Both the Hui Muslims, the majority Muslim population in China, and the Chinese authority have tried to construct and maintain the identities that they respectively prioritized through emphasizing the adherence to their respective legal traditions and/or institutions, which are, within the context of the current PhD research, the Islamic Sharīʿa tradition and the Chinese legal tradition(s) plus official institutions, respectively. This dissertation is a socio-historical investigation into the relations between the Sharīʿa and the pre-communist Chinese legal systems. It is based on the assumption that for the Hui Muslims following the Sharīʿa law, though to various degrees, defines their identity of being a Muslim, and respecting and being subjects of the Chinese law defines one’s Chineseness. The dissertation thus asks how these two normative traditions contribute to the construction of the Chinese Hui Muslims’ dual-identity of being Muslim and Chinese. It examines the conditions under which the two legal traditions shaped the dual identity of “Muslim” and “Chinese” for the Hui Muslims, and whether a merging of these two identities has been realized. It also discusses how the Hui Muslims have dealt with the changing dynamic and oftentimes tensional relations between the two traditions in different socio-political situations of Chinese society over time. It explores the possible major causes of the tensions for the Hui Muslims to become Chinese without losing their Muslim identification both in the imperial and modern Chinese socio-legal contexts before 1949. On the one hand, it reveals what Sharīʿa law means to the Chinese Hui Muslims, and what it means for them to follow the Sharīʿa in terms of their perceptions of who they are. More importantly, on the other hand, the dissertation further addresses what challenges the Hui Muslims encountered facing the Chinese official law, and what are the socio-cultural and political conditions under which these challenges emerged and were negotiated. In this regard, the thesis also provides three case studies on Ḥajj (Islamic pilgrimage), education, and marriage that cover the religious, moral, and legal aspects of the Sharīʿa so as to assess how the tensions are presented, negotiated, and tackled by the Hui Muslims in the history of Islam in China up to the Republican period. To investigate these issues, the dissertation is primarily based on the socio-historical analysis of various Muslim-related Chinese laws. As a historical examination on the socio-political process of the construction of the Hui Muslims’ dual-identity, the dissertation analyzes a range of historical Chinese texts through the insights of hermeneutics, including, but not limited to, imperial Chinese legal documents, classical Chinese Confucian works, and various texts produced by the Hui Muslims themselves, which include several under-researched primary sources. This is also complemented by my short-term fieldwork studies in several Muslim communities in the western and southwestern parts of China. In addition to Introduction and Conclusion, the dissertation is composed of three parts, dealing with the general background of the research topic (part one), tensions in the Hui Muslims’ identity formation under Chinese socio-legal contexts (part two), and empirical case studies on education, Ḥajj, and marriage (part three). Following the Introduction, part one aims at providing a survey on up-to-date scholarship regarding the research topic, followed by some background information on the research topic and a general historical outline of the Sharīʿa in traditional Chinese society. Chapter one begins with the literature survey in both Western and Chinese academia on the research theme of the dissertation, which involves such topics as the socio-legal conditions of the Hui Muslims in history, the dual-identities of the Hui Muslims with regard to the relations between the Sharīʿa and the Chinese law, plus three empirical case studies. Based on existing research, the dissertation expands the scientific understanding of the relationship between the Sharīʿa and the Chinese official law as well as their roles in constructing the Hui Muslims identities. The chapter then elaborates on three pairs of interrelated concepts that are central to my research, namely, tradition and history, law and identity, Hui Muslims and Han Chinese. Chapter two gives a general historical account for Islam and the Sharīʿa in pre-modern China, explaining the historical trajectory of the legal life of Muslims in China. The brief historical analysis shows that no major wars or battles existed in the process of the introduction and localization of Islam in China. However, it also shows that from the outset of Islam in Chinese history, Muslims have been facing the challenges of how to live in China and get along with the Chinese, which involved 380 reconciliation with a strong and powerful tradition that had already established itself before Islam and Muslims reached China. Part two exposes in detail this tradition from the seventh century when the first Muslims settled in China up to the Republican period in the first half