chapter  6
14 Pages

Hui Lineages in Taozhou and the Acculturation of Islam during the Qing Dynasty

WithYue Que

This chapter investigates the Muslims’ reaction to Sufi teachings in the multi-ethnic environment of Taozhou, Southern Gansu. Originally, an early Ming garrison, Taozhou developed into a trading center inhabited by Muslims, Tibetans and Han Chinese. Many among the Muslims served there as military officials. Their lineages simultaneously nurtured their Muslim heritage and local gentry identity: They established schools for Confucian education, participated in the imperial examinations, compiled Chinese-style genealogies and intermarried with local families. This chapter focuses on the social and intellectual transformation that the Taozhou’s Muslims underwent since the 18th century, when competing Khafiya Sufi sub-orders made their first inroads to Taozhou, often involving the local community in violent struggles with the Qing government. Prominent Muslim families viewed the rise of Sufism as a threat to social order and countered it with the promotion of Islamic studies in the Chinese language. Nevertheless, as Que demonstrates, the interaction with Sufi practices yielded the emergence of a highly influential group called Hall of the Western Dao (Ch. Xidaotang) in 1890. That order was founded, like Sufi sects, by succession to the leader’s charisma but differed from Sufism by practicing the teaching of Islam in Chinese, within the tradition of “scripture-hall education.”