Amira Mittermaier guides the reader through landscapes of the imagination that feature Muslim dream interpreters who draw on Freud, reformists who dismiss all forms of divination as superstition, a Sufi devotional group that keeps a diary of dreams related to its shaykh, and ordinary believers who speak of moving encounters with the Prophet Muhammad. Sean has also been busy training his own replacement, Ellen Kladky, who some readers will know and admire for her work at the University of Chicago Press. In the urban imaginaries of many, the area is off-map, dangerous, and full of robbers or worse. And Kockelman manages to speak of grading practices without ever turning to our most dismal experiences as teachers. Tracing the impact of such dichotomization, I began with an end in this chapter. In the hope of initiating an unlikely conversation, I show in this article how the khidma can help illuminate what people found so extraordinary about being at Tahrir Square in early 2011.
Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help And How to Reverse It. I called Marwa to find out what was going on. While the gaze to the future is not new, it has arguably become more pervasive in the eras of national development and neoliberalism. He has imagined, recognized, invited, cajoled, and nurtured writing of exceptional quality and he has given anthropology a renewed confidence in its intellectual identity and mission. New York: Columbia University Press, 178-200. This is a perspective and endeavour the current Special Issue shares with an increasing number of anthropological studies on Islamic charitable practices worldwide Atia, 2013;Kochuyt, 2009; Mittermaier, 2014;Osella and Osella, 2009 , whose starting point is the recognition that almsgiving corresponds to a form of 'financial worship' Benthall, 1999. In light of this temporal tension, this article calls for a critical rethinking of an orientation toward the future by dwelling on the ethical and political potentials inherent to traditions of giving, sharing, and hospitality that are fundamentally oriented toward the present.
Famous debates, such as that between the reformer al-Afghānī and the French historian Ernest Renan in 1883, or that between Muhammad 'Abduh and the Christian Lebanese secularist Farah Antoun in 1902, centered precisely on the question of whether Islam is compatible with reason. How could he respond to them? Many of these conversations took place at Tahrir Square, which was re-occupied in July and for part of August. It incites them to hold on to their religion and to busy themselves with the worship of God and the issues of their community umma. This is precisely what Amira Mittermaier accomplishes in her absorbing and thought-provoking book on the dream landscapes of early-twenty-first-century Egyptians. Bayat, Asef Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East. Tahrir Square is not simply the physical location in Cairo where many key protests took place between January 25 and February 11, 2011 and after that.
This is particularly evident through Shaykh Nabil, who frequently highlights the relational nature of dream interpretation. He showed me the many books that he uses when dealing with dreams, among them the manuals of Ibn Sīrīn, Ibn Shāhīn, and al-Nābulusī, hadith collections, classical works of fiqh Islamic jurisprudence , al-Ghazālī's and Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawzī's writings, and Kitāb al-Ḥayawānāt, as well as more recent self-help literatures. Like the stereotype of the irrational Muslim, these counterarguments are nothing new. According to MacDonald, while Christianity managed to bring the unseen into history, Islam failed to do so and was therefore overpowered by the uncanny cf. A dream interpreter is a charlatan who financially exploits people just like those claiming to exorcise evil spirits. Having arrived only three weeks prior to this incident, I had been spending my days with friends and relatives, carefully testing the ground by broaching my research topic.
Others have a home in Cairo but enjoy spending time at the khidma because it is a place of dhikr, devotion to God. The argument is familiar: Handouts allow the poor to get by and keep them quiet but will never lead to true change. Far from numbing the masses or distracting them from political matters, such programs can incite the viewers' political imaginations. Food differs from gifts given with an eye to the future—gifts understood by many to be more effective. Rather, her guests are drawn to the place because of its high level of spirituality.
There is a kind of casual tone in her prose that made her writing more believable and I am just curious if others found her tone to lend a particular kind of credibility to her assessments. Many of my Muslim interlocutors would say justice means that the rich ought to give to the poor. While I highlight a resonance between the khidma and Tahrir Square, I simultaneously point to tensions between an ethics of immediacy and political calls for social justice. That personal touch attracted me to wanting to know more and relate more to the author making me enjoy the book more given that I am no longer just reading a series of events and information. Such a reorientation and opening is all the more critical at the current moment—a time of frictions, exclusions, and violence in Egypt, and a time when older structures of inequality continue to be rewritten as well as transformed.
While seemingly trivial, Ru'a's end illustrates the dream's precarious place within the continuously reconfigured fields of Islam, politics, and ethics in Egypt. In close dialogue with her Egyptian interlocutors, Islamic textual traditions, and Western theorists, Mittermaier teases out the dream's ethical, political, and religious implications. Along with the obligation to reciprocate, Nura does away with the distinction between donor and recipient. While journalists, sociologists, and other experts were busy debating what has led to an increase in superstitious beliefs and charlatanry, they failed to consider a number of alternative questions. She cooks for her guests every day. Some sociologists held the cinema and television responsible for portraying charlatanry in an increasing number of films.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press. We argue that critical anthropological engagement with death, martyrdom, and afterlife is indispensable if we want to understand the making of pasts and futures in a revolutionary present. I suggest that my interlocutors' use of, and approach to, examples can help us think about the example as evocative and performative, including the ways in which examples act upon and through anthropologists. Her mode of being in the world is not oriented toward society but toward those who walk through her door. Dreams that Matter explores the social and material life of dreams in contemporary Cairo. Drawing on fieldwork in Egypt, as well as online reports and contestations of apparitions, visions, and dreams seen during the uprising, I suggest that accounts of the unseen pose a profound challenge to and open up new possibilities for doing ethnographic research, writing ethnography, and thinking anthropologically.