Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Qadiriyya & Naqshbandiyya in China

Qadiriyya & Naqshbandiyya in China
(Notes From The Wandering Journal of Abu Zuhri Shin (Dated somewhere circa 2001)
300 years ago. A young Chinese murid/disciple whom destined to be a great sufi shaykh was told by Nashqabandi teacher Khawja Afaq in 1672, after receiving the initial training in Middle East and Central Asia was told : “ I am not to be your (complete/perfect) Teacher (yu er fei shi ), my Ancient Teaching is not to be passed to you, your real Shaykh has already crossed the Eastern Sea and arrived in Eastern land (of China). You must therefore return home quickly, and you will become a famous (sufi) Teacher in the land (later)”. This student was famously known as Master Qi Jingyi ( Shaykh Hilal-addin) or Qi Doazhu. He was buried in Linxia’s great tomb which became an active center of Qadiriyya Sufism in china. He had preached Islam in the province of Guandong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Ningxia before his death in 1674. Another record traced that Qi Jingyi had studied in the Prophet Illuminated City of Madina under the renown mystic Shaykh Ibrahim al-Kurani of the Shattariyya-Qadiriyya Tariqa, the same teacher of the Sumatra ulama Abdul Rauf Fansuri ( author of Umdatul Muhtajin). The main Qadiri teaching are : “ Those who know their self, clearly will know Allah” (man arafa nafsahu, fa qad arafa Rabbahu) and “ The Awliya-saints help us to know-correct ourselves first before knowing Allah (perfectly in worship and devotion)”. One of the Menhuan (tariqa centre) Gate in north east china was inscribed with a sufic proverb which declare : “ Believe in True God ( Zhen Zhu) and transform your self, and believe in the Prophet-Rasul (Sheng Ren), then awaken people of the world” There are three stages of sufic teaching are known in Chinese expressions as -Sharia / Chang Dao -Tariqa / Zhong Dao - Haqiqah / Zhen Cheng / Zhi Dao Sufism did not make a substantial impact in China until the 17th century, during the second tide of islam entrance in china. Like sufic centers everywhere, many of the sufi movement in china develop socio-economic and religious institutions built around the madrasa set up by early sufi saintly leaders. This centers known as ‘Menhuan ( The Gate/Pathway). Joseph Flectcher ‘s cogent observation is worth citing : “ many sufi reforms spread throughout china during the decades of Qing Dynasty. Increased travels and communication between muslims both east and west, generated revival and exposition to new teaching. There are now 4 main menhuan/tariqa exist in china : the Tariqa of Qadiriyya (traced back to shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani), Jahriyya and Khufiyya (from Shaykh Bahauddin Nashqabandi) and Kubrawiyya ( from Shaykh Najmuddin al-Kubrawi of Persia). Interesting enough, the sufic text/poems of Mathnawi of Maulana Rumi are still recited/chanted in Ningxia province until today”. According to another sufic saying – ‘True Tao/Way are unceasing (Ti tao wu she ) which means that authentic sufic paths will always exist and sustained by the power, decree and overflowing of Allah’s immense knowledge, secrets and lights deposited through His Awliya/Friends. The Khufiyya menhuan preferred silent zikr remembrance of God. It is more suited to the hostile opposition from the Chinese governments which sought to assimilate them. Shaykh Ma Laichi was the founder of Nasqabandi in china. From 1728-1733, Ma Laichi wentton hajj to Mecca, then passing to Yemen and Bukhara where he studied with several sufi masters. He emphasised on a more active participation in society beside infusion of knowledge, zikr and reverence of past saints. The Nashqabandi Jahriyya was another important sufic order in china founded by Shaykh Ma Mingxin a dynamic leader. His teaching was thought to be novel, heterodox and subject to many conflicts in north west china. He preached the vocal-loud zikr (jahri). Many of his murids stated that : “ The root of our Way is from Arabia, the branches and leaves are in China” This remind us of the Prophetic Hadith : ‘ Seek knowledge even unto China’. After extensive search, Fletcher discovered that Ma Mingxin spiritual lineage was connected to a Nasqhbandi sufi named shaykh Abu Duha Halik from Yemen. This sufic silsila contained in the documnents found by a missionary FW Martin Taylor who was based in Jinxi, Ningxia. After him, there are other sufi shaykhs such as Ma Hualong, Ma Jinxi and Ma Yuanzhang, active until the late 1920s. Gellner suggested that , “ Sufism provide a theory, terminology and technique of leadership for the Chinese muslims for future survival”.


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