ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN CHINA
People's Republic of
: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
: 3,600,927 sq mi (9,326,411 sq km); total area: 3,705,407 sq mi
(9,596,960 sq km)1
Population (2008 est.) : 1,330,044,605
Capital (2003 est.) : Beijing, 10,849,000
(metro. area), 8,689,000 (city proper)
: Shanghai, 12,665,000 (metro. area), 10,996,500 (city proper); Tianjin
(Tientsin), 9,346,000 (metro. area), 4,333,900 (city proper); Wuhan, 3,959,700;
Shenyang (Mukden), 3,574,100; Guangzhou, 3,473,800; Haerbin, 2,904,900; Xian,
2,642,100; Chungking (Chongquing) 2,370,100; Chengdu, 2,011,000; Hong Kong (Xianggang),
: Standard Chinese (Mandarin/Putonghua), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese),
Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects,
: Han Chinese 91.9%, Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol,
Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1%
National Holiday :
Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, October 1
: Officially atheist; Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%–4%, Muslim
1%–2% (2002 est.)
: 90.9% (2006 est.)
Economic summary : GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $6.991
trillion; per capita $5,300. Real growth rate: 11.4% (official data).
greater part of the country is mountainous. Its principal ranges are the Tien
Shan, the Kunlun chain, and the Trans-Himalaya. In the southwest is Tibet, which
China annexed in 1950. The Gobi Desert lies to the north. China proper consists
of three great river systems: the Yellow River (Huang He), 2,109 mi (5,464 km)
long; the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), the third-longest river in the world at
2,432 mi (6,300 km); and the Pearl River (Zhu Jiang), 848 mi (2,197 km) long.
earliest recorded human settlements in what is today called China were
discovered in the Huang He basin and date from about 5000
B.C. During the Shang dynasty (1500–1000 B.C.),
the precursor of modern China's ideographic writing system developed, allowing
the emerging feudal states of the era to achieve an advanced stage of
civilization, rivaling in sophistication any society found at the time in
Europe, the Middle East, or the Americas. It was following this initial
flourishing of civilization, in a period known as the Chou dynasty (1122–249
B.C.), that Lao-tse, Confucius, Mo Ti, and Mencius
laid the foundation of Chinese philosophical thought.
feudal states, often at war with one another, were first united under Emperor
Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, during whose reign (246–210 B.C.)
work was begun on the Great Wall of China, a monumental bulwark against invasion
from the West. Although the Great Wall symbolized China's desire to protect
itself from the outside world, under the Han dynasty (206
B.C.–A.D. 220), the civilization conducted extensive commercial trading
with the West.
T'ang dynasty (618–907)—often called the golden age of Chinese history—painting,
sculpture, and poetry flourished, and woodblock printing, which enabled the mass
production of books, made its earliest known appearance. The Mings, last of the
native rulers (1368–1644), overthrew the Mongol, or Yuan, dynasty (1271–1368)
established by Kublai Khan. The Mings in turn were overthrown in 1644 by
invaders from the north, the Manchus.
remained largely isolated from the rest of the world's civilizations, closely
restricting foreign activities. By the end of the 18th century only Canton
(location of modern-day Hong Kong) and the Portuguese port of Macao were open to
European merchants. But with the first Anglo-Chinese War in 1839–1842, a long
period of instability and concessions to Western colonial powers began.
Following the war, several ports were opened up for trading, and Hong Kong was
ceded to Britain. Treaties signed after further hostilities (1856–1860) weakened
Chinese sovereignty and gave foreigners immunity from Chinese jurisdiction.
European powers took advantage of the disastrous Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895
to gain further trading concessions from China. Peking's response, the Boxer
Rebellion (1900), was suppressed by an international force.
death of Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi in 1908 and the accession of the infant emperor
Hsüan T'ung (Pu-Yi) were followed by a nationwide rebellion led by Dr. Sun
Yat-sen, who overthrew the Manchus and became the first president of the
Provisional Chinese Republic in 1911. Dr. Sun resigned in favor of Yuan Shih-k'ai,
who suppressed the Republicans in a bid to consolidate his power. Yuan's death
in June 1916 was followed by years of civil war between rival militarists and
Dr. Sun's Republicans. Nationalist forces, led by General Chiang Kai-shek and
with the advice of Communist experts, soon occupied most of China, setting up
the Kuomintang regime in 1928. Internal strife continued, however, and Chiang
eventually broke with the Communists.
Sept. 18, 1931, Japan launched an invasion of Manchuria, capturing the province.
Tokyo set up a puppet state dubbed Manchukuo and installed the last Manchu
emperor, Henry Pu-Yi (Hsüan T'ung), as its nominal leader. Japanese troops moved
to seize China's northern provinces in July 1937 but were resisted by Chiang,
who had been able to use the Japanese invasion to unite most of China behind
him. Within two years, however, Japan had seized most of the nation's eastern
ports and railways. The Kuomintang government retreated first to Hankow and then
to Chungking, while the Japanese set up a puppet government at Nanking, headed
by Wang Jingwei.
surrender to the Western Allies in 1945 touched off civil war between the
Kuomintang forces under Chiang and Communists led by Mao Zedong, who had been
battling since the 1930s for control of China. Despite U.S. aid, the Kuomintang
were overcome by the Soviet-supported Communists, and Chiang and his followers
were forced to flee the mainland, establishing a government-in-exile on the
island of Formosa (Taiwan). The Mao regime proclaimed the People's Republic of
China on Oct. 1, 1949, with Beijing as the new capital and Zhou Enlai as
Islamic History and
Islam in China has a rich heritage. China has some of the oldest Muslim history,
dating back to as early as 650, when the uncle of the Islamic prophet Muhammad,
Sa`ad ibn Abi Waqqas, was sent as an official envoy to Emperor Gaozong.
Throughout the history of Islam in China, Chinese Muslims have influenced the
course of Chinese history.
Islam was first brought to China by an
envoy sent by Uthman, the third Caliph, in 651, less than twenty years after the
death of prophet Muhammad. The envoy was led by Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās, the
maternal uncle of the Prophet himself. Emperor Gaozong, the Tang emperor who
received the envoy then ordered the construction of the Memorial mosque in
Canton, the first mosque in the country. It was during the Tang Dynasty that
China had its golden day of cosmopolitan culture which helped the introduction
of Islam. The first major Muslim settlements in China consisted of Arab and
Persian merchants. The term Hui originated from the Mandarin word “Huihui,” a
term first used in the Yuan dynasty to describe Central Asian, Persian, and Arab
residents in China
By the time of the Song Dynasty, Muslims had come to dominate the import/export
industry. The office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a
Muslim during this period. In 1070, the Song emperor Shenzong invited 5,300
Muslim men from Bukhara, to settle in China in order to create a buffer zone
between the Chinese and the Liao empire in the northeast. Later on these men
were settled between the Sung capital of Kaifeng and Yenching (modern day
Beijing). They were led by Prince Amir Sayyid "So-fei-er" (his Chinese name) who
was reputed of being called the "father" of the Muslim community in China. Prior
to him Islam was named by the Tang and Song Chinese as Dashi fa ("law of the
Arabs") (Tashi or Dashi is the Chinese rendering of Tazi--the name the Persian
people used for the Arabs). . He renamed it to Huihui Jiao ("the Religion of the
It was during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, (1274 - 1368), that large numbers of
Muslims settled in China. The Mongols, a minority in China, gave Muslim
immigrants an elevated status over the native Han Chinese as part of their
governing strategy, thus giving Muslims a heavy influence. Hundreds of thousands
of Muslims immigrants were recruited and forcibly relocated from Western and
Central Asia by the Mongols to help them administer their rapidly expanding
empire. The Mongols used Persian, Arab and Uyghur administrators to act as
officers of taxation and finance. Muslims headed many corporations in China in
the early Yuan period. Muslim scholars were brought to work on calendar making
and astronomy. The architect Yeheidie'erding (Amir al-Din) learned from Han
architecture and led the construction of the capital of the Yuan Dynasty,
Khanbaliq, which was in the location of present-day Beijing.
During the following Ming Dynasty, Muslims continued to be influential around
government circles. Six of Ming Dynasty founder Zhu Yuanzhang's most trusted
generals were Muslim, including Lan Yu who, in 1388, led a strong imperial Ming
army out of the Great Wall and won a decisive victory over the Mongols in
Mongolia, effectively ending the Mongol dream to re-conquer China. Additionally,
the Yongle Emperor hired Zheng He, perhaps the most famous Chinese Muslim and
China's foremost explorer, to lead seven expeditions to the Indian Ocean, from
1405 and 1433. However, during the Ming Dynasty, new immigration to China from
Muslim countries was restricted in an increasingly isolationist nation. The
Muslims in China who were descended from earlier immigration began to assimilate
by speaking Chinese dialects and by adopting Chinese names and culture. Mosque
architecture began to follow traditional Chinese architecture. This era,
sometimes considered the Golden Age of Islam in China, also saw Nanjing become
an important center of Islamic study.
