Islamic Thought in China

Sino-Muslim Intellectual Evolution from the 17th to the 21st Century

Edited by Jonathan N Lipman

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Tells the stories of Chinese Muslims trying to create coherent lives at the intersection of two potentially conflicting cultures

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.

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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
Glossary of East Asian Names
Glossary of East Asian Terms
List of Contributors.
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.
National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, Alexandre Papas
This volume does an admirable job of bringing Chinese Muslims into the mainstream of Chinese intellectual history, and one hopes that it will inspire scholars of Islam to engage more with Muslim scholarship from the periphery of the Islamic world, like those Sino-Muslim intellectuals who saw themselves as contributors to both Chinese civilization and the global umma.
Alexander Stewart, University of California, San Diego, Journal of Islamic Studies
Jonathan N. Lipman is Felicia Gressitt Bock Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies and Professor Emeritus 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).

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