chapter  4
12 Pages

Representations of Sufi Genealogy and Their Socio-Cultural Interaction in Modern Northwest China 1

WithChung-fu Chang

This chapter surveys the latest developments in revealing and disseminating genealogical records of Sufi shaykhs and narrating the history of Sufi orders in northwest China. Chang addresses the unique secretive feature of traditional genealogies and hagiographies of eminent shaykhs that were kept out of reach to the wide public until the late 20th century. Following the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), many of these records became available to outside observers. Thereafter, local and foreign scholars, authors and community members published new works based on these recently revealed records, providing more detailed and accurate historical narratives of the diverse Sufi factions. Recent decades have seen also the proliferation of new sources compiled in Arabic and Persian or Japanese to avoid official scrutiny and sanctions. Chang demonstrates how present-day access to these sources, and their circulation in foreign languages, extended their socio-educational function also to wider political realms, beyond the confines of individual religious Muslim sects in northwest China.