Dar al-Daʿwa Wa al-Irshad

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Shaykh Rashid Rida opened this Institute of Propaganda and Guidance in Cairo, Egypt, in 1912 as a reformist Islamic school.

As a youth in Tripoli (now in Lebanon), Rashid Rida had seen American missionaries use a book-shop to proselytize, and his master, Muhammad Abduh, had commented similarly on a Capuchin monastery-school in Sicily. Egypt's higher state schools ignored Islam, and Abduh was unable to reform the mosque-university of al-Azhar. When he died in 1905, Abduh was trying to found his own reformist Islamic school.

Rida's efforts to found such a school in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1909 fell through. The Cairo Dar al-Daʿwa offered free room, board, and tuition to Muslims aged twenty to twenty-five, with preference to students from distant lands. Three years of study were to qualify one as a guide (murshid) fit to preach and teach among Muslims; six years were to qualify one as a missionary (daʿi) to non-Muslims. Although World War I closed the school, its example was presumably not lost on Rida's later admirers among the Muslim Brotherhood.

See also Abduh, Muhammad; Rida, Rashid.


Adams, Charles C. Islam and Modernism in Egypt: A Study of the Modern Reform Movement Inaugurated by Muhammad ʿAbduh. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Reprint of 1933 edition.

donald malcolm reid