of the twentieth century. Chapter three aims at reconstructing, analyzing, and, to some degree, criticizing the already existing and established Chinese tradition before the arrival of Islam in China, that is, the Chinese way to practise “othering” in terms of the complex paradigm of the Chinese perceptions of, institutions on, and approaches to non-Chinese, including the Hui Muslims. This chapter is meant to locate the Hui Muslims’ experiences in the socio-legal and political situations in Chinese society and Chinese intellectual history. Through examining such discourses as the Chinese-Barbarian Distinction (yixia zhibian 夷夏之辨), the construction of the concept of China as a geographical, cultural, racial, and most importantly, a monotheistic divine entity, I point out the Chinese tradition that made it challenging for the Hui Muslims to become a Chinese, and how this tradition was institutionalized and legalized. Based on this, chapter four aims at illustrating how this tradition influences and is represented in official laws in imperial Chinese society, and how the Hui Muslims deal with it with diverse approaches. Focusing on Muslim-related legal regulations, I have provided contextualized reinterpretations of how the law was made and understood, in which context, and for what purposes. My approach to analysing the law differs from previous research by asking under which socio-political circumstances the law was made and how these circumstances have made it possible to have an alternative understanding of the law and its consequences on the Hui Muslims. The socio-legal investigation demonstrates that Chinese legal systems represent the Chinese understanding of “Us” and “Others.” Two general and fundamental Chinese approaches to dealing with non-Chinese, including the Hui Muslims, could be observed, that is, what I termed as the “separative” and the “assimilative” approaches. The former held that the inferiority of Muslims was not changeable, and therefore they were not worthy of being governed by the Chinese Son of Heaven and the Chinese law, hence should be best left alone. While the latter, those Chinese-making laws and policies maintained that the non-Chinese could, and sometimes should, be assimilated to the Chinese by intervening into Muslims’ ethnoreligious belief and practices. Chapter five explores the destiny of this tradition accompanied by the abovementioned two approaches in the context of China’s transformation into a modern nation-state in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, and how the Hui Muslims defined their positions in relation to this nation-state building discourse. Among the initiators of various Chinese nation-building projects was a shared belief of the superiority of the Han Chinese over the non-Chinese, the minorities, as well as the Hui Muslims. My findings have proved that the traditional Chinese perception of the superiority of the Han Chinese over the minorities has not only been unchanged and unchallenged in the context of the Republic of China, but has indeed been reinforced. The Chinese nationalists’ reception of the concept of minzu 民族 (nation) from Japan and later its introduction to mainland China have shaped the Hui Muslims’ attempts to define, or refuse to define, themselves as a nation. To achieve a Han Chinese nation-state required not only expelling the Manchus but indeed all non-Han Chinese. This was crucial for all the non-Han Chinese peoples, including the Hui Muslims, to redefine their identity, for this indicated that to be a Chinese then was to be a Han. My contextualised analysis of the minzu discourses among various Hui Muslim groups, associations, and individuals has challenged the oversimplified understanding of the Hui Muslims’ stand. It shows that the Hui were pragmatic in solving the tensions they experienced in defining their Chinese-ness as a marginalised minority group while maintaining their Muslim identification as a unique group of people, distinctive from the Han Chinese. The legal experiences of the Hui Muslims witnessed the complex processes of exclusion and assimilation by Chinese society. The reasons for the complexity, partially, lied in the ways how the Chinese drew the boundaries between “Us” and “Others.” It is in this processes of othering that the Hui Muslims, presumably all the ethnoreligious groups in China, struggled in identifying their Chinese-ness. Prior to the Conclusion, part three analyses how these tension-related issues are reflected in the realm of the Hui Muslims’ practice of the Sharīʿa in three case studies on education, Ḥajj, and marriage. Chapter six focuses on the issue of education among the Hui Muslims. The Hui Muslims’ attitudes towards education have been shaped by both the Islamic and the Chinese perceptions on education. On the one hand, as far as Islamic religious education is concerned, the Hui have internalized the tradition of Islam that regards education as a 381 divine obligation from God and the foundation of their belief. On the other hand, to make a living in China, they have to handle the situation where the cultivation of talents needed by the government was the