The rise of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) made relations between the Muslims and
Chinese more difficult. The dynasty prohibited ritual slaughtering of animals,
followed by forbidding the construction of new mosques and the pilgrimage to
Mecca. The Qing rulers belonged to the Manchu, a minority in China, and employed
the tactics of divide and conquer to keep the Muslims, Hans, Tibetans and
Mongolians in conflict with each other. These repressive policies resulted in
five bloody Hui rebellions, most notably the Panthay Rebellion, which occurred
in Yunnan province from 1855 to 1873, and the Dungan revolt, which occurred
mostly in Xinjiang, Shensi and Gansu, from 1862 to 1877. These little known
revolts were suppressed by the Manchu government in a manner that amounts to
genocide, killing a million people in the Panthay rebellion, several million in
the Dungan revolt and five million in the suppression of Miao people in
Guizhou.A "washing off the Muslims"(洗回 (xi Hui)) policy had been long advocated
by officials in the Manchu government.
After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Sun Yat Sen, who established the Republic of
China immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui
(Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. In 1911, the provinces
of Qinhai, Gansu and Ningxia fell to Muslim warlords of the family known as the
Ma clique. Conditions for the Muslims worsened during the Cultural Revolution.
The government began to relax its policies towards Muslims in 1978. Today, Islam
is experiencing a modest revival and there are now many mosques in China. There
has been an upsurge in Islamic expression and many nation-wide Islamic
associations have been organized to co-ordinate inter-ethnic activities among
The Great Mosque of Xi'an, one of
China's oldest mosques
The Niujie Mosque in Beijing
The tomb of Khoja Afāq near Kashgar
Id Khar Mosque
Nancheng Mosque in Kunming. This mosque is typical of recent efforts to
eliminate all traditional Chinese architectural influences on mosques in
China. Photo: Jackie Armijo
Girls’ class in a village classroom building in central Yunnan. The lesson
on the board is a verse from the Qur’an. Photo: Jackie Armijo
Muslims live in every region in China. The highest concentrations are found in
the northwest provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia, with significant
populations also found throughout Yunnan province in southwest China and Henan
Province in central China. Of China’s 55 officially recognized minority peoples,
ten groups are predominately Muslim. The largest groups in descending order are
Hui (9.8 million in year 2000 census, or 48% of the officially tabulated number
of Muslims), Uyghur (8.4 million, 41%), Kazak (1.25 million , 6.1%), Dongxiang
(514,000, 2.5%), Kyrgyz (161,000), Salar (105,000), Tajik (41,000), Uzbek ,
Bonan (17,000), and Tatar (5,000). However, individual members of
traditionally Muslim ethnic groups may profess other religions or none at all.
Additionally, Tibetan Muslims are officially classified along with the Tibetan
people, unlike the Hui who are classified as a separate people, even though they
are indistinguishable from the Han. Muslims live predominantly in the areas that
border Central Asia, Tibet and Mongolia, i.e Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu and
Qinghai, which is known as the "Quran Belt".
Number of Muslims in China
China is home to a large population of
adherents of Islam. According to the CIA World Factbook, about 1%-2% of the
total population in China are Muslims, while the US Department of State's
International Religious Freedom Report shows that Muslims constitute about 1.5%
of the Chinese population. Recent census counts imply that there may be up to 20
million Muslims in China. However, the last three national censuses (1982, 1990,
and 2000) did not include questions about religion. The number of religious
believers can be inferred indirectly from census counts of the number of people
who identify themselves as belonging to particular nationalities, some of whom
are known to be predominantly members of certain religious groups.
The BBC gives a range of 20 million to 100 million (1.5% to 7.5% of the total)
Muslims in China. The figure of 100 million is based on a 1938 statistical
yearbook placing the number of Muslims at 50 million, as well as census data
from the 1940s, which showed roughly 48 million Muslims. Demographers at the
University of Michigan contend in contrast that the only way the Muslim
population of China could be substantially higher than the 20.3 million members
of traditionally Muslim nationalities in the 2000 census is if there were a very
large hidden or uncounted number of Muslims in China; but a large undercount of
Muslims has not been documented and remains speculative.
The accuracy of the religious data in China from census sources is questioned.
While official data estimated 100 million religious believers in China, a survey
taken by Shanghai University found that 31.4% of people above the age of 16, or
about 300 million people, considered themselves religious. The survey also found
that the major religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity,
accounting for 67.4 percent of believers. About 200 million people are
Buddhists, Taoists or worshippers of legendary figures such as the Dragon King
and God of Fortune, accounting for 66.1 per cent of all believers, while
Christianity accounted for 12% of believers, or 40 million people.
The vast majority of China's Muslims are Sunni Muslims. A notable feature of the
some Muslim communities in China is the presence of female imams.
Chinese Muslims and the Hajj
Some Chinese Muslims may have made the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca on the Arabian
peninsula between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, yet there is no
written record of this prior to 1861.
Briefly during the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Muslims were not allowed to
attend the Hajj,and only did so through Pakistan, but this policy was reversed
in 1979. Chinese Muslims now attend the Hajj in large numbers, typically in
organized groups, with a record 10,700 Chinese Muslim pilgrims from all over the
country making the Hajj in 2007.
Islamic Association of China
The Islamic Association of China claims to represent Chinese Muslims nationwide.
At its inaugural meeting on May 11, 1953 in Beijing, representatives from 10
nationalities of the People's Republic of China were in attendance.
China Islamic Association
In April 2001, the government set up the China Islamic Association, which was
described as aiming to "help the spread of the Qur'an in China and oppose
religious extremism". The association is to be run by 16 Islamic religious
leaders who are charged with making "a correct and authoritative interpretation"
of Islamic creed and canon.
It will compile and spread inspirational speeches and help imams improve
themselves, and vet sermons made by clerics around the country. This latter
function is probably the key job as far as the central government is concerned.
It is worried that some clerics are using their sermons to spread sedition.
Some examples of the religious concessions granted to Muslims are:
* In areas where Muslims are a majority, the breeding of pigs is not allowed, in
deference to Muslim sensitivities
* Muslim communities are allowed separate cemeteries
* Muslim couples may have their marriage consecrated by an Imam
* Muslim workers are permitted holidays during major religious festivals
* Chinese Muslims are also allowed to make the Hajj to Mecca, and more than
45,000 Chinese Muslims have done so in recent years.
Islamic education in China
Over the last twenty years a wide range of Islamic educational opportunities
have been developed to meet the needs of China’s Muslim population. In addition
to mosque schools, government Islamic colleges, and independent Islamic
colleges, a growing number of students have gone overseas to continue their
studies at international Islamic universities in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia,
Pakistan, Iran, and Malaysia.
Culture and heritage
Although contacts and previous conquests have occurred before, the Mongol
conquest of the greater part of Eurasia in the 13th century permanently brought
the extensive cultural traditions of China, central Asia and western Asia into a
single empire, albeit one of separate khanates, for the first time in history.
The intimate interaction that resulted is evident in the legacy of both
traditions. In China, Islam influenced technology, sciences, philosophy and the
arts. In terms of material culture, one finds decorative motives from central
Asian Islamic architecture and calligraphy and the marked halal impact on
northern Chinese cuisine.
Taking the Mongol Eurasian empire as a point of departure, the ethnogenesis of
the Hui, or Sinophone Muslims, can also be charted through the emergence of
distinctly Chinese Muslim traditions in architecture, food, epigraphy and
Islamic written culture. This multifaceted cultural heritage continues to the
The Niujie Mosque in Beijing
The first Chinese mosque was established in the 7th century during the Tang
Dynasty in Xi'an. The Great Mosque of Xi'an, whose current buildings date from
the Ming Dynasty, does not replicate many of the features often associated with
traditional mosques. Instead, it follows traditional Chinese architecture.
Mosques in western China incorporate more of the elements seen in mosques in
other parts of the world. Western Chinese mosques were more likely to
incorporate minarets and domes while eastern Chinese mosques were more likely to
look like pagodas.
The tomb of Khoja Afāq near Kashgar
An important feature in Chinese architecture is its emphasis on symmetry, which
connotes a sense of grandeur; this applies to everything from palaces to
mosques. One notable exception is in the design of gardens, which tends to be as
asymmetrical as possible. Like Chinese scroll paintings, the principle
underlying the garden's composition is to create enduring flow; to let the
patron wander and enjoy the garden without prescription, as in nature herself.
