The scripture auditorium and common education of Hui Ethnic Group

The Hui nationality is very special, her source is special, her distribution is special, and her education is also different from other nationalities. In one aspect, because the Hui nationality believes in Islam and has close relationship with Islam, the religious education had become important educational contents since the “aboriginal guests” came to the east. In the other aspect, the Hui nationality mainly lives together with the Han nationality, lives in the atmosphere of Han culture that is vast as the open sea, speaks and uses Chinese, the subjective and objective conditions demand them to accept Chinese common education. Therefore, common education is also an important composing part of her education. The two kinds of education went on in step with the immigration of Muslim and the formation and development of the Hui nationality. Though the degree was shown differently in different periods and regions and under different backgrounds, it has never been interrupted, the two kinds of education were weaved with and influenced each other in the course of development.That was, Chinese traditional educational form was applied or remained in religious education, while the national spirit and ideological consciousness were permeated and contained in common education, thus the special educational mode of the Hui nationality formed. The two kinds of education took in each other and developed together, trained and cultivated series of and generations of religious and other types of talents for the Hui nationality, and promoted the development and progress of the economy and culture of her. 

Scripture auditorium education is also called as “temple education” and “the Huis College”. “Scripture” refers to the scripture of Islam, “auditorium” refers to “mosque” (in the Tang dynasty, people called mosque as “auditorium”). Because the rooms for scripture auditorium education were placed in mosques, and the preaching and studying of Islamic scripture was taken as main contents, it got the name. 

For the scripture auditorium education, the schools were placed in the mosques, the ahung recruited some students, firstly taught the Arabian letters, phonetic letters and junior knowledge of Islam, then the students were transferred into “college”, where Arabian grammar, rhetoric, the Koran, the Holy Instructions and Islamic doctrines were systematically taught and studied. Generally, the students studied there for 3 to 5 years; during the time, the Muslim people near the mosque supplied all their clothes, food, shelter and transportation. After completing the courses, they would “wear the clothes and hang the curtain”, and got the qualifications of ahung. 

The common education of the Hui nationality began from the birth of “aboriginal school” in the Tang and Song dynasties. In the Yuan dynasty, after the settlement of the Huis, to adapt to the life in China and better take root and develop here, and even for the official career, many people began to learn and accept Chinese, Confucianism and other traditional culture of China. Especially the Huis upper-level figures and their children, went to the old-style private schools, or entered the “academies” and “the Imperial College” to study the Han culture. In the Yuan dynasty, many Huis began their official career by imperial examinations, or became famous masters of Han culture, poets and artists, etc. In the Ming dynasty, with the form of the Hui nationality and the intensification of their adaptation to China, Chinese type common education became more universal. The results of this kind of education were more and more scholars and writers of the Hui nationality emerged, and many were engaged in official career, such as the statesmen Ma Wenrui and Hai Rui, the thinker Li Zhi, the poets Ding Henian, Jin Dache and Jin Dayu, etc. 

Because of the malpractice of scripture auditorium education and the influence of modern ideological trend of saving the country by education and science, at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20thcentury, some men of insight of the Hui nationality and some figures in religious circles further realized, if the Hui nationality wanted to develop and flourish, they must start with the reform of education. So, they began to establish new-type common middle and primary schools of the Hui nationality and the religious schools that taught cultural knowledge concurrently. The new type education of the Hui nationality replaced the traditional scripture auditorium education, created conditions for the children of the Huis to learn the Han culture and the western advanced science and culture, made her education walk on a road of self-reform and self-innovation, this was an important turn in the educational history of the Hui nationality. After that, especially after the founding of the new China, the common education of the Hui nationality entered into a new historical period and got more comprehensive development.