Between Heritage and Audit: Islamic Materialities and the Revival of Waqfs in Turkey and Malaysia

Gizem Zencirci, Providence College

Through a comparative discussion of the revival of waqfs (religious endowments) in Turkey and Malaysia, this paper examines the relationship between property regimes, heritage politics, and the materiality of state-society relations. Whereas in Malaysia waqfs are often construed as instruments of Islamic finance, in contrast, these Islamic institutions are perceived as models of Islamic charity in Turkey. This article attributes this difference to how the Turkish and Malaysian states historically sought to govern the materiality of Islam and examines the ways in which these divergent governmental, spatial and material regimes have transformed over time. In doing so, this paper departs from restrictive notions of state power and instead focuses on how the materiality of religion was arranged, ordered, and structured. By theorizing the formation and transformation of “Islamic materialities,” I draw attention to several significant aspects of the relationship between religion, state and society that have been obscured in prevailing theories of political economy.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 74. Space, Materiality, and State-Society Relations in the Middle East and Beyond