Saudi Periodicals: Al-Da’wa Magazine in the Context of the Islamic Awakening

Hanin Alsudais

The expansion of the public sphere in Saudi Arabia in the 1950s and 1960s led eventually to the creation of al-Da’wa, establishing the foundation of Islamic journalism in Saudi Arabia. A newspaper that converted to a weekly magazine in 1976, al-Da’wa used modern media and a traditional salafī approach to Islam as a way to influence Saudi society from its founding on through the 1980s and 1990s. This report examines al-Da’wa’s promotion of the Islamization of social life, its perspectives on intellectuals and Islamists, and its take on the question of the role of women in society. In the 1980s, al-Da’wa served as a forum for the expression of tension between the Islamists and the intellectuals over the cultural event Al-Janadriyya. Al- Da’wa also included a section aimed at women which sought to fill a void in Islamist dialogue addressing “the woman question” while positioning the magazine to compete with other outlets for female readers. Through its use of modern media, al-Da’wa was successful in cultivating social influence within the community through its promotion of an Islamic lifestyle while simultaneously dominating the public sphere to emphasize and articulate an Islamic identity.