The problem of lifestyle and consumption has been a critical theme in modern Islamic reflections on economy and morality. The liberal and neoliberal emphasis on free choice and unfettered consumption has posed a particular dilemma for Muslim economic theorists because its focus on individual choice challenges the very bedrock of Islamic ethics, which affirms that personal consumption must take heed of a broader moral order. Concerns such as these have long been particularly salient in the Southeast Asian Muslim country of Malaysia. There, the rapid growth of an affluent Malay middle class juxtaposed with the conspicuously different consumption styles of Western and Chinese consumers has raised bitter debates among Malay Muslims as to what constitutes a properly religious Islamic consumption.

Johan Fischer's new book on shopping among modern Malay Muslims aims squarely at these issues, albeit primarily from the perspective not of Islamic intellectual argumentation, but of the consumption practices...

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