Ethnic and Geographic Distribution of Muslims in China
According to the official statistics of the Chinese government in 2009, there were approximately 23 million Chinese Muslims, 1.6% of the Chinese population (up from 18 million in 1992 and 20 million in 2000). Non-governmental statistics tend to estimate the number of Muslims between 50 to 100 million. Muslims are dispersed throughout China with a particularly high concentration in the Northwest provinces. Muslims throughout China may be divided into ten distinct predominately Muslim ethnic groups. The largest group is Hui who are spread throughout China, followed by the Uygur who live in Xinjiang. Other groups include Dongxiang, Bao'an, Sala, Uzbek, Kazak, Kirghiz, Tajik, and Tatar. Alongside Muslims of these ethnic groups, there are significant numbers of Muslims among other ethnic groups, including: Han, Zang (Tibetan), Mongol, Bai, and Dai ethnic groups.
Most Chinese Muslims are descendents of Arabs and Turks who follow Sunni Islam and emphasize principles of Ash'arism and Maturidism. Chinese Sunni Muslims typically follow the Hanafi School of thought in jurisprudence. Hanafi jurist primers, including Sharha Wiqayah and Shami (and particularly the latter) are taught widely in religious schools. With the appearance of the Salafism (see below) in China in the mid-twentieth century, some mainstream Hanafis have been exhibited a slight tendency for the Salafi approach of mixing precedents of all four schools of Sunni legal thought, with a preference for the Hanbali school.
Although some Chinese Muslims came from Persian origin, Shi'i influence is not prominent. Small Shi'i communities are found in northwestern China among the Tajik people who live in Tashkurgan County of southern Xinjiang Province on the China-Afghanistan bonder. Among this population, it is believed that the Ismaili doctrine was first introduced in the 17th century by an Iranian named Syyid Shali Khan (dates unknown). In the 20th century, these communities follow the Agha Khan. Another small Shi'i community is found in Shache of Xinjiang province and following the Imamate doctrine of Shi'ah. They hold their origins to be Kashmiri, and are said to have migrated to Shache in the 17th century from the Panjab region of India (current day Pakistan).
Qadeem is the earliest school of Islam in China following Hanfi school of Sunni tradition, to some extent influenced by Chinese culture. Qadeem was shaped by native Chinese Muslims who claimed to maintain Islam as transmitted down through generations form their Arab and Persian ancestors without forming any sect and faction. Qadeem took shape as a distinct orientation when the Sufism was introduced into Chinese speaking areas, notably Gansu and Qinghai province. Qadeem was a reaction to Sufi sects headed by indigenous Chinese Sufi masters in the Qianlong era (1736-1796) of the Qing Dynasty.
As Sufi orders represented new teachings to Chinese Muslims, it was termed "Xin Jiao" (lit. new doctrine) and those who followed it were know as "Xin Pai" (lit. new sect). Those who maintained their old tradition were given a name of "Lao Jiao" (lit. old doctrine) or "Lao Pai" (lit. old sect). Eventually the name of "Qadeem" (lit. old in Arabic) became popular to designate traditional Muslims. Today, most Chinese Muslims remain identified as Qadeem in vast areas of China other than Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia, although there are numbers of Qadeem in these provinces as well. Qadeem are more influenced by Chinese culture and more tolerant to it than others. They many appreciate Sufi principles without fully supporting the full range of its practices.
Men Huan is not a unified sect of Islamic thought in China but a common name given to the more than thirty Sufi sub-sects. The name "Men Huan" is the name that Chinese Sufis called themselves as early as the 18th century. In the 1730s a Chinese Sufi saint Ma Laichi (Abul Futuh, 1681-1766) begin rapidly spreading the Naqshbandi order among Muslims in Hezhou (today's Linxia of Gansu province) as well as the Xunhua of Qinghai province. A community grew around him, later known as Huasi Men Huan. Ma Laichi was followed a decade later by another Chinese Sufi master Ma Mingxin (1719--1781) after his return from Yemen with teachings of the Naqshbandi Sufi order later known as Jahriyya. In time, all Sufi teachings, regardless of their origin or distinguishing characteristics were referred to as Men Huan. Men Huan in China today can be broadly divided into three orders e.g. Naqshbandiyya, Qadiriyya, Kubriyya:
The Naqshbandi order in China has different origins and divided into various branches. The largest group is Khufiya which means secret or silent and indicates their way of performing dhikir (remembrance of God) in a silence state. The core of the Khufiya was Huasi Men Huan brought by Ma Laichi from Makkah. Other branches of Khufiya are Bijiachang, Lintao Men Huan, Mufti, Hong Men, Liu Men, Beizhuang, Ding Men. These Men Huans were originated from Xinjiang either preached by Khawja Hidayatuall Afaq or branches of Khanqas in Xinjiang. Among Khufiya, Fa Men was originated from Makkah while Hu Men was initiated by a Chinese Sufi. Another important group of Naqshbandi order in China is Jahriyya which means loud or open and indicates their way of performing dhikir (remembrance of God) in loudness. It was founded by Ma Mingxin (1719--1781) after his return from Yemen in 1744. Now it has split into five branches: Beishan, Shagou, Xindianzi, Nanchuan, and Banqiao.
