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Images of Islam in Samuel M. Zwemers The Moslem World Quarterly 1911-1947


by

Abdullah O. Al-Abdulkareem
B. A. in Islamic Studies (King Saud University), Riyadh,
M. A. in Religious Studies (University of Lancaster)

A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies at Lancaster University

August 2001


ABSTRACT................................................................................................................... v

Declaration.................................................................................................................... vi

Preliminary Note.......................................................................................................... vii

Acknowledgments....................................................................................................... viii

Dedication..................................................................................................................... ix

Introduction.................................................................................................................... 1

PART ONE................................................................................................................... 18

CHAPTER ONE........................................................................................................... 19

The Protestant Mission in the Muslim world.............................................................. 19

1.1 Introduction.............................................................................................................. 19

1.2 Understanding Mission: Concept and Motivations............................................................ 21

1.2.1 The Concept of Mission......................................................................................... 21

1.2.2 Motivations for Mission........................................................................................ 27

1.3 Missions to Muslims in the Arab World......................................................................... 31

1.3.1 Mission in the Near East........................................................................................ 32

1.3.2 Mission in Egypt.................................................................................................. 34

1.3.3 Missions in Arabia................................................................................................ 36

1.4 Methods of Mission.................................................................................................... 39

1.4.1 The Medical Mission............................................................................................. 40

1.4.4 The Political Mission............................................................................................. 51

1.5 Conclusion............................................................................................................... 53

CHAPTER TWO.......................................................................................................... 58

Samuel M. Zwemers Life............................................................................................ 58

2.1 Introduction.............................................................................................................. 58

2.2 The First Period: Childhood and Education (1867 1889)................................................. 58

2.3 The Second Period: Zwemer's itinerary in Arabia 1890 -1912........................................... 59

2.4 The Third Period: Zwemer in Cairo 1912 -1929.............................................................. 67

2.5 The Fourth Period: Zwemer in America 1929-1952......................................................... 73

2.6 Conclusion............................................................................................................... 76

CHAPTER THREE...................................................................................................... 80

Samuel M. Zwemers writings...................................................................................... 80

3.1 Introduction.............................................................................................................. 80

3.2 Zwemers Writings on Christianity.............................................................................. 82

3.3 Zwemers writings on Islam......................................................................................... 88

3.4 Zwemers Writings on Mission.................................................................................. 106

3.5 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 111

CHAPTER FOUR....................................................................................................... 117

Zwemer as Editor of The Moslem World................................................................... 117

4.1 Introduction............................................................................................................ 117

4.2 The Moslem World: Inception and Growth.................................................................... 117

4.3 Zwemers Aims and Objectives for The Moslem World................................................... 120

4.4 The Objectivity of The Moslem World.......................................................................... 125

4.5 Hopes and Achievements of The Muslim World.............................................................. 130

4.6 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 133

PART TWO................................................................................................................. 137

CHAPTER FIVE......................................................................................................... 138

Muhammad in The Moslem World Quarterly........................................................... 138

5.1 Introduction............................................................................................................ 138

5.2 The Study of the Life of Muhammad: The Problem of Sources........................................... 138

5.3 Muhammad First Call in the Muslim World................................................................. 146

5.4 The Prophet at Mecca................................................................................................ 158

5.5 Muhammad at Medina............................................................................................... 164

5.5 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 168

CHAPTER SIX........................................................................................................... 175

The Quran in The Moslem World Quarterly............................................................ 175

6.0 Introduction............................................................................................................ 175

6.1 English Translations of the Quran............................................................................. 177

6.1.1 A Brief History................................................................................................... 177

6.1.2 Views and Approaches to Translation of the Quran................................................... 182

6.1.3 Problems in the Translation of the Quran................................................................. 186

6.2 Collection of the Quran............................................................................................ 188

6.2.1 The Quran at the End of Muhammads Life.............................................................. 189

6.2.2 The Pre- and Post-Uthmanic Collections of the Qur'an................................................ 194

6.3 Imperfection in the Text of the Quran.......................................................................... 198

6.3.1 Textual Variation in the Quran............................................................................... 199

6.3.2 The Missing Verses in the Quran........................................................................... 204

6.3.3 Internal Structure Of the Quran............................................................................. 207

6.4 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 209

CHAPTER SEVEN..................................................................................................... 218

The Islamic Law (Sharia) in The Moslem World Quarterly.................................... 218

7.0 Introduction............................................................................................................ 218

7.1 On Defining Islamic Law........................................................................................... 218

7.1.1 Nature of Islamic Law........................................................................................... 218

7.1.2 Sources of Islamic Law......................................................................................... 223

