Khufiyya (Chinese: 虎夫耶; pinyin: Hǔfūyé, Arabic: خفيه, the silent ones) is a Sufist order of Chinese Islam. It was the first Sufist order to be established within China[1] and, along with Jahriyya, Qadariyya, and Kubrawiyyah, is acknowledged as one of the four orders of Chinese Sufism.[2]

Adherents of Khufiyya dwell mainly in Northwestern China, especially Gansu province. The order follows the school of Hanafi in terms of jurisprudence.[3] Traditional beliefs within the order claim the origin of Khufiyya to be Abu Bakr.[4] In addition, the doctrines of Khufiyya are influenced by Confucianism, the Confucian approach or way of expounding Islamic sacred texts known as "Yiru Quanjing" (以儒詮經).[5][6]

Mausoleum of Ma Laichi, Linxia City, Gansu, China
Yu Baba Gongbei in Linxia


The origin of Khufiyya can be traced to the Naqshbandis of Central Asia, a Sunni spiritual order of Sufism, which in turn has its roots in Sham.[7] Their missions gave rise to the prosperity of Sufis in Bukhara and Samarkand. Makhdumi Azam, a 17th-century Naqshbandi leader, settled in Kashgar where his offspring promoted and cemented his teachings. Descendants of Azam were known as Miskiya and Ishaqis.[8]

Khufiyya in China was pioneered by a Ming dynasty mufti from Lintao named Ma Shouzhen (馬守貞). He was born in 1633, during the reign of the Chongzhen Emperor. In his youth, he was mentored by the Miskiya missionary Afaq Khoja, who visited Hezhou in 1672[9][10]and greatly contributed to the dissemination of Sufism in China.[11] At the age of 40, Shouzhen began his preaching. After 50 years, the order had grown into a sizable religious community.[2]

Ma Laichi can be seen as another founding member of the Khufiyya order. Under the guidance of Ma Taibaba, a contemporary of Ma Shouzhen, Ma Laichi was introduced into Sufism. After pilgrimage to Mecca, he returned to China and preached for 32 years in Qinghai and Gansu province. He later established the Huasi Menhuan, which remains an important menhuan, or denomination, of Chinese Sufism.[10][12][13]

In the early 18th century, Xian Meizhen, another pupil of Afaq Khoja, preached in the inner provinces of China. The Xianmen Menhuan denomination was founded by Meizhen.[14] Gradually, over years of religious practice and conversion, different denominations of Khufiyya formed Jiaofang (教坊)–units of residence where followers of a menhuan reside.[15] Just like those of Jahriyya, Khufiyyan Jiaofang were organized administrative divisions led by an Akhoond.[16]

Throughout the reign of the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty, the "old" orders of Chinese Sufism represented by Khufiyya encountered a wave of reformists led by Ma Mingxin, the founder of Jahriyya which was known as the "New order". Ma Mingxing opposed and criticized Khufiyyan menhuan's hereditary lineage and attracted followers from Gansu, Ningxia, and Qinghai.[16][13] In the later conflicts between Khufiyya and Jahriyya over both religious and political affairs, the Qing government supported Khufiyya and saw Jahriyya as a threat to its rule.[17]

During the Cultural Revolution, Khufiyya was among the many religious organizations that suffered persecutions and pressures. Many mosques were demolished during this time, religious practice was forbidden. The state-imposed ban on religion was lifted after 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.[18] In contemporary China, followers of Khufiyya live mainly in Linxia, Tianshui and Lanzhou of Gansu province.[19]


Like other Sufi orders, Khufiyya is characterized by the veneration of saints, the search for enlightenment, and dhikr (quiet repetition of devotional phrases or prayers). The dhikr of Khufiyya followers are in a low tone or even silent, which references the meaning of the "Khufiyya", which means "the silent ones" in Arabic.[20][21] In addition, Khufiyya was relatively conformist to the central government of China throughout different periods of history.[21]

The Khufiyya order rejects excessive practice of the abstinence from worldly desires. It advocates for a way of spiritual life which balances between one's secular affairs and spiritual endeavors.[22]

Disciples of the Khufiyya order are required to complete the reading of the Quran and Hadiths. Notably, the sufi Tariqa of reciting silent dhikr is a necessity. A teacher of Khufiyya disciples is known as Murshid.[23]