The Qadiriyya is believed to be preached by Khawja Abdullah in 1673 in Gansu and Ningxia and other regions. It has many branches and sub-branches including: Dagongbai, Lingmingtang, Mingyuetang, Houhezi, Xiangyuantang, Amen, Qimen, Wenquantang, Tonggui Menhuan, Zhaogaojia, Aitou, Sala, Xian Men, Qiucaiping.
The Kubriyya in China is believed to be brought by one called Muhyinddin , claiming to be descendents of the Prophet Muhammad, in Qianlong era (1736-1796) of the Qing Dynasty. Muhyinddin came to Dawantou and settled there and adopted Zhang as his surname. He preached Kubriyya among local people and formed Kubriyya sect known as Zhang Men or Dawantou Men Huan. Now it has some branches with two centers, one in Kangle County of Gansu province and another in Dongxiang County of the same province. Even before this spread of Naqshibandi teachings, Xinjiang had long been a center for Sufism in Central Asia and China since early the 14th century. It is believed that Sufism entered Tarim Basin (contemporary Xinjiang) through traders of Central Asia. The current Naqshbandi teachings were brought to the region in the 16th century by descendents of a great influential Sufi master of the Central Asia, Ahmad Kasani (1461-1542) known as Makhdum A'zam. In the 16th century, Ishaq Wali (d. 1599), himself a descendent of Makhdum, came to Xinjiang and started his mission in the new region. His mission was so successful that attracted large number of the people including the Mongol elite. He was given patronage and high esteem that enabled him to make the Naqshbandi teachings take hold among the Turkish speaking populations and the rulers in Yarkand and its surrounding areas. His mission was known as Ishaqiyya or Heishan Pai.
Later, another master from the same family, Muhammad Yusuf (d.1653), a grandson of Makhdum, followed his uncle to seek a stronghold in China. At first, he joined the mission of the family which was held in high esteem in the region. At the time of Muhammad Yusuf's arrival, sometime before the mid. 17th century, the Ishaqiyya had gained such power over Mongol rulers that the latter began to think of replacing it. With the appearance of Muhammad Yusuf as a different branch of the family the rulers turned to support him and made him separate from the Ishaqiyya, for Muhammad Yusuf's claim was so strong that he was the son of Makhdum's eldest son. Muhammad Yusuf attained much support from the rulers that he made several successful journeys across the region and acquired disciples everywhere. His success led to jealousy among the Ishaqiyya and touched off a split in the family that ultimately caused the death of Muhammad Yusuf. The family divided into two rival factions. After the death of Muhammad Yusuf, his son, Khawja Hidayatullah (d.1694), known as Khawja Afaq, succeeded and formed a separate branch of the Naqshbandi, known as Afaqiyya, Baishan Pai, or Ishaniyya. Khawjia Afaq preached the teachings of the Naqshbandi order as far as Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia.
Today Muslims in Xinjiang loosely follow either Ishaqiyya (Heishan Pai) or Afaqiyya (Baishan Pai). However, with influence of Saudi Wahabism (see below) in Xinjiang, a minority has begun to cast off the Sufi affiliation and a new sect is forming among them.
