Do all the Muslims of Tibet belong to the Hui?

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Do all the Muslims of Tibet belong to the Hui?
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  Chapter 77 Do All the Muslims of ribet Belong to the Hui Nationality? DianaAltner The Chinese state currently classifies all Muslims living in Tibetan areas as belonging to the Muslim minority of the 'Hui'. Tibetans distinguish different Muslim groups accordingto the srcin of their ancestors. In the present article, the srcin and development of the Chinese term'Hui'will be discussed as well as the equivalent terms in the Tibetan language and the Tibetan terms used for the individual Muslim groups living in the Tibetan areas.THE ETHNTc GRoup uut(uutzu\W) The Hui or Huihui, who live in China, represent an independent ethnic group which numbered 9,816,80s people in 2000 according to the official census. The older name for the Hui, 'Chinese Muslims', reflects the significance of religionfor the ethnic identity of the Uui. The distinct identity of the Hui is often denied by Han Chinese who argue that the Hui are actually Han who do not eat pork and practise Islam. The cultural differences according to the Han Chinese are very limited.' The Hui are, however, recognizedby the Chinese government as a separate nationality. This official acknowledgment of the Hui as an ethnic group suggests that their identity is indeed more than a religious one. Compared to the othernational minorities who profess to Islam - the Uyghur (Weiwu'erzu #Erl<l&), Khazak (ttasa.ke zu WtFfr,lR), uzbeks (wuzibieke zu 9Zf'fi\rttR), Kirgis (Ke'erkezi zu tüßH,&tR), Tatar (Tata'er zu HHßIR), Dongxiang (Dongxiang zu t9lH, Bonan (Bao'anzu E XiH,Tajik(TqjikezuHErtrF) and Salar (Salazu ffitüi4), theHui are numerically the largest group.Rather than living exclusively in any particular part of China, the Hui arescattered throughout the whole country. While they can be found in all provinces and cities in China, their settlements are concentrated in areas around mosques.These settlements are most numerous in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (Ningxia Huizu zizhiqu -.äE,ffrEläX) (tt.zoto), Gansu province (Gansu sheng 1 Thomas Hoppe,DieethnischenGruppenXinjiangs:Kulturunterschiedeundinterethnßche Beziehungen (Hamburg, LOOS), pp. 350-5 1.  Islam andTibet - lnteractions along the Muskfuoutes E ffiä') (tz.zoto), Henan province (Henan sheng l4H'ä) (to.to/o), Qinghai province(qinghai sheng äE'ä) (z.qN) and the Xinjiang Autonomous Region (xiniiang zizhiqu +fE E iäX) (z.sv.)3 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HUI The Hui are distinct within their surroundings because of their religion andthe lifestyle it requires: they follow Islamic traditions in dietary habits, funeral services, marriage ceremonies and holiday celebrations. Most of them specialize in certain professions such as being traders, farmers, butchers, tanners, or practising other crafts. On the other hand, the fact that the Hui generally speak Chinese contributesto their assimilation. In most parts of China they use the local Chinese dialects and the languages of other nationalities. At the same time they use a large number of Arabic and Persian words and Arabic script in decoration and for religious purposes.3 In their daily life, the Hui wear Chinese dress or the dress of other nationalities and use Chinese names in public. Because of their varioussocial contexts, Hui communities differ considerably among each other.a Hui who abandon the religious community still remain Hui. 'These days Hui atheists and agnostics abound, and their "Huiness" consists not in what they believe butin their ancestry and in some of the customs that characterize their daily livesand commonly accompany their families'births, weddings, and deaths." DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE HUI AND THE OTHER MUSLIM MINORITIES OF CHINA While the Uyghur, Kazak, Kirgis, Salar, Uzbeks and Tatar can be regarded as Turkish peoples, the DongxiangandBonanbelong to the Mongolian peoples and the Tajik are anlranianpeople, the Hui cannot be classified as any ofthese larger ethnic and cultural groups. While the other Muslim minorities speak their own language with a Turkish, Mongolian or Iranian srcin, the Hui are more deeplyassimilated: they do not have their own language. There are words that are only used among Hui but they cannot be regarded as belonging to a 'Hui langtage'. The Hui claim that they srcinated in the 'lslamic world': Central Asia, Persia and Arabia. Persians, Arabs, Turkic-speakers and other peoples belong to the 'z Ingo Nentwig,'Hui/Dunganen, Huihui, Huizu', in Bertelsmann Lexikon: Die Völker der Erde. Kulturen und Nationalitriten yon A-Z (Gütersloh, t992), p, 152. 3 Michael Dillon, China's Muslim Hui CommuniS: Migration, Settlement and Sects (Richmond, 1,999), pp. 5-6. 4 Hoppe, Die ethnßchen Grupp en Xinjiangs, p. 352. 5 Ibid., p. 359.  