Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 17, 2016

The Chinese Sufi Wiqāyatullāh Ma Mingxin and the Construction of his Sanctity in Kitāb al-Jahrī

Florian Sobieroj

Abstract

By contrast to the majority of the Muslim authors of Chinese origin who composed their literary works in the Chinese language, the authors of the Jahriyya Sufi order, a still active branch of the Naqshbandiyya network rooted mainly in the provinces of Gansu and Ningxia, have produced a small number of texts in the Arabic language and through this means they have recorded the conflict-ridden history of their menhuan and left behind a description of their belief-system. The main focus in this article lies on the sanctity (wilāya) of Ma Mingxin Wiqāyatullāh (died 1781), founder (daozu 道祖) of the Jahriyya order, as remembered and construed by his hagiographers in general and by the author of the Kitāb al-Jahrī, Manṣūr Ma Xuezhi (end of 19th and beginning of 20th c.), in particular: in their construction, Mingxin’s sanctity manifests itself in miracles, predictions, exorcisms and spiritual states. The text of the K. al-Jahrī which is the most comprehensive of the hagiographical writings of the Jahriyya as well as the other works of this group (e. g. Manāqib; Rashaḥāt) have all been transmitted in manuscript form within the Sufi order, they have been published in facsimile and been partly translated into Chinese. Hence a second focus has been laid on the codicology of the manuscript of the K. al-Jahrī, the basis of this study. Although the article mainly takes a codicological, philological and phenomenological approach to the subject of Mingxin´s sanctity, the historical background to his career as portrayed in the Chinese and Western-language studies has also been taken into consideration.

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Published Online: 2016-3-17
Published in Print: 2016-3-1

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