Ikhwan usually refers to a reform sect since it started by launching a campaign against shrine worship (Sufi masters grave worship) and Murshid worship and tried to eliminate all Chinese influences to Islam and radically opposed adopting Chinese customs in religious practice and in Muslim daily life. Ikhwani based on the principle of "to follow the book and eliminate customs". Ikhwan strictly follows Hanafi school of thought and emphasizes on Ash'arism and Maturidism. The sect was founded by a Dongxiang Imam Ma Wanfu (1849-1934) from the village of Guoyuan in Hezhou in the 19th century after his return in 1892 from Makkah where he studied several years and was inspired by the Wahabi movement. Allied with a group of ten religious scholars, he started his reform movement. Though he was inspired by the Wahabi movement yet his reform was in no way a continuation of Wahabism or a branch of it for its Hanafi standpoint in jurisprudence and Ash'ari-Maturidism position in doctrine were, contrary to the Wahabism, very strong and uncompromising. Ikhwani in principle does not oppose Sufism but reject the excessive veneration to sufi masters and to their graves. It does not only reject some sufi practices but also oppose Qadeem's tradition which was influenced by Chinese culture without evidence from jurist books. The sect is mainly in Qinghai, Ningxia and Gansu but distributed in Shanghai, Henan, Shandong,Hebei, Xinjiang and some other areas.
Salafiyya represent a continuation of the Wahabi movement in China and form a distinctive sect among Hui people. The Salafiyya (also known as San Tai, lit. "three-rise" after the practice of raising their hands three times in each unit of a prayer) was first brought to China by Ma Debao (1867-1977) in the 1950s. When Ma Debao performed Hajj he was influenced by the Wahabi ideology and movement in Mecca. Upon his return to China he began to preach the Wahabi trends in Hezhou (today's Linxia city). Salafism in China simply duplicates the Wahabi ideology and approach predominant in Saudi Arabia and even imitates Saudi customs in dress. It fiercely criticizes Sufism and the influences of Chinese culture. in religious practices as it opposes to follow any sort of school of thought in jurisprudence and doctrine. They reject claim of Hanbali school of thought though they strictly follow Ibn Taymiyya. The sect was mainly found in Hezhou of Gansu province but now spread in many places notably Ningxia, Qinghai, Yunnan, Tianjing with support of Saudi religious organizations.
Religious debate among Muslims in China is two-fold: debates between sects and debates within a particular sect. The former typically occurs due to an influx of new Muslim communities into a region where Muslims have previously been established. The latter, (debates within a particular sect), have tended to arise due to internal reform movements.
The following sections introduce some of the most notable modern and contemporary debates:
On Sufi ritual practices: Sufism had been familiar to Muslims in China for centuries; however, in the late eighteenth century the different practices of Sufi orders gave rise to controversy. The controversy heated up when in 1734, a Chinese Sufi master Ma Laichi (1681-1766), authorized by Nagshbandi order in Makkah, returned to China after several years of studying in Arabia and the Central Asia. He began to preach his Nagshbandi order in northwestern provinces of Gansu and Qinghai and gained widespread acceptance. The main characteristic of this order was to recite dhikr (remembrance of God) aloud. After about 10 years, in 1744, another Sufi master Ma Mingxin (1719-1781), authorized by Nagshbandi order of Yemen, came back to China. He began preaching his Nagshbandi order in the same region where the old order had a strong hold. The main characteristic of this order was to recite Dhikr silently. At the beginning of this encounter, the two masters coexisted peacefully. However, eventually violent debate erupted between the two orders in Xunhua county of Qinghai province in 1839. By the time the government responded to the issue, the nature of the conflict had changed.The unrest spread, and eventually led to a mass uprising of the new order against the Qing Dynasty. The religious debate had subsided and anger shifted toward the government being unfair. In 1781, under leadership of Su Sishisan (a disciple of Ma Mingxin), another riot broke out but ended with the execution of master Ma Mingxin and the rebels who supported him. In the modern era, this was the first uprising initiated by Muslims against Qing Dynasty
In early 20th century, a Dongxiang Imam Ma Wanfu (1849-1934) initiated his religious reform movement after returning from Mecca in 1892. The movement eventually developed into a sect, later known as Ikhwan (see the description of Muslim sects in China above). Inspired by the reformist movement in Saudi Arabia, Ma Wanfu launched a campaign against all Chinese influences on Islam. The Ihkwan did not reject Sufism in theory, but they strongly opposed practices of Menhuan, (see the description of Muslim sects in China above) on several issues:
Authority of Murshid (guide/teacher): The Ikhwan believed there were no "real" murshids (Sufi teachers) in China. In case, there were any, their role should be confined to the giving of religious instruction to the masses. The Menhuan, on the other hand, believed that their masters were "real" Murshids. They were true guides who could lead their disciples to paradise and should be obeyed unconditionally. The Ikhwan criticized this position as shirk (associating God with human beings).