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Mosques of China
Chinese buildings may be built with bricks, but wooden structures are the most
common; these are more capable of withstanding earthquakes, but are vulnerable
to fire. The roof of a typical Chinese building is curved; there are strict
classifications of gable types, comparable with the classical orders of European
Id Khar Mosque
As in all regions the Chinese Islamic architecture reflects the local
architecture in its style. China is renowned for its beautiful mosques, which
resemble temples. However in western China the mosques resemble those of the
middle east, with tall, slender minarets, curvy arches and dome shaped roofs. In
northwest China where the Chinese Hui have built their mosques, there is a
combination of east and west. The mosques have flared Chinese-style roofs set in
walled courtyards entered through archways with miniature domes and minarets
(see Beytullah Mosque). The first mosque was the Great Mosque of Xian, or the
Xian Mosque, which was created in the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century.
Halal food in China
A package of halal-certified frozen food (steamed cabbage buns) from Jiangsu
A package of halal-certified frozen food (steamed cabbage buns) from Jiangsu
Chinese Islamic cuisine
Due to the large Muslim population in western China, many Chinese restaurants
cater to Muslims or cater to the general public but are run by Muslims. In most
major cities in China, there are small Islamic restaurants or food stalls
typically run by migrants from Western China (e.g., Uyghurs), which offer
inexpensive noodle soup. Lamb and mutton dishes are more commonly available than
in other Chinese restaurants, due to the greater prevalence of these meats in
the cuisine of western Chinese regions. Commercially prepared food can be
certified Halal by approved agencies.
Sini is a Chinese Islamic calligraphic form for the Arabic script. It can refer
to any type of Chinese Islamic calligraphy, but is commonly used to refer to one
with thick and tapered effects, much like Chinese calligraphy. It is used
extensively in mosques in eastern China, and to a lesser extent in Gansu,
Ningxia, and Shaanxi. A famous Sini calligrapher is Hajji Noor Deen Mi
A Chinese-Arabic-Xiaoerjing dictionary from the early days of the People's
Republic of China.
A Chinese-Arabic-Xiaoerjing dictionary from the early days of the People's
Republic of China.
Xiao'erjing or Xiao'erjin (simplified Chinese: 小儿经/小儿锦; traditional Chinese:
小兒經/小兒錦; pinyin: Xiǎo'érjīng/Xiǎo'érjǐn, Xiao'erjing: شِيَوْ عَر دٍ) or, in its
shortened form, Xiaojing (simplified Chinese: 小经/消经; traditional Chinese: 小經/消經;
pinyin: Xiǎojīng/Xiāojīng) is the practice of writing Sinitic languages such as
Mandarin (especially the Lanyin, Zhongyuan and Northeastern dialects) or the
Dungan language in the Arabic script. It is used on occasion by many ethnic
minorities who adhere to the Islamic faith in China (mostly the Hui, but also
the Dongxiang, and the Salar), and formerly by their Dungan descendants in
Muslim Chinese martial arts
Muslim development and participation at the highest level of Chinese wushu has a
long history. Many of its roots lie in the Qing Dynasty persecution of Muslims.
The Hui started and adapted many of the styles of wushu such as bajiquan,
piguazhang, and liuhequan. There were specific areas that were known to be
centers of Muslim wushu, such as Cang County in Hebei Province. These
traditional Hui martial arts were very distinct from the Turkic styles practiced
Chinese terminology for Islamic institutions
Qīngzhēn (清真) is the Chinese term for certain Islamic institutions. Its literal
meaning is "pure truth."
In Chinese, halal is called qīngzhēn cài (清真菜) or "pure truth food." A mosque is
called qīngzhēn sì (清真寺) or "pure truth temple."
Famous Muslims in China
* Zheng He, mariner and explorer
* Fei Xin, Zheng He's translator
* Ma Huan, a companion of Zheng He
* Founding generals of the Ming dynasty: Hu Dahai,Lan Yu, Mu Ying
* The leaders of the Panthay Rebellion: Du Wenxiu, Ma Hualong
* The Ma clique of warlords during the Republic of China era: Ma Bufang, Ma
Chung-ying, Ma Fuxiang, Ma Hongkui, Ma Hongbin, Ma Lin, Ma Qi, Ma Hun-shan
* Bai Chongxi, general in the Republic of China army
Scholars and writers
* Bai Shouyi, historian
* Tohti Tunyaz, historian
* Yusuf Ma Dexin, first translator of the Qur'an into Chinese
* Muhammad Ma Jian, author of the most popular Chinese translation of the Qur'an
* Liu Zhi, Qing Dynasty author
* Wang Daiyu, Master Supervisor of the Imperial Observatory during the Ming
* Zhang Chengzhi, contemporary author
* Hui Liangyu, vice premier in charge of agriculture in the People's Republic of
* Huseyincan Celil, Uyghur imam imprisoned in China
* Xabib Yunic, Education Minister of the Second East Turkistan Republic
* Muhammad Amin Bughra, Vice-Chief of the Second East Turkistan Republic
* Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang, calligrapher
* Ma Xianda, martial artist
History of Islam in China
History of Islam in China begins just a
few decades after the rise of Islam. Trade existed between pre-Islamic Arabia
and China's South Coast, and flourished when Arab maritime traders converted to
Islam. It reached its peak under the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty.
China's long and interactive relationship with the various Steppe tribes and
empires, through trade, war, subordination or domination paved the way for a
large sustained Islamic community within China. Islamic influence came from the
various steppe peoples who assimilated in Chinese culture. Muslims served as
administrators, generals, and other leaders who were transferred to China from
Persia and Central Asia to administer the empire under the Mongolians.
Muslims in China have managed to practice their faith in China, sometimes
against great odds, since the seventh century. Islam is one of the religions
that is still officially recognized in China.
Uthman, the third Caliph of Islam, sent the first official Muslim envoy to China
in 650. The envoy, headed by Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās, arrived in the Tang capital,
Chang'an, in 651 via the overseas route. Huis generally consider this date to be
the official founding of Islam in China. The Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty
recorded the historic meeting, where the envoy greeted Emperor Gaozong of Tang
China and tried to convert him to Islam. Although the envoy failed to convince
the Emperor to embrace Islam, the Emperor allowed the envoy to proselytize in
China and ordered the establishment of the first Chinese mosque in the capital
to show his respect for the religion. In Arab records there are only sparse
records of the event.
Islam during the Tang Dynasty
The Great Mosque of Xi'an, one of China's oldest mosques
Arab people are first noted in Chinese written records, under the name Ta shi in
the annals of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). (Ta shi or Da shi is the Chinese
rendering of Tazi--the name the Persian people used for the Arabs) Records
dating from 713 speak of the arrival of a Da shi ambassador. The first major
Muslim settlements in China consisted of Arab and Persian merchants.
Despite conflict between the Tang and the Abbasids during the Battle of Talas in
751, relations between the two states improved soon after. In 756, a contingent
probably consisting of Persians and Iraqis was sent to Kansu to help the emperor
Su-Tsung in his struggle against the rebellion of An Lushan. Less than 50 years
later, an alliance was concluded between the Tang and the Abbasids against
Tibetan attacks in Central Asia. A mission from the Caliph Harun al-Rashid
(766-809) arrived at Chang'an.
It is recorded that in 758, a large Muslim settlement in Guangzhou erupted in
unrest and the people fled. The community had constructed a large mosque (Huaisheng
Mosque), destroyed by fire in 1314, and constructed in 1349-51; only ruins of a
tower remain from the first building.
During the Tang Dynasty, a steady stream of Arab (Ta'shi) and Persian (Po'si)
traders arrived in China through the silk road and the overseas route through
the port of Quanzhou. Not all of the immigrants were Muslims, but many of those
who stayed formed the basis of the Chinese Muslim population and the Hui ethnic
group. The Persian immigrants introduced polo, their cuisine, their musical
instruments, and their knowledge of medicine to China.
Islam during the Song Dynasty
Many Muslims went to China to trade, and these Muslims began to have a great
economic impact and influence on the country. During the Song Dynasty
(960-1279), Muslims in China dominated foreign trade and the import/export
industry to the south and west.
In 1070, the Song emperor, Shen-tsung (Shenzong) invited 5,300 Muslim men from
Bukhara, to settle in China. The emperor used these men in his campaign against
the Liao empire in the northeast. Later on these men were settled between the
Sung capital of Kaifeng and Yenching (modern day Beijing). The object was to
create a buffer zone between the Chinese and the Liao. In 1080, 10,000 Arab men
and women migrated to China on horseback and settled in all of the provinces of
the north and north-east.