As of 1988, out of 6,781,500 Hui Chinese, 7.2% identify as Khufiyya followers. In Ningxia, there were 560 mosques affiliated with Khufiyya.[24] Adherents of Khufiyya can be found in most of the northwestern provinces of China, with settlements in the inner provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan, Henan, Jilin and Hebei.[23]


There are more than 20 menhuan (denominations). The following list shows some of the major menhuans of the Khufiyya brotherhood:[23]

  • Huasi Menhuan
  • Lintao Menhuan
  • Beizhuang Menhuan, Basuchi Menhuan, and Jinggou Menhuan
  • Mingyuetang
  • Humen Menhuan
  • Xianmen Menhuan
  • Hongmen Menhuan
  • Wenquantang and Tonggui Menhuan
  • Gaozhaojia Menhuan
  • Salar
  • Famen Menhuan
  • Dingmen Menhuan


  1. ^ 回族社会历史调查资料. Yunnan nationalities publishing house. 2009. ISBN 9787105087563.
  2. ^ a b Bai, Shouyi (2008). Huzu Renwu Zhi. Ninxia Renmin Press. pp. 898–903. ISBN 9787227020066.
  3. ^ Zhang, Shihai. Hui Chinese and Islamic study. Lanzhou: Gansu Minzu Press. pp. 165, 270–271. ISBN 9787542112675.
  4. ^ Ma, Tong (1983). 中国伊斯兰教派与门宦制度史略. Yinchuan: Ninxia Renmin Press. p. 210.
  5. ^ Lee, David (2015). Contextualization of Sufi Spirituality in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century China. Wipf and Stock Eugene. p. 189. ISBN 9781498225229.
  6. ^ 宁夏回族自治区概况. 民族出版社. 2008. p. 35. ISBN 9787105086054.
  7. ^ Liu, Yihong (2006). 回儒对话: 天方之经与孔孟之道. Zongjiao Wenhua Chubanshe. p. 191. ISBN 9787801238108.
  8. ^ Jin, Yiliu; Ho Wai, Yip, eds. (2017). Islam. Translated by Chan Ching-shing, Alex. Leiden: Brill. p. 148. ISBN 9789047428008.
  9. ^ Yang, Huiyun (1993). 中国回族大辞典. Shanghai: Shanghai Dictionary Publishing house. p. 114. ISBN 9787532602629.
  10. ^ a b Manger, Leif (2013). Muslim Diversity: Local Islam in Global Contexts. Routledge. p. 121. ISBN 9781136818646.
  11. ^ Jin, Yijiu (2008). Chinese religions and beliefs a series of contemporary studies in China: Islam. Minzu Press. p. 273. ISBN 9787105091096.
  12. ^ Papas, Alexandre; Wei, Ma (2015). "Sufi Lineages Among the Salar: An Overview". In Hille, Marie-Paule; Horlemann, Bianca; Nietupski, Paul K. Muslims in Amdo Tibetan Society: Multidisciplinary Approaches. Lanham: Lexington Books. pp. 109–34. ISBN 9780739175309.
  13. ^ a b Stewart, Alexander (2016). Chinese Muslims and the Global Ummah: Islamic Revival and Ethnic Identity Among the Hui of Qinghai Province. Routledge. ISBN 9781317238461.
  14. ^ La, Binde (2009). Islam of Qinghai Province. Zongjiao Wenhua Press. ISBN 9787802541627.
  15. ^ Ma, Keling (2006). 回族传统法文化研究. 中国社会科学出版社. p. 142. ISBN 9787500454328.
  16. ^ a b Yu, Zhengui (1996). 中国历代政权与伊斯兰教. Yinchuan: Ningxia Renmin Publishing house. ISBN 9787227017011.
  17. ^ Min zu wen ti wen xian hui bian, 1921.7–1949.9. United Front Work Department. 1991. p. 876. ISBN 9787503502729.
  18. ^ County annals of Tongxin. Yinchuan: Ningxia Renmin Press. 1995. p. 653. ISBN 7227014371.
  19. ^ 甘肃省志, Volume 70. Gansu Renmin Press. 1989. p. 190. ISBN 7226025957.
  20. ^ Gladney, Dru C. (1996). Muslim Chinese: Ethnic Nationalism in the People's Republic (2 ed.). Cambridge: Harvard UP. p. 48. ISBN 9780674594975.
  21. ^ a b Dillon, Michael (2013). China's Muslim Hui Community: Migration, Settlement and Sects. Routledge. p. 115. ISBN 9781136809330.
  22. ^ Yang, Fenggang (2016). 田野歸來(下)──中國宗教和中國社會研究:道德與社會. Taipei: 台灣文藝. p. 184. ISBN 9789866131363.
  23. ^ a b c Ma, Tong (2017). "Basic Characteristics of Islam in Northern China". In Jin, Yiliu; Ho Wai, Yip. Islam. Translated by Chan Ching-shing, Alex. Leiden: Brill. pp. 323–47. ISBN 9789047428008.
  24. ^ Gladney, Dru C. (2010). "China". In Rubin, Barry M. Guide to Islamist Movements. 2. Armonk, New York / London: M.E. Sharpe. p. 78. ISBN 9780765641380.
Afaq Khoja

