Recently, Professor Zhu Weilie, Director of the Expert Committee of the CARC, accepted an exclusive interview aiming at Islamic studies with Muslims in China (see Chinese Muslim Studies, No. 2, 2018). The summary of the text is as follows:
Islamic Studies Should Adhere to the Chinese Humanities Concept——Interview with Professor Zhu Weilie
Islamic Civilization is an Important Civilization System in the Contemporary World.
Q: How should we correctly view Islamic civilization and its contemporary development trends?
A: Islamic civilization is a system because its extensive and comprehensive discipline structure, including various fields of natural sciences and humanities and social sciences, forming many sub-disciplines. From a historical perspective, the Islamic civilization system has indeed made outstanding contributions to the progress of human society. It is concentrated in the fact that it provided a considerable amount of public goods to the world at that time, and also contributed to the interaction and dissemination of Eastern and Western cultures. The reason why Islamic civilization is brilliant and glorious in history is that it has kept pace with the times and can adapt to the continuous development of science and technology. To a large extent, this quality of advancing with the times is based on the continuous development of its teaching and doctrinal studies, it is closely related to the efforts of the religious scholars in observing objective environmental changes promoted by social progress, interpreting the classic doctrine timely and accurately, and correctly guiding the believers
However, from a realistic perspective, Islamic civilization is facing a severe development crisis, and the Islamic world is at the crossroads of history. The reform and innovation of the Islamic civilization system, due to the extremely wide range of involved countries and the different national conditions, it is difficult to obtain a quick success and realize a balance in all the aspects.
Fortunately, in recent years, the Islamic countries in the Middle East have gained great progress, such as actively advocating the re-creation of the system, promoting the neutral thought and the spirit of tolerance in Islamic civilization, and striving to replace civilization confrontation and clash of civilizations” with civilization dialogue and civilization approach”, calling for a balance between the realization of apocalypse (Revelation of God) and reason, material and spiritual, rights and obligations, individual and collective, seeking revelation and responsibility, classic texts and creation, ideals and reality, the constant numbers (core values) and variables, adherence to the doctrine and connection with age.
2. Religious Exchanges Must Coordinate Both the International and Domestic Situations
Q: What do you think of the religious exchanges between China and Islamic countries in the context of the “Belt and Road”?
A: Under the background of the “Belt and Road”, promoting the positive religious exchanges between China and Islamic countries will undoubtedly help the two sides to increase their trust and dispel doubts, also help to promote mutual communication among the people. What I want to emphasize is that regarding the religious exchanges as an indispensable channel and content for China's humanistic diplomacy in Islamic countries, we must insist on coordinating the two major situations of domestic politics and international politics. On the one hand, we should respect the Islamic civilization, respect the choice of Islamic countries for social and political systems and development paths, continuously develop pragmatic cooperation between the two sides in various fields, and establish a stable and dynamic partnership. On the other hand, we should fully understand China's religious orientation, guiding the policy adopted by religion and socialism, and handling the great efforts of the relationship between the 10 Islamic communities and more than 20 million Muslims on the issue of national ethnicity and religion.
3. China’s Islamic Research Has Outstanding Achievements and Broad Prospects.
Q: How do you evaluate the achievements of Chinese Islamic studies? What are the current research shortcomings?
A: The Islamic studies in China have achieved outstanding achievements and rich results. This is the result of generations of scholars’ painstaking work. Since the 1950s, with the country's active Asian-African diplomacy, the work requirements have increased, so the structure of the research team has changed, a major team of state departments in the fields of teaching, translation, research, and publishing has been formed, the reform and opening up policy has been implemented. During the period of reform and opening up, which is the stage of cultural prosperity and development, the research of Islamic cultural civilization harvested bountiful fruits.
Speaking of the shortcomings, I think mainly because we still lack comprehensive and systematic research on Islamic civilization. There are still some blind spots in some areas. There are not many high-quality and landmark achievements, the supply of knowledge in related fields is insufficient, the social cognitive deficits are prominent, and the research team is weak and scattered. In short, there is still a lot of work to be done, and there are many virgins waiting to be developed. But as long as we work hard, China's Islamic research prospects are very broad.
4. China’s Islamic Studies Must Take the Chinese Humanistic Concept as a Guide
Q: Could you make some suggestions for promoting the further development of Islamic studies in China?
A: To promote the further development of Islamic studies in China, the most important thing is to strengthen discipline construction. Among them, it is especially important to adhere to the humanistic concept of China and focus on building and perfecting the discourse system of Middle Eastern, Arabic and Islamic studies with Chinese characteristics.
At present, we must pay special attention to the close integration of the global governance concept and the mutual understanding of civilization in the new era. We will establish an international vision in our research work, adhere to the Chinese standpoint, and strive to insist the concepts of transcending civilization gap with civilization communication; transcending civilization conflicts with civilization mutual learning; transcending civilization superior with civilization coexistence.” , continuously deepening and opening up research areas, promoting the commonwealth of the people, serving the Belt and Road” initiative, contributing to the building of a community of human destiny, also contributing to the awareness and promotion of the Chinese Community National unity and religious harmony.