You are not currently logged in.

Login through your institution for access.


Log in through your institution.

Islamic Thought in China

Islamic Thought in China: Sino-Muslim Intellectual Evolution from the 17th to the 21st Century

Edited by Jonathan Lipman
Copyright Date: 2016
Pages: 288
Stable URL:
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Islamic Thought in China
    Book Description:

    The essays in this volume tell the stories of Chinese Muslim intellectuals trying to create satisfying, safe and coherent lives at the intersection of two potentially conflicting cultures.

    eISBN: 978-1-4744-0228-6
    Subjects: History, Religion
    × Close Overlay

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Glossary of East Asian Names (pp. vii-x)
  4. Glossary of East Asian Terms (pp. xi-xviii)
  5. List of the Contributors (pp. xix-xx)
  6. Editor’s Introduction: Four Centuries of Islamic Thought in Chinese (pp. 1-12)
    Jonathan Lipman

    Muslims have lived in the Chinese culture area since the seventh or eighth century – the mid-Tang dynasty – and have acculturated, as all immigrants do, in order to live comfortably in what began as an alien environment. Over a millennium, through ordinary social processes, including intermarriage with local women, they ceased being utterly foreign and became local but different, Sinophone but not entirely Chinese. Though they spoke the Chinese of their home districts, many of them nonetheless retained female endogamy (males could marry non-Muslim women who converted to Islam), pork avoidance, unfamiliar rituals, mosque-centred community solidarity, and outlandish vocabulary,...

  7. PART I THE QING EMPIRE (1636–1912)
    • 1 A Proper Place for God: Ma Zhu’s Chinese-Islamic Cosmogenesis (pp. 15-33)
      Jonathan Lipman

      In the Ming period (1368–1644), Chinese Muslim writers began to explain their ancestral religion of Islam in the language and conceptual schema of their contemporary Chinese culture.¹ That is, they participated fully in two literate, self-confident and, at least potentially, exclusive cultures, so they had to produce a textual justification that allowed them to be legitimate insiders in both. This will be a constant theme in this book, for the same impulse has continued to motivate Chinese Muslim intellectuals to think and write for the past 400 years. As Zvi Ben-Dor Benite put it, these early scholars engaged in...

    • 2 Liu Zhi: The Great Integrator of Chinese Islamic Thought (pp. 34-54)
      James D. Frankel

      History is replete with stories of visionaries whose genius was unappreciated in their own time and place. Many luminaries have been criticised, some even persecuted, by the governing authority under which they lived, or by their public or by both. Some have found acceptance abroad or have been vindicated posthumously. In the words of Jesus, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town and in his own home.’¹ The Prophet Muḥammad followed in the footsteps of the prophets who preceded him. He was jeered at, reviled and struggled for decades against members of his own clan and...

    • 3 Tianfang Sanzijing: Exchanges and Changes in China’s Reception of Islamic Law (pp. 55-80)
      Roberta Tontini

      While scholars have investigated the impact of Arabic and Persian sources on the development of Chinese textual scholarship on Islam, we still lack scholarly analysis of Chinese Muslims’ reaction to norms developed outside the Chinese legal framework. This chapter attempts to fill this void by exploring the commitment of Chinese Muslim scholars to the task of articulating and legitimising their own interpretation of Islamic law. Their efforts had the potential to separate Chinese Muslim legal thought from its Arabic and Persian matrix of origin. Thus, our core question will be, how did Chinese scholars justify and legitimate their own interpretation...

    • 4 The Multiple Meanings of Pilgrimage in Sino-Islamic Thought (pp. 81-104)
      Kristian Petersen

      During the pre-modern period, pilgrimage constituted one feature of Islamic religiosity that formulated a sense of belonging and authenticity for Muslims. For the Sino-Muslim community, thehajjembodied several central elements of religious substance. Most broadly, the pilgrimage conveyed a sense of communal identification, which intensified Muslims’ collective memory of cultural heritage, brought with it religious and social authority, and united all Muslims under the banner of Islam as a single transcultural congregation (Ar.umma). Praising or participating in the pilgrimage allowed Muslims at the geographic periphery of the Islamicate world to move to theumma’scentre. Their physical distance...

    • 5 Ethnicity or Religion? Republican-Era Chinese Debates on Islam and Muslims (pp. 107-146)
      Wlodzimierz Cieciura

      Few in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) question the legitimacy of identifying the Chinese-speaking Muslims as theHuizuethnic minority. This status has been enshrined in the policies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since it started to formulate its nationality discourse in the 1930s. The officially produced scholarship onHuizuhistory, culture, sociology and so on hardly ever omits theHuizuparadigm, and scholars in China discuss the Sino-Muslims outside it only with difficulty.¹ Theminzudefinitions produced in the PRC have proved to be so alluring that even foreign scholars have employed them as handy tools to...

    • 6 Selective Learning from the Middle East: The Case of Sino-Muslim Students at al-Azhar University (pp. 147-170)
      Yufeng Mao

      In the early twentieth century, modern transportation increased the convenience of contacts with the heartlands of the Islamic world sought by Muslims in China, and these took varied forms. Importing or printing religious works, including textbooks, for example, could bring authentic Islamic teachings to the Chinese Muslim community. Principal contributors to this cause were the Xiexing Company of Shanghai, the Chinese Muslim Publishing House of Shanghai and the Chengda Teachers’ College (Chengda Shifan Xuexiao) Publishing House in Beijing. Pilgrimage trips also became more viable, and some Muslim scholars, such as Imam Wang Kuan and Imam Wang Jingzhai, used these trips...

    • 7 Secularisation and Modernisation of Islam in China: Educational Reform, Japanese Occupation and the Disappearance of Persian Learning (pp. 171-196)
      Masumi Matsumoto

      Before the twentieth century, Persian learning was very important in the madrasa (jingtang) curriculum of China. According to tradition, Hu Dengzhou arranged the Thirteen Classics (shisan-ben jing) in the late Ming, seven books in Arabic and six in Persian.¹ After mastering Arabic, compulsory for citing and understanding theQur’ān, students learned Persian to pursue the path of human completion, to reach directly the true essence of existence, God. The Persian curriculum stage usually proved to be the most difficult, for it took more than ten years for students to master all of those thirteen texts in foreign languages. The madrasa...

    • 8 Between ‘Abd al-Wahhab and Liu Zhi: Chinese Muslim Intellectuals at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century (pp. 197-232)
      Leila Chérif-Chebbi

      Two polar tendencies appear to attract contemporary Chinese Muslim intellectuals as they express their ways of thinking and representations of their Islamic faith in China, tendencies we may loosely identify with ‘Liu Zhi’ and “Abd al-Wahhab’. We must deal with these as opposite poles of a spectrum. The Liu Zhi tendency includes those who try to talk about a Chinese Muslim culture, even a Chinese Islam, as a syncretic religion, a ‘Neo-Confucian Islam’,¹ a religion inscribed in a historical and cultural context with interpretations adapted to the times. ‘Abd al-Wahhab, on the other hand, represents those who want to know...

  9. Bibliography (pp. 233-259)
  10. Index (pp. 260-268)