Islamic menhuan


Islamic menhuan
(Sufi groups)
The Sufi descent groups, of which adherents can be found among Hui, Dongxiang, Salar and Baoan ethnic minorities in northwest, northeast and southwest China, are called menhuan (al-Tariqah). The provinces of Hebei and Henan have only a small Sufi following. The menhuan is a socio-religious institution based upon the family of the saint—the first jiaozhu (‘master of the teaching’, i.e. founder) and his successors and followers. The order has over thirty menhuan schools and branches in China. As in other Islamic schools, menhuan worshippers follow the Koran and Hadith (oral sayings), and practise the five basic religious rites (Pillars).
Special duties of all menhuan believers are: to revere the founder of their menhuan; to believe that their revered jiaozhu will lead his followers to heaven; to obey the jiaozhu’s kouhuan (words of authoritative import) and instructions absolutely; to build gongbei-the jiaozhu’s tomb which forms the centre of a site designed for worship and congregation. Members bestow homage and perform special rites, such as reciting the Koran, chanting dhikr (whereby the believer calls to Allah, affirms core precepts of faith, and praises Allah and His prophet) and meditating on the mysteries of God.
For most menhuan orders, only a descendant of jiaozhu can succeed to a leadership position. The absolute authority and comprehensive privileges of a jiaozhu, including of property and appointments, were abolished only in the religious reform movement of 1958. Like other Islamic orders, since the 1980s, affairs of mosques have been directed by elected democratic administrative committees.
See also: Islamic orders; Islamic tombs; Islamic Brotherhood (Yihewani)
Dillon, M. (1999). China’s Muslim Hui Community. Richmond: Curzon.
Murata, S. (2000). Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
SHUI JINGJUN

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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