The Arabs from Bukhara were under the leadership of Prince Amir Sayyid "So-fei-er"
(his Chinese name). The prince was later given an honorary title. He is reputed
of being the "father" of the Muslim community in China. Prior to him Islam was
named by the Tang and Song Chinese as Dashi fa ("law of the Arabs") (Tashi or
Dashi is the Chinese rendering of Tazi--the name the Persian people used for the
Arabs). He renamed it to Huihui Jiao ("the Religion of the Huihui").
Islam during the Yuan dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty of China, continued to maintain excellent relationship with
other nomadic tribes of Mongolia. The Mongol rulers of Yuan Dynasty elevated the
status of Muslims versus the Chinese, and placed many foreign and non-Han
Chinese Muslims in high-ranking posts instead of native Confucian scholars,
using many Muslims in the administration of China. China proper was administered
in 12 districts during the reign of Kublai Khan with a governor and
vice-governor each. Of these 12 governors, 8 were Muslims. In the remaining
districts, Muslims were vice-governors. The state encouraged Muslim immigration,
as Arab, Persian and Turkic immigration into China accelerated during this
period. This was part of a larger strategy of the Mongol dynasties to divide
subject peoples from an administrative class. In addition, native Chinese and
their descendants were sent out of China to administer other parts of the Mongol
Empire, including West Asia, Russia and India (as Mughal dynasty) in successive
centuries.In the fourteenth century, the total population of Muslims was
4,000,000. The Chinese material medica 52 (re published in 1968-75) was revised
under the Song Dynasty in 1056CE and 1107CE to include material taken from Ibn
Sina's book 200 Medicines It was during this time that Jamal ad-Din, a Persian
astronomer, presented Kublai Khan with seven Persian astronomical instruments.
Also, The Muslim architect Yeheidie'erding (Amir al-Din) learned from Han
architecture and designed and led the construction of the capital of the Yuan
Dynasty, Khanbaliq. Khanbaliq would last until 1368 when Zhu Yuanzhang, the
founder of the Ming Dynasty and future Hongwu Emperor, made his imperial
ambitions known by sending an army toward the Yuan capital. The last Yuan
emperor fled north to Shangdu and Zhu declared the founding of the Ming Dynasty
after razing the Yuan palaces of Khanbaliq to the ground.
Islam during the Ming Dynasty
Muslims continued to flourish in China during the Ming Dynasty. During Ming
rule, the capital, Nanjing, was a center of Islamic learning.
The Ming dynasty saw the rapid decline in the Muslim population in the sea
ports. This was due to the closing of all seaport trade with the outside world.
However it also saw the appointment of Muslim military generals such as Mu Ying
who campaigned in Yunnan and central Shandong. These two areas became leading
centers of Islamic learning in China.
The emperor Zhu Yuanzhang was the founder of the Ming Dynasty. Many of his most
trusted commanders where Muslims, including Hu Dahai, Mu ying, Lan Yu, Feng
Sheng and Ding Dexing.All of the Commanders were Wushu masters. See Muslim
Chinese Martial Arts. The Ming dynasty also gave rise to the famous admiral
Mosques in Nanjing are noted in two inscriptions from the sixteenth century.
Immigration slowed down drastically however, and the Muslims in China became
increasingly isolated from the rest of the Islamic world, gradually becoming
more sinicized, adopting the Chinese language and Chinese dress. During this
period, Muslims also began to adopt Chinese surnames. Many Muslims married Han
Chinese women and simply took the name of the wife. Other Muslims, who could not
find a Chinese surname similar to their own, adopted the Chinese character most
similar to their own - Mo (馬) for Muhammad, Mai for Mustafa, Mu for Masoud, Ha
for Hasan, Hu for Hussain and Sa'I for Said and so on. As a result the Muslims
became "outwardly indistinguishable" from the Chinese.
In addition to names, Muslim customs of dress and food also underwent a
synthesis with Chinese culture.
The Islamic modes of dress and dietary rules were maintained within a Chinese
cultural framework. In time, the immigrant Muslims began to speak local dialects
and to read in Chinese.
Islam during the Qing Dynasty
The rise of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) made relations between the Muslims and
Chinese more difficult. Muslims suffered a decline in status, and numerous Hui
rebellions, such as the Panthay Rebellion (1855-1873), Dungan revolt
(1862-1878),sprung up during the Qing Dynasty in reaction to repressionist
policies. The dynasty prohibited ritual slaughtering of animals, followed by
forbidding the construction of new mosques and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Qing rulers were Manchu, not Han, and were themselves a minority in China.
They employed the tactics of divide and conquer to keep the Muslims, Hans,
Tibetans and Mongolians in conflict with each other.
However, even in the Qing Dynasty, Muslims had many mosques in the large cities,
with particularly important ones in Beijing, Xi'an, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and
other places (in addition to those in the western Muslim regions). The
architecture typically employed traditional Chinese styles, with Arabic-language
inscriptions being the chief distinguishing feature. Many Muslims held
government positions, including positions of importance, particularly in the
As travel between China and the Middle East became easier, Sufism spread
throughout the Northwestern China in the early decades of the Qing Dynasty
(mid-17th century through early 18th century). The most important Sufi orders (menhuan)
* The Qadiriyya, which was established in China Qi Jingyi, also known as Hilal
al-Din (1656-1719), student of the famous Central Asian Sufi teachers, Khoja
Afaq and Kjoja Abd Alla. He was known among the Hui Sufis as Qi Daozu (Grand
Master Qi). The shrine complex around "great tomb" (da gongbei) in Linxia
remains the center of the Qadiriyya in China.
* The Khufiyya: a Naqshbandi order.
* The Jahriyya: another Naqshbandi menhuan, founded by Ma Mingxin.
Gunners of the Dungan revolt Genocide
Dungan revolt and Panthay rebellion
During the time, the Muslims, along with the Miao people, revolted against the
Qing Dynasty, most notably in the Dungan revolt (1862-1877) and the Panthay
rebellion 1856-1873) in Yunnan. These little known revolts were suppressed by
the Manchu government in a manner that amounts to genocide, killing a million
people in the Panthay rebellion, several million in the Dungan revolt and five
million in the suppression of Miao people in Guizhou.A "washing off the
Muslims"(洗回 (xi Hui)) policy had been long advocated by officials in the Manchu
Republic of China
Islam in China (1911-present)
The end of the Qing dynasty marked an increase in Sino-foreign interaction. This
led to increased contact between Muslim minorities in China and the Islamic
states of the Middle East. A missionary, Claude Pickens, found 834 well-known
Hui who had made hajj between 1923 and 1934. By 1939, at least 33 Hui Muslims
had studied at Cairo's Al-Azhar university. In 1912, the Chinese Muslim
Federation was formed in the capital Nanjing. Similar organization formed in
Beijing (1912), Shanghai (19250 and Jinan (1934).
Academic activities within the Muslim community also flourished. Before the
Sino-Japanese War of 1937, there existed more than a hundred known Muslim
periodicals. Thirty journals were published between 1911 and 1937. Although
Linxia remained the center for religious activities, many Muslim cultural
activities had shifted to Beijing.
In the first decade of the 20th century, it has been estimated that there were
between 3 million and 50 million Muslims in China proper (that is, China
excluding the regions of Mongolia and Xinjiang).Of these, almost half resided in
Gansu, over a third in Shaanxi (as defined at that time) and the rest in Yunnan.
The Manchu dynasty fell in 1911, and the Republic of China was established by
Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the
Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. This led to
some improvement in relations between these different peoples.
In 1911, the provinces of Qinhai, Gansu and Ningxia fell to Muslim warlords of
the family known as the Ma clique, including Ma Bufang and Ma Chung-ying.
Early communist era
Islam in China (1911-present)
The People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. Through many of the early
years there were tremendous upheavals which culminated in the Cultural
During the Cultural Revolution the Government attempted to dilute the Muslim
population of Xinjiang by settling masses of Han Chinese there, and replacing
Muslim leaders. The government constantly accused Muslims and other religious
groups of holding "superstitious beliefs" and promoting "anti-socialist trends".
Mosques were often defaced, destroyed or closed and copies of the Quran were
destroyed by rampaging Red Guards.
Since the advent of Deng Xiaopeng in 1979, the Chinese government liberalised
its policies toward Islam and Muslims. New legislation gave all minorities the
freedom to use their own spoken and written languages; develop their own culture
and education; and practice their religion. More Chinese Muslims than ever
before are allowed to go on the Hajj.