7.1.3 Development of Islamic Law.................................................................................. 229

7.1.4 Foreign Influence in Islamic Law............................................................................. 233

7.2 On Practices of Islamic Law....................................................................................... 237

7.2.1 Worship............................................................................................................ 237

7.2.2 Jihad................................................................................................................. 244

7.2.3 Women............................................................................................................. 247

7.3 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 252

Conclusion................................................................................................................... 261

Bibliography................................................................................................................ 270

Books......................................................................................................................... 270

Articles....................................................................................................................... 280


CONTENTS

Abstract................................................................................ vi

Declaration........................................................................... viii

Preliminary Note....................................................................... ix

Acknowledgments...................................................................... x

Dedication.............................................................................. xi

Introduction............................................................................ 1

Notes............................................................................................................................ 17


PART ONE.......................................................................... 20

CHAPTER ONE..................................................................... 21

The Protestant Mission in the Muslim World...................................... 21

1.1 Introduction.............................................................................................................. 21

1.2 Understanding Mission: Concept and Motivations............................................................ 23

1.2.1 The Concept of Mission......................................................................................... 23

1.2.2 Motivations for Mission........................................................................................ 29

1.3 Missions to Muslims in the Arab World......................................................................... 33

1.3.1 Missions in the Middle East.................................................................................... 34

1.3.2 Missions in Egypt................................................................................................. 36

1.3.3 Missions in Arabia................................................................................................ 38

1.4 Methods of Mission.................................................................................................... 41

1.4.1 Medical Missions................................................................................................. 42

1.4.2 Educational Missions............................................................................................ 49

1.4.3 Missionary Presses............................................................................................... 51

1.4.4 Political Protection................................................................................................ 53

1.5 Conclusion............................................................................................................... 56

Notes............................................................................................................................ 57

CHAPTER TWO.................................................................... 61

Samuel M. Zwemers Life.......................................................... 61

2.1 Introduction.............................................................................................................. 61

2.2 The First Period: Childhood and Education 1889-1867 ,..................................................... 61

2.3 The Second Period: Zwemers Itinerary in Arabia 1912-1890 ,........................................... 62

2.4 The Third Period: Zwemer in Cairo, 1912-1929.............................................................. 70

2.5 The Fourth Period: Zwemer in America, 1929-1952........................................................ 76

2.6 Conclusion............................................................................................................... 79

Notes............................................................................................................................ 80



CHAPTER THREE................................................................. 82

Samuel M. Zwemers Writings...................................................... 82

3.1 Introduction.............................................................................................................. 82

3.2 Zwemers Writings on Christianity.............................................................................. 84

3.3 Zwemers Writings on Islam....................................................................................... 91

3.4 Zwemers Writings on Mission.................................................................................. 109

3.5 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 116

Notes.......................................................................................................................... 117



CHAPTER FOUR................................................................. 122

Zwemer as Editor of The Moslem World......................................... 122

4.1 Introduction............................................................................................................ 122

4.2 The Moslem World :Inception and Growth.................................................................... 122

4.3 Zwemers Aims and Objectives for The Moslem World................................................... 125

4.4 The Objectivity of The Moslem World.......................................................................... 130

4.5 Hopes and Achievements of The Moslem World............................................................. 136

4.6 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 139

Notes.......................................................................................................................... 140



PART TWO....................................................................... 143

CHAPTER FIVE.................................................................. 144

Muhammad in The Moslem World Quarterly.................................... 144

5.1 Introduction............................................................................................................ 144

5.2 The Study of the Life of Muhammad: The Problem of Sources........................................... 144

5.3 Muhammads First Call in The Moslem World.............................................................. 152

5.4 The Prophet at Mecca................................................................................................ 164

5.5 Muhammad at Medina............................................................................................... 170

5.5 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 174

Notes.......................................................................................................................... 176



CHAPTER SIX.................................................................... 185

The Quran in The Moslem World Quarterly.................................... 185

6.1 Introduction............................................................................................................ 185

6.2 English Translations of the Quran............................................................................. 187

6.2.1 A Brief History................................................................................................... 187

6.2.2 Views and Approaches to Translation of the Quran................................................... 192

6.2.3 Problems in the Translation of the Quran................................................................. 196

6.3 The Collection of the Quran...................................................................................... 198

6.3.1 The Quran at the End of Muhammads Life.............................................................. 200

6.3.2 The Pre- and Post-Uthmanic Collections of the Quran................................................ 204

6.4 Imperfection in the Text of the Quran.......................................................................... 209

6.4.1 Textual Variation in the Quran............................................................................... 209

6.4.2 The Missing Verses in the Quran........................................................................... 214

6.4.3 Internal Structure of the Quran.............................................................................. 217

6.5 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 220

Notes.......................................................................................................................... 222