Building shrines: Similar to Sufis elsewhere, the Menhuan built shrines and frequently visited them. One of such shrines is the"Gong Bai" (after the Arabic word "qobb" which means "arched building"). When the Menhuan faced hardships, they would visit "Gong Bai". At the shrine, they would pray to God for relief. Some people would also wrongly pray to their masters who had passed on. The Ikhwan saw this practice as contradicting the teachings of Islam. The Ikhwan criticized the idea of building shrines and visiting them, and they accused the Sufis of associating God with spiritual masters.
Reciting the Qur'an for a price: As a general practice, Chinese Muslims invited imams or ahongs (religious scholars or clerics) to their homes for the purposes of reciting the Holy Quran on different occasions. (Common Muslims could not recite the Qur'an in Arabic.) The recitation of the Qur'an was traditionally followed by refreshments or a fest. At the end, some amount of money was typically presented to the reciters as charity, and this became a main source of income for the Imams and Ahonhs in China. However, the Ikhwan saw this practice as forbidden in the Qur'an, which says: "nor sell My signs for a small price" (Q. 2:41). The Ikhwan Ahongs, on the other hand, when invited to festive occasions would eat food only, without pronouncing a single verse from the Quran for the fear of "selling it for a small price". The Ikhwan put forth the catchphrase "either eating or reciting".
Celebration of the birthday of the Prophet: As is a common practice across Muslim communities more globally, Chinese Muslims celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. This is done by reciting the Qur'an and chanting praise to the Prophet as followed by feasts and celebrations. The day is considered the third festival of Islam after Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adhha. The Ikhwan saw this as a new ritual, since it never happened in the time of the Prophet nor the time of the early Caliphs. (The practice is thought to have started with Fatimids in the 10th century.) Moreover, the Ikhwan saw the social interactions of men and women at the occasion of the celebration as unlawful. They also considered the excess of food as a waste, which is forbidden.
Controversies over Chinese custom: Chinese Muslim over centuries assimilated many Chinese traditions and customs in their daily lives. For instance, according to Chinese tradition, in a funeral ceremony the relatives of the dead should wear a white cap, a white coat, and a black tape on the arm to show sorrow. Chinese Muslims adopted this practice widely, assuming that it was merely a custom and had nothing to do with religious belief. However, the Ikhwan strongly opposed this custom and criticized it as an alteration of religion. The Ikhwan rejected many such adoptions of Chinese customs related to marriage, clothing, and daily life.
Chanting the praise to the prophet: Menhuan adopted the practices of South and Central Asian Sufis of chanting praise to the prophet. There are two main books of poetry and prose namely Maulad Nabi and Mada'iha to praise the prophet and his merits. The Menhuan believed that reciting these two books had great rewards and the praise should be chanted openly in a laud voice, collectively or individually, in order to announce the greatness and glory of the Prophet. On the other hand, the Ikhwan viewed the collective praise as another alteration of religion. They believed praising should be done in private to avoid showing off. The Ikhwan held that the best way to praise the Prophet is to recite the words with which God praised the prophet in the Qur'an. Further, the two books used by Menhuan were written by humans and were not sacred. Therefore, the Ikhwan held that reciting from the two books had no religious merit.
When the Salafiyya were first introduced in China, a serious conflict and debate broke out in Linxia of Gansu which later spread to other provinces in the 1980s. The debate was mainly between the Ikhwan and the Salafiyya due to a large number of converts from the Ikhwan to Salafiyya. Among Ikhwan Imams, Gao jiazhuang was the key figure to refute the ideology of the Salafiyya. The controversy focused on the following themes:
Setting a direction to God: The Salafiyya maintained that the Qur'an should be taken literally and understood as the text itself. For instance, the verse "The Most Gracious (Ar-Rahman) onto the throne settled" (Taha: 5) they believed that Allah is over the throne (Al-Arsh, the highest sky) not beneath the throne. Whereas the Ikhwan, holding a strong Maturidism, believed that no direction should be attributed to God. He is the Absolute and does not have a place upper or lower, neither inside nor outside. The Ikhwan considered the attribution of a direction to Allah a deviation from being a true believer. They belived it was an astray from an orthodox view and by believing so, the Salafiyya were unbelievers.
