Islamic orders


Islamic orders
The structure of Islamic orders in the PRC has remained congruent with that of the Republican period (1911–49). The majority of Chinese Muslims belong to the Sunni schools, which include followers of Gedimu, Yihewani, Islamic menhuan, Xidaotang, Salafiyyah and Yichan (Ishan) orders.
Gedimu, the oldest and largest school of the Sunnis, is also called Laojiao (Laopai) and has adherents throughout China. Gedimu places emphasis on basic beliefs and the five primary duties (Pillars) of all Muslims, respects Islamic orthodoxy and traditions, and strictly observes religious rites and tradition. The strong Confucian accretions have been modified since the 1990s, moving this tradition closer to other Islamic orders.
Xidaotang, also known as Hanxuepai (Chinese Islamic School), was founded in the early twentieth century, and most of its following is concentrated in Lintan county, Gansu province. Basic beliefs and practices of this school are similar to others, but it is more deeply permeated by the writings of Chinese Islamic scholars of the Ming and Qing periods. Xidaotang religious rites resemble the Gedimu school, but the organizational system is more akin to a Sufi menhuan. Before the early 1950s, Xidaotang functioned as both an Islamic school and an economic entity, but in the PRC it has only a religious function.
Salafiyyah, also called Santaipai because worshippers raise their hands three times in prayers, was founded in 1930s but developed only in the 1950s. This school, similar to the Islamic Brotherhood, is influenced by Wahhabi fundamentalism and follows the ‘ancient way’ in a strict interpretation of the Koran and Hadith (oral teachings). The growing number of adherents, a development particularly notable since the 1990s, are located in Qinghai province—in Linxia, Lanzhou, Tianshui, Xian, Zhangjiachuan and other cities.
Yichan (Ishan), practised among Xinjiang minorities, shares similarities with Sufi menhuan. But their religious practices and rites have come to intermingle more closely with other local religious traditions.
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SHUI JINGJUN

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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