Islamic philanthropy has been experiencing much shifting terrain with respect to its role of promoting wellbeing. The term Islamic philanthropy is used here to refer to private goods given in accordance with Islamic ordinances of charitable giving for public purposes. Islamic philanthropy is to be differentiated from philanthropy in Muslim communities, which can be private giving for public purposes that may or may not be driven by a fulfilment of religious ordinances and which may also be organised by non-Muslim denominations living in Muslim societies. Understanding Islamic philanthropy is particularly challenging in view of the fact that most Islamic philanthropy is non-institutionalised and distributed through informal channels that are difficult to capture. The focus here is on formal types of Islamic philanthropic practice because their visibility allows for better documentation. Islamic philanthropy is also highly politicised, especially so since 9/11 and the War on Terror which specifically targeted some Islamic philanthropic organisations as supporters of terrorist activities.
This paper seeks to contribute to the debates on Islamic philanthropy and development, both conceptually and through case studies, especially from Egypt. Conceptually, it argues that the three-dimensional concept of wellbeing offers some analytical inroads into understanding the relational dimensions of the role of Islamic philanthropy in Muslim-majority contexts, and how it is embedded in subjective meanings of the self and fulfilment of divine precepts. External programmes Tadros, M (2011), ‘Islamic Philanthropy, Development and Wellbeing’, The Bellagio Initiative [Online] Available:
The Future of Philanthropy and Development in the Pursuit of Human Wellbeing,


Mariz Tadros


Article, Journal


Islamic Relief Worldwide






2011, Development, External Programmes, Faith Perspective, Humanitarian, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Philanthropy