Exemplary lovers humanity and hierarchy in Muslim philanthropy


Islamic charity is an increasingly well-charted field of study that encompasses Muslim institutions and practices of “doing good” across time and space. What is less well charted, though, is the study of how these institutions and practices become part of a broader sphere of civic engagement through contact with Muslim and non-Muslim actors, concepts and exemplary figures. This article analyses such contact, focusing on Muslim philanthropists who lead projects and trusts across a range of social and geographical spaces, and exploring the humanitarian examples they draw on and the hierarchies they reproduce and create through their engagement. With an emphasis on exchanges between Muslim philanthropists in England, Iran and Pakistan, the article follows the spiritual connections, pilgrimage economy and moral sentiments that inform the ways these philanthropists carve out spaces for themselves.