CHAPTER SEVEN................................................................ 229

The Islamic Law ) Shariah ( in The Moslem World Quarterly............... 229

7.1 Introduction............................................................................................................ 229

7.2 On Defining Islamic Law........................................................................................... 229

7.2.1 The Nature of Islamic Law..................................................................................... 229

7.2.2 Sources of Islamic Law......................................................................................... 235

7.2.3 Development of Islamic Law.................................................................................. 241

7.2.4 Foreign Influence in Islamic Law............................................................................. 245

7.3 On Practices of Islamic Law....................................................................................... 249

7.3.1 Worship............................................................................................................ 249

7.3.2 Jihad................................................................................................................. 256

7.3.3 Women............................................................................................................. 260

7.4 Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 268

Notes.......................................................................................................................... 270

Conclusion......................................................................... 277

Notes.......................................................................................................................... 288

APPENDICES..................................................................... 289

Appendix A- The Arabian Missions Plan.......................................................................... 289

Appendix B- The Arabian Missions Missionaries Names.................................................... 291

Appendix C- Books by S. Zwemer..................................................................................... 305

Joint Authorship / Editorship........................................................................................ 307

Appendix D- Articles on Islamic Subjects in the Moslem World Quarterly.............................. 308

The Prophet Muhammad.............................................................................................. 308

The Quran:............................................................................................................... 310

The Shariah:............................................................................................................. 313

Bibliography....................................................................... 316

Books......................................................................................................................... 316

Articles....................................................................................................................... 327

Introduction
The aim of the present thesis is to carry out a study of one field of Western Christian evaluation of Islam. It is not, however, specifically intended as a contribution to the debate on the theory of Orientalism initiated by Saids controversial book. Its more modest objective is to explore one important category of Orientalist not explicitly treated by Said in his work, although he may have implicitly intended to include it. His first category is the academic who teaches, writes about or researches the Orient - and this applies whether the person is an anthropologist, sociologist, historian or philologist[1] Related to the academic sphere, albeit in a more general sense, are those whose style of thought is based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction between the Orient and Occident. Among this large category are poets, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, and imperial administrators.[2] The missing category, at least implicitly, is the specifically Protestant missionary who could fall into either or both of these two broad categories, and who is exemplified in the present work by the important evangelist missionary figure of Samuel Zwemer, whose life and sundry writings on Islam will be treated subsequently with a description of his major personal creation, the journal The Moslem World (MW) edited or co-edited by Zwemer between the period from 1911 to 1947.



True, Said does address the Christian, especially the medieval, view of Islam in general terms. In that view, Orientalism may be said to have begun with the Council of Viennes decision in 1312 to found a series of chairs in Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac, and Greek in a number of Western European centres.[3] Said, however, also observes that European imagining of the Orient dates back to the classical Greek era, from which time two essential motifs of Europes imaginative geography of the other are established. First, A line is drawn between two continents. Europe is powerful and articulate; Asia is defeated and distant. Second is the motif of the Orient as insinuating danger. Rationality is undermined by Eastern excesses[4] From this depiction of a European mindset it becomes easier to understand the reaction to Islam in the medieval period, for:

If the mind must suddenly deal with what it takes to be a radically new form of lifeas Islam appeared to Europe in the early middle Agesthe response on the whole is conservative and defensive. Islam is judged to be a fraudulent new version of some previous experience, in this case Christianity. The Orient at large, therefore, vacillates between the Wests contempt for what is familiar and its shivers of delight inor fear ofnovelty.[5]



Not for nothing, states Said, did Islam become a lasting trauma for the European for, until the end of the seventeenth century, the Ottoman peril lurked alongside Europe to represent for the whole Christian civilisation a constant danger, and in time European civilisation incorporated that peril and its lore, its great events, figures, virtues and vices, as something woven into the fabric of life.[6] This domestication of the exotic, Said concedes, is a normal process occurring between all cultures and peoples. An important consequence is the way a limited vocabulary and imagery impose themselves upon the perception held by one culture of another. For example, in an analogical manner of thinking, Christians assumed that since Jesus is the basis of their faith, Muhammad must be to Islam as Christ was to Christianity; hence, the label Muhammadanism in reference to Islam.[7] In addition to this constraint on Christian thinking, Orientalism in general did not attempt to represent Islam in itself but rather represent it for the medieval Christian. Drawing upon the research of Norman Daniel, Said quotes an important passage from his Islam and the West: the making of an image, in which Daniel observes that