Islam in China (1911-present)
Under China's current leadership, Islam is undergoing a modest revival and there
are now many mosques in China. There has been an upsurge in Islamic expression
and many nation-wide Islamic associations have been organised to co-ordinate
inter-ethnic activities among Muslims.
In most of China, Muslims have considerable religious freedom, however, in areas
like Xinjiang, where there has been unrest among Uighur Muslims, activities are
China is fighting an increasingly protracted struggle against members of its
Uighur minority, who are a Turkic people with their own language and distinct
Islamic culture. Uighar separatists are intent on re-establishing the state of
East Turkistan, which existed for a few years in the 1920s.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, China feared potential separatist
goals of Muslim majority in Xinjiang. An April, 1996 agreement between Russia,
Kazakhstan, Tajikstan and Kyrgyztan, however, assures China of avoiding a
military conflict. Other Muslim states have also asserted that they have no
intentions of becoming involved in China's internal affairs.
China fears the influence of radical Islamic thinking filtering in from central
Asia, and the role of exiles in neighbouring states and in Turkey, with which
Xinjiang's majority Uighur population shares linguistic ties. After, September
11, many "ethnic" Muslims were forcibly evicted from Beijing, Shanghai and
Muslim nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey support Muslims in China.
Turhan Tayan, the defense minister of Turkey, recently told China
"...many people living in Xinjiang are our relatives and that we will always be
interested in those people's welfare. Our government is and will continue to be
sensitive over the plight of our Turkic and Muslim brothers throughout the
China, however, continues to stress national unity.
In 2007, which according to the Chinese zodiac was the Year of the pig, CCTV,
People's Republic of China's state run television station ordered major
advertising agencies not to use pig images, cartoons or slogans "to avoid
conflicts with ethnic minorities", a reference to China's 20 million Muslims,
who make up about 2 percent of the country's population.
Islamic Education in China
Written by Jackie Armijo
Over the last twenty years a wide range of Islamic educational opportunities
have been developed to meet the needs of China’s 20 million plus Muslim
population. In addition to mosque schools, government Islamic colleges, and
independent Islamic colleges, a growing number of students have gone overseas to
continue their studies at international Islamic universities in Egypt, Syria,
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and Malaysia.
Islamic Education in China: Rebuilding Communities and Expanding Local and
Jackie Armijo is an Assistant Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. She has
lived in China for more than seven years, two years in Beijing (1981 - 1983) and
five years in Kunming, Yunnan (1993 - 1998) where she carried out her
dissertation research on the early history of Islam in southwest China. After
completing her Ph.D. at Harvard in 1997, she chose to remain in China working as
a consultant for different international NGOs, and began carrying out research
on the revival of Islamic education. Her teaching and research interests include
gender and Islam, the minority peoples of China, and the comparative study of
Muslim minority communities. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.This
At a time of rapid economic development and growing social unrest, and as income
disparities escalate and government social welfare benefits disappear,
increasing numbers of Chinese are seeking an ideology or faith that can help
them through unsettling times. While some look to new belief systems which offer
alternatives to the state-sponsored ideologies (which have been mostly
discredited over the past two decades), others are returning to a faith that has
survived for over 1,300 years in China, through periods of isolation, state
persecution and state support: Islam. The ability of Islam to not only survive,
but thrive, within a cultural civilization renowned for its ability to absorb
and transform other peoples and cultures it has encountered, is one of the most
intriguing chapters in both Islamic and Chinese histories, and yet one that
still largely remains overlooked by both fields of study.
Over the past twenty years, throughout all of China (except for Xinjiang1),
mosques have organized classes in Arabic and Islamic studies for all members of
their community, from three-year olds in pre-school programs, to eighty-year old
retirees determined to study the Qur’an and learn about their faith in their
twilight years. In addition to government-run Islamic colleges, communities have
also established independent schools.2 According to government estimates there
are now 35,000 mosques in China, 45,000 Muslim teachers, and 24,000 students
studying in Islamic schools.3 More recently, increasing numbers of Chinese
Muslim students have chosen to go abroad to continue their Islamic studies. At
present the most popular destinations are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran,
Pakistan, and Malaysia, but there are also students who have traveled to Turkey,
Sudan, Libya, and Kuwait.4 As more and more students complete their studies in
China, and those studying overseas return, there are ever more qualified
teachers available to establish schools in areas where Islam has not been taught
for decades, if not generations.
Based on dozens of interviews carried out between 2005 and 2006, with Chinese
Muslim students and leaders throughout China, as well as those studying in
Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Pakistan, this article argues that the
revival of Islamic education has not resulted in the widespread radicalization
of Muslims in China. Instead, the revival of Islamic education has offered
Muslims the opportunity to rebuild their faith and their religious institutions
in the aftermath of the state-sponsored attacks on Islam during the Cultural
Revolution (1966 - 1976). It has also allowed Muslims throughout China, even in
the most remote villages, to gain access to information about issues facing not
only Muslims in nearby villages, but also those in distant regions of China, as
well as the world.
This article focuses on four main characteristics of the revival of Islamic
education in China: the role of the state in supporting government Islamic
education; the rebuilding of mosques and their role as centers of community
religious activity; the active role of women in promoting Islamic education; and
the potential impact of increasing numbers of Chinese Muslim students seeking to
continue their Islamic education at international centers of Islamic learning
China’s Muslim population is conservatively estimated at 20 million, and
although there are Muslims living in every region of China, the highest
concentrations are found in the northwest provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, and
Ningxia, with significant populations also found throughout Yunnan province in
southwest China and Henan Province in central China. Of China’s 55 officially
recognized minority peoples, ten are predominately Muslim.5 The Hui and Uighur
are the largest groups, followed by the Kazak, Dongxiang, Kirghiz, Salar, Tajik,
Uzbek, Bonan, and Tatar. Except for the Hui, these other groups are based in
northwest China, and most have their own Turkic-related language, and unique
The Hui are the largest and most geographically dispersed group of Muslims in
China. They are also the most linguistically and culturally assimilated with the
mainstream of their respective areas. So although the majority live near or
amongst Han Chinese, speak Chinese as their mother tongue and have adopted many
Han cultural practices, there are those who live among other minority peoples
such as the Tibetans, Dai, and Bai, and speak those languages as their mother
language and have adopted many of their cultural customs. Regardless of where
they live now in China, most Hui originally descended from Western and Central
Asia Muslims who began migrating to China in the early years of the Tang dynasty
(618 - 907). In fact, there were Muslims in China from the earliest days of
Islam, as Arabs and Persian traders had been traveling back and forth to China
for centuries before the advent of Islam. One of the most famous hadith
(sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad, “Seek knowledge, even unto China” (utlub al
‘ilm was law fi al-Sin) is said to reflect both the importance of pursuing an
education at all costs, and also the early Muslims’ understanding of the
importance of China, despite its distance.
It was not until the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1274 - 1368), however, that large
numbers of Muslims settled in China. The Mongols recruited and forcibly
relocated hundreds of thousands of Muslims from Western and Central Asia to help
them administer their rapidly expanding empire. In addition to craftsmen,
artists, architects, engineers, medical doctors and astronomers, the Mongols
also brought administrators and officials who were posted to government
positions throughout China. These men married local women, and were able to pass
on their faith and religious practice for generation upon generation, over the
centuries. The Mongol Yuan dynasty was then followed by the Ming dynasty (1368 -
1644), when once again Han Chinese ruled China. Although all the foreigners who
had settled in China during the Yuan dynasty were allowed to remain, lingering
resentment over the influence of “barbarians” resulted in a series of laws
requiring all residents to adopt certain traditional Chinese cultural practices,
including wearing Chinese clothes, speaking Chinese, and adopting Chinese
names.6 By the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), Muslims were so assimilated, that
like local Chinese throughout the country, many rose up in revolt against local
The collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911 saw a renewed interest on the part of
Muslim communities in different regions of China to build both secular and
religious schools.8 These efforts lasted until the chaos brought on by the Civil
War, and the Sino-Japanese war. During this period of unrest, the Communist
Party appealed to the Chinese Muslims in the northwest for assistance. In return
they were promised guarantees of religious freedom and a certain degree of
autonomy. However, these promises did not last long, as several Muslim leaders
and intellectuals were caught up in the Anti-rightist campaign, one of the first
major political campaigns of post-liberation China.
