Imperatives for Encouraging Islamic Culture

Yaqub Wang Jingzhai

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 Imperatives for Encouraging Islamic Culture

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Yaqub Wang Jingzhai (China, 18791949) is known as one of the Four Great Akhonds (religious scholars) of modern China. A journalist, translator, and religious scholar, Wang made significant contributions to the modernization and rejuvenation of Chinese Islam. The son of a Hui (Chinese Muslim) imam (prayer leader) in the city of Tianjin, in eastern China, Wang received early training in Arabic and Persian, as well as the Confucian classics. At the age of twenty-six he began his own career as imam, serving in several Muslim communities in eastern China and Taiwan. He became increasingly involved in Chinese Islamic revivalist movements, and focused on reforming Islamic education in China. Wang was also an advocate of intensifying relations between China's Muslims and the rest of the Muslim world. He participated in the first modern wave of Chinese Muslim students to seek advanced education in the Middle East, studying at al-Azhar in the 1920s, and helped other Chinese to follow him. Upon his return, he established several journals dedicated to Chinese Islamic issues and translated the Qur'an, the first complete translation into Chinese, carried out during the 1930s under the sponsorship of a Chinese Muslim warlord. Wang also compiled several Arabic-Chinese dictionaries, Islamic manuals, and guidebooks in Chinese, and wrote a commentary on the Qur'an. In the article translated here, Wang promotes the compatibility of pan-Islamic identity with Hui nationalism, and Hui nationalism with Chinese nationalism, which was both spurred and threatened in the 1930s by Japanese invasions.1

Chapter.  5539 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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