the invariable tendency to neglect what the Quran meant, or what Muslims thought it meant, or what Muslims thought or did in any given circumstances, necessarily implies that Quranic and other Islamic doctrine was presented in a form that would convince Christians; and more and more extravagant forms would stand a chance of acceptance as the distance of the writers and public from the Islamic border increased. It was with very great reluctance that what Muslims said Muslims believed was accepted as what they did believe. There was a Christian picture in which the details (even under the pressure of facts) were abandoned as little as possible, and in which the general outline was never abandoned. There were shades of difference, but only with a common framework. All corrections that were made in the interests of an increasing accuracy were only a defence of what had newly been realised to be vulnerable, a shoring up of a weakened structure. Christian opinion was an erection which could not be demolished, even to be rebuilt.[8]



The medieval Christian image of Islam endured into the modern era, as did the process of conversion of raw reality into the corrected image. Said again reminds us that this is neither surprising nor difficult to explain. The specific manner of conversion, however, meant that to the Westernerthe Oriental was always like some aspect of the West and the Orientalist was always converting the Orient from one thing into something else, something for his own sake or culture, at other times for the sake of the Oriental.[9] In the process, empirical data counted little, the most important focus being the Orientalist vision itself,[10] which possessed the self-containing, self-reinforcing character of a closed system, in which objects are what they are because they are what they are, for once, for all time, for ontological reasons that no empirical material can either dislodge or alter.[11]



Saids thesis roused much controversy, some scholars following his lead in other areas than the Middle East, while critics focused on weaknesses of the argument from several different disciplinary perspectives. Among Orientalists, Bernard Lewis was most critical of Edward Said to the extent that criticism amounted to a personal exchange of accusations. For him, Saids works are a compilation of manipulated and distorted facts. In his view, Saids book Covering Islam, [as an instance] provides many examples of Mr. Saids disdain of facts[12] (emphasis mine). John Mackenzie, a historian critic of Said, also argues that from the point of view of the historian, the erudition [in Saids works] is frequently misplaced, offering tangible quotation rather than central argument.[13] Anthropologist Richard Fox criticized Saids theory for not map [ping] how far Orientalism traveled and how much Orientalism came to constitute the consciousness of the Orientals. Saids theory also stops before reaching a still more important point: that Orientalism came to enable resistance against Western domination.[14] Valerie Kennedy, in addition to mentioning contradicting trajectories in Saids method of analysis, was critical of his neglect of gender as an important factor in the study of Orientalism. She claims that Said constantly raises and then disappoints any expectation that he will pay attention to gender.[15] But perhaps the most recurrent criticism made against Said across different disciplines is his generalization of the Orientalist position and the construction of an essentialist European perspective of the Other, that is, an unchanging view, regardless of historical change and circumstances, thus creating, according to Rosanne Rocher, a single discourse, undifferentiated in space and time and across political, social, and intellectual identities.[16] The scope of and constraints on the present thesis do not, however, allow the full recording of the list of Saids critics which is much wider, nor do they permit a qualification assessment of the claims of critics mentioned above.[17]



Saids argument about orientalising the Oriental, apart from the incidental mention of the Church Council of Vienne in the fourteenth century, does not deal, for the period from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries, with the role of the churches in either the process or data input in sustaining the European image of the Islamic Orient. It is this element of Orientalism that the present work is concerned with, and the first chapter of this thesis will deal briefly with the emergence of the Protestant missionary as an agent of Westernization in the Islamic world by way of introducing the main focus of the studyZwemers Moslem World Quarterly.



Before turning from Saids argument, however, it will be useful to place it alongside that of another analysis of the Orientalist vision that comes to a rather different conclusion than Saids concerning the consequences of imagining the Orient. The title of J.J. Clarkes book, Oriental Enlightenment, conveys some of the flavour of the argument. He argues that from the seventeenth century enlightenment onwards the East exercised a strong fascination over Western minds. Such fascination was not, however, sought for reasons of mere entertainment as some sort of exotic time out,[18] nor was the intellectual exploration of the Orient undertaken for motives of political domination as stressed in the thesis of Said, but rather Eastern thought became an instrument of serious self-questioning and self-renewal, whether for good or ill, an external reference point from which to direct the light of critical inquiry into western traditions and belief systems, and with which to inspire new possibilities.[19] In other words, although there is a darker side to the story, the West, while exercising hegemony over the East, simultaneously acted as a model to be emulated. Hence in his investigation J.J. Clarke, in contrast to Said, uses the term Orientalism to uncover a wider range of attitudes, both dark and light, and to recover a richer and often more affirmative orientalism, seeking to show that the West has endeavoured to integrate Eastern thought into its own intellectual concerns in a manner which, on the face of it, cannot be fully understood in terms of power and dominion.[20]

Clarke has shown that although the otherness and strangeness of the East have been emphasised, it has indeed been conferred a place of respect. Often, the Wests own indigenous world views, Clarke argues, have been seen as simply not working any more, a situation which has led to an extraordinary quest, in the East and elsewhere, for more serviceable alternatives.[21] This may well be true in the case of South and East Asia to which Clarke confined his work. He described the Wests fascination with religions of the East such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Taoism, and demonstrated how Eastern ideas found their ways to, and influenced, Western thought.