Afaq Khoja (1626 – 1694) (Uyghur: ئاپاق خوجا‎), born Hidayat Allah (هدایت‌الله), a.k.a. Apaq Xoja, or more properly Āfāq Khwāja (Persian: آفاق خواجه) was a religious and political leader with the title of Khwaja in Kashgaria (in present-day southern Xinjiang, China). He was also known as Khwāja Hidāyat Allāh (خواجه هدایت‌الله).

Dungan Revolt (1862–77)

The Dungan Revolt (1862–77) or Tongzhi Hui Revolt (simplified Chinese: 同治回变/乱; traditional Chinese: 同治回變/亂; pinyin: Tóngzhì Huí Biàn/Luàn, Xiao'erjing: توْجِ حُوِ بِيًا/لُوًا, Dungan: Тунҗы Хуэй Бян/Луан) or Hui (Muslim) Minorities War was a mainly ethnic and religious war fought in 19th-century western China, mostly during the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor (r. 1861–75) of the Qing dynasty. The term sometimes includes the Panthay Rebellion in Yunnan, which occurred during the same period. However, this article relates specifically to the uprising by members of the Muslim Hui and other Muslim ethnic groups in China's Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia provinces, as well as in Xinjiang, between 1862 and 1877. Some claim that the revolt arose over a pricing dispute involving the sale of bamboo poles between a Han merchant and a Hui. However, according to historical records from the era, bamboo poles were bought in large quantities by the Hui to make spears as weaponry. Moreover, there had already been attacks on Han counties prior to the Shengshan bamboo incident.

The conflict eventually led to large-scale massacres of Han and non-Muslim Chinese. A recorded 20.77 million population reduction in Shaanxi and Gansu occurred due to migration and war related death. A further 74.5% population reduction occurred in Gansu, and 44.7% in Shaanxi. In Shaanxi, 83.7% (~5.2 million) of the total loss occurred in the period of war as a consequence of mass migration and war-related death. Many civilian deaths were also caused by famine due to war conditions.The uprising occurred on the western bank of the Yellow River in Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia, but excluded Xinjiang Province. A chaotic affair, it often involved diverse warring bands and military leaders with no common cause or a single specific goal. A common misconception is that the revolt was directed against the Qing dynasty, but no evidence shows that the rebels intended to attack the capital, Beijing, or to overthrow the entire Qing government, but to exact revenge on their personal enemies for injustices. When the rebellion failed, mass emigration of the Dungan people from Ili to Imperial Russia ensued.


Gedimu (Chinese: 格迪目; pinyin: Gédímù) or Qadim (Arabic: قديم‎) is the earliest school of Islam in China. It is a Hanafi, non-Sufi school of the Sunni tradition. Its supporters are centered on local mosques, which function as relatively independent units.It is numerically the largest Hui school of thought in China.Since the introduction of Islam in China, during the Tang Dynasty, it continued to the Ming Dynasty with no schisms. At the end of the Ming and early Qing Dynasty Sufism was introduced to China. Muslims in what are now Xinjiang, Gansu and Qinghai, began to convert to the Sufi sects, and the new sects were referred to as old teaching / New Faith / New Religion (Chinese xinpai or Xinjiao). Those who clung to the old beliefs were called members of the Gedimu (from the Arabid "qadim," meaning ancient), or in Chinese Laojiao (the old doctrine).

