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