The nature of the object of Clarkes study did not, however, allow the discussion of the early medieval period because at the time Western Christians had not yet discovered these Eastern religions. This is in contrast with Islam which Christians had had a much longer experience of. Clarke deliberately does not examine Islam even though Muslims during the centuries he explores were a major presence in South and SouthEast Asia. By so doing, Clarke wants to go beyond Saids assessment of Orientalism, which, in his view, was limited to Orientalists attitudes towards the Islamic world and the Middle East.[22] He wanted to show through his study of Eastern philosophies and religions, barely discussed by Said, that Orientalism is not a mere institutional system emphasizing and reinforcing certain power relations between the dominating West and dominated East. On the contrary, Orientalism has been a serious instrument of critical inquiry into Eastern culture as well as a self-questioning of ones own (Western) traditions, beliefs, and systems.[23]



However, unlike the Eastern religions that Clarke investigated, Islam represented an old and direct threat to the continuity of the Christian West and therefore triggered the mobilization of Christian attacks on Islam, which were to shape its status within Western thought for generations to come. Indeed, as Hourani points out,

We should miss a whole dimension in their [Western thinkers, and scholars] thought if we failed to grasp that, for the tradition in which they lived, Islam was no new problem, nor one which they could regard with the same detached curiosity as they might bring to the cultures and beliefs of India and China. Islam had always been a major fact of European history, and to the Christian in which it expanded it posed problems both incidental and essential.[24]



Power relations are, therefore, an essential element in the assessment of Orientalists view of Islam, as Said ably demonstrated. The very concept of Islam itself, which has been the Orientalists key to understanding the psychology and thought of the Oriental, is not sufficient on its own to explain everything that exists or happened in the Muslim world, which they perceived as a single whole totally determined by, and powerless towards Islam. In fact, as Hourani points out, following the social anthropologist Clifford Geertz,

There is no such thing as Islamic society, there are societies partly moulded by Islam, but formed also by their position in the physical world, their inherited language and culture, their economic possibilities and the accidents of their political history. Before Islam was, they existed, and if Islam has shaped them, they also have shaped it, each in a different way.[25]



This is not, of course, to deny that there is something called Islam, which Hourani defines as a statement about what God is and how He acts in the world, embodied in a book which Muslims believe to be the word of God, and articulated in a system of law and worship by which millions of men and women have lived for many centuries. The conclusion is that the concept Islam must be used with caution as part of a dynamic cultural totality. It is a challenging task, though, because of the dynamism and infinity of the nature of culture, and the difficulty of drawing a clearcutline between what is religious and what is not in a Muslim culture. The present study does not advocate the finding of solutions for such dilemmas; it is an issue that can best be dealt with within the realms of sociology and/or anthropology. On the contrary, my concern is to describe and critically assess a particular strand of the Western Christian thinking/view of Islam during the first half of the twentieth century, a view which, as Hourani rightly argues, is fully stated before Islam is a century old.[26] The motives for the study of Islam may have changed throughout history, but the themes of study and categories used to describe Islam remained largely similar. The chief reason for this continuity, Norman Daniel explains, has been not,

only the normal passage of ideas from one author to the next, but the constant nature of the problem. The points in which Christianity and Islam differ have not changed, so that Christians have always tended to make the same criticisms; and even when, in relatively modern times, some authors have self-consciously tried to emancipate themselves from Christian attitudes, they have not been as successful as they thought.[27]



Islam was and has remained, Zwemer argues, quoting his missionary colleague Gairdner,

the impossible-possible problem. For it is the only one of the great religions to come after Christianity; the only one that definitely claims to correct, complete and supersede Christianity; the only one that categorically denies the truth of Christianity; the only one that has in the past signally defeated Christianity; the only one that seriously disputes the world with Christianity; the only one which, in several parts of the world, is today forestalling and gaining on Christianity.[28]



