The Shaping of Islamic Finance in South Africa: Public Islam and Muslim Publics

Elizabeth Cobbett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using ‘Public Islam’ and ‘Muslim Publics’ as discursive spaces that construct Islam in the public sphere, this article argues that everyday actions at the intersection of religion and the economy are culturally and historically contextual. Shari?ah-compliant products are being developed by fi nancial institutions entering the niche market of Islamic fi nance. This procedure contributes to the construction of Public Islam, the diverse invocations of
Islam that actors bring to public life. Yet, this representation of Islam by banks and fi nancial institutions is provoking debates as Muslims ask what, if anything, Islamic fi nance means to them in their lives. Muslim Publics are the situated, communitarian and political debates that occur in everyday life. Dynamic interactions between Public Islam and Muslims Publics highlight
the situated character of fi nancial action and underline the point that associations between being Muslim and using faith-based financial instruments are far from being automatic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-59
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Islamic Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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