's meticulous precision to bring together shards of disparate pieces of experience in humanitarianism across the Islamic world. Academics, humanitarians, government agencies, NGOs, and field workers in charities and relief organisations will find this volume very enlightening and useful.'
Amidu Olalekan Sanni, Fountain University, Nigeria, The Muslim World Book Review, Vol. 29, No. 3 (2019)


Part I: Islamic charities
1. Islamic charities, Faith-Based Organizations and the international aid system
2. Islamic aid in a North Malian enclave
3. Have Islamic aid agencies a privileged relationship in majority Muslim areas? The case of post-tsunami reconstruction in Aceh
4. The Palestinian zakat committees 1993-2007 and their contested interpretations
5. The Islamic Charities Project (formerly Montreux Initiative)
6. An unholy tangle: Boim versus the Holy Land Foundation
7. The Tariq Ramadan visa case
8. Islamic philanthropy in Indonesia
9. Puripetal force in the charitable field
Part II: Islamic humanism
10. Confessional cousins and the rest: the structure of Islamic toleration
11. Religious persecution and conflict in the twenty-first century
12. What makes Islam unique?
13. Tariq Ramadan
14. Mona Siddiqui
15. Akbar Ahmed
16. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
17. Religion and violence


Jonathan Benthall is Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University College London

Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times

By Jonathan Benthall

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

Paperback £18.99 / $32.95

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