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Religion, Islamic Institutions And Dealing With The Supernatural

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Chapter Summary

Prior to the arrival of Islam into the region, Eastern Turkestanis had encountered a number of diverse religions, including Manicheism, Buddhism and Nestorian Christianity. Eastern Turkestan was both a target area for Islamic expansion and a transmitter of this world religion into China proper. This chapter shows that religious rituals were both expressions of belief and instrumental in making and maintaining community. Continuity was also favoured by the fact that, after Chinese rule had been restored, the Chinese continued the imperial policy of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; by and large they refrained from antagonizing the Muslims by interfering with religious institutions. To understand the underlying logic of healing rituals, it is important to stress the holistic nature of local understanding and interpretion of ailments which we today classify as physical or psychological disorders or as social problems and pathologies.

Keywords: Chinese rule; diverse religions; eastern Turkestanis; healing rituals; Islamic institutions; psychological disorders; religious rituals



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