During the Cultural Revolution the situation for the Muslims grew significantly
worse, and all forms of religious practice were outlawed, including communal
prayer, religious instruction, and religious festivals. Even traditional
expressions such as the standard Muslim greeting as-salam alaikum (peace be upon
you), or alhamdulilah (thanks be to God) were banned. As was the case with other
religious leaders during this period, Muslim leaders were persecuted, jailed,
and even killed. Although the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976, it was not
until the early 1980s that most Muslim communities in China were allowed to
regain control of their mosques. Except for the mosque in Beijing, which
continued to be used by the diplomats from Muslim countries for weekly prayer,
all other mosques in China were taken over by local officials and most put to
other uses. A common practice was to select a use most likely to offend Islamic
sensibilities and defile sacred space, for example to use the courtyard to raise
and slaughter pigs.
In the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, as mosques were repaired and
rebuilt, they slowly regained their role as centers of Muslim communities. In
addition, as a response to the chaos and targeted attacks they had just
survived, Muslim communities throughout the country immediately set about
organizing informal classes on Islam.
State-sponsored Islamic Education
The state was also well aware of the impact of their systematic efforts to
undermine religion, and in the case of Islam, sought to redress some of the
damage by establishing Islamic colleges throughout the country to offer formal
training for imams (known as ahong in Chinese, from the Persian akhund). In all,
some ten colleges were established in different cities in China to serve the
needs of distinct regions.9 In the early years these colleges were fully funded
by the state and provided students with modest stipends. In addition to offering
four-year programs that included instruction in Arabic, Qur’an, Hadith, Islamic
law, Chinese language, and Chinese history, these colleges also offer
three-month intensive “refresher” courses for imams. By acting quickly to
establish comprehensive Islamic studies colleges, the government was able to
both begin to rebuild that which they had helped destroy, but they also were
able to have a strong influence in how Islam, or at least the study of Islam,
was reconstituted in China. Although most Muslims appreciated these efforts, and
continue to do so even to this day, there are others who worry that these
schools are not sufficiently independent. The government strictly controls which
teachers are hired to teach, which students are selected, and the content of the
courses taught. Despite these reservations, many of the most respected older
scholars of Islam have accepted teaching positions in these schools, and many of
the most outstanding young students have chosen to study there. Four years after
they were established, it was the graduates of these schools who were the first
Chinese Muslims in over fifty years to go overseas to continue their Islamic
In recent years, many of the students who have completed their studies abroad
and returned to China have taken up positions as teachers (of course after being
vetted by state authorities) in these colleges. Furthermore, although these
schools, like all public schools in China, are now fee-paying, the tuition is
relatively low, and for many poorer Muslim families, especially in rural areas,
these schools offer an important alternative to more expensive standard schools.
Many of these schools now also offer classes in English and computer studies.
Private Islamic Colleges
Perhaps as a consequence of the lingering reservations about the government-run
Islamic colleges, beginning in the late 1980s different communities began to
establish independent Islamic colleges. One of the earliest, and most respected
of these schools was set up in a village outside Dali, in western Yunnan
province. This school was the brainchild of several retired Hui schoolteachers.
Opened in 1991, its very first class included students from every region of
China; from Xinjiang in the northwest to Hainan Island, off China’s southeast
coast. Indeed, that this small school in a relatively remote part of China was
able to attract students from such a wide-range of places so quickly speaks to
the complex networks of communication linking Muslim communities throughout
China. Many of these schools also have their own websites.
Although there was a government-run Islamic college in the provincial capital
Kunming, these teachers had been able to convince authorities of an additional
need for Islamic studies schools. The courses offered included Arabic, Chinese,
and the traditional Islamic Studies courses; with English and computer classes
added later. The first group of students included many outstanding students, who
upon graduation continued their studies overseas, or became teachers at the
school. Most, however, were sent to teach in villages needing teachers. In order
to place the teachers, the head of the school would travel to different villages
to find out which were in need of teachers and what local conditions were like.
He would then match students who were about to graduate with specific
communities. Before graduation they would be sent off for a one-month trial
teaching assignment to see if they would be suitable for a two-year assignment.
The efforts the head of the school made to locate appropriate teaching
assignments for his students appeared to have been quite successful. While some
returned to their home villages and towns, many were assigned positions quite
far away. In one particular village, two days travel from the school, I met two
young women who were teaching at a large mosque-based school. One had just
finished her studies at the Dali independent Islamic college, and the other was
just completing her first two-year teaching assignment. Although they were
living far from home, they were extremely enthusiastic about their teaching and
looking forward to new challenges. The teacher trainee was just finishing up her
one-month practicum, had settled in quite well and was looking forward to
starting her two-year teaching assignment there in the fall. The teacher who had
just finished her two-year assignment also spoke enthusiastically about her
experience in the village, but felt strongly that it was time for her to return
to her home village, which she knew desperately needed a teacher. I later
traveled to her home village and found that it was indeed one of the poorest I
had ever seen. Its mosque was in a state of disrepair, with Cultural Revolution
slogans still visible on the walls, and little evidence of any active community
religious activities. Two years teaching in a community with a strong commitment
to reviving religious knowledge and practice was no doubt exactly the kind of
training she needed before returning home.
There are dozens of these independent Islamic colleges throughout China, mostly
established in the 1990s, and according to several informants, the government
has not recently allowed any new ones to be established. Some are
co-educational, some for men only, and some for women only. They play a crucial
role in the development of local Muslim societies as they are independent,
supported by local communities, and developed with the needs of the community in
mind. Some have argued that more so than the government-run Islamic colleges,
and even the famous foreign Islamic colleges, these schools offer the best
training for teachers and imams. For in addition to receiving advanced training
in Islamic studies, students also learn about the Muslim communities in which
they live, their unique histories, customs, and values.
Another important role played by these schools is attracting students from
distant regions of China. Both a school in Inner Mongolia and in Henan may
equally attract a diverse student body from Xinjiang, Shanghai, Guizhou, and
Tibet. These students bring to their school their own life experiences as well
as the experiences of their communities back home, so that during their studies,
not only do they learn a tremendous amount about the communities in which they
live, they bring that knowledge back to their home village upon completing their
studies. In addition, I have met many teachers from different regions of China
who met and married while in school. These relationships serve to further
develop ties between Muslim communities scattered across China.
Mosque based education, known as jingtang jiaoyu (education in the hall of the
classics) is the most common form of Islamic education, and is found throughout
all regions of China (except for Xinjiang), in both large cities and small
villages. Classes are offered for children of all ages, adults, and the elderly.
However, for school-age children, classes are only offered during times when
regular school is not in session, for example in the early morning, late
afternoon, or during summer vacation. The government maintains strict control
over the curriculum in state schools and seeks to maintain uniform content.
Thus, although schools in areas with predominantly minority populations might
have some classes in their native language during the first few years of school,
they are not allowed to offer classes that cover their own history and culture.
These mosque-based schools are extraordinary in their range of size, condition,
and quality of instruction. Some are brand-new multi-storied classroom buildings
equipped with computer labs, while others might consist of one small blackboard
attached to the outside wall of a slowly crumbling mosque. The size and quality
of the classrooms is mostly a reflection of the economic status of the village
or community, as well as their commitment to Islam. The quality of instruction
also depends on the communities’ ability to attract good teachers. I have met
teachers who have studied overseas, speak three languages fluently, and have
extensive knowledge of Islam. However, in some extremely poor and remote
villages, I have met others who seemed barely literate in Chinese, and appeared
to have only a rudimentary understanding of Islam. Nevertheless, as increasing
numbers of young people complete their Islamic studies, one can find qualified
teachers in the most remote and poor regions. In some cases a teacher would have
returned to their home village upon graduation, whereas in others there are
graduates who volunteered to be sent wherever they were most needed.
The students also represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Morning
classes are usually held for the retired and elderly. In the late afternoon and
evening, classes are offered for those who work full-time. In cities, on the
weekends there might be classes for university students who take time away from
their regular studies to learn Arabic and study Islam. Many mosque schools also
offer pre-school programs for 3 - 6 year olds. These pre-schools are especially
important in larger cities where once the children are enrolled in elementary
school, they may find themselves one of only a handful of Muslims in their
The impact of these schools on community life was made clear to me one afternoon
as I visited a small village in Yunnan province. It appeared as quiet and
ordinary as most Chinese villages on a late summer afternoon. Gradually as the
sun began to set, dozens of children appeared in the mosque courtyard, and soon
there were hundreds of children there, many having walked in from neighboring
villages. The children were lively and high-spirited, and while most of the boys
played outside until it was time for classes to begin, many of the students had
gone up to their classrooms early to review for their classes and socialize with
their friends. For Muslim communities who have lived through difficult and
sometimes devastating times, it must mean a great deal to them to see their
latest generation embrace the study of their faith so enthusiastically. The
classroom building in this particular village was especially impressive as well.