The earliest and most prominent critic of Islam was John of Damascus (c. 675-749), an Arab monk in Muslim Syria who worked for the Umayyad Caliphs. He may be fairly described as the real founder of the Christian tradition[29]of polemics toward Islam. Johns technique of argumentation issued form a philosophical dialecticism which necessitated the deprecation of the Prophets person and ridicule of the Quran in order to achieve the necessary elevation of Christ and Christianity. He established the traditional accusations that Muhammad was (i) an impostor who consciously simulated revelation for the purpose of justifying his sexual laxity and political ambitions, as well as (ii) a conniver who constructed his doctrines from Old and New Testament materials. The primary purpose of Johns work was more likely to encourage and convince Christians, or as Richard Bell described it, it was to produce a kind of manual for the guidance of [Syrian] Christians in their arguments with Muhamadans.[30] His attitudes, however, were to become customary for centuries to come. Much of the debate that has been taking place between Muslims and Christians follows the agenda set by John of Damascus, starting with later Byzantine polemicists [who] used [his work] for indiscriminately spreading false rumours about Islam and inflaming hatred against the Muslims.[31] The twentiethcentury writings, and the pages of the Moslem World Quarterly in particular, which is the focal concern of this thesis, were no exception in retaining the very same labels.



John of Damascus thus provided the West with the classical approach to the study of Islam. In reality, there appears to have been little real dialogue between Christians and Muslims. When the West first faced the challenge of Islam as the Muslim empire was being established in Europe in the fourteenth century after it has gained sway over the Middle East and North Africa, it (the West) did so without any real knowledge of what it was fighting. The combination of fear and ignorance resulted in a body of legends, some absurd and all unfair.[32] This was how the medieval doctrines of Islam were constructed. The first real intellectual attempts to communicate with and reach Muslims came late in the Middle Ages with missionaries such as Francis of Assisi (d.1226) and Raymond Lull (d.1315). However, the early missionaries were not primarily concerned with providing reliable details about Islam, so much as with its destruction through conversion. This was consistent with the times and the propensity for polemical debate which characterized the era. It was not until the turn of the eighteenth century that the subject of Islam entered the realm of secular study. Scholars began to recognize and admit the element of prejudicial bias which robbed Christian studies of Islam of their objectivity. Some of the legendary elements in the Western account of Islam began to be rooted out. Thinkers came to terms with the fact that the deprecation of Islam could not explain the Muslim conquest of a large part of the world in a such a short time. Others, such as Napoleon, even wondered if there could be, behind all this, quelque chose que nous ignorons.[33] Terms such as Mahound, a deformation of the Prophets name that was popularly identified with the devil[34], or legends like the one that suggested Muhammad was a cardinal of the Roman Church who, thwarted in his ambition to become Pope, revolted, fled to Arabia and there founded a church of his own[35] were common during the Medieval age. By the end of the eighteenth century, these terms could not generally be accepted by the new secular trends in the study of Islam which began to flourish.



On a negative note, however, this era has fuelled a Western dedication to the notions about the rational essence of religion. The emphasis on reason only further served to encourage Christian feelings of intellectual superiority. To this effect, Daniel argues, The subject [of Islam] was secularised, but the themes remained the same, violence and sexuality. How the Prophets life was judged changed, but not what he was thought to have done in it.[36]



Sometimes, the contempt of Islam was so great that, When Christian writers speak of Islam, they do so no longer primarily to refute its errors, but as a way of refuting each others errors.[37] Luther, comparing Catholicism, symbolized by the Pope, and Islam, personified in the Turks, said that the two were the arch enemies of Christ and his Holy Church, and if the Turk was the body of AntiChrist, the Pope was the head.[38] In the same manner, the English Catholic exile on the Continent, William Rainolds, wrote that both [Calvin and Islam] seek to destroy the Christian faith, both deny the Divinity of Christ, not only is the pseudoGospel of Calvin no better than the Quran of Muhammad, but in many respects it is wickeder and more repulsive.[39]



Since then, however, significant efforts have been made to break away from the petty and polemical methods of the past as much as possible.[40] The mere fact that scholars assert their intention to achieve objectivity and fairness is a formidable step forward in the study of, and attitudes towards, Islam. In fact, if a similar study were to be made to delineate Muslim attitudes towards the Christian West, of course from a Christian perspective, one might well discover that the process of blackening the opponent was not onesided. The present work will, however, be confined to a review of the meaning, motives, and nature of the work of Christian Reformed missions in Arabia, with a particular focus on Zwemer as an editor of MW. The journal was founded in 1911, that is, at the mid point in an era (1870-1945) which Edward Said identified as the period of great colonial expansion into the Orient.[41] The field of Orientalism at the time Said rightly recognized as one shot through with the doctrines of European superiority, various kinds of racism, imperialism and the like, dogmatic views of the Oriental as a kind of ideal and unchanging abstraction.[42] While seeking to understand the Wests view of Islam, one should appreciate the difficulty faced by its writers in their struggle to acquire accurate understanding of the religion of Islam and the thought of its adherents. Zwemer and the other scholars who joined with him in contributing to MW developed their initial impression of Islam during this period.



