Muslim Activism in the Modern World: Why Da‘wa?

AVACGIS Guest Lecture Series with Matthew J. Kuiper (Hope College, Michigan)

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 12:30 PM EST
Zoom Virtual Event

Studies of modern Islamic activism have tended to overlook da‘wa (‘inviting’ to Islam, or Islamic missionary activity), a concept which has increasingly animated that realm over the past 150 years. Indeed, not only are ‘da‘wa’ and variants like ‘dāʿī’ now household words for millions of Muslims worldwide (alterative renderings include ‘dawah,’ ‘dakwah,’ and ‘daaee’), contemporary believers of nearly every background have also been personally impacted by da‘wa – both as doers and as objects of varieties of Islamic outreach. Underneath the big tent of modern da‘wa, new kinds of actors have been empowered and new stars born, but older traditions have also been renewed. In this presentation, Matthew Kuiper – author of two recent books on the subject – asks the question: Why Da‘wa? In other words, why has participation in da‘wa proven to be such an important avenue of Muslim activism in modernity? Addressing this question will necessarily entail defining da‘wa in terms of its contemporary complexity and surveying the concept’s history from early Islam to the present.

A portrait of Dr. Matthew KuiperMatthew J. Kuiper is Assistant Professor of Religion, specializing in Islam, at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He is the author of Da‘wa: A Global History of Islamic Missionary Thought and Practice (Edinburgh University Press, 2021), and Da‘wa and Other Religions: Indian Muslims and the Modern Resurgence of Global Islamic Activism (Routledge, 2018).

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