most distinguishing feature of education in China, the politicization of education leading to the transformation of the functions of schools into a place for the production of government officials needed by the political rulers. As a matter of fact, the very birth of traditional Islamic education of the Hui Muslims, the jingtang jiaoyu 經堂教育 (scripture hall education), was the result of this process of negotiation over identity formation. The Jingtang education came about when the Chinese Ming Dynasty imposed discriminative laws and policies against the Hui which resulted in a religious (and later economic and political) crisis. Thus it is crucial in maintaining the identity of the Hui Muslims in that it functions not only as an institution where knowledge is passed down from generation to generation, enabling the Hui Muslims to pursue the Path leading to the Ultimate Truth. It also evolved in a systematic and institutionalized way, which later resulted in the establishment of interconnected networks among Muslim teachers and students, Sufi Masters and disciples, and classmates. These networks are crucial in developing a shared we-ness among the Hui Muslims. In this regard, modern educational projects actually share great similarity with traditional Jingtang education. The modern projects, though appearing to be more complicated, served partially as responses to the external challenges brought about by Chinese socio-political situations. The modern educational reformers targeted either the traditional Jingtang education that was overly influenced by Chinese culture, or the new situation in which the Hui Muslims were supposed to live, cooperate, and maybe, more importantly, compete with the Chinese, which required sufficient knowledge of modern science and technology. Education for the Hui Muslims, especially religious education, has been a channel through which their (religious) identity has been constructed in response to external challenges. Chapter seven is about Ḥajj as a religious activity that nevertheless has significant social, political, intellectual, and economic implications. In this regard, the Hui Muslims’ pilgrimage to Mecca is no exception. I have offered a comprehensive illustration regarding the routes taken by Muslims in traditional China to Mecca. These routes could shed light on the diversity of the impact Ḥajj might have for Muslims in the Far East, and how Muslims in China were connected via Ḥajj to Muslims in Central Asia and Southeast Asia. This is further demonstrated by the introduction of Sufism in China, which added a unique layer of identity among the Hui themselves, the menhuan 門宦 (Sufi orders). Mecca is not only a holy city that is essential for the Hui Muslims in defining the “authenticity” of their religion, a holy city that they have for a long time defined as their “homeland” (zuguo 祖國), hence crucial for their identification as Muslim. Mecca, and the Muslim world in the context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in particular, also turns out to be an essential source for the building of the Hui Muslims’ Chinese identity, particularly in their understanding of the relations between being a pious Muslim and a patriotic Chinese nationalist. My findings have shown that Ḥajj might strengthen the “Muslim” identification of the Hui, however, this does not necessarily result in a decrease in their “Chinese” identification. The Hui Muslims’ closer and stronger connections with the very centre of Islam in modern times do not necessarily lead to stronger disintegration or separation from China. On the contrary, Ḥajj, as a matter of fact, was one of the sources from which the Hui Muslims tried to justify their Chinese nationalist movement, and strengthened their patriotism to China. The last chapter on case studies discusses the issue of marriage. Just like education, marriage in Islam has a strong sense of religious connotation. While in the traditional Chinese context, it is deeply intertwined with politics. My investigation shows that marriage for the Hui Muslims denotes diverse meanings, and perhaps a most notable one is that it is shaped by both the Chinese and the Islamic traditions. As believers of Islam, the Hui Muslims deem marriage as a divine sign of Allah, a highly religious sacred covenant, and therefore, following the Sharīʿa marriage norms defines their identity as Muslims. Meanwhile, their perceptions of marriage have also been deeply influenced by their inhabiting China and being Chinese. Therefore, marriage for the Hui Muslims is not (merely) a union of two individuals but (also) a positive union of two families, a typical traditional Chinese perception of marriage. The Hui case shows that the modern national legal system and the Islamic Sharīʿa norms are not necessarily incompatible or irreconcilable with each other, and that, meanwhile, how the Hui Muslims deal with the Sharīʿa marriage rules, to what extent they would refuse the state law and follow the Sharīʿa law, and vice versa, are largely determined by how the Hui Muslims were positioned and treated by the cultural, the socio-legal, and the political spheres in Chinese society.