Do All the Muslims of Tibet Belong to the Hui Nationality? ancestors of the Hui, These groups arrived in China via different routes and spread gradually over the whole of China. Compared to the Hui, the other Muslimminorities of China are concentrated in fewer provinces: 99.7% of the Uyghur, gg.5o/o of theKazak,98J5% of the Kirgis, 99,9o/o of theTajlk,99,60/0 of the Uzbeks and98.go/o of the Tatar are settled in the XinjiangAutonomous Region; $% of the Dongxiang and90.6o/o of the Bonan live in the Gansu provin cet 878% of the Salar Iive in the Qinghai province.u The wide distribution of the uui throughout China can be seen as one reason for the pressure ofassimilation. They adapt to Chinese society to a much higher degree than the other Muslim minorities, but without Iosing specific characteristics. By underlining cultural characteristics, the Hui emphasize the uniqueness of their way of life which distinguishes them from the ethnic groups settling aroundthem. Compared to the Chinese or the Tibetans, they emphasize their religious lifestyle, Compared to other Muslim minorities also practising Islam, they try to distinguish themselves by other characteristics. In Xinjiang, for instance, theHui emphasizetheir srcin from the inner Chinese provinces by decorating their mosques not with Arabic calligraphy but with Chinese characters.lThe other Muslim minorities regardthe Hui as fellow Muslims but ethnicallythey rank them among the Han Chinese. ORIGINS OF THE ETHNIC GROUP HUI Arab merchants came to Chinavia two routes: overland along the Silk Road and through Southeast Asia by sea. Within one century after Muhammad's death,Muslims came to China via the Silk Road from the northwest.s These people were mainly interested in establishing economic relations with the Chinese. They did not travel to China for missionary reasons; religion was simply a part of theirculture. Since these early Muslim visitors to China were exclusively tradersand merchants, Islam mainly spread out along the trading routes and Islamic communities became established in the importanttrading towns.e Unlike the Muslims who came to China by sea, the Muslims who came to China via land spread out more in western China.1o Muslim merchants came to China by sea also from the seventh century onwards. When sea traffic to China increased greatly in the eighth century, Arab and Persian traders came to southern Chinese harbours and soon settled in the 6 Statistics for the census of l.sgo presented by Ingo Nentwig in the seminar The Hui and lslam in China, summer term 2007, Leipzig University. '/ Hoppe, Die ethnischen Gruppen Xinjiangs, p. 352. 8 Morris Rossabl, 'Muslims in the Yüan Dynasty', inJohn Langlois (ed.),Chinaunder Mongol Rule (Princeton, 1987), p, 257 . e Werner Eichhorn, Die Religionen chinos (Stuttgart, 197 3), p. 261. '0 Diilon, China's Muslim Hui Community, p. 7.  342 lslam andTibet - lnteractions along the MuskRoutes towns close to harbours s l, euanzhou andYangzhoutZ')l'l.The the coastalbecause it took place in limited are offered members of foreign cultures the opportunity to develop structures for a vibrant cultural life and thus to maintaintheir religious customs as well, These circumstances facilitated the establishment of a foreign religion in China.11 In the thirteenth century these costal areas were the home of more than 100,000 foreigners." The first political contacts between Chinese and Arabs by land canbe traced back to the Tang Dynasty (ora-ooz).', The dynasty's expansive foreign policyleft traces in the cultural and religious landscape, As a result ofthe opening to the outside world, a number of important foreign embassies visited the chineseemperors. In 638, Yazdegerd III ofPersia, the last Sasanian ruler, stayed at thechinese court, and in 651 an embassy of the third Islamic Caliph, 'uthmän ibn 'Affan, visited the Tang emperor.la A new phase began in 7 4g,withthe revolution ofthe Abbasids, referred to as 'black-robed Arabs' in Chinese historical records. under al-Mansür (reg, 754-75),the first alliancebetween China and the Abbasids was built.ls Between 756 and 762 the chinese emperor suzong and his son, the later emperor Daizong, were supported by foreign soldiers from persia to suppress the An Lushan rebellion. Muslim sources mention 4,000 soldiers settled in North China,many of whom stayed andmarriedChinese women.16 The song Dynasty (eoo-tzs9) also supported trade with foreigners; especially trade by sea became more and more important. The main reason for thii development was the changed borderline of the song Dynasty - compared to the formerTangDynasty.lmportant areas in Northern and Northwestern China that belonged to the traditional routes ofthe caravans were not ruled by the Chinese emperors any longer. Chinese historical records include many reports about Islam in Islamic countries, but only a few descriptions of the practice of the Islam in chinesesociety. In one report about foreigners living in Guangzhou in the year 1792,some descriptions of their everyday life andreligious practice can be found: 11 Imke Mees, Die Hui - Eine moslemßche Minderheit in China: Assimiliationsprozesse undpolitische Rollevor 1949 (Munich, ßAS), p. 15-16. 1'z Hoppe, Die ethnischen GruppenXinjianqs, p. 355. '3 Marshall Broomhall, tslam in China, aNeglected problem (London, 19to), p. 11. Morerecent studies on Islam in China include Raphael Israeli,lslaminChina:Religion,Ethnicity, culture, and Politics (ranham, zooz); Donald Daniel Leslie, yangDaye and Ahmed youssef,lslam inTraditional China: A Bibliographical euide (Sankt Augustin, 2006). 1a Dieter Kuhn, Status und Ritus: Das China der Aristokratenvon den Anfdngenbß zum 10. J ahrhundert nach Chrßtus (Ueidelberg, r es r), p. s s:. '5 Broomhall,Islam in China, pp.25-6. 16 Donald Daniel Leslie, The lntegration of Religious Minoities in China: The Case of theChinese Muslims (Canberra, l9g8), p. t2. l
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