Zigzag Journeys in the Camel Country: Arabia in Picture and Story


Samuel Zwemer (1867–1952) was an American missionary who became known as the “Apostle to Islam” for his strenuous, if not always successful, evangelization efforts in Islamic countries. He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and the New Brunswick Seminary in New Jersey. In 1889 he and a classmate founded the American Arabian Mission, which later received sponsorship from the Reformed Church, and the next year he departed for the Arabian Peninsula. In 1896 he met and married Amy Wilkes (died 1937), an Australian fellow missionary and nurse. Together, the Zwemers sold Bibles, established mission hospitals, and in 1899 founded a small school in Bahrain. Zigzag Journeys was the second of two illustrated children’s books by the Zwemers. Many of its chapters describe specific themes in Arabian life. These include the importance of camels in the desert, amulets and charms, the status of religious minorities in Arabia, the structure of the Arabic language, the significance of the Kaaba, and the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Other chapters focus on the travels of Samuel Zwemer, including journeys through Yemen, Oman, and across the Persian Gulf. The book contains 20 photographs and illustrations and concludes with an exhortation to continue spreading Christian teaching among the Bedouin Arabs and across national boundaries.

Last updated: May 3, 2017