Personification of Allah: Since the Qur'an should be taken literally according to the Salafiyya, when words "Allah's hand" or "His eyes" appeared to them, they believed that Allah has hands and eyes- which they knew were not bodily organ but attributes of Allah. Whereas the Ikhwan saw it as personification of Allah which is contrary to the true essence of Allah indicated in the verse " There is nothing whatever like unto Him" (shura: 11). The Ikhwan and the Menhuan saw the Salafiyyagoing off the right path while they, according to the approach of Maturidism, explained those words in the meaning of "Allah's power" and "His care" for fear of the same fault.
Authority of Fuqha: The Salafiyya called for return to the Qur'an and the Hadith as the only source of Islam in the legislation and law, and rejected other authorities such as Qiyas (analogy) and personal reasoning of the Fuqha. They viewed following the Fuqha as a religious matter to obey anybody other than God. Therefore,hey strongly criticized it as shirk (associating partners with God). Whereas, the Ikhwan refuted by saying that jurists (Fuqha) derive the rulings from the Qur'an and the Hadith and they do not judge merely with their own opinions. Therefore, to follow the Fuqha is exactly to follow the Qur'an and the Hadith.
View on Sufi masters: A strong criticism was directed by the Salafiyya to the Menhuan considering that the Sufism is an alteration to Islam. They seriously criticized the Sufi masters allowing the mass to respect them beyond human limits and placing themselves to the status of Allah while being worshipped by their disciples. The Salafiyya also strongly criticized the building of "Gong Bei" over grave of Sufi masters and visit them frequently. They considered this to be a type of shirk (associating partners with God).
Raising hands in the prayer: The Salafiyya in China is disgracefully called by others as San Tai which literally means "three raise". The phrase indicates that they raise their hands three times in one unite of the prayer as Hanbali, Shafi'e and Maliki school of thought do. They maintained that the three raise is the emphasized Sunnah of the prophet as supported by numerous Hadith in authentic Hadith books. The Ikhwan and others held that the Sunnah is one raise in one unite of the prayer. They argued that although the Prophet raised his hands three times in one unite of the prayer initially, during the last period of his life he had been raising once in a unite of prayer. This was also indicated by some other Hadith, therefore, the one raise is the Sunna and not three.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, all religions including Islam were banned in China. During this period, no religious practice was allowed, therefore resulting in no debates.. However, at beginning of the 1980s, when China began to reform its policy towards religion, the mandate of banning was losing. As a result, all religions came to the surface. As more freedom was given, the religious debate took its course in continuation and the focus was on the following issues:
Mutual criticism among sects: As the religion and religious practice became legal, the Muslims showed unprecedented zeal to their religion. Imams (Ahongs) became very active and enthusiastic to preach Islam. This was almost lost during the past decades. Every sect, in order to attract new member and prevent old members from departing, tried the best possible way to justify its correctness and exposed deficiencies of others. All the old debates were repeated once again. All the sects were in a state of controversy against each other. The Ikhwan criticized the Menhuan and the Salafiyya while the Menhuan criticized the Ikhwan and the Salafiyya. The Salafiyya criticized the Menhuan and the Ikhwan. The themes were what had been debated in the previous decades among them.
View on Islamic books in Chinese: In 1981, the translation of the Quran in Chinese by professor Ma Jian was published. This was followed by a publication of the translation of "Taj", a Hadith Collection, translated by a prominent Ahong, Chen Keli. The average Muslims had a chance to read the scripture by themselves without the aid and explanation of Ahongs. The translations were done according to the literal meaning of the text in a way that when words, such as, Allah's hands and eyes, appeared in the text they were translated into the meaning used for human organs. The Ikhwan and the Menhua criticized all Islamic books in Chinese as being disseminating the Salafi ideology and prohibited reading any religious books in Chinese languages. Majority of Muslims saw the Chinese books as easy access to Islamic understanding.
Attitude towards learning Arabic language: From mid 1980s, private schools for learning Arabic were established in different places in China, starting from Linxia of Gansu province. The objective of the schools was to bring up Imams and intellectuals of the new generation in quack speed while the madrasas (religious schools attached to the mosques) were doing the same job in a very slow process. As students of Arabic schools focused more on Arabic language and paid more attentions to text of the Quran and the Hadith as Salafiyya did, the Ahongs felt a risk of Wahabinization of Islamic education. The Ikhwan Ahongs launched a campaign against learning Arabic calling it the language of the Saudi Wahabism. Some Ahongs from the Menhuan also followed the suit.
