Qadariyya Sufi tombs

Reimagining the Silk Road

Qadariyya Sufi tombs

Linxia, 2012

Different interpretations have given Islam in China its rich complexity. Muslims in China anchor the authenticity of their interpretation of Islam in imagined ties to centers of Islam outside (and occasionally within) China. This image shows a row of Sufi tombs. Members of the Qadariyya order in Linxia claim that some of the tombs are occupied by missionaries from Baghdad and Damascus, some of whom arrived in Linxia allegedly as early as the Song dynasty in the eleventh century c.e. Qadariyya Sufis memorialize such missionaries during annual observances of the day they died. Such collective events reproduce the integrity of the order, internally and against rival doctrinal groups.