Five stories high and towering over the village buildings, it had been built by
funds raised by several neighboring villages, and served the entire community.
Of course I also heard stories from teachers of sullen teenage boys who had been
sent off to study in Islamic schools by their parents in the hope that they
would be kept busy for a few years, and steered away from the temptations
created by lack of jobs and too much time on their hands. Many parents also
seemed hopeful that Islamic studies training would provide a sufficient moral
grounding for their sons to help guide them through the rest of their life.
Beginning in the early 1990s, Chinese Muslim students were allowed to continue
their studies overseas. The first group of students went to Egypt, Syria, and
Pakistan. Shortly thereafter the Saudi government instituted a scholarship
program that required students to first pass an Arabic exam before being
eligible. A few years later, Iran also began a scholarship program, and there
are now students also studying in Malaysia and Turkey. Overall the students who
I interviewed who were most positive about their studies overseas were those who
studied in Syria. They praised the quality of education they received, the
generosity and friendliness of the Syrian people, and the relatively low cost of
living. Since I first began interviewing students there in 1999, several have
decided to settle down there, at least for a few years, and a few have even
The students studying in Saudi Arabia enjoyed the most comprehensive
scholarships. In addition to all education costs being covered and yearly plane
tickets home for summer vacation provided they pass all their end of the year
exams, they also received a generous monthly stipend to cover living expenses.
Although several students who had not studied in Saudi Arabia told me they would
never consider doing so, and several of those who studied there complained about
adapting to life in the kingdom, most students who had been there spoke highly
of the education they had received. Despite Saudi’s reputation for promoting the
most conservative and intolerant form of Islam (also known as Wahabi or Salafi
Islam), most of the students and graduates with whom I spoke do not seem to have
adopted such a world view. According to one graduate of Madina University, of
all international Islamic universities it was the “best place to study
religion,” for in addition to covering the four schools of law (see below), they
also “read a wide variety of sources with the understanding that reading
different interpretations of Islam would not interfere with their own faith.” In
addition to learning about some of the major differences between Sunni and Shi’a
Islam, he also enjoyed learning about some of the great Muslim intellectual
reformers of the early 20th century.
However, there are graduates from the universities in Saudi Arabia who bring
back with them a certain degree of intolerance regarding some of the local
practices of Islam within China. As Islam evolved in China over the centuries,
although the essential beliefs remained the same as in the rest of the Islamic
world, slight variations did arise. For example, until recently most mosques in
China were built in a style very similar to traditional Buddhist temples. Some
students who have returned have led movements within communities to replace
these “foreign style” mosques with more “authentic” Middle Eastern style
mosques. As a result, dozens if not hundreds of mosques dating back centuries
have been torn down and replaced with mosques deemed more “authentic”. There are
also slight differences in prayer times. Normally prayer times vary from day to
day by one or two minutes depending on the rising and setting of the sun.
However, in many areas of China the prayer times are set year-round and do not
change day to day. Although these differences are minor, they have recently
created rifts within communities. There are now several villages in Yunnan (and
most likely other areas of China with significant numbers of Saudi graduates),
mosques offer two different times for each of the five daily prayers. Although
most people believe that these differences will work themselves out, there is
some concern within the Muslim community that these differences will grow
overtime. In one case, a returned student was extremely critical of local
practices and went so far as to establish a new mosque.
However, a student who had graduated from another Islamic university overseas
used the famous Chinese saying about “a frog in a well” (jingdi zhi wa) to
describe students he had met who had studied at Madina University in Saudi
Arabia. The expression refers to people who are narrow-minded.
The students who studied in Iran were among the most satisfied, even though
their studies and training proved to be more rigorous than that offered anywhere
else. Not only do they have to study Persian, in addition to Arabic, they also
have to study the Shi’a school of law, in addition to the four classic Sunni
schools of law: Hanafi10, Hanbali, Maliki, and Shafi’i. Despite these additional
burdens, all the graduates with whom I spoke were extremely positive about the
comprehensive Islamic studies education they received and their experiences
living in Iran.
Another popular destination for Chinese Muslim students is Pakistan. Although
the U.S. has put a huge amount of pressure on the Pakistani government to close
Islamic schools (madrasa), or at least forbid foreigners to study in them, many
Chinese Muslim students have somehow managed to continue their studies there. In
addition to speaking very highly of the quality of Islamic education provided
there (Islamic universities are able to provide bachelor’s, master’s and even
Ph.D.s in Islamic fields of study), the Chinese students also said it was one of
the easiest countries to adapt to, the cost of living was very reasonable, and
in the summer it was possible to travel back and forth overland which was
extremely cost-efficient, allowing them to avoid expensive international
flights. Although there are a handful of extremist religious schools in
Pakistan, the majority provides mainstream Islamic studies programs, in addition
to intensive short-term courses for imams.11 None of the students I interviewed
who had studied there expressed any extremist views.
Most students stay abroad for between five and eight years. Some go on for
post-graduate degrees, while others choose to settle, at least temporarily, in
the cities where they studied because they had such positive experiences while
living there. These graduates supported themselves, and sometimes their families
which had joined them from China, by working a variety of jobs. Everyone with
whom I spoke planned to return to China eventually, but for some it was clearly
in the distant future. I met one such couple who opened a small restaurant in
the outskirts of Cairo near the new Al Azhar University campus. It had proved
especially popular among the Al Azhar students from Southeast Asia who lived
nearby, as well as the Chinese students. In Damascus several students managed an
internet café near the university campus which attracted a wide range of
international students. The range of languages heard as students conversed with
friends back home through internet telephone programs was quite extraordinary. I
also met students who taught martial arts and ones who provided traditional
Chinese medical treatments. However, most ended up working as interpreters in
local company’s that had business dealings with China. As communities of Chinese
students become more established, students have not only encouraged their
friends, siblings, and former classmates to join them in their overseas studies,
but several have even convinced their parents.
There are also students who decide to study overseas for more practical reasons.
As the Chinese government has abandoned its long-standing policy of fully
funding college education, and passed the bulk of the expense onto students and
their parents, some families have chosen to use the money they would have spent
educating their child at home, to send them abroad. Islamic universities
overseas are often a popular option as the expense is reasonable and it would be
relatively easy to make contacts with other Chinese Muslims studying there, thus
facilitating the process.
In conversations with Chinese Muslims who were studying, or had graduated from
Islamic universities overseas, it became clear that these young people had
learned a tremendous amount about the rest of the world and challenges faced by
Muslims elsewhere. Those who return to China bring back an awareness of the
world, and a strong foundation in Islamic studies. Although many hope to
immediately take up positions as imams in their home towns and villages, it is
often the case that the religious leaders of the community, although impressed
with their foreign training, want to make sure the future imams have also
acquired an understanding of their own communities and their needs.
"Educate a man, educate an individual; educate a woman, educate a nation."
Over the course of dozens of interviews with Chinese Muslim students and
teachers, I was struck again and again by the extraordinarily active role played
by women in all levels of the revival of Islamic education in China. Like the
men, they attended public and private Islamic colleges in China, and also went
overseas to study. But unlike the men, it seems that more women, immediately
took up a teaching position upon completion of their studies. In addition, the
women also made the effort to establish schools for girls, especially in the
poorer Muslim regions of China. I often wondered if the women were not somehow
more dedicated to the task of providing an education to all. In an interview
with a woman teacher who had set up a small girls school in a village, I asked
her why she was so determined to carry out this endeavor, even though it meant
living a difficult life away from her home village. Her response was immediate,
“educate a man, educate an individual; educate a woman educate a nation.”
