Arabic Antimissionary Treatises: A Select Annotated Bibliography

Article excerpt

The works listed in this bibliography illustrate themes common to Arabic antimissionary treatises. While the Muslim authors of all these works condemn Christian evangelism as a tool of Western imperialism, they differ in political outlook. Some are Arab nationalists--socialist-leaning secularists who extol the unity of Arab peoples and the cultural accomplishments of Islamic civilization; others are Islamists, those who call for the enforcement of Islamic government, law, and custom in the modern world. These volumes, which can be found in American research libraries, represent only a fraction of the Arabic treatises written on this topic.

Ahmad, Ibrahim Khalil. al-Mustashriqun wa'l-mubashshirun fi al'alam al-'arabi wa'l-islami (Orientalists and Missionaries in the Arab Islamic World). Cairo: Maktabat al-Wa'i al-'Arabi, 1964. 111 pages.

The writer was an Egyptian Protestant (Presbyterian) pastor who converted to Islam in 1959 and later was appointed to the government's High Council for Religious Affairs. Once a Christian evangelist to Muslims, he now became a Muslim evangelist to Christians. He argues that Anglo-American missionaries were duplicitous imperial agents and beneficiaries and that they played a role in inciting communal discord. He published other books on similar themes, including al-Ishtiraq wa'l-tabshir wa-silatuhum bil-imbiriliyya al- "alamiyya (Orientalism and Evangelism and Their Connection to Global Imperialism) (Cairo: Maktabat al-Wa'i al'Arabi, 1973), 199 pages.

al-Askar, 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Ibrahim. al-Tansir wa-muhawalatuhu fi bilad al-khalij al-'arabi (Christianization and Its Attempts in the Gulf Countries). Riyadh: Maktabat al-'Abikan, 1993. 98 pages.

The author, who taught Islamic studies at al-Imam Muhammad ibn Sa'ud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia, emphasizes the Christian threat to Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula and characterizes modern evangelism as a latter-day Crusade. He accuses missionaries of seeking to destroy Islam by planting doubts among Muslims, promoting Zionism in Palestine, abducting children to gain converts, inciting sectarian hatred in Muslim countries, and spying on local communities. He advises Gulf state governments to dissolve Christian churches, urges imams to speak out against Christianity in mosque sermons, promotes the pursuit of worldwide Islamic mission, and discourages Muslim families from visiting Western countries, except when strictly necessary (e.g., when seeking advanced medical care).

al-Bahi, Muhammad. al-Fikr al-islami al-hadith wa-silatuhu bilisti'mar al-gharbi (Modern Islamic Thought and Its Connection to Western Imperialism). 8th ed. Cairo: Maktabat Wahba, 1975. 552 pages.

Writing at the peak of the Nasser era, this Egyptian author aimed to present an intellectual history of the Muslim world from North Africa to Southeast Asia, showing how the conditions of British, French, and Dutch imperialism and the activities of Orientalist scholars and Christian missionaries galvanized Muslim thinkers in the process of modern Islamic reform. He maintains that missionaries sought to transform (if not directly convert) Muslims by weakening Muslim values and morale and by asserting the incompatibility of Islam with modern civilization. He presented similar ideas in a short English-language work published as Mohammad El Bahay, The Attitude of Missionaries and Orientalists Towards Islam (Cairo: United Arab Republic, Government Printing Office, 1963), 43 pages.

al-Basati, Ahmad Sa'd al-Din, al-Tabshir wa-athruhu fi al-bilad al-arabiyya al-islamiyya (Evangelism and Its Influence on the Arab Islamic Countries). Cairo: Dar Abu al-Majid lil-Tiba'a, 1989. 240 pages.

The author traces Christian evangelism to the military failures of the original Crusader wars, and argues that Christian missionaries are neo-Crusaders bent on destroying Islam and conquering the world. He surveys colonial-era missionary work throughout the Middle East, discusses the various missionary conferences of the early twentieth century (beginning with Edinburgh 1910), considers the roles of missionary statesmen such as Samuel M. …