In his editorials, Zwemer consistently maintained that MW was able to provide an objective and accurate appraisal of the many facets of Islam. He assured the journals readers that it presented a truthful portrait of Islam, developed through an objective study of the material available in the field. Nonetheless, Zwemer was likely to be influenced by his strong Christian conviction, as his antithetic position to non-Christian religions in general implied a negative evaluation of Islam in particular. The question which arises and which this study seeks to examine is whether the journal under the editorship of Zwemer could allow for an objective and impartial reconstruction of Islam in its pages. A central thesis to this undertaking is that a zealous missionary such as Zwemer who saw Islam as an enemy and a problem was bound to be both influenced and influential. From this perspective, I shall examine Zwemers and his conservative colleagues description of Islam and draw a comparison with other writers who were less imbued with his evangelical spirit and who also contributed to MW. In the process, I shall determine whether the two categories of writers differed indeed in the manner and the method they used to interpret the religion of Islam, and to what extent such difference, if any, can be reflected in their assumptions and findings about Islam. Given the vastness of the field of Islam, the analysis will be built around three major recurring themes in the pages of MW, namely, the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, the Quran and the Shariah.



As to the overall organization of the thesis, it can be divided into two main parts. The first part examines the meaning, historical development, and motives of Christian missions in the Muslim world as well as the several means used by missionaries for the implementation of their work. It also introduces the reader to the life of Zwemer the man, the missionary and the editor of MW- the understanding of which are central to the analysis that will be undertaken subsequently. It consists of three chapters. Given the missionary nature of MW, it seems appropriate for the first chapter to provide a general background of the meaning, historical development, and motives of Christian missions in the Muslim world. The chapter is subdivided into four sections. While the first two sections deal with the general concept of mission and the major intellectual and political events in Europe that have influenced its development, a special emphasis is placed in the last two sections on the growth of interest of missionary societies in the Muslim world, and the methods they devised to reach and convert this heathen part of the globe.



As to the second chapter, it provides us with an insight into the life and missionary work of Zwemer. It is divided into three sections, each corresponding to a major phase of his life. The first relates to his childhood and education, describing his Calvinist upbringing which was to influence his world view and set him for missionary work. The second is concerned with his life in, and travel within, the Arabian Peninsula. It describes the foundation and development of the Arabian Mission he set in motion in the heart of the Muslim lands despite all unfavourable conditions and challenges. The third phase of Zwemers life can be said to start with his move to Cairo. It was in Egypt that the personal qualities of Zwemer as an academic began to be firmly established. He founded and edited the MW journal; wrote several books, articles, and leaflets; organized and attended conferences; and participated in the development of a Christian press designed for conversion of the Muslim world. Cairo was the place where Christian workers gathered and therefore Zwemer saw in it the potential to unite missionary organization. The fourth section deals with the final phase of Zwemers life in America where he chaired the Department of History of Religion and Christian Mission at Princeton University, conducted missionary courses, and presided over different evangelical societies.



The third chapter aims at presenting a general picture of Zwemers view of Islam and the mission enterprise through a review of his writings, which can be divided in terms of their themes into three main categories: Christianity, Islam, and mission. Thus, the first section reviews writings which pertain centrally to the first category and attempts to infer Zwemers view of Christianity and the development of his understanding of the Biblical message. In the same manner, the second section describes his view of Islam, and the third his vision of mission work to the Muslim world.



The fourth chapter explores Zwemer as the editor and manager of MW. An analysis of the journal across the themes of the Prophet Muhammad, the Quran, and the Shariah (Islamic Law) will be the central focus of the second part of this thesis. This chapter will only highlight the role Zwemer played in producing the journal and setting out its objectives. Thus, the first section presents a general view of the inception and growth of MW, the second examines the missionary objectives Zwemer set for the journal and the means he sought to reach them, the third discusses the objectivity of MW as stated by its editor, and the final section contains an assessment of the hopes that the journal was set to achieve.



The second part of the study reviews the journals description of three major themes of Islam: Muhammad, the Quran, and the Shariah. It is mainly concerned with the examination of the different methods used by MW contributors and, whenever possible, with particular reference to Zwemer and his influence. It is divided into three chapters (Five, Six, and Seven). Chapter Five is mainly concerned with the portrayal of the image of the Prophet in MW. It consists of four sections. The first is concerned with the problem of sources in reconstructing the life of the Prophet. The second discusses MW writers attitudes towards the truthfulness of Muhammads claim of Prophethood. Two approaches will be identified and examined in this connection: a conservative and a relatively more sympathetic approach. The remaining two sections deal with MW writers descriptions of the Prophets transformation of character between Mecca and Medina. Thus, the third section looks into their description of his character during the Mecca period, while the fourth section examines the view of a change of political circumstances in Medina and, as a result, in the character of Muhammad.



