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Source: Index >> Culture History >> Religions

Developing Islamic Education and Studies
(Tianshannet) Updated: 2010-August-4 17:57:29

In June 1982, the China Islamic Institute resumed recruiting students, and opened advanced, undergraduate and short term courses. Up till now it has educated 512 students from 8 ethnic groups including the Huis, the Uighurs, the Kazakhs, the Khalkhas,. Since 1983, 8 Islamic institutes have been set up successively in Shenyang, Lanzhou, Yinchuan, Beijing, Xining, Uaimchi and Kunming. Furthermore, various advanced classes for training Imams were opened and Arabic schools were established in some provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, such as the Kashgar Arabic School, Kezhou Arabic School and Huocheng County Arabic School in Xinjiang.

On September 25, 1981, "Muslims in China" magazine resumed publication; and in 1983, its Uighur language edition started publication, which is a bimonthly with a subscription of several hundred thousand. Acting as the mouthpiece of both the China Islamic Association and of Chinese Muslims, the magazine plays a unique and irreplaceable role in serving Muslims throughout the country and voicing their wishes. "Studies on the Huis" is a comprehensive academic publication on the Huis' history, culture and social development, and started publication in the early 1990's. In 1980, the full translation of the Holy Qur'an by Ma Jian was published by the Chinese Social Science Press. In 1986, making use of this version. King Fahd Holy Qur'an Printing Complex printed an Arabic-Chinese bilingual Holy Qur'an and presented it to various countries, making it the most popular version in China. In 1988, "Rhymed Translation of the Holy Qur'an" by Lin Song was published by the publishing house of the Central University for Nationalities. In 1989, "Chinese- Arabic Bilingual Detailed Translation and Annotation of the Holy Qur'an" by Shams Tong Daozhang, an American Chinese, was published by Yilin Publishing House in Nanjing, and in 1999 its revised edition was published. Furthermore, Hui scholars have translated and published some other Islamic scriptures and academic works, among which what is worth mentioning is: Maimaiti Sailai translated the Holy Qur'an into the Uighur language and Abdul Aziz and Mohmaud translated the Holy Qur'an into the Kazakh language, these were published by Ethnic Press in 1987 and 1989 respectively.

To motivate academic research on Islam, a symposium presided in turn by 5 provinces and autonomous regions in the Northwest was held nearly every year with its first in Urumchi in November of 1980, and in Lanzhou ofGansu Province (1981), Xining of Qinghai Province (1982), Xi'an of Shaanxi Province (1983) andYinChuan ofNingxia Hui Autonomous Region (1986) successively. Each time the symposium would focus on a certain theme, and afterwards publish a collection of the thesis. The symposium that had been held 5 times, produced altogether 403 papers and monographs, which played a positive role in motivating academic research on Islam in China and exploring and sorting out documents and data. This regional symposium has been in practice up until now.

The International Seminar on the Huis' History and Culture is another important academic activity that has been held many times. The objective of the seminar is to enhance international exchanges on research on the Huis, develop traditional ethnic culture, promote ethnic unity, inspire ethnic enthusiasm, and pursue the development of economy, progress of society and prosperity of the culture in ethnic regions. Characterized by a strong sense of learning, broad coverage of sphere and rich possession of information, the seminar has attracted much attention from both academic circles and the media at home and abroad. "The 13th Seminar on the Huis' History" held in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, in September of 2001 is one of the most successful ones. Focusing on the theme of the "Prospect of the Learning on the Huis in the 21st Century", the Seminar suggested ways and means for the development of the Northwest.

The contingent of Chinese Islamic academic workers keeps growing. The institutions of higher learning came to attach importance to fostering a young generation of Islamic academic workers, and some ethnic universities and colleges now offer major courses on Islam. Islamic institutes in all places also offer courses on Islamic doctrine, philosophy, history and culture to foster a new generation of Islamic academic and religious workers. In this period of time, new progress was made on studies of Mosque Education, the Movement of Translating and Writing Scriptures in Chinese, sects and Menhuans, history of Islam, the roles that Islam played for the formation of the Huis and other nationalities, mosque and its social function, Muslims' social movements, religious system, historical documents, steles and inscribed boards concerning Islam in southeast coastal area and so on. Nationwide or provincial Islamic magazines and journals were resumed or started publication one after another, and have published thousands of papers on various aspects of Islam in China. Publishing houses throughout China have published hundreds of books on Islam and minority groups believing in Islam. The offices for sorting out ancient books of minority groups have been set up in some provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government and have published many ancient Islamic works. The China Islamic Association cooperated with several publishing houses and published the "Holy Qur'an" in 1980 with a subscription of over 160,000, "Concise Tafsir", "Pearls of Hadith", a selection of Hadith from both Bukhari and Muslim, "Sharikh al-Wigayi", a scripture on Islamic Law, "Khutbah", "Life of Prophet Muhammad", "An Illustration to Islamic Scriptures" translated by Ma Jian and "Nine Years in Egypt" written by Pang Shiqian and so on.

With great efforts from the China Islamic Association, "Chinese Encyclopedia of Islam" was published in 1994, which won the First National Dictionary Prize and the Second State Books Highest Prize in 1995 and 1996 respectively.

In the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government where Muslims live in compact communities, great importance is attached to studying and publishing Islamic scriptures. The Xinjiang government has presented 90,000 Holy Qur'ans and 100,000 "Sahih al-Bukhari" in the Uighur language to Islamic dignitaries and common Muslims alike. The Jiangsu Provincial Islamic Association has cooperated with the Yilin Publishing House in Nanjing and published the "Holy Qur'an" translated by Tong Daozhang. The Yunnan Provincial Islamic Association printed 2000 Holy Qur'ans from carved printing plates made during the Qing Dynasty, and has sorted out over 100 sets of such plates in the Chinese, Arabic and Persian languages, more than 70 of which are complete and usable. The Division for Studies on the Huis of Ningxia Social Academy has published many Islamic scriptures and works such as "A Guide to Islam", "True Explanation to the Right Religion & Great Learning of Islam & Righter Answers to Truth-Seekers", "Sharikh al-Wigayi", "History of Islam in Arabia", "Fine Collection of Historic Chinese Islamic Newspapers", "Collection of Documents and Data on the Huis and Islam", "Abstract to the Written and Translated Works on Chinese Islam", and "A Faithful Record of Chinese Muslims' Pilgrimage". The Gansu Provincial Islamic Association published "Going around Kabah" written by Yang Guangrong. The Shanghai Municipal Islamic Association undertook "Exhibition of Islamic Relics in Shanghai". The provincial Islamic associations in eastern China have held seminars in Suzhou, Shanghai, Quanzhou, Hangzhou and Jinan on Islamic literature and the history of the southeast coastal region. In July 1982, the Islamic Study Society was founded in Ningxia, and was followed by other similar mass cultural groups in the Northwest, such as the Islamic Cultural Study Society set up in Xi'an, which has successfully held three seminars on Islamic cultural since 1994, and compiled and published three collections of thesis called "Collected Essays on Islamic Culture".

(SOURCES:China Intercontinental Press)Editor: zhaoqian
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