The Sound of Faith: Chinese Women’s Mosques, Islamic Resurgence and Religious Agency

  • Maria Jaschok Oxford University


The Festschrift contribution comes from current writing up of more than four years of fieldwork and research among Hui Muslim women’s communities in central China’s province of Henan. It serves to illustrate the kind of work so helpfully supported by Peggy during her time at Oxford, when she created essential space for crucial feedback and discussion. This final publication in a trilogy on the nature of female-led women’s mosques and Qur’anic schools – treating their place in Islam, their internal development and external standing in the course of China’s more recent volatile as well as repressive religious policies – is addressing gendered aspects of Islamic resurgence from within long-standing oral traditions of worship and learning. Often contested and vilified, female voices are heard in public gatherings, reconnecting and thus affirming a uniquely developed expressive culture of old, yet simultaneously asserting their right to testify to spiritual and epistemic equality. The study of a recovered rich oral tradition in a uniquely gendered Islamic tradition, it is hoped, will question and problematize received conceptions of intersections of silence, voice and agency. 

Keywords: Chinese Muslims; gendered sound; Islamic chants; Islamic resurgence; women’s mosques.