In the religious ideas of this school the basic Islamic principles of Tawheed are maintained. In religious practice, this requires of the faithful a strict observance of the principle of Rukun, the five basic duties of Islam.In the long period of development formed a conservative tradition. It is against unorthodox innovations and sticks to the old rules, without interference in the affairs of other denominations.Another important feature of the school is that it puts a focus on culture and education. Organised by the mosques, they send the children from their neighborhood to receive religious instruction. Usually Arabic and Persian writings are studied.Qadim has spread the longest history in China. In its development, the school has been somewhat influenced by Chinese culture and has many Han Chinese customs and traditions included in its rites. [5] The mosque architecture is different from that of other Muslim areas. Qadim was the result of the Sunni faith in a particular environment in the China proper.

Jingtang Jiaoyu is a form of Islamic education, influenced by Chinese culture, which the Gedimu Muslims pride themselves in learning. Jingtang Jiaoyu does not closely approximate Arabic due to the liminations of the vernacular spoken Chinese, in particular, its vowels and final consanants, it produces a sinicized pronunciation of the Arabic language. Many Hui who used it said Salaam Aleikun instead of Salaam Alaikum.

The Hanafi Sunni Gedimu has been somewhat influenced by Chinese customs and the Jingtang Jiaoyu method of education, refusing to pronounce Arabic in the Arab manner even when learning of the standard pronunciation. Hanfi Sunni Sunnaiti's (Yihewani adherents) criticize the Gedimu for practicing Islamic customs influenced by Chinese culture, including Jingtang Jiaoyu, Sunnaiti's pride themselves on speaking correct Arabic, accusing the Gedimu Muslims of practicing Han and Buddhist customs and "Chinese Arabic". One Sunnaiti Imam said of the Gedimu, "blindly followed the traditions of their ancestors".Qadim along with the Ikhwan and Xidaotang on the three major school traditions of China Gedimu adherents use Mosques which are built like Chinese style temples with Minarets resembling pagodas, in contrast to Yihewani members, who build their Mosques and Minarets to resemble Middle Eastern style architecture.

Still, Gedimu has been much less influenced by Chinese culture than some Islamic other sects, such as Qadariyya and Xidaotang.

Islam during the Qing dynasty

Qing dynasty (1644–1911). The Qing rulers were Manchu, not Han, and were themselves a minority in China. The Qing dynasty witnessed five Muslim rebellions. The first and last rebellions were caused by sectarian infighting between rival Sufi Muslim orders.


Jahriyya (also spelled Jahrīya or Jahriyah) is a menhuan (Sufi order) in China, commonly called the New Teaching (Xinjiao). Founded in the 1760s by Ma Mingxin, it was active in the late 18th and 19th centuries in what was then Gansu Province (also including today's Qinghai and Ningxia), when its followers were involved in a number of conflicts with other Muslim groups and in several rebellions against China's ruling Qing dynasty.

The name comes from the Arabic word jahr (جهر), referring to their practice of vocally performing the dhikr (invocation of the name of God). This contrasted with the more typical Naqshbandi practice of performing it silently, as observed by the Khufiyya or Old Teaching.

Jahriyya revolt

In the Jahriyya revolt of 1781 sectarian violence between two suborders of the Naqshbandi Sufis, the Jahriyya Sufi Muslims and their rivals, the Khafiyya Sufi Muslims, led to Qing intervention to stop the fighting between the two, which in turn led to a Jahriyya Sufi Muslim rebellion which the Qing dynasty in China crushed with the help of the Khufiyya (Khafiyya) Sufi Muslims.Due to street fighting and lawsuits between the Jahriyya and Khufiyya Sufi orders, Ma Mingxin was arrested to stop the sectarian violence between the Sufis. The Jahriyya then tried to violently jailbreak Ma Mingxin which lead to his execution and the crushing of the Jahriyya rebels. The Qing used Xinjiang as a place to put deported Jahriyya rebels.The Khufiyya Sufis and Gedimu joined together against the Jahriyya Sufis whom they fiercely opposed and differed from in practices. Salar Jahriyyas were among those deported to Xinjiang. Some Han Chinese joined and fought alongside the Jahriyya Salar Muslim rebels in their revolt. Muslim loyalists fought for the Qing.Jahriyya followers were also deported to Guizhou and Yunnan. The Jahriyya were labelled as the "New Teaching".Corruption and embezzlement by officials was suggested as a contributing factor to the violence.The Dungan Revolt (1895–96) broke out in the same place as the Jahriyya revolt for very similar reasons, sectarian violence and lawsuits between two Naqshbandi Sufi orders which the Qing tried to resolve.Ma Mingxin's descendant was Ma Yuanzhang.


