Begging and Almsgiving in Ghana : Muslim Positions Towards Poverty and Distress

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Pub. Date: 2007-10-30
Publisher(s): Stylus Pub Llc
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This study focuses on the conditions of poverty and the debate among Muslims in Ghana, a West African country with a substantial'but largely economically and politically marginalized'Muslim population. Most of this population views poverty is a situation for 'ordinary' poor people who seek to make marginal gains in income to avoid ever-threatening destitution and social disintegration. Most of these 'ordinary' poor people, especially poor and illiterate women, do not believe that things can change. There exists, however, a minority that criticize social and political conditions with the stated aim of striving for an Islamic solution to poverty and injustice. The common denominator for this group is that they are urban educated Muslims, having both a traditional educational background and, usually but not always, a modern, secular one, as well. For them, the concept of poverty more readily forms part of a religious discourse involving feasible strategies for change. Their basic idea is to highlight the possibilities of generating new forms of financial resources by combining Islamic ethics with a modern development-oriented outlook. Their vision is the usability of obligatory almsgiving in a modern context, namely that, instead of the traditional individual-centered 'person-to-person' charities, zakat or obligatory almsgiving should be directed to become the source of communal and collective societal improvement.

Author Biography

Holger Weiss holds a PhD in history and is currently professor in general history at Abo Akademi University in Finland. He is docent in global history at Abo Akademi University and docent in African history at the University of Helsinki

Table of Contents

List of figures and tablesp. 5
Prologuep. 7
Introductionp. 12
Almsgiving within the 'Muslim sphere'p. 19
Social capital and wealthp. 25
Muslim positions towards poverty alleviationp. 27
Investigating the 'Muslim sphere' in Ghana: Sources and previous researchp. 31
Islam and Muslims in contemporary Ghanap. 37
Accommodation or rejection?p. 37
Muslim political activity from the colonial to the present periodp. 41
Contested loyalties: Muslims, the civil society and the secular statep. 46
Undercounting the Muslims? The census debate of 2002p. 52
Increased manifestation of Muslim presence in Ghanap. 56
Poverty, violence and the Muslim communityp. 59
Poverty in Northern Ghanap. 62
Beggars and poor people in Tamalep. 68
Economic and societal marginalization of Muslims - imagined and realp. 76
'Muslim beggars' and 'poor Northerners': The view from the Southp. 76
Declaring begging to be illegalp. 86
'Ordinary peoples' perceptions: Lazy people making money out of beggingp. 92
The beggar's voicep. 96
Muslim voices: Break the circle of poverty through modern educationp. 98
The expansion and activities of Muslim NGOs in Ghanap. 110
To reinterpret zakat or not?p. 129
Zakat and poverty alleviation: Voluntary or organized?p. 132
Zakat, ushr and/or sadaqa in the North?p. 138
Institutionalizing Zakat: Many local and regional funds or a national Zakat fund?p. 140
Local initiativesp. 141
The Ahmadiyyap. 143
Visions about a Zakat fundp. 146
Assistance to the poor, hospitality towards strangersp. 150
Almsgiving in a global agep. 154
Concluding reflectionsp. 157
Appendix Ip. 160
Appendix IIp. 161
Bibliographyp. 162
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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