Islamic Philanthropy in Egypt: Planted on Earth and Reaching to The Sky

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During the 18 days from 25 January to the 11 February 2012, Tahrir Square was filled with millions of Egyptians and was full of life because everyone had something to share with others. Giving was the source of strength, for all services – dining, housing, and healthcare – were offered for free to and among the people of the square (“midan people”) within these days and after. It was all about philanthropy and social justice then, as it was in 2003 – 2004 when we started the fieldwork on philanthropy to assess giving and volunteering all across the country.

The phenomenon was very unexpected as it demonstrated how rapid awareness of certain concepts like social justice can proliferate and how effective the ability to work under tough conditions could help people survive crises with such resilience. This article presents and discusses philanthropic trends and patterns in Egypt. In particular, the article provides a picture and a statistical account of current major trends in Egyptian philanthropy and offers specific suggestions to researchers, policy makers, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and philanthropists on ways to improve both the quantity and quality of philanthropic activity in Egyptian society.

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