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The First Islamic Classic in Chinese

Sachiko Murata





Wang Daiyu's Real Commentary on the True Teaching


Published in 1642, Wang Daiyu's Real Commentary on the True Teaching was the first significant presentation of Islam in the Chinese language by a Muslim scholar. It set the standard for the expression of Islamic theology, Sufism, and ethics in Chinese, and became the literary foundation of a school of thought that has been called "Muslim Confucianism." In contrast to Muslim scholars writing in every other language, Wang avoided Arabic words, opting instead to reconfigure the religion in terms of Chinese concepts and categories. Employing the terminology of Neo-Confucian philosophy, his overview of Islam is thus both congenial to the mainstream Islamic tradition and reaffirms Confucian teachings about the human duty to establish harmony between heaven and earth.