Samuel Marinus Zwemer

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Samuel Marinus Zwemer (April 12, 1867-April 2, 1952) nicknamed 'The Apostle to Islam' was an American missionary, traveler, and scholar. He was born at Vriesland, Michigan. In 1887 he graduated from Hope College, Holland, Mich., in 1890, he graduated from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, N. J. After being ordained to the Reformed Church ministry, he was a missionary at Busrah, Bahrein, and at other locations in Arabia from 1891 to 1905. He also traveled widely in Asia Minor, and he was elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London. In 1929 he was appointed Professor of Missions and Professor of the History of Religion at the Princeton Theological Seminary where he taught til 1951. He married Amy Zwemer. He was famously turned down by the American Missionary Society which resulted in him going overseas alone. He edited the publication The Moslem World for many years. He was influential in mobilising many Christians to go into missionary work in Islamic Countries.

According to Ruth A. Tucker, Samuel Zwemer's converts were "probably less than a dozen during his nearly forty years of service" and his "greatest contribution to missions was that of stirring Christians to the need for evangelism Muslims"[1]



Besides editing The Moslem World, a quarterly scholarly periodical – 37 vols.(1911-47), and the Quarterly Review (London), he wrote the following books:

  • Arabia, the Cradle of Islam (1900) – [1]
  • Topsy Turvy Land (1902), with his wife, Mrs. Amy E. Zwemer
  • Raymond Lull (1902)
  • Moslem Doctrine of God (1906)
  • The Mohammedan World of Today (1906)
  • Islam: a challenge to faith: studies on the Mohammedan religion and the needs and opportunities of the Mohammedan world (1907)
  • Our Moslem sisters : a cry of need from lands of darkness interpreted by those who heard it, (1907) — edited with Annie van Sommer
  • The Moslem World (1908)
  • The Nearer and Farther East: Outline studies of Moslem lands, and of Siam, Burma, and Korea (1908), with Arthur Judson Brown
  • The Unoccupied Mission Fields (1910)
  • The Moslem Christ (1911)
  • The Unoccupied Mission Fields of Africa and Asia (1911)
  • Daylight In The Harem: A New Era For Moslem Women (1911) — Papers on present-day reform movements, conditions and methods of work among ?Moslem women ?read at the Lucknow Conference
  • Zigzag Journeys in the Camel Country (1912)
  • Childhood in the Moslem World (1915)
  • Mohammed or Christ? (1916)
  • The Disintegration of Islam (1916) — student lectures on missions at Princeton TS
  • A Moslem Seeker after God ... showing Islam at its best in the life and teaching of Al-Ghazali (1920)
  • The Influence of Animism on Islam : An Account of Popular Superstitions (1920)
  • The Law of Apostasy in Islam (1924)
  • Moslem Women (1926), with his wife, Mrs. Amy E. Zwemer
  • The Glory of the Cross(PDF) (1928)
  • Across the world of Islam (1929)
  • The exalted name of Christ (1932), translated from Arabic by Oskar Hermansson and Gustaf Ahlbert, assisted by Abdu Vali Akhond
  • Thinking Missions with Christ (1934)
  • Taking hold of God : studies on the nature, need and power of prayer (1936)
  • It's Hard To Be A Christian : Some Aspects of the Fight for Character in the Life of the Pilgrim (1937)
  • Solitary Throne, addresses Given at the Keswick Convention on the Glory and Uniqueness of the Christian Message (1937)
  • The Golden Milestone : Reminiscences of Pioneer Days Fifty Years in Arabia (1938), with James Cantine
  • Dynamic Christianity and the World Today (1939)
  • Studies in Popular Islam : A Collection of papers dealing with the Superstitions & Beliefs of the Common People (1939)
  • The Glory of the Manger: Studies on the Incarnation (1940)
  • The Art of Listening to God (1940)
  • The Cross Above the Crescent (1941)
  • Islam in Madagascar (1941)
  • Into All the World (1943)
  • Evangelism Today: Message Not Method (1944)
  • The Origin of Religion : Evolution or Revelation (1945) — based on the Smyth Lectures 1935
  • Heirs of the Prophets (1946)
  • A factual survey of the Moslem world with maps and statistical tables (1946)
  • The Glory of the Empty Tomb (1947)
  • How Rich the Harvest (1948)
  • Sons of Adam : Studies of Old Testament characters in New Testament light (1951)
  • Social And Moral Evils Of Islam (2002) — reprint of an earlier work

He also wrote an article describing his travels in Oman and the Trucial Coast (now U.A.E.), which famously features the earliest known photograph of the Qasr al-Hosn in Abu Dhabi:

  • Three Journeys in Northern Oman (1902), The Geographical Journal, Vol XIX, No1


See also


Works in Print (2007)



  • Wilson, J. Christy, Apostle to Islam. A biography of Samuel M. Zwemer, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1952.
  • Wilson, J. Christy, Flaming Prophet: The Story of Samuel Zwemer, New York: Friendship Press, 1970.
  • Greenway, Roger S. (Editor), Islam and the Cross: Selections from "The Apostle to Islam", P and R Publishing, 2002.
  • Ipema, P. (Peter), The Islam interpretations of Duncan B. Macdonald, Samuel M. Zwemer, A. Kenneth Cragg and Wilfred C. Smith, Thesis (Ph.D.) - Hartford Seminary Foundation, 1971.
  • The vital forces of Christianity and Islam : six studies by missionaries to Moslems / with an introduction by the Rev. S. M. Zwemer, and a concluding study by Professor Duncan B. Macdonald, Oxford University Press, 1915.



  1. ^ Ruth A. Tucker. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions. p. 241.


External links

Faith (for Content):