Samuel Zwemer’s missionary strategy towards Islam

Bekele, Yohannes (2013). Samuel Zwemer’s missionary strategy towards Islam. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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Samuel Zwemer (1867-1952), known as ‘Apostle to Islam’, was an influential figure in Christian mission to Muslims. He influenced subsequent generation of missionaries to the Muslim world. This thesis will look at his view of Muhammad, the Quran and Islamic reformers. He believed that moving away from Islam implied progress and moving toward Islam equated regress. He used two Muslim reformers; ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Ahmed Khan to argue his point. Zwemer viewed Khan’s engagement with the Christian scripture as a positive case when Muslims would give importance to the Christian scripture. In turn he believed that al-Wahhab’s notion of returning to the Quran and example of Muhammad would have negative outcome for the Muslim world.

Contrary to the dominant paradigm of his time that radical Islam was in a dying phase,Zwemer warned the church of the lingering danger of fundamentalist Islam. By exposing readers in his writings to the possible sources of the Quran (e.g. collections of rabbinic Judaism, heretical Christian) and by questioning the prophethood of Muhammad, Zwemer contested the divine origins of Islam. He viewed Islam as a challenge and suggested framework for effective Muslim evangelism. Zwemer’s work is still relevant today for Muslims because it may encourage them to be more self-reflective, and for Christians because they may consider Zwemer’s approach and arguments.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity


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