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Book: Gender and Sacred Textures

Chapter: Doing Piety through Care: Embodied Enactments of the Qur’an and Gender Perceptions in Muslim families in Contemporary Denmark

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.46466


This chapter takes the practice of elderly care as a starting place to discuss how Muslim men and women “do” piety when doing elderly care in their everyday lives. It introduces and analyses central passages in the Qur’an and the Ḥadīths that deal with birr-al- wālidayn (filial piety), ‘awra (the intimate body parts that must be covered), and ‘ayb (shame/shamefulness) since they all appear as central concepts in the Islamic tradition of elderly care. With a focus on the embodied enactment of these concepts, the article turns to the analysis of two ethnographic cases to look at how Muslims “do” care for their elderly parents and at the same time strive to embody their sacred text, the Qur’an, and the Ḥadīths in everyday life. The article aims to show that “doing” elderly care enables a domain of pious doings that matters to how Muslim men and women perform and understand gender.

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