Laojiao may refer to:

Re-education through labor (劳教)

Khufiyya or Old Teaching (老教)

Luzhou Laojiao, a Chinese liquor

Linxia City

Linxia City (simplified Chinese: 临夏市; traditional Chinese: 臨夏市; pinyin: Línxià Shì), once known as Hezhou (Chinese: 河州; pinyin: Hézhōu; Wade–Giles: Ho-chou), is a county-level city in the province of Gansu of the People's Republic of China, and the capital of the multi-ethnic Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture. It is located in the valley of the Daxia River (a right tributary of the Yellow River), 150 km (93 mi) (by road) southwest of the provincial capital Lanzhou.The population of the entire county-level city of Linxia (which includes both the central city and some rural area) is estimated at 250,000; of which, 58.4% is classified as urban population. According to the prefectural government, 51.4% of Linxia City's population belongs to the "Hui nationality", i.e. the Chinese-speaking Muslims. Some members of Linxia Prefecture other minority ethnic groups, such as Dongxiang, Bonan, and Salar, live in the city.For centuries, Hezhou/Linxia has been one of the main religious, cultural, and commercial centers of China's Muslim community, earning itself the nickname of "the little Mecca of China".In the words of the ethnologist Dru Gladney, "Almost every major Islamic movement in China finds its origin among Muslims who came to Linxia disseminating new doctrines after pilgrimage to Middle Eastern Islamic centers".

It remains the main center of China's Qadiriyyah and Khufiyya Sufi orders; it was also the home of Ma Mingxin, the founder of the Jahriyya order, although that order's "center of gravity" has shifted elsewhere since.

Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture

Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture (simplified Chinese: 临夏回族自治州; traditional Chinese: 臨夏回族自治州; pinyin: Línxià Huízú Zìzhìzhōu; Xiao'erjing: لٍشِا خُوِذُو ذِجِجِوْ‬) formerly known as Hezhou is located in Gansu province, south of the provincial capital Lanzhou, bordering Qinghai to the west. It is an autonomous prefecture for the Muslim Hui people, a large Chinese ethnic group. It also includes two autonomous counties for other Muslim groups, namely Dongxiang, Salar, and Bonan.

List of Sufi orders

The following is a list of Sufi orders or schools (ṭarīqah)

List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic." A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.

Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

Ma (surname)

Ma (simplified Chinese: 马; traditional Chinese: 馬; pinyin: Mǎ) is a Chinese family name. The surname literally means "horse". It is one of the most common family names in China. As of 2006, it ranks as the 14th most common Chinese surname in Mainland China and the most common surname within the Chinese Muslim community, specifically the Hui people, Dongxiang people, and Salar people.The offspring of Zhao She adopted "Ma" (馬), the first word of the district Ma Fu, as their surname. Other romanizations include Mah, Beh and Mar.

Hui Muslims, Salars, Bonan and Dongxiang people commonly adopted Ma as the translation for their surname Muhammad. for e.g. Ma Jian, Ma Benzhai, Ma clique.During the Ming dynasty, the Zhengde Emperor had an Uyghur concubine with the surname Ma.

Ma Laichi

Ma Laichi (1681? – 1766?), (simplified Chinese: 马来迟; traditional Chinese: 馬來遲; pinyin: Mǎ Láichí; Wade–Giles: Ma Lai-chih) also known as Abu 'l-Futūh Ma Laichi, was a Chinese Sufi master, who brought the Khufiyya movement to China and created the Huasi menhuan (Sufi order) - the earliest and most important Naqshbandi (نقشبندية,納克什班迪) order in Chinese Muslim history.