Chapter Six describes MWs view of the Muslim scripture: the Quran. It consists of three sections. The first deals with MWs coverage of the history and problems that faced the translation of the Quran as a major historical source for the study of Islam. The second reviews the journals account of the history of the collection of the Quran during the lifetime of the Prophet and his successors (the caliphs). The last section raises the issue of the authenticity of the Quran, which, in the view of MW writers, is confirmed by the various imperfections of its text ranging from textual variation, omissions, to structural unevenness.



Chapter Seven deals with MWs treatment of the Shariah. It reviews the definition of the nature and historical development of Islamic law as described by MW contributors and examines the presumed effect it has had on aspects of the spiritual, political, and social structure of Muslim society. It is divided into two main sections. The first gives a preliminary description of the nature and sources of the Shariah. It also examines the MWs view of the historical process of development of, and foreign influence in, Islamic law. The second section reviews MWs assumptions concerning the effect of the Shariah on some aspects of Muslim society, namely, worship, war, and the status of women.
 - :

 [1] E. W. Said , Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient, p. 2.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., p. 50.

[4] Ibid., p. 57.

[5] Ibid., p. 59.

[6] Ibid., pp. 59-60.

[7] Nonetheless, it should be noted, as Hourani points out in Western Attitudes towards Islam, in A. Hourani, Europe and the Middle East, that during and after the Enlightenment there was a shift towards judging Islam and its Prophet in rational, not religious (i.e. Christian) terms. What Hourani does not, however, conclude is that the result is the samethat the Prophet never had any relation with the divine and was purely motivated by human ambitions.

[8] Said, Orientalism, pp. 60-61.

[9] Ibid., p. 67.

[10] Ibid., p. 69.

[11] Ibid., p. 70.

[12] B. Lewis, The Question of Orientalism, The New York Review (June, 24, 1982) p. 54.

[13] J.M. Mackenzie, Edward Said and the Historians, Nineteenth Century Contexts, vol.18 (1994) pp. 14-15. It should be noted that the editor of the journal invited readers to respond to Mackenzies article. Their reactions were further followed by Mackenzies riposte to their comments, all published in Nineteenth Century Contexts, vol.19 (1995).

[14] R.G. Fox, East of Said, in M. Sprinker, Edward Said: A Critical Reader, p. 146.

[15] V. Kennedy, Edward Said: A Critical Introduction, p. 41.

[16] In J.J. Clarke, Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter between Asian and Western Thought, p. 9.

[17] For a detailed account of the importance of Saids works as well as the major arguments made against his theses, the reader may refer, among others, to William Hart, Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture; Bill Ashcrofi and P. Ahluwalia, Edward Said: The Paradox of Identity.

[18] Clarke, Oriental Enlightenment, p. 6

[19] Ibid., p. 6.

[20] Ibid., p. 8.

[21] Ibid., pp. 96-97.

[22] Ibid., p. 8.

[23] Ibid., p. 6.
[24] A. Hourani, Islam and the Philosophers of History, in Hourani, Europe and the Middle East, p. 20.

[25] A. Hourani, Western Attitudes towards Islam, p. 15.

[26] Ibid., p. 8.

[27] N. Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image, p. 11.

[28] Cited by S. Zwemer, Into all the World, p. 207.

[29] Daniel, Islam and the West, p. 13.

[30] R. Bell, The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment, pp. 207-211.

[31] D. J. Sahas, John of Damascus on Islam, p. 129.

[32] Hourani, Western Attitudes towards Islam, p. 9.

[33] Quoted in Hourani, Islam and the Philosophers of History, p. 30.

[34] See W. M. Watt, Islam and Christianity Today, pp. 3-4.

[35] See A. Hourani, Western Attitudes towards Islam, p. 9.

[36] Daniel, Islam and the West, p. 315.

[37] Hourani, Western Attitudes towards Islam, p. 10.

[38] Quoted in ibid.

[39] Quoted in ibid.

[40] For a detailed discussion of how Christian attitudes towards Islam have been developing since the two religions first contact, see F. Gabrieli, Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam; Hourani, Europe and the Middle East; and Daniel, Islam and the West.

[41] Said, Orientalism, p. 25.

[42] Ibid., p. 8.

     

 

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