Schielke, Samuli

Being good in Ramadan

Ambivalence, Fragmentation, and the Moral Self in the Lives of Young Egyptians


Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 15, 2

S. S24–40


So much has been written in recent years on Muslims who consciously and consistently aim to be pious, moral, and disciplined that the vast majority of Muslims who – like most of humankind – are sometimes but not always pious, at times immoral, and often undisciplined have remained in the shadow of an image of Islam as a perfectionist project of self-discipline. Taking the month of Ramadan, as a time of exceptional piety, as a starting-point, this paper tries to account for the different views and experiences that young people of Muslim faith in a northern Egyptian village articulate, the models of action and subjectivity they have access to, and the contradictory outcomes that the Islamic revivalist ideal of perfection has for some of them.