Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Call. God's way of bringing believers to faith and the means by which prophets call individuals and communities back to God. Militant submovements interpret dawah as calling Muslims back to the purer form of religion practiced by Muhammad and the early Muslim community. Historically, missionary dawah accompanied commercial ventures or followed military conquests. Dawah was also the function of the caliph, extending authority over Muslims outside Islamic lands and promoting Islamic unity. In the twentieth century, dawah has become the foundation for social, economic, political, and cultural activities as well as domestic and foreign policy strategies; jusitification for breaking away from the secular and colonial West; legitimation for claims to independent authority within the nation-state; and a call to membership in the righteous Islamic community. Four major modern trends are political orientation, interiorization, institutional organization, and social welfare concerns. Politically oriented national and transnational organizations seek the Islamization of laws and societies. Major international organizations are the World Council of Mosques and the Organization for the Distribution of the Quran. Modern movements focus on universal invitation within faith, rather than conversion of non-Muslims. Transnational organizations are usually reformist in orientation and most successful in places where local cults and cultures are no longer influential. Those with little political content have had the most lasting influence. Some states, such as Saudi Arabia and Libya, consider dawah a state responsibility. Others focus on dawah as the work of individual Muslims or private Muslim organizations.

Subjects: Islam.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.