Multiplication through division: Value, time, and prosperity in Indonesia

Konstantinos Retsikas


The paper explores contemporary practices of value multiplication among Muslims in Indonesia, paying particular attention to the rise to public prominence of “the mathematics of almsgiving.” This approach to giving alms provides the faithful with a systematic method of achieving prosperity in both this world and the after life through encouraging them to divide up their property, spread it around, and share it with others. Such practices are held to have the miraculous effect of ensuring that the parted property will eventually return in a multiplied form. Much of this effect is mediated by a literalist understanding of the Quranand the rendering of alms as an investment carrying the promise of divine increase.


Time, alms, future, prosperity, Islam, Indonesia

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/701045