Ma Mingxin

Ma Mingxin (1719–1781) (simplified Chinese: 马明心、马明新; traditional Chinese: 馬明心、馬明新; pinyin: Mǎ Míngxīn; Wade–Giles: Ma Ming-hsin) was a Chinese Sufi master, the founder of the Jahriyya menhuan (Naqshbandi Sufi order).

Muslim groups in China

The vast majority of China's Muslims are Sunni Muslims, although some Salafi groups are also present.


The Naqshbandi (Persian: نقشبندی‎) or Naqshbandiyah (Arabic: نقشبندية‎, translit. Naqshbandīyah) is a major Sunni spiritual order of Sufism. It got its name from Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari and traces its spiritual lineage to the Islamic prophet Muhammad through Abu Bakr, who was father-in-law, companion, and successor of Muhammad. Some Naqshbandi masters trace their lineage through Ali, his son-in-law and successor, in keeping with most other Sufis.

Qing reconquest of Xinjiang

The Qing reconquest of Xinjiang was the event when the Qing dynasty in China reconquered Xinjiang after the Dungan Revolt in the late 19th century. After a century of Qing rule, the Tajik adventurer Yakub Beg occupied almost all of Xinjiang during the revolt, but it was eventually defeated by the Qing General Zuo Zongtang (also known as General Tso). Furthermore, Qing China recovered the Gulja region through diplomatic negotiations with the Russian Empire and the Treaty of Saint Petersburg in 1881. Xinjiang was converted into a province in 1884.

Salar people

The Salar people (Salar: Salır, سالار; Chinese: 撒拉族; pinyin: Sālāzú, Xiao'erjing: صَالاذُ) are an ethnic minority of China who largely speak the Salar language, an Oghuz Turkic language.

The Salar people numbered 104,503 people in the last census of 2000. They live mostly in the Qinghai-Gansu border region, on both sides of the Yellow River, namely in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County and Hualong Hui Autonomous County of Qinghai and the adjacent Jishishan Bonan, Dongxiang and Salar Autonomous County of Gansu. There are also Salars in Xinjiang (in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture).

They are a patriarchal agricultural society and are predominantly Muslim.


Xidaotang (Chinese: 西道堂; pinyin: Xīdàotáng, "Hall of the Western Dao," i.e. Islam)--originally called Jinxingtang 金星堂, the "Gold Star Hall"; also called the Hanxue pai 汉学派, the "Han Studies Sect" --is a Sino-Islamic religious body / special economic community centered in Gansu province. Founded in 1901 by Ma Qixi (1857–1914), a Chinese Muslim from Lintan (formerly Taozhou), it fuses traditional Sunni Hanafi Islam with study of the Confucian classics and the Han Kitab. The group lived communally, supporting itself through a trade network which extended into the Tibetan border regions.

In 1914, Hui general Ma Anliang, affiliated with the rival Khufiyya order, slew Ma Qixi, and was nearly successful in exterminating the sect, but a portion evaded capture. Hui warlord Ma Zhongying raided Hui and Tibetan encampments in the 1920s, causing another exodus. The Xidaotang pledged allegiance to the Kuomintang after their rise to power, and in 1941, the Hui General Bai Chongxi introduced Chiang Kai-shek to Xidaotang leader Ma Mingren in Chongqing.The Xidaotang is mainly distributed in Lintan and Hezheng County in Gansu, and also has followers in Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Sichuan. Its religious practices broadly resemble those of the Qadim (Gedimu), with some Jahriyya elements. Great emphasis is placed on shari'a (jiaocheng 教乘),and tariqa (daocheng 道乘), "which gradually leads to depersonalization and mystical union with God." Its members organize collectively and work together. One important focus is education. The group observes such holidays as the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (Mawlid an-Nabi), the anniversary of his death, and the anniversary of the death of Ma Qixi. However, no mausoleum was built for Ma Qixi.Other leaders in the movement were:

1918-1946: Ma Mingren (马明仁, 1896–1946)

1947-1958: Min Xuecheng (敏学成, 1882–1957) (i.e. Min Zhidao).

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