View on studying abroad: From mid-1980s, Muslim youth began to go abroad for further learning or study Arabic language in different Islamic countries. These countries included Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Libya. The students in Saudi Arabia, were more or less influenced by the Wahabi ideology and therefore came back with a Wahabi tendency. On the other hand, students from other countries were unable to reach what the people expected from them in terms knowledge and practice. The people started to suspect the role of sending youth abroad. Many Ahongs from both the Ikhwan and the Menhuan began to criticize graduates of Islamic universities especially graduates of Islamic University of Madinah as either disseminating the Wahabi ideology or distorting Islam by their insufficient knowledge. As a result, they strongly opposed sending students abroad for learning.
Attitudes toward women's classes: With the increase in Madras and Arabic schools, women classes for basic knowledge of Islam were offered everywhere. However, a group of conservative Ahongs from Ikhwan strongly opposed the women classes. They argued that learning is not obligatory for women if they could perform the prayers. If they cannot perform the prayers, their husbands should take responsibility to teach them, and if not, then the women can get out of the house for pursuing the necessary knowledge. Further, this can only be done under strict conditions that she should be disguised as a beggar holding a stick in the hand, wearing torn clothes, soiling her face and walk on the side walk. As soon as she acquires the necessary knowledge she should stop learning and stay at home. Whereas others viewed that learning was equally obligatory on men and women. They should be able to acquire knowledge as freely as men and should be able to learn as much as she could. They argued that it is not considered Haram when a woman goes shopping and visiting her relatives and friends. Similarly, they should not be prohibited from learning Islamic knowledge. The debate of the women education or girls' schools is still going on in some places of Gansu and Qinghai confined within the Ikhwan.
While many of the previous debates discussed above go unsettled, sever other issues of difference have emerged particularly strongly in the twenty-first century pertaining to the Ikhwan:
The prayers behind Imams of Two Grand Mosques: A group of Ikhwan Ahong in Gansu and Qinghai issued Fatwas in December 2001, claiming that the prayers in The Two Grand Mosques in Makkah and Madinah, were invalid. This is because the Imams were Wahabis and they are infidels (non-believers). The prayers behind Wahabi Imams are invalid and unacceptable. They persuaded people not to perform Haj during this time. If they happened to go to Makkah, they should avoid the prayers behind Wahabi Imams and avoid eating meats slaughtered by Wahabis, for those meats are Haram. On the other hand, others considered this as non sense. They argued that if the prayers in the most holy places were unacceptable, where else the prayers would be accepted. Although, the Imams were Wahabis, they were not equivalent to infidels despite some deficiencies in the Wahabi faith. Therefore, their prayers are valid and it is lawful to follow the prayers behind them.
Attitude towards infidels: The same extremist group of Ikhwan Ahongs hold that only the Ikhwan are on the right path. Others are on astray and they are infidels. Allegedly, the Menhuan obey their master, doing a Shirk and the Salafiyya set a direction to Allah. They stated that all infidels deserve to be killed. However, since the legislative law does not allow to kill anybody, the true believers should be patient until the law is changed. In March 2009, Jing Biao, a moderate young Imam in Xining city of Qinghai, a graduate of Al Azhar University, was injured when three armed men tried to kill him for he had been accused of being a hidden Wahabi within the Ikhwan.
The controversy over Tabligh movement: From early 1980s, Jama'at Tabligh of India and Pakistan kept sending missionaries to China and especially to the northwestern provinces. At the beginning, the foreign delegations were well received by Chinese Muslims.In 1990s, some Chinese Muslims visited Tabligh headquarter in Lahore, Pakistan. Some youth also spent years in Lahore to learn the ideology and approach of Jama'at Tabligh. Eventually, the Tabligh gained popularity among Chinese. A strong mass movement seemingly had been brewing in early 2000s as Chinese groups started Tabligh activities in different parts of China. Many circles and centers were established. Suddenly the government interfered and banned Tabligh activities in Xinjiang, Qinghai and Ningxia provinces and declared it as heterodox and heresy. In the same time, Tabligh itself exposed its deficiencies, namely the lack of knowledge and extreme attitude towards others. Some of them maintained the view that getting out of the house and preaching Islam is obligatory on every Muslim and it is the only way of preaching which was practiced by the Prophet and his companions. Whosoever denies this method or do not follow this way of preaching is infidel (non-believer). Moreover, every member of the Tabligh tried to speak in the name of Islam without mandatory knowledge. They pretended to be an authority presenting Islam in an unreal form. As a result, they are widely criticized by all sects especially Ahongs (clerics). The influence of the Tabligh penetrated into all classes of Muslims even among college students and the debate is still ongoing.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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