Three passages on the last days of Ma Yuanzhang

The Jahriyya Sufi order (Zheherenye menhuan 哲赫忍耶门宦), often referred to by outsiders as the New Sect (xin jiao 新教) was an object of fascination for many metropolitan Chinese and foreign visitors to northwest China in the early twentieth century. In the 1990s, the Beijing-based Muslim novelist and essayist Zhang Chengzhi wrote a historical novel titled The History of the Soul (Xinling shi 心灵史). This drew upon a rich oral and written tradition of remembering the lives of the Jahriyya shaykhs. Mawlana Siddiq Allah Ma Yuanzhang 马元章 was the leading shaykh of the Jahriyya tradition in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Three passages representing different genres of Chinese sources on the life of Ma Yuanzhang are presented here. The translations are provided without commentary. If you would like to more about the historical background and textual context relating to the passages, please refer to my dissertation, available by emailing me at