How can people belong simultaneously to two cultures, originating in two different places and expressed in two different languages, without alienating themselves from either? Muslims have lived in the Chinese culture area for 1400 years, and the intellectuals among them have long wrestled with this problem. Unlike Persian, Turkish, Urdu, or Malay, the Chinese language never adopted vocabulary from Arabic to enable a precise understanding of Islam’s religious and philosophical foundations. Islam thus had to be translated into Chinese, which lacks words and arguments to justify monotheism, exclusivity, and other features of this Middle Eastern religion. Even in the 21st century, Muslims who are culturally Chinese must still justify their devotion to a single God, avoidance of pork, and their communities’ distinctiveness, among other things, to sceptical non-Muslim neighbours and an increasingly intrusive state. The essays in this collection narrate the continuing translations and adaptations of Islam and Muslims in Chinese culture and society through the writings of Sino-Muslim intellectuals. Progressing chronologically and interlocking thematically, they help the reader develop a coherent understanding of the intellectual issues at stake. ; 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. ; Editor’s Introduction: Four Centuries of Islamic Thought in Chinese; Jonathan Lipman; Part I: The Qing Empire (1636-1912); Chapter 1. A Proper Place for God: Ma Zhu’s Chinese Islamic Cosmogenesis, Jonathan Lipman; Chapter 2. Liu Zhi: The Great Integrator of Chinese Islamic Thought, James D. Frankel; Chapter 3. Tianfang Sanzijing: Exchanges and Changes in China’s Reception of Islamic Law, Roberta Tontini; Chapter 4. The Multiple Meanings of Pilgrimage in Sino-Islamic Thought, Kristian Petersen; Part II: Modern China; Chapter 5. Ethnicity or Religion? Republican-Era Chinese Debates on Islam and Muslims, Wlodzimierz Cieciura; Chapter 6. Selective Learning from the Middle East: The Case of Sino-Muslim Students at al-Azhar University, Yufeng Mao; Chapter 7. Secularization and Modernization of Islam in China: Educational Reform, Japanese Occupation, and the Disappearance of Persian Learning, Masumi Matsumoto; Chapter 8. Between ‘Abd al-Wahhab and Liu Zhi: Chinese Muslim Intellectuals at the Turn of the 21st Century, Leila Chérif-Chebbi; Bibliography; Glossary of East Asian Names; Glossary of East Asian Terms; List of Contributors.
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This book is a captivating narrative of four hundred years of Islamic intellectual history in China. Vivid portraits of Muslim thinkers and luminous studies of complex writings lead the reader into a world of discussions, where the Prophet speaks Chinese while ideograms interpret concepts imported from the Middle East.
- Alexandre Papas
Jonathan N. Lipman is Felicia Gressitt Bock Professor of Asian Studies and Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts. His research focuses on Islam and Muslims in China since the 17th century, including religious, social, political, and economic themes. Jonathan is author (with Barbara Molony and Michael Robinson) of Modern East Asia: An Integrated History (2011), Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China (1998), (with K.W. Masalski and A. Chalk), Imperial Japan: Expansion and War (1995), and co-editor (with G. Hershatter, E. Honig, and R. Stross) of Remapping China: Fissures in Historical Terrain (1995) and (with S. Harrell) of Violence in Chinese Society: Studies in Culture and Counterculture (State University of New York Press, 1990).