Islamic Da 'Wa and Christian Mission: Towards a Comparative Analysis

Article excerpt


1:0 Introduction

Christianity and Islam have in common the fact that -- like Buddhism -- they are missionary religions. While this is acknowledged by missiologists and comparative religionists, little scholarly attention has yet been given to the comparative study of Islamic da 'wa and Christian mission.

Nearly twenty-five years ago, in 1976, the International Review of Mission devoted an issue to "Christian Mission and Islamic Da 'wah". It contained papers by Muslim and Christian participants in a week-long dialogue conference held in Chamb[acute{e}]sy (June 1976), together with verbatim excerpts from the conference discussions, and a final conference statement agreed among the participants. [1] Although several Muslim and Christian groups subsequently republished some of the papers and the common statement, no significant attempts have been made to advance the discussion of substantive issues.

The present paper seeks to regenerate interest in this topic, the problems and opportunities of which have become more evident in the last two decades of Christian-Muslim encounter. The paper is written as part of an international research project of Christian theologians concerned with the future of Christian theological education in Muslim societies. [2] It contains material that was presented to an international seminar of Christian missiologists and missionaries in the Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, Connecticut, in October 1999. [3] It also reflects issues discussed at a consultation on "Religious Freedom, Community Rights and Individual Rights: a Christian-Muslim Perspective", sponsored by the World Council of Churches at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, also in October 1999.

The paper is not intended to address issues of Christian mission to Islam or, in practical terms, Muslim da 'wa among Christians. It offers a summation of various studies of mission and da 'wa since 1976, and sets out a basis for certain comparisons between Christian and Islamic understandings of mission and da 'wa. In conclusion it proposes ten theses for renewed discussion about mission and da 'wa among Muslims and Christians.

1:1 The Meaning of Da'wa

The Arabic word da'wa [4] expresses the sense of "call" or "invitation". [5] It comes from the verb da'a, "to call", of which da'i is the active participle, "one who calls or invites".

The question immediately arises whether the words da'wa and da'i bear the English translation of "mission" and "missionary". In Arabic they imply a centripetal action of "calling into", whereas mission implies the centrifugal action of "sending". Whether this etymological distinction has any comparative significance is a question to be addressed in the last section of this paper. In order not to prejudge the issue, the words da'wa and da'i (plural du'ah) will be transliterated rather than translated, unless they are cited in quoted translation in which case the translated terms will be italicized. [6]

2:0 Da'wa in the Qur'an

The verb da'a occurs frequently in the Qur'an. Sometimes its subject is God: for example, "God calls to the Home of Peace (dar al-islam), and He guides whom He pleases to a straight path." [7] On other occasions the subject is the prophet: for example, "the Messenger invites you to believe in your Lord." [8] Frequently the subject is the people of faith who call upon God: for example, "They cry unto God, making sincere their religion unto Him." [9]

The noun da'wa also occurs several times in the Qur'an, in the reciprocal senses of God's call to humankind, and the believers' call or prayer to God.

In relation to the concerns of this paper, the locus classicus of the verb da'a is found in Sura Al Imran (The Family of Imran: Q3:104). I quote it in variant translations from two widely respected English versions of the Qur'an:

And there may spring from you a nation [umma] who invite [10] to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful." (Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, p.78)

Let there arise out of you a band of people [umma] inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: they are the ones to attain felicity. (Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur'an, p.154)

The variant translations reflect different interpretations of the words preceding the phrase "inviting to all that is good." The first treats the whole community as the subject of "inviting", meaning that da'wa is a collective responsibility. The second interprets community in the restrictive sense of a "band of people" -- i.e. a sub-group -- that undertakes the responsibility of "inviting" on behalf of the rest of the community. The difference turns on the force of the preposition "from" or "out of" (min): it can either generalize "you" (as in "you all") to mean the whole community, or particularize "you" (as in "some of you") to mean a section within the community as a whole.

2:1 Da'wa in classical Qur'an commentary (tafsir)

The exegetical distinction introduced above has been discussed among Muslim commentators of the Qur'an through the centuries. An excellent account of this has been given by Roest Crollius, in an article entitled "Mission and Morality" in Studia Missionalia. [11] He reviews ways in which Muslim commentators have interpreted the phrase "inviting to goodness", in association with two other phrases with which it commonly occurs: "enjoining what is right" (amr bi'l-mar'uf) and "forbidding what is wrong" (nahy 'an al-munkar). The following paragraphs are based on Crollius's survey and conclusions.

First, it is important to clarify the meaning of the phrases "enjoining what is right" and "forbidding what is wrong", since these determine the content of da'wa. The two phrases frequently appear as counterparts in the Qur'an, denoting the norms of belief and ethics, which comprise the Islamic way of life: belief in the unity of the one God, and obedience to God's divinely revealed commands and prohibitions. They constitute the core of the qur'anic message of ethical monotheism, and indicate that "inviting to the good" involves the interrelated dimensions of right faith and right conduct. In Crollius's words, they "describe an attitude and a way of acting that are characteristic of Islam both as a religion and as a social reality." [12]

The Qur'an applies these same phrases to other religious communities, notably "the people of scripture" - i.e. Jews and Christians who received divine scriptures before the revelation of the Qur'an. For example: "Of the People of the Scripture there is a staunch community who recite the revelations of God in the night season, falling prostrate. They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency (my italics), and vie with one another in good works. They are of the righteous." [13] Crollius suggests that this combination of ethical injunctions represents the Golden Rule in Islam, which he compares to the well-known ethical maxims of Judaism and Christianity, "Do not do unto others what you do not like to be done unto yourself" (Tobit 4:15), and "Do unto others as you would have them do to yourself." (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31)

Who, then, has the responsibility of "inviting to the good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong"? Crollius shows that classical commentators oscillate between two opinions: some interpret the responsibility as belonging to the entire Muslim community, while a greater number restrict the meaning to a group within the community. The first interpretation is corroborated by a later verse in the same chapter (Sura Al Imran): "You are the best community that has been raised up for humankind. You enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency, and you believe in God." [14] If this is a logical interpretation, it is idealist in its implications. Pragmatically it came to be balanced by a second line of interpretation which argued that the duty of da'wa could be delegated to an individual or group that would act on behalf of the community as a whole.

In the medieval Caliphate an officer known as the muhtasib was appointed by the Caliph "to see that the religious precepts of Islam are obeyed, to detect offences and punish offenders." [14] His duty was to act as censor of morality in the public domain, ensuring that times of public prayer (salat) were duly observed, or that the hours of fasting (siyam) were respected during the month of Ramadan. The modem equivalent of this is the role played by the "religious police" in Saudi Arabia.

This institutionalization of the responsibility of "inviting to the good" shows that the classical commentators generally interpreted the duty of da'wa as applying within the Muslim community. [16] Among the earliest commentators it is only al-Tabari [17] who specifically dealt with da'wa outwith the Muslim community, especially in relation to Jews and Christians. [18] We shall return to the significance of Tabari's opinion when we look at the modern Qur'an commentary.

