n Journal for Islamic Studies - Piety, penitence and gender : the case of repentant artists in Egypt

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0257-7062



This article examines the interrelationship between the piety movement and the phenomenon of 'repentant' singers, dancers and actresses in Egypt. A broad piety current that existed underneath the militant Islamists has recently come to the fore. This 'post-Islamist' movement is less overtly political in its aims and emphasises the cultivation of the pious self. Repentant artists were at the vanguard of this new pious trend in Egypt. As public figures and stars, their religious turn was followed by millions. They have been important in propagating piety and veiling amongst higher-class women who were largely secularised. Three life stories of artists will illustrate their passage from art to repentance and devotion. They have become active in charity and preaching, particularly among the well-to-do. Despite their withdrawal from publicity, they have achieved a new public appearance and relevance. The repentant artists have influenced the opening of new avenues for female pious publicness.

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