The Cultural Foundations of the Islamist Practice of Charity in Morocco
Abstract

Abstract:

It is argued in this paper that Islamism articulates through a fundamental receptive pre-existing cultural framework—always in Muslim countries implying an articulation with popular Islamic ideas and practices. Islamist groups are not alien other(s) but born in the history of the Same, and therefore amenable to be classified in types and recognized in identities. In Morocco, the cultural embedding of Islamist movements involves the still-working heritage of maraboutic institutions and beliefs and practices of popular Islam that reconstruct the Islamist lived experience. In this respect, the Islamist practice of charity is explored as an example to demonstrate how the cultural bed incorporates the Islamist rising cultural model of philanthropy. Islamist generosity is schematically fashioned upon the already existing maraboutic and monarchic cultural models as “distributing centres” of charity. It is embedded within a gift-exchange charitable model that juxtaposes alms-giving with loyalty, which may without doubt lubricate the way for attracting new recruits. It smooths power by turning the donee into a position of a willing loyal supplicant under the power of the dominant donor. The Islamists’ popular practice of charity to those in need empowers them to spread their particular version of Islam, thus displaying how their lived experience and socialization to the cultural bed where they are born further inspires them than any of their written dogmas.