Before leaving classical Islam, however, it should be noted that classical exegetes generally distinguished da'wa, in the sense we have discussed, from jihad that applies to the territorial expansion of the Caliphate. Jihad denotes "striving in the way of God", with the purpose of bringing God's cause to success through "opening" [19] non-Muslim territories for Islam. These were to be administered as "territory of Islam" (dar al-islam), theoretically by the Muslim ruler consulting Islamic religious authorities in matters of policy. A further distinction is drawn between extending this territorial and juridical concept of dar al-islam, and converting non-Muslims within its domains. The former is a religious duty, and "enjoining what is right and forbidding the wrong" applied among Muslims within the dar al-islam. As regards non-Muslims the qur'anic injunction that "there is no compulsion in religion" [20] should apply, the "people of scripture" administering themselves according to their own laws. As a result non-Muslim conversion to Islam has tended to be by a gradual process that has been termed "social conversion." [21]

2:2 Da'wa in modern Qur'an commentary

If the weight of classical Qur'an commentary favours an intra-Muslim understanding of da'wa, modern exegesis shows lines of both continuity and change. Among the most influential commentators of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) and his Syrian disciple, Rashid Rida (1865-1935). Abduh was a professor at the Azhar University in Cairo where he lectured on qur'anic exegesis. Rida recorded and published these lectures in his periodical, Al-Manar, and later produced them, with his own additions, in a twelve-volume commentary entitled Tafsir al-Manar. [22] This stands as a monument of the Salafiyya school of modem Islam, which seeks to rejuvenate Islam by returning to the authority of the "righteous forebear" (salaf al-salih) in the faith. This is the source of the term "Salafi" Muslims, who give special authority to these forebears, deeming them to have been closest to the spirit of the Qur'an and the Sunna (the traditions of the

Prophet Muhammad, his Companions, and the first four "rightly-guided" Caliphs in Medina). As a modernizing movement, the Salafiyya movement has always encouraged ijtihad or reinterpretation of these historic precedents through rational and critical appraisal of the conditions and needs of modern society.

A good example of this is found in the Manar's interpretation of "inviting to the good". Respecting the idealism of early Islam, it favours the inclusive interpretation of "inviting" as the duty of the whole Muslim community. It is a general duty that "each individual should keep before his eyes." [23] At the same time the Manar goes on to specify that da'wa is also "the task of a group (ta'ifa) who are especially prepared for it." The two interpretations are reconciled as follows: "If, according to the first way of explaining the verse, each individual Muslim is under the obligation to call to what is good, to order equity and to forbid iniquity: according to this second interpretation, they are under the obligation to choose from their midst a society to fulfil this task, so that it can well take care of it and is capable of executing it, when this [task] is no longer fulfilled spontaneously, as it was in the time of the first Companions." [24]

In other words, the duty of da'wa used to be fulfilled by the entire community in the time of the Prophet, when the righteous forebears "were living in perfect solidarity, and each one of them felt the same urgency to spread and defend Islam and to oppose everything that could detract from its doctrine, morality, juridical regulations or the interest of the people." [25] Under modern conditions this duty should be undertaken by a specialist group, although it is incumbent upon the rest of the community to support this group in fulfilling a duty that is binding on all.

The Manar similarly demonstrates continuity and change in a related area of discussion of da'wa: namely, the persons to whom it is addressed. Like most classical commentators Abduh and Rida stress the duty of da'wa within the Muslim community. But they introduce a new emphasis, which sees the aim of da'wa being to renew the faith of the community. Da'wa thus becomes an important means of religious revival, and it is this sense that has been developed by several ideologically driven reform groups during the 20th century.

Another new direction emphasized in the Manar is for da'wa to non-Muslims, and especially Christians. This returns to the point made by the classical commentator, al-Tabari, who lived at the end of the period identified with the righteous forebears. Abduh and Rida were much concerned with defending Islam against the challenge of Christian missionaries. They drew a direct link between evangelization (tabshir) and imperialism (isti'mar), both of which they saw as inimical to Islam. The Manar repeatedly offers a rational defence of Islam against Western imperialism and secularism and the perceived irrationality of Christian faith -- the latter being characterized by belief in miracles, the power of the church, the renunciation of the world, belief in the sufficiency of the Bible as source of all knowledge, and discord among Christians. [26]

Rida devoted more energy than Abduh to answering Christian missionaries. In addition to his contributions to the Manar, he wrote a small book on "The Obscurities of Christians and the Proofs of Islam". [27] The book is interesting in that it articulates a significant principle that has been taken up in some later Muslim discussion of Christianity. Rida wrote: "The Christian religion itself does not contradict the Islamic faith; it is rather the Christians themselves who seek to contradict it. The incontrovertible proofs and contentions against them (i.e. the Christians) are not the Muslims who themselves have become an argument against their own religion. Rather, these proofs belong to the Islamic religion itself." [28] For present discussion, this quotation makes clear the reasons why, for Rida, the duty of internal da'wa is the purification of the Muslim community as the prerequisite for external da'wa toward Christianity and other faiths.

3:0 Organized Da'wa

Turning from issues of qur'anic exegesis in relation to da'wa, this part of the paper will discuss forms of organized da'wa that have emerged during the 20th century. Three models will be identified. The first, represented by Rashid Rida, is an early attempt to actualize the principles of da'wa in the Manar. The second developed synchronically with the first, but arose in a very different context: that of India, where Maulana Ilyas (1885-1944) founded a movement known as the Tablighi Jama'at which drew directly from the principles and practice of Sufi Islam. The third also originated in South Asia, in association with the modernist thinker Abu'l A'la Mawdudi (1903-1979), founder of the Jama'at -i Islami movement, and represents a further development of the Salafiyya approach.

3:1 Rashid Rida (1865-1935)

Not content with the power of the written word, Rashid Rida -- more the activist than was his master Abduh -- devoted the year 1910 to lobbying for the creation of a da'wa college in the seat of the Caliphate, Istanbul. Failing to persuade the Ottoman authorities, he rallied support among Indian Muslims, and two years later established a college in Cairo which opened with a promising international recruitment of students. It closed on the outbreak of the first world war, and although it was never re-opened, the Azhar University later established a department of da'wa and irshad (guidance). [29]

It is fortuitous, of course, that these events were co-incident with renewed efforts among Western Protestant missionaries to organize Christian mission more effectively for the 20th century: the world mission conference in Edinburgh (1910), the founding of the International Review of Missions (1911), and the creation of missionary training programmes in the Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham, and the Kennedy School of Missions in the Hartford Theological Foundation, Connecticut. Measured against these momentous Christian missionary developments, Rashid Rida's efforts seem insignificant. Yet, in Islamic terms, he infused da'wa with a new dynamism that has inspired later generations.