Sitting in a small village in a remote part of China, she listed the various
ways in which a young girl's education could have a major impact on the health
and social well-being of her future children and grandchildren and the community
at large. She seemed to know intuitively what it had taken the World Bank and
several international NGOs years of research and millions of dollars to
Another important role played by female graduates of both government and
independent Islamic colleges, is as imams. Closely tied to the phenomenon of
women’s mosques in China (most commonly found in the Central Plain provinces of
Henan, Shandong, Anhui, Hebei, Shaanxi13) this tradition is unknown in most of
the Islamic world. One prominent scholar of Islamic Law, Khaled Abou El Fadl,
Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law has argued that the tradition of female
imams in China is a remnant of a practice that existed in the earliest days of
Islam but was gradually undermined by traditional Arab patriarchal values
together with those of other cultures encountered as Islam spread.14 According
to research by French scholar Elisabeth Alles, the practice of women’s mosques
has recently spread to other regions of China as students who have studied in
places where they are common return to their home communities.15 In addition,
female imams have also traveled to other regions of China to both further their
studies and help establish new schools. According to Chinese press reports,
there are now even women imams in Ningxia, which together with Gansu have the
reputation of having the most conservative Muslims in China, especially when it
comes to issues related to gender.16
Although the phenomenon of women’s mosques and female imams may be unique to
China, in fact it reflects a movement presently taking place throughout the
Muslim world. No longer satisfied with traditional interpretations (and some
argue misinterpretations) of the Qur’an provided by men, be they Islamic
leaders, fathers, husbands and brothers, women are organizing Qur’anic studies
classes in which they closely study the text of the Qur’an themselves under the
guidance of female religious scholars.17
Chinese Muslims’ commitment to educating girls has also allowed for an important
alliance between religious leaders and government officials determined to stem
the tide of rural households forgoing education for their daughters. Over the
past ten years, government fiscal reforms have resulted in the burden of support
for public education being passed from the central government to local
governments. As a result, due to lack of funds, local governments have often
introduced school fees that have multiplied over the years. These fees have now
reached crippling proportions, and as a result, an increasing number of rural
farmers are choosing to forgo educating their children, especially their
daughters. In response, the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) has begun a
rural campaign to encourage the education of daughters. In Muslim regions, imams
have worked together with this government group to remind peasants in rural
areas of their religious obligation within Islam to educate all their children.
ACWF officials have told me that these cooperative efforts have been very
In addition to promoting religious knowledge, Islamic schools have also played
important roles in strengthening networks between Muslim communities both within
China and abroad, and also in promoting different degrees of religious identity.
As one travels to different regions in China, one will encounter, even in the
most remote and impoverished areas, Muslim villagers who are not only informed
about the situation of Muslims living in the region as well as other parts of
China, but also the latest issues concerning Muslim communities throughout the
world. These networks were originally based on the trade routes plied by Muslims
throughout the country, as they have for centuries dominated the transport
trade. Muslims traveling to study under different religious scholars has also
been a constant source of flows of information. In addition, Muslim communities
have established journals and newsletters, and most recently, websites. The
range of this network of information has expanded dramatically recently with
increasing numbers of students going overseas to further their Islamic studies.
One final indication of the growing awareness of multiple degrees and facets of
religious identity is the recent trend among religious educated Muslims in China
to distinguish between ethnic and religious identity. In the past if one wanted
to ask if someone were Muslim, one would ask, “are you ‘Hui?’” Technically Hui
refers to ethnicity only, but has been conflated with religious identity. Now,
Chinese Muslims very self-consciously will distinguish between someone being
“Hui” and someone being Muslim. For example, the response could now be, “yes,
they’re Hui, and they are also Muslim,” or “they are Hui, but they are not
Although over the past few years the Chinese government has made it increasingly
difficult for Chinese Muslim students to continue their studies overseas
(primarily by refusing to issue a passport to anyone who stated the intention of
wishing to study Islam while abroad), many continue to find ways. However,
recently I interviewed several Islamic studies teachers who had studied
overseas, and they argued that there is no longer such a great need to study
overseas. They were confident that there were now Islamic colleges in China that
were able to offer comparable levels of education and training. Others in the
community, especially the elderly, continue to argue that imams who are locally
trained have the benefit of having developed a more in-depth understanding of
Muslim communities and their unique histories and cultures. But perhaps most
importantly, this recent trend of promoting Islamic studies within China
reflects a growing confidence within the Chinese Muslim community of the
integrity and authenticity of Islam as it is practiced in China. In the past
Chinese Muslims had to contend with conservative Arab Muslims (especially some
from Saudi Arabia) who accused them of somehow being inauthentic Muslims for
having been so influenced by Chinese culture. Chinese mosques, renowned for
their beauty and their incorporation of traditional Chinese temple architectural
styles were held up as examples of a corrupt form of Islam. This argument is of
course ludicrous, as mosques throughout the world have always reflected
indigenous culture and architectural traditions. Nevertheless, some Chinese
Muslims were vulnerable to these accusations, going so far as to tear down
traditional mosques and replace them with ones that can best be described as
pseudo neo-Arab, and extraordinarily unaesthetic. Thankfully, more recently this
practice appears to have stopped. In cases where traditional mosques had to be
repaired or replaced, great efforts have been made to retain as much of the
original architecture and decoration as possible.
In conclusion, it is important to mention one more factor that will continue to
influence Chinese Muslims’ decision to study overseas: rapidly expanding
economic ties between China and the countries of the Middle East, especially the
oil-producing countries of the Gulf. In January of 2006, Saudi Arabian King
Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz traveled to China to sign agreements related to oil,
energy and trade. China is rapidly approaching U.S. levels of energy use and is
seeking to establish long-term energy agreements with countries in the Middle
East. Chinese trade with Saudi Arabia for the first 11 months of 2005 totaled
more than $14 billion, and is expected to continue to rise quickly. The recent
hike in oil prices has accelerated the already extraordinary boom in
construction in the region, and China has successfully won a series of contracts
to build some of the largest projects in the region.18 Another major trading
partner of China in the Gulf, is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Trade between
the two countries was estimated at $10 billion in 2005. The UAE is also the site
of the largest trade hub for Chinese goods outside of China. The complex, known
as Dragon Mart is 1.2 km long and displays manufactured goods from hundred of
Chinese companies. China also has extensive contacts with Oman, Kuwait, and
Qatar and has recently assisted in the establishment of an Islamic bank in
Bahrain that will invest in real estate in China following Islamic Shariah
As these economic ties expand and diversify, knowledge of Arabic will be of
increasing value either as an important incentive for students considering
studying Arabic, or an option for those who have completed their Islamic
studies, and also happen to be fluent in Arabic.
The first mosque in China was the Great
Mosque of Xian, or the Xian Mosque, which was built during the Tang Dynasty in
the 8th century C.E. Most mosques have certain aspects in common with each other
however as with other regions Chinese Islamic architecture reflects the local
architecture in its style. China is renowned for its beautiful mosques, which
resemble temples. However in western China the mosques resemble those of Iran
and Central Asia, with tall, slender minarets, curvy arches and dome shaped
roofs, as well as the unique multi-layered portals. In northwest China where the
Chinese Hui have built their mosques, there is a combination of eastern and
western styles. The mosques have flared Buddhist style roofs set in walled
courtyards entered through archways with miniature domes and minarets.
Famous mosques in China
There are over 45,000
mosques in China today. Gallery of Chinese mosques on Flickr:
Great Mosque of
Xi'an, Xi'an, Shaanxi, ~700
Id Kah Mosque,
Kashia, Xinjiang, 1442
Kowloon Masjid and
Islamic Centre, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1896
Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Centre
Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Centre
A street in Hohhot with many
Taranchi mosque in Yining in 1882
The Niujie Mosque is the oldest mosque in
Beijing, China. It was built in 996 and reconstructed as well as enlarged under
the Qing Emperor Kangxi (1622-1722). The Mosque is located in Beijing's Xuanwu
District, the spiritual centre for the 10,000 Muslims living in the vicinity and
it is the biggest and oldest one in Beijing. Niujie in Xuanwu District, where
the mosque is located, is the largest area inhabited by Muslims in Beijing.
The Niujie Mosque covers an area of approximately 6000 square meters. The mosque
is a mixture of Islamic and Chinese cultures. From the outside, its architecture
shows traditional Chinese influence while the inside has mostly Islamic
decorations. The mosque, built out of timber, is home to some important cultural
relics and tablets such as the upright tablet of an emperor's decree proclaimed
in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty.
The Niujie Mosque, the largest of all the mosques in Beijing, was built in
996 during the Liao Dynasty (916-1125). The local Muslim community was forbidden
from constructing the mosque in a style other than traditional Chinese
architecture, with the exception that the use of Arabic calligraphy was allowed.
It was rebuilt in 1442 in the Ming Dynasty and expanded in 1696 under the Qing
Dynasty. It is now one of the major mosques in north China. The mosque has
undergone three renovations since the founding of the People's Republic of China
in 1949, respectively in 1955, 1979 and 1996.
The Beijing Municipal Government has started rebuilding a residential area
mainly inhabited by Muslims. The work on the 35.9-hectare area around Niujie
will involve moving 7,500 families, 58 percent of whom are Muslims. The project
will turn Niujie into a Muslim-style commercial street. The area will be home to
multi-storey buildings, schools, kindergartens and public facilities. Niujie is
presently a narrow street where most people live in old houses with a per capita
floor space of 5. 1 square metres. In recent years, the Beijing Government has
completed a number of infrastructure projects to improve water, electricity,
heat and gas supplies there. They have launched a project to improve local
people's living conditions through demolishing old and traditional houses and
building new multi-storey buildings in the area in 1997.
Tombs in the Niujie