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The Islamic Welfare State explains the relationship between government legitimacy, everyday security, and lived Islam in Pakistan—a major Muslim-majority country. Its humanitarian spirit makes Islam a compelling, community-strengthening faith that motivates people to provide essential services to the needy, to foster moral sentiments that build social solidarity, and to thereby challenge the legitimacy of government with its focus on 'protecting Islam' and 'national security' rather than enhancing the lives of ordinary people. The book surveys four kinds of Islamic charities—traditional, professional, partisan, and state. The focus is on ground realities, on the activities of welfare workers and beneficiaries, mostly patients and students from low-income families. The attention to the different political sentiments that different kinds of charity foster allows us to better understand politics and political change in Pakistan and across the Muslim world.
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