The curriculum which he designed reflected the Salafiyya principle that the message of Islam is essentially that of the Qur'an and the Sunna, interpreted according to the practice of the "righteous forefathers." While this is fundamental, Rida gave equal importance to inter-disciplinary studies of the social history of the Islamic community, and to the general study of geography, psychology, sociology and political science, these being the new sciences with which rational Islam must engage. If this marked a radical advance upon traditional Islamic education, his argument that da 'wa should employ languages other than Arabic raised stiff opposition among the professors of the Azhar University. Arabic, they insisted, was the language of Islamic learning and discourse. While Rida accepted that Arabic should remain the authoritative language of the Qur'an, he pointed to the fact that the Prophet Muhammad instructed some of the "righteous forebears" to learn Hebrew in order to communicate more effectively with Jew s. [30] This, he argued, was justification for multilingual da 'wa that would enable Muslims to match the skills of Christian missionaries "who learn the languages of all peoples." [31]

In addition to these scholarly aspects of training, Rida emphasized the moral education of the da 'i, in which connection he stressed the importance of jihad. It must be noted, however, that he rejected militant jihad (al-jihad al-asghar) as a means of da 'wa and emphasized exclusively the "great jihad" (al- jihad al-akbar) of inner spiritual and moral improvement as the essential quality of the da'i. [32]

It is this last point that gives spiritual integrity to Rida's understanding of da 'wa as the vocation of individuals who form themselves into a voluntary association on behalf of the whole community. Da 'wa should be supported by the public authorities, but it must be exercised as a spiritual commitment, through the voluantry association of individual believers who are trained mentally and morally for the task.

3:2 Maulana Muhanunad Ilyas (1885-1944) [33]

Maulana Ilyas belonged to the Sufi tradition of Islam, which has exerted profound influence on Islam in India. Sufi du 'ah contributed greatly to the spread of Islam in South Asia, especially through the Sufi spiritual orders. Sufism should be thought of as a movement, not a sect, that emphasizes the interiority of Islam with attention to the internal purification of the soul (Arabic nafs, which might be better translated "self') and mystical experience of God. [34] Ilyas belonged to a branch of the Chishti order, and after formal education he himself became a respected spiritual teacher (shaykh) in a famous Delhi mosque. His writings mainly take the form of Sufi malfuzat or sermons for his followers.

In the 1920s Maulana Ilyas founded a movement that has grown to become one of the largest mass movements in modern Islam and one of the most influential expressions of da 'wa in India and worldwide. It is called by various names: its official title of Tablighi Jama 'at emphasizes its basic commitment to preaching (tabligh); its more popular name of Tahrik-i Iman makes clear that it sees itself simply as "a movement of faith"; Ilyas also called it Dini Da'wat which he translated as "Religious Mission", indicating that da'wa was the fundamental attribute of religion.

Maulana Ilyas' understanding of da'wa was therefore inseparable from the way he understood the faith (iman) of Islam as a Sufi. He was essentially concerned with internal purification that, as he elaborated in his sermons, requires five spiritual disciplines: sincere repetition of the testimony of faith (shahada), affirmation of the sovereignty of God and servanthood of the Prophet Muhammad as the basis for all actions; regularity of prayer as the way to refine and purify all one's habits; true knowledge of God's commandments which requires purification of the mind through constant repetition of the names of God; kindness and respect for all humankind; sincerity of intention and constant vigilance against ostentation. To these positive injunctions was added the warning against wasting time; for "the devil will occupy an empty house." Every hour of one's day should be dedicated solely to the glory of God. [35]

These simple rules of Islamic piety were, for Maulana Ilyas, a code for living, and it was his task, and that of his followers, to commend them to others by direct example and preaching. He began his preaching work among a group of Indian Muslims, the Meo or Mewatis, in the Mewat district. They were country people who did not have a strong attachment of high Islamic learning. So Maulana Ilyas travelled simply among them, and developed skills of rural preaching which he was later to commend as the real test of a religious scholar. By the mid-1920s others were joining him, and he began the task of organizing groups of preachers on the following principle: "Everyone is required to reserve a few days each month and a few weeks each year for tabligh which, it is believed, brings Allah's blessings and mercy upon him. This is a common duty for all Muslims, and a few volunteers should always be ready to offer to leave their homes and hearths to travel to distant places for striving in the path of Allah, cheerfully be aring all hardships that may fall upon them." [36]

The organizational principle of the Tablighi Jama'at reflects the emphasis on direct preaching by ordinary people among ordinary people. Du'ah formed groups of ten, each with a leader (amir) who was responsible for organizational matters, and a teacher (mu'allim) who, as the most learned among them, was responsible for instruction. Each group was self-funded, and would hold an autonomous council (mushawara). Groups would typically travel to a particular village where, having sought the permission of the local imam, they would invite people to the mosque and engage them as a group, encouraging the principles of good faith, which have been outlined above. In addition, the individual missionary (da'i) was permitted to undertake preaching on a person-to-person basis.

Maulana Ilyas drew a firm distinction between coercion and persuasion. He ruled out the former, and prohibited any of his followers from engaging in politics as part of their da'wa. His movement has therefore separated faith from politics, and it has always sought to be non-political in its operations. Faith has its own power and rewards, and the da'i should trust the inherent power of good preaching that is validated by the example of a pure life, in return for which the da'i will know the benefits of faith (fada'il) more fully in his or her life.

Today the movement has grown enormously, and is assessed by a current researcher as being "probably the single largest Islamic movement of contemporary times ... active in almost every country in the world where Muslims live." [37] Christian Troll -- on the basis of whose research these paragraphs have been written -- movingly describes the great three-day conventions which take place in India, "the last [day] of which concentrates on forming the groups of workers that will set out in the afternoon.... to near and far-off places inside and outside the country." [38]

3:3 Jama'at-i Islami

The Salafiyya movement has influenced the rise of other ideologically-orientated renewal movements in the 20th century, prominent among which are the Society of Muslim Brothers (Jama'at al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) in Egypt, and the Society of Islam (Jama'at-i Islami) in Pakistan. A scientific study of their understandings of da'wa is much needed. A summary reading of their literary productions suggests that, during the middle decades of the century at least, they adjusted the Manar's balance between intra- and extra-Muslim da'wa in favour of the former. This is not surprising in view of their contextual situation. Confrontation between ideologically-driven Islamic movements and the Muslim ruling elites whom the former accused of being Muslim in name only, meant that organized da'wa focused its attention on the priority of internal islamization of the umma.

It is to Pakistan that we turn for an example of how this is reflected in da'wa organization and training. In 1982 an Institute for Da'wah and Qir'at (qur'anic recitation) was established in the recently founded Islamic University. When the University was re-chartered as the International Islamic University in 1985, the Institute was given autonomous status as the Academy of Da'wah and the Training of Imans. A five-year "Action Plan for implementation of the Da'wah Project, inside and outside Pakistan, 1983-1988" sets out a coherent programme for the first stage of the Academy's development.

