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Challenging CosmopolitanismCoercion, Mobility and Displacement in Islamic Asia$
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Joshua Gedacht and R. Michael Feener

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474435093

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474435093.001.0001

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Writing Cosmopolitan History in Nineteenth-century China: Li Huanyi’s Words and Deeds of Islamic Exemplars

Writing Cosmopolitan History in Nineteenth-century China: Li Huanyi’s Words and Deeds of Islamic Exemplars

Chapter:
(p.145) 6 Writing Cosmopolitan History in Nineteenth-century China: Li Huanyi’s Words and Deeds of Islamic Exemplars
Source:
Challenging Cosmopolitanism
Author(s):

J. Lilu Chen

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474435093.003.0006

This chapter suggests that we understand cosmopolitanism among Hui Muslims in nineteenth-century China as the ability to situate oneself in relation to both Chinese and Islamic history. Based on Li Huanyi’s 1874 Words and Deeds of Islamic Exemplars (Ch. Qingzhen xianzheng yanxing lüe), the chapter shows how Hui Muslims forged a universal history addressing two poles of authority—one in the Chinese court and the other in the Prophet Muhammad. In particular, the figure of Saʿd b. Abī Waqqāṣ, the Companion of the Prophet Muhammad reputedly dispatched to Chang’an, emerges in Li’s history as the crucial spatial and temporal link joining Arabia and the Chinese court. By showing how subsequent accounts of imperial Muslim figures are portrayed as continuing Waqqāṣ’ service in China, this chapter argues that Li deploys this universal Islamic history not to undermine but rather to legitimate the power of the Chinese imperial state.

Keywords:   China, Hui Muslims, Muhammad, Saʿd b. Abī Waqqāṣ, Arabia, Li Huanyi

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