The stabilization of gender in zakat

The margin of freedom and the politics of care

Authored by: Danielle Widmann Abraham

The Routledge Handbook of Islam and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815367772
eBook ISBN: 9781351256568
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter looks at three contemporary zakat projects in the United States and India in order to trace how the construction of gender is negotiated in providing for others. The projects described here fulfil the Qurʾanic mandate of care for others, while simultaneously reflecting their unique local, national, cultural, and organizational contexts. They reveal that Islamic practices of care emerge within a space in which people make choices about how best to respond to human suffering. This chapter demonstrates that in our contemporary moment, the obligation of giving zakat and caring for the poor stands as a foundation for the reconstruction of social bonds in the face of marginalization, structural violence, and state-induced vulnerability. Within these reparative efforts, defined gender roles function to emphasize and to inspire transformative ethical action.

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