The plan is authored by the Academy's director, Professor Anis Ahmad, a prominent figure in the Jama'at-i Islami movement. Although it represents the policy of the governing council, in which other Sunni Muslim movements in Pakistan are represented -- the Deobandis, the Barelwis and the Ahl-i Hadith -- the spirit of salafi-type rationalism infuses the text. The following remarks are based on the descriptive study of the five-year plan by Jamal Malik, a researcher at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universit[ddot{a}]t, Bonn, entitled "Islamic Mission and Call: the Case of the International Islamic University, Islamabad." [39]

The plan develops an integrated approach to national and international da 'wa, although both dimensions relate primarily to intra-Muslim activities within Pakistan, and to international cooperation with like-minded da 'wa groups in other Muslim countries. The government, itself committed to a policy of islamization, is called upon "to utilize their existing administrative machinery for the propagation of Islam," [40] and provide administrative and financial support. While civil servants and army officers have enrolled in da 'wa courses, recruitment has been drawn mainly from the ranks of religious functionaries, the imams of mosques, especially younger imams who already have a good education and are serving in urban settings. A wider studentship is engaged through correspondence courses, based on the preaching and instruction given in the Islamic University. A series of International Tarbiyah (education/training) Camps has been organized for young people from different parts of Asia and Africa, with growing p articipation of Muslims from non-Muslim parts of the world. Beyond formal education, these aim to cultivate a Salifiyya outlook among participants, and with it a sense of belonging to a transnational movement that is committed to renewing Islam worldwide.

It is in this context that the need for da 'wa outwith the Muslim community is recognized: the importance of strengthening effective da 'wa in countries where Muslims experience religious pluralism, especially as Muslim minorities. From the information which Malik provides, however, it would appear that this remains the weak sibling in relation to the more developed institutional approach to intra-Muslim da 'wa.

In addition to its educational programmes, the Academy gives priority to the publication of booklets and a journal, Da 'wa Highlights, as ways to disseminate its thinking about da 'wa. While the books adhere firmly to the thinking of Abu'l A'la Mawdudi, the founder and ideologue of the Jama 'at-i Islami movement, [41] Da 'wa Highlights features a much wider range of opinion, and illustrates the diversity of current Muslim approaches to da 'wa.

The description, which Malik provides, allows us to draw some analytical conclusions in relation to the themes of this article. The plan clearly operates within the Manar's view that da 'wa is the collective duty of the Islamic community, but one that a particular group effectively exercises on the community's behalf, with the support of the community as a whole. Following Rida's example, but exceeding what was possible in his day, the plan seeks to professionalize da 'wa, with a strong emphasis on da 'wa training that combines Salafiyya teaching and inter-disciplinary studies, and the creation of a popular da 'wa literature using vernacular languages and English as the main international medium of communication. The plan envisages da 'wa as a means of renewing the faith of the community as a whole, through the dissemination of Salafiyya ideology. This in turn envisages the re-unity of all Muslims in the spirit of nascent Islam.

The professionalization of da 'wa, and the ideological goal of re-uniting Muslims by restoring them to the spirit of the nascent Islamic community of the salaf, combine to create a strong organizational centralism and control. Da'wa is identified with an elite, and the ideological hand of Jama 'at-i Islami is ubiquitous, as suggested by Malik's passing reference to protests by other Islamic groups. Consonant with the Jama 'at's political role in Pakistan, the plan evinces a complex attitude to da 'wa and political authority. On the one hand it calls for the administrative and financial support of the government while insisting that da 'wa remains free of political constraint; on the other it clearly accepts that da 'wa has political implications in its goal of re-islamicizing of the umma as a social, economic and political reality that should determine the nature of Islamic government. The plan instructs that the individual da 'i should not become politically involved. Far from resolving the tension between r eligious and political action, it suggests that political policy lies firmly in the control of the institutional religious leadership.

The above remarks underscore the definition of da 'wa with which Malik's article begins: "Broadly speaking, the alms of da 'wah are to bring about a new Muslim self-definition,.... to integrate different ethnic and social as well as religious groups under the aegis of a central institution, and to produce the ideological and theological prerequisite for the unity of Muslims and for Islamic brotherhood, the ummah." [42]

4:0 Da'wa and Christianity

The Muslim debate about Islam and Christianity, by no means new, has produced a wider diversity of opinion in the late 20th century as Muslims, like Christians, face old questions of religious pluralism in new ways. [43] In terms of da 'wa to non-Muslims, this section will attempt to summarize, at the risk of over-simplification, three main approaches that can be discerned among da 'wa writers in the second half of the 20th century. These positions will be referred to as supercessionist, revisionist, and ecumenical -- terms, which are currently used in English-language Muslim da 'wa literature. Each derives from different interpretations of the qur' anic verses dealing with Christians (nasara). [44]

4:1 The supercessionist position

This extends the qur' anic principle of "abrogation" (tansikh), which allows a later verse to abrogate the authority of an earlier one, to the history of religion: the authority of a revealed religion in one age is abrogated by a later revealed religion, and ultimately the qur'anic revelation of Islam abrogates the authority of all earlier religions. Christianity has therefore been superseded, and insofar as it continues to exist after the revelation of Islam, it can only be regarded as a corruption of the original teaching of the Prophet Jesus. An important proof text for this theory is the verse in the Qur'an which states that Jesus brought "good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." [45] Traditional Muslim exegesis takes this to mean that Jesus foretold the coming of Muhammad. It is understood to condemn Christian refusal to acknowledge Muhammad's prophethood as a part of Christian misinterpretation of Jesus' own teaching. With such Christianity Islamic da'wa can have no rela tionship. Accordingly Sayyid Qutb, the leading ideologue of the Society of Muslim Brothers in the mid-20th century, advised Muslims to have no contact with Christians. [46] Where Muslims of this supercessionist view have engaged Christianity in da'wa, it has been of a controversialist kind, illustrated in activity and writing of the South African Ahmad Deedat.

4:2 The revisionist position

The revisionist position is theologically more accommodating. It is essentially the salafi position, which we have already identified with Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida. It looks at all religions through the qur'anic perspective of din al-fitra, "natural religion." This recognizes a natural disposition in all creation, inanimate and animate, to exist in obedience to the Creator. Revelation makes explicit what is implicit in nature, and discloses elements of divine truth, which exceed the capacity of the human senses to know of themselves. Revealed religion is therefore consistent with nature, and Islam - the final revealed religion - represents the complete harmonization of religion and reason in the life of the Islamic umma. True Christianity is likewise based in natural religion. It also was confirmed by revelation, but the truth of the gospel (Injil) has been corrupted by the malpractice of generations of Christians whose superstitions have obscured the rationality of the gospel. Such irrational doctrines as the Trinity, incarnation and redemption have also blinded Christians from the truth of the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad. It is the duty of da'wa, therefore, to bring Christians back to their original truth. Once this revision has been achieved, they will need no persuasion to accept the truth of the Qur'an and convert to Islam. What could dissuade them, of course, would be the alienating ways in which Muslims often practice their Islam. This is why, as Rida emphasized in his book, it is essential for intra-Muslim da'wa to reform Muslims themselves and return them to the proper practice of Islam. An articulate statement of this approach has been given by the late Khurram Murad, whose legacy distinguishes him as one of the leading exponents on da'wa in relation to non-Muslims as well as Muslims. [47]

