Nada Moumtaz, "God's Property: Islam, Charity, and the Modern State" (U California Press, 2021)


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In her phenomenal new book God’s Property: Islam, Charity, and the Modern State (U California Press, 2021), Nada Moumtaz charts the historical continuities and disjunctures as well contemporary paradoxes shadowing the intellectual and sociological career of waqf or Islamic charity/endowment in modern Lebanon. Nimbly moving between layered textual analysis, riveting ethnography, and formidable historical inquiry, Moumtaz demonstrates the secularization and sectarianization of waqf in Lebanon premised on the attempted state separation between the spheres of the public/private and religion/economy. While exploring the workings of waqf historically, intellectually, and as part of everyday life with meticulous detail, Moumtaz constantly connects the details of her study to its broader argument centered on critiquing the secular promise of separating religion and economy as distinct domains of life. This beautifully written book will be widely read and taught in multiple disciplines including anthropology, Religion, Islamic Studies, and History.

SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at Listener feedback is most welcome.

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