Features of Islam in Chinese



According to official data, Muslims live China since the VIII century. The first Muslims in China became Arab and Persian Muslim merchants, who brought to China their products  on the “Silk Road” and because of the sea. It was they who introduced the rest of the world with Chinese silk, porcelain, tea, compass, paper and gunpowder. With time a few Muslim merchants continued to live in China. Their descendants became the first Chinese Muslims. Influence of Muslims has increased gradually and eventually become quite noticeable. So Muslim officials held senior official posts in the state. It is clear that it was a domestic political move of the imperial court. Muslims simply used as an element of the system of “checks and balances” in the government. This allowed to keep in check local officials, practicing traditional Chinese Confucianism.

Nevertheless, Islam, even as an auxiliary tool for implementation of the executive, became part of the management system of China. Of course, in such circumstances, Islam has undergone major changes. One might even say that Islam in China, or, more precisely, the Chinese Islam has undergone a reformation and losing its classic appearance, became very different from the rest of Islam in the Muslim world. For example, already in the XVII century in China at the mosques a school for girls were opened. But schools for girls - this is an acceptable thing. In this process of reforming Islam is not stopped, but only intensified. After the end of dynastic rulers, ie after 1912 Chinese Islam has become particularly strongly modified. Now the authorities have sought to form the country's loyalty to the state formed by the Muslim minority. So the authorities expect to support its policies in the Muslim environment. One of the manifestations of “loyalization” of Islam has been the emergence of female imams Institute. It happened about a hundred years ago. At the beginning, female imams worked only among the Muslim community, called the Hui community. This ethnic group is one of 56 officially registered in China and nationalities living in the eastern and central areas of the country. In numbers (more than 21 million people) Hui community give odds to many Muslim countries. Hui community owns about 3,600 mosques. Total in central and eastern China has about 80 female imams, as well as about 6,000 so-called female imams lower rank governing small village mosque. The work of women imams is paid by the state. Until recently, the mosque differed as female and male. Since the beginning of the new century appeared and mixed mosques. In these mosques women read sermons to men, such thing as the female half of the prayer hall does not exist.

We can not say that a reformed Islam is imposed indiscriminately on orders from above. Religion is scrupulous. We must pay tribute to the Chinese authorities, which could solve the problem of the Muslim presence in the country and the ancient cruel method of “Good Indian – dead Indian”. Far from it. China - though it is communist, but still an Eastern country, so the authorities have chosen another, more humane and flexible way. Task of finding possibilities of reforming Islam authorities laid on the shoulders of the Chinese Muslim theologians. The state has assumed the expenses, so that the work of theologians is paid from the Treasury. Chinese theologians quite successfully develop their fees, finding in the Qur'an and the works of Muslim theologians such moments that allow them to legalize some or other reform in Islam. For example, the establishment of Sharia law that a woman can serve as an imam, was justified by the works of the medieval theologian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari.

Not to say that Chinese Muslims who adhere to traditional Islam, humbly accept a reformed Islam. First of all we are talking about the Uighurs, who by definition do not belong to any of the ethnic Chinese bloods. For example, in the early 1980s, the Muslim Uighurs protested against the reform of Islam. Authorities reacted quickly - about ten protest activists were shot “for a coup attempt”, a few dozen traditionalists were sentenced to long prison terms. Along the way, the authorities expelled all preachers from Saudi Arabia, charge them with “subversive activities".

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