4:3 The ecumenical position

The ecumenical position takes essentially the same approach as Murad, with the difference that it does not require Christians who return to the pure faith of the gospel to convert to Islam. This is to take a twice-repeated verse of the Qur'an at face value: "Those who have faith and those who are Jews, Christians, and Sabeans - whosoever has faith in God and the last day and performs good deeds - these will have their reward with their Lord. No fear shall come upon them, nor will they grieve." [48]

Supercessionists interpret this verse as being historically contingent, referring to Jewish, Christian and Sabean contemporaries of the Prophet Muhammad who accepted his prophethood. Revisionists interpret the verse to mean that religious pluralism is a phenomenon of history, but insist that it does not negate the duty of da'wa to "invite" all religions to confessional acceptance of Islam. Since other religions include people of good faith and conduct, they emphasize that Islamic da'wa should always observe the qur'anic injunction to "call unto the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and argue with them in the better way." [49]

The ecumenical interpretation, on the other hand, sees this verse as endorsing religious pluralism in principle. The late Palestinian/American scholar, Professor Isma'il al-Faruqi, stated this position with clarity in his presentation on da'wa at the 1976 World Council of Churches' colloquium on "Christian Mission and Islamic Da'wah". [50] "Da'wah" he wrote, "is ecumenical par excellence. For the first time it has become possible to hold adherents of all other religions as equal members of a universal religious brotherhood. All religious traditions are de jure, for they have all issued from and are based upon a common source, the religion of God which He implanted equally in all men ... din al-fitrah." [51] This does not give license to lazy ecumenism (in al-Faruqi's words "kitchen cooperation"), however. Al-Faruqi opposes relativism among religions, and propounds a view of da'wa that draws Muslim and non-Muslim into a dialogue of mutual self-criticism in what he likens to "a domestic relationship between kin ." Within this relationship, da'wa invites "an ecumenical cooperative critique of the other religion rather than its invasion by a new truth." [52]

5:0 Toward a comparative analysis

Our discussion of da'wa has focused on qur'anic principles, varieties of Muslim exegesis, and varieties of approach to the re-thinking of da'wa and da'wa training in the 20th century. Important areas of concern have not been included: for example, the growth of dakwa [53] activities in Malaysia and Indonesia, or the state-sponsored da'wa of countries such as the Libyan Arab Republic [54] or Saudi Arabia. More research has to be done, particularly in the context of specific regions. But this paper hopes to have given a representative account of da'wa discussion among Muslims, with attention to lines of continuity and areas of innovation.

Building on the understanding of da'wa which has emerged, the paper will now propose ten theses for future discussion between Islamic da'wa and Christian mission. In addition to issues that have already emerged, the paper recalls issues which were raised in two Christian-Muslim dialogues sponsored by the World Council of Churches: the 1976 discussion of "Christian Mission and Islamic Da'wah"; and the 1999 consultation on "Religious Freedom, Community Rights and Individual Rights: A Christian-Muslim Perspective." [55] The author participated in both these meetings, and draws upon them in formulating the following theses.

Thesis 1: Common Christian-Muslim thinking about mission and da'wa should be based in mutual reflection on the meaning of God's sending and calling. [56]

This brings us back to a question deferred from the beginning of the paper: should da'wa be translated "mission"? It is the practice of some Muslims in the West to do so: for example the American Muslim Mission, or the UK Islamic Mission. [57] While this is significant in terms of the contextualization of Islam in English-speaking parts of the West, it should not obscure the conceptual distinction between the "sending" notion of mission, and the "calling" of da'wa. [58] The former entails a centrifugal process while the second is centripetal. These are distinctions rather than antitheses, and each may entail the other. As modem Muslim thinking about da'wa increasingly accepts the duty of addressing non-Muslims as the corollary of an intra-Muslim da'wa, so Christian mission has long emphasized the reciprocity between renewing the churches internally and engaging in mission in the world. Nor is the inter-relatedness of these emphases merely strategic. Both the Bible and the Qur'an speak of God as calling and sending, and see human obedience in terms of responsive participation in a rec iprocal process. [59] Affirmation of the primacy of God's action in calling and sending promises to open new possibilities for Christian-Muslim dialogue about mission and da'wa.

Thesis 2: Christian-Muslim reflection on mutual understandings of "witness" offers a way of distinguishing the biblical and qur'anic principles of mission and da'wa from the distorting malpractice of proselytism.

Theological definitions cannot be left in the abstract. The affective meaning which Christians and Muslims give to the words "da'wa" and "mission" is shaped by historical and actual experience. Christians are often fearful of da'wa, are Muslims of mission. Each tends to define the other in terms of perceived malpractice, and to raise the charge of "proselytism." [60] (The Arabic iqtinas implies "snaring" as of an animal in a hunt.) It is important that we listen to the voice of the Orthodox churches who have experienced proselytization from both Western Christian mission and Islamic da'wa. Rather than "mission", Orthodox Christians use the term "witness" (Greek martyria), for which they have developed a distinct theological and practical understanding. [61] Witness is biblical and qur'anic (shahida), and Muslims also use the term "witness" (shahada) for their testimony of faith. Christian-Muslim reflection on "witness", coupled with renewed openness to the spirituality this entails, promises a way of distingu ishing the intentions of Christians and Muslims without confusion with, or neglect of, the malpractice of proselytism.

Thesis 3: Global thinking about mission and da'wa must be reconstructed on the contextual priorities facing Christians and Muslims in diverse situations, southern hemisphere contexts bringing globally-relevant correctives to Christian-Muslim perceptions that have been generated in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

About sixty percent of Christians today live in the southern hemisphere, in many cases in nation states, which they share in common with Muslims. It is a myth for Muslims to attribute this increase of Christianity to Western colonialism since it has occurred mainly since the 1950s. It is equally self-deluding for Western Christians to assume that Western Christianity continues to represent Christianity's point of gravity as a world religion. The future of Christian-Muslim relations requires a decolonization of the mind, and the creation of a new mental map in which Islam and Christianity increasingly co-exist in shared geographical, cultural, social, economic and political space. The old cartography of the Euro-Mediterranean confrontation between Latin Christendom and Arab Caliphate, of competition between mission as crusade and da 'wa as jihad is an anachronism. Christian-Muslim relations of the 21st century will be polycentric, and mission and da 'wa face radically new agendas. It is imperative that this situation is fully recognized in future Christian-Muslim dialogue, and that Euro-Mediterranean perspectives open themselves to transformation by re-empowered Christian and Muslim voices from the South.

Thesis 4: The new cartography of Christian-Muslim relations means that mission and da 'wa need to re-think the relationship between religion and culture.

Speaking to the fact that a majority of Christians now live in the southern hemisphere, Lamin Sanneh stresses that it is "a highly debatable question whether the West can any longer claim to constitute the exclusive, normative criterion of religion or whether the more recent but long ignored third world communities have earned the turn to 'enjoin the right and forbid what is disapproved'." [62] The growth of independent or indigenous churches within African cultures is producing new Christian practices and theologies that reject the hegemony of Western Christian culture. They include new models of Christian-Muslim interaction. [63] This can also be said of Muslims in Africa. [64] Muslims in the West also insist on their right to represent Islam authoritatively in terms appropriate to their socio-cultural situation, without being treated as colonies of more ancient Islamic societies. Both cases raise questions of cultural identity. Muslims increasingly distinguish between the changeless core of Islam, and the diversity of Muslim cultural practices that are always subject of change. Da 'wa in this understanding is open to cultural adaptation. Many Christians take a similar view of mission. The challenge facing traditional forms of mission and da 'wa is not the diversity of cultures per se, but the willingness to accept new cultural expressions of mission and da 'wa as being of an integrity that commands global respect.

Thesis 5: The urgent crises facing Western society challenge mission and da 'wa to turn their energies from self-serving apologetics to make a prophetic contribution to resolving questions of the public square.

The new mental map of Christian-Muslim relations has already begun to recognize the importance of Muslims in the West. Reflecting this, we have noted that the consistent Muslim concern for da 'wa within Muslim communities today finds its corollary in the Islamic critique of Western society, most incisively among Muslims living in Europe and North America. The missiological significance of this -- and the Christian vocabulary is here intentional -- was recognized by a leading Christian missiologist, Lesslie Newbigin, in the last book to which he contributed before his death. In Faith and Power: Christianity and Islam in "Secular" Britain, [65] he argues that Western concepts of secularization are inadequate for the protection of religious freedom because they exclude the demands which new religious sensibilities are making of the public space. Given that Newbigin's Barthian theology tends to accentuate a polarity between the gospel and Islam, [66] it is the more significant that it is among Muslims that he ide ntifies the wake-up call to Christian complacency: "As it [Islam] emerges from the centuries during which it has been humiliated by the colonial expansion of Western Christendom, it offers to the secular societies of the West a vision of an order established by the revealed will of Allah. Muslims in Britain are well able to see the vacuity of the secular society, the absence of any firm basis for the much desired 'values', the drift towards meaninglessness and hopelessness manifest in the drug market, and the inability of existing political parties to address the root causes of our malaise." [67] The fact that Newbigin, at the end of his life, saw Islam as his missiological partner in the rethinking of the public role of religion speaks prophetically of the need for Christian-Muslim dialogue to address the public sphere of society and politics.

Thesis 6: In the search for a common language with which to address public issues, mission and da 'wa can be re-voiced through the liberative praxis of the self-empowerment of the poor and oppressed.

Medieval intellectual exchange between Christian theologians and Muslim religious thinkers took place through the common language of Aristotelian philosophy or mystical experience. An equivalent common language which offers itself in the late 20th century can be found in the praxis of striving for justice and peace in a world where billions of people, including millions of Christians and Muslims, suffer multiple forms of oppression that de-humanize life and threaten to destroy nature itself. The praxis of liberative faith has become a source of renewal for both Christianity and Islam. Renewal in both cases draws on the prophetic radicalism, which originally inspired Christianity and Islam as movements of protest against unjust social and political structures. Mission and da 'wa were first undertaken by those who were marginalized. They were later monopolized by established religious power structures, as Christian and Islamic theologies, to quote the Indian Muslim thinker, Asghar Ali Engineer, "became part of the powerful established empires and began to loose their militant character." [68] Engineer is but one example of Muslim thinkers whose concern for the liberative renewal of Islam and Christianity calls for each religion to draw strength once again from the margins of society, from where the self-empowered praxis of the oppressed can restore Islam and Christianity as "powerful revolts against the status quo." [69]

Thesis 7: The imperative that mission and da 'wa re-affirm principles of religious freedom calls for these to be contextualized in diverse situations of Christian-Muslim encounter, as the framework for renewed understanding of the biblical and qur' anic injunctions that people of faith "turn back to God."

A common language pre-supposes that "each religious community should be entitled to live its religious life in accordance with its religion in perfect freedom." [70] This quotation from the 1976 agreed statement of the World Council of Churches' consultation on "Christian Mission and Islamic Da 'wah" expressed the principle that "Muslims as well as Christians must enjoy the full liberty to convince and be convinced, and to practise their religious life in accordance with their own religious laws and principles." Two religious freedoms were here being enunciated: on the one hand, the freedom to speak from and about the convictions of one's faith, and to be convinced of the truth of another's witness; on the other, the freedom of individuals, families and communities to preserve their religious identity and to organize their cultural and spiritual life without outside interference. The language of "conversion" was excluded, not as a sop to diplomatic nicety, but in recognition that the term has been debased by malpractice, misunderstanding and mistrust. These negative factors await serious Christian-Muslim discussion in which legalistic concepts of "apostasy" (ridda) can be revised through a renewed biblical and qur'anic understanding of repentance (Greek metanoia; Arabic tawba) in the relationship of people, as individuals and communities, with God. The world examines mission and da'Wa against the standards of international human rights' legislation. The 1976 statement on mission and da'wa shows that neither is inimical to human rights' principles. As principles, however, they need to be tested, critiqued and developed within the diverse contextual situations of religious pluralism in which Christians and Muslims exist, and where mission and da'wa are practised.

Thesis 8: The globalization of the free market economy and the communications network challenges mission and da'wa to develop a counter-cultural critique, which draws on the resources of both religious communities.

The transcapitalist economy and the cybernetic explosion of information technology confront mission and da'wa with far-reaching questions of appropriate response. Recent Christian-Muslim discussions about religion and the media continue in apologetic mode, focusing on ways in which each religion feels that it is misrepresented. Recognizing the importance of redressing the distortions, self-defence provides no answer to the challenges and opportunities of the new media. The globalization of free-market economics is also an issue that is receiving attention among Muslim and Christian scholars. But so far they are proceeding in isolation from one another. For example, a recent international conference of Christian missiologists in Argentina addressed the subject of "God and Mammon: Economies in Conflict." [71] The presidential address, by the Indian Catholic missiologist Michael Amaladoss, emphasized that the priority of Christian mission is to "focus on the mission of the Reign of God and the perception of the believers of other religions as allies in a common struggle with Mammon." [72] Yet the conference included not a single presentation by persons other than Christians. This author is not aware of Muslim discussion of Islamic economics engaging openly with Christian economists. It is these issues, rather than the abstract doctrinal debate, that invite mission and da'wa to shared thinking and action.

Thesis 9: Mission and da'wa can only reconstruct their theological view of each other and their theological understandings of religious pluralism, by giving appropriate place to real human experience as source of theological understanding.

This paper's summary of da'wa approaches to religious pluralism and Christianity in particular mirrors comparable patterns among Christian missiologists. The latter have been categorized under the typologies of exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism. [73] The weakness of all these typologies is that they are theoretical abstractions, and bear little relationship to actual human experience, especially in the South. They fail to encompass, for example, the experience of Arab Christians whose context is "the Arab-Islamic space", and who may think of themselves as being "Christian by faith, Muslim by culture;" [74] or of Yoruba Christians and Muslims for whom the experience of ajobe -- living together on the basis of family relationships of blood and birth -- is an inalienable part of the rhythm of society, the absence of which produces a sense of being fugitive; [75] equally they fail to encompass the experience of those Indonesian Christians and Muslims who form grassroot interfaith communities of action for ju stice and peace. Theoretical approaches to understanding religious pluralism must give way to an epistemology of human experience in which the "doing" of theology substitutes mere thinking about it. In this connection the Pakistani Christian theologian, Charles Amjad Ali, argues that Christian-Muslim dialogue should be less concerned with finding common ground between religions, than with Christians and Muslims each bringing their own logos -- their different logoi -- to bear upon common societal challenges.

Thesis 10: Reconciliation (Arabic musalaha) offers a new metaphor for the aim of mission and da'wa in their relationships with each other and with others in a world where conflict abounds.

This final thesis addresses the goal of mission and da'wa. What should we be aiming at? Two examples from South Asia suggest an important way in which Christians are trying to answer this question. The Henry Martyn Institute in Hyderabad, India, and the Christian Study Centre in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, were both created several decades ago by the initiative of Western missionaries. Their goals in those days were the evangelization of Muslims. In more recent times they have become advocates and practitioners of dialogue between Christians and Muslims. Now, under Indian and Pakistani leaderships respectively, they are in process of moving beyond dialogue, or of giving dialogue a clearer contextual definition. The Henry Martyn Institute has now reconstituted itself as the International Centre for Research on Interfaith Relations and Reconciliation, with a staff of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. [76] In similar fashion the Christian Study Centre in Pakistan now calls itself the Centre for Promotion of Interfaith D ialogue and Social Harmony. Both see their mission in terms of reconciliation. As such they provide concrete examples of what the American Catholic missiologist, Robert Schreiter, calls for in his seminal discussion of "Reconciliation as a Model of Mission." [77]

International Muslim participants at the 1999 WCC consultation on "Religious Freedom, Community Rights and Individual Rights" at Hartford Seminary were saying the same thing from their Islamic perspective. It was noted, for example, that one of the key qur'anic references to da'wa could be interpreted in the broadest sense of God calling all human communities to live in a state of peace (dar al-islam), [78] to which end the Qur'an likens relations between Muslims and Christians to "a race in all virtues." [79]

Far from offering a comforting word with which to end this paper, the thesis that mission and da 'wa should strive for solidarity in the task of reconciliation confronts them with the sharpest and most difficult challenge: not to cry peace where there is no peace, but to commit to the arduous work of seeking peace through liberative justice.

6:0 Conclusion

In conclusion of her discussion of "Islamic Da 'wa and Christian Mission: positive and negative models of interaction between Muslims and Christians," [80] Elizabeth Scantlebury wonders whether da 'wa and mission between Christians and Muslims can ever be carried out in an atmosphere of respect and acceptance. Without belittling some positive signs, she concludes that "negative examples of theological, historical and political interaction have lived longest in the collective memory and have, therefore, been the prime motivation for continued mistrust." [81]

This paper hopes to have delineated the basis for a more positive view. Islamic understandings of da 'wa bear mutually instructive comparison with Christian understandings of mission, and both need to place themselves under the mutual scrutiny of historical criticism and new cultural analysis. The theses for cooperation between Christian mission and Islamic da 'wa, which this paper has proposed, do not claim an authority beyond the views of the author. Let him be the first to acknowledge that they will remain purely academic if they are not tested, developed and augmented in serious discussion between Christians and Muslims. Whether Scantlebury's judgement that the only way forward is "one that would begin with individuals rather than organizations or institutions" [82] is debatable. A multi-dimensional approach could be more worthwhile. What is clear, however, is that there can be no movement towards reconciliation without mutual repentance, no reconstruction without the sacrifice of vested institutional int erests, and no peace but through common commitment to God as the source of all peace, Al-Salam.

(*.) David Kerr is Professor of Non-Western Christianity in the Faculty of Divinity, and Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World which is part of the Graduate School in the Faculty of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He specializes in Middle Eastern Christianity, and the encounter between Christianity and Islam. Prior to his appointment in Edinburgh, he was Professor of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.


(1.) International Review of Mission, vol. LXV, no 260, October 1976.

(2.) Research Advancement Grant on Contextual Christian Theological Education in Muslim Societies (sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia).

(3.) Christianity and Islam: Missionary Religions in Tension (October 4-8, 1999), including a Mission Research Colloquium on "Christian Mission and Islamic Da 'wa: Is Dialogue Possible?"

(4.) From the Arabic root d-w, (with the middle consonant 'ayn being marked: ').

(5.) In traditional Islamic piety da 'wa denotes "calling" upon God through writing and chanting the so-called "Beautiful Names" (al-asma al-husna): see Da 'wah in Thomas Hughes, The Dictionary of Islam, (W.H.Allen: London, 1885), pp.72-78. This dimension of da 'wa is not addressed in this paper, although it is relevant to the discussion of the practice of da'wa among members of the Tablighi Jama'at.

(6.) The transliteration da'wah is also common, the final h being optional.

(7.) Sura Yunus: Q10:25.

(8.) Sura al-Hadid: Q57:8.

(9.) Sura Yunus: Q10:22.

(10.) Third person plural, continuous tense, of the verb daa.

(11.) Vol. 27, 1978, pp. 257-283 (Gregorian University Press, Rome).

(12.) Crollius, p. 264.

(13.) Q3:113-114.

(14.) Q3:110.

(15.) R. Levy, "Muhtasib", Encyclopaedia of Islam (ed. M. Houtsma et al), vol. 3, pp.702-3.

(16.) Crollius, p. 273 where he concludes: "the ordering of equity has been understood, in a predominant way, as taking place exclusively within the community."

(17.) Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.923ad).

(18.) Crollius is inclined to "read in" what he terms "the missionary character" of "inviting to the good" to his interpretation of another classical commentator, al-Razi (d. 1209ad), who explained Q3:110 ("You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind") to mean that Muslims excel in jihad (Crollius, p. 2723).

(19.) The Arabic verb fataha (to open) is commonly used in classical Arabic sources for what Western historians call "conquest".

(20.) Sura al-Baqara: Q2:256. See further John Kelsay, Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics, Westminster/John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 1993, pp. 45-48.

(21.) The term is borrowed from Christian Troll, "Two conceptions of da'wa in India: Jama'at-i Islami and Tablighi Jama'at", Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, vol. 87, 1994, p. 116.

(22.) Cairo, 1927-1934. The term Manar will be used in this article to refer to this whole corpus of writing.

(23.) Crollius, p. 275.

(24.) Ibid., p. 275-278.

(25.) Ibid., p. 278.

(26.) Mabmoud Ayoub, "Muslim views of Christianity: some modem examples", Islamochristiana, 10, 1984, pp.49-70 (especially pp.51-60).

(27.) Shubuhat al-Nasara wa Hujaj al-Islam.

(28.) Quoted from Ayoub's translation of Rida, Ibid. p. 55.

(29.) Crollius, p. 278, footnote 64. For fuller information, Jacques Jomier, Le Commentaire Coranique du Manar, (Maisonneuve: Paris, 1954), pp. 39-42.

(30.) To this argument could be added another: that the Prophet himself had used languages other than Arabic in the letters which he is reported to have sent to Christian rulers of his day, inviting their allegiance to Islam.

(31.) Crollius, p. 280.

(32.) Crollius, pp. 279-281.

(33.) This section is based on the research of Christian Troll published in two articles: "A Muslim Mission Instruction" Vidyajyoti: Journal of Theological Reflection, vol.XLVI:8, 1982, pp. 392-401; "Two Conceptions of Da'wa in India: Jama'at-I Islami and Tablighi Jama'at", Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, vol. 87, 1994, pp. 115-133.

(34.) Annemarie Schimmel, The Mystical Dimension of Islam, University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, NC, 1975.

(35.) Troll, "A Muslim Mission Instruction", p. 394.

(36.) Ibid.

(37.) Yoginder Sikand, "Women and the Tablighi Jama'at". Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 10:1, 1999, p. 41.

(38.) Troll, "A Muslim Mission Instruction", p. 393.

(39.) Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol.9:1, 1998, pp. 31-45.

(40.) Quoted by Malik, op. cit., p.33.

(41.) (Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, Oxford University Press: New York/Oxford, 1996.

(42.) Ibid. p. 31

(43.) See Hugh Goddard, Muslim Perceptions of Christianity (Grey Seal: London, 1996), and Mahmoud Ayoub, "Nearest in Amity: Christians in the Qur'an and contemporary exegetical tradition", Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 8:2 July 1997, pp. 145-164.

(44.) For classical exegesis, see Jane McAuliffe, Qur' anic Christians, Cambridge, CUP, 1991; and Mahmoud Ayoub, ibid., for contemporary exegesis.

(45.) Sura al-Saff, Q6:61.

(46.) For a summary of Sayyid Qutb's (Society of Muslim Brothers) arguments against Christianity, see Mahmoud Ayoub, "Nearest in Amity: Christians in the Qur'an and contemporary exegetical tradition", Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 8:2, 1997, Pp. 145-164 (especially pp. 148-149).

(47.) See Larry Poston, Islamic Da 'wah in the West, New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, pp.81-90.

(48.) Sura al-Baqara: Q2:62, and Sura al-Ma'ida: Q5:69.

(49.) Sura al-Nahl: Q16: 125.

(50.) "On the Nature of Islamic Da 'wah", International Review of Mission, vol. LXV, no 260, 1976, pp. 391-400.

(51.) Ibid., p. 396.

(52.) Ibid., pp. 396-397.

(53.) Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia replace the Arabic 'ayn with k.

(54.) Hanspeter Mattes, Die innere und [acute{a}]ussere islamische Mission Libyens: historisch-politischer Kontext, innere Struktur regionale Auspr[ddot{u}]gung am Beispiel Afrikas, Gr[ddot{u}]newald: Kaiser Verlag, 1986.

(55.) Hosted by the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut, 14-16 October 1999. Since this paper was written in advance of the publication of the conference report, references are unattributed and reflect only the author's view.

(56.) For discussion of the meanings of this term in Christian thought and practice, see David Bosch, Transforming Mission. Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY, 1998, pp. 389-393.

(57.) Ali Kose, Conversion to Islam: a Study of Native British Converts, Kegan Paul International: London/New York, 1996, pp. 9 and 25.

(58.) Klaus Hock, "Christliche Mission und Islamische Da'wa, 'Sendung' und 'Ruf' im geschichtlichen Wandel", CIBEDO, vol. 3, pp. 11-26.

(59.) Anton Wessels develops this point in his "Mission and Da 'wah: from exclusion to mutual witness in My Neighbour is Muslim: a Handbook for Reformed Churches, John Knox Series, International Reformed Center John Knox: Geneva, 1990, pp. 81-88 (in which he suggests that "The term 'mission' is therefore good and appropriate for use by both Muslims and Christians." p.81).

(60.) See International Review of Mission, vol. LXV, no 260, October 1976, p. 459, as "adding members to the Christian community for reasons other than spiritual."

(61.) Ion Bria (ed), Martyria/Mission: the Witness of the Orthodox Churches Today, World Council of Churches: Geneva, 1980; Go Forth in Peace: Orthodox Perspectives on Mission, World Council of Churches: Geneva, 1986; Liturgy After The Liturgy: Mission and Witness from an Orthodox Perspective, World Council of Churches: Geneva, 1996.

(62.) "Religious minorities in history: pathway or trail" in Journal: Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, vol. 10:1, January 1989, p. 93.

(63.) See "Christianity in Muslim Society: Towards a Contextualising of Theology", Studies in World Christianity, vol. 3:2, 1997.

(64.) For West African examples, see Harold Turner, "New Religious Movements in Islamic West Africa", Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 4:1, June 1993, pp. 3-35.

(65.) Lesslie Newbigin, Lamin Sanneh, Jenny Taylor, SPCK: London, 1998.

(66.) For example he writes: "For Islam it is impossible that the cause of Allah should be humiliated and defeated. This is why Muslims, who venerate Jesus, must deny his crucifixion. It would be an inconceivable humiliation of Allah." (p. 149).

(67.) Ibid., p.l9.

(68.) Islam and Liberation Theology: Essay on Liberative Elements in Islam, Sterling Publishers: New Delhi, 1990, p.72.

(69.) Ibid., p.42, where he cites the examples of Iran and the Philippines as modem examples of "the revolt led by Moses against the Pharaoh."

(70.) IRM, vol. LXV, no 260, October 1976, p. 458.

(71.) Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies, vol. XIII: 1-2, 1996.

(72.) Ibid., p.78-79.

(73.) For application of Christian-Muslim relations, see Charles Kimball, Striving Together: A Way Forward in Christian-Muslim Relations, Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY, 1991.

(74.) Mitri Raheb, I Am a Palestinian Christian, Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 1995.

(75.) Akintunde Akinade, "The enduring legacy: Christian-Muslim encounter in Yorubaland", Studies in World Christianity, vol. 3:2, 1997, pp. 138-153.

(76.) Diane D'Souza, Evangelism, Dialogue, Reconciliation: The Transformative Journey of the Henry Martyn Institute, Henry Martyn Institute: Hyderabad, AP, 1998.

(77.) Neue Zeitschrift f[ddot{u}]r Missionswissenschaft, vol. 52:4, 1996, pp. 243-250.

(78.) Sura Yunus: Q10:25.

(79.) Sura al-Ma'ida: Q5:48, "To each among you we have prescribed a Law and an Open way. If God had willed, He would have made you a single people, but His plan is to test you in what He has given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute."

(81.) Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 7:3, 1996, pp. 253-269.

(81.) Ibid., p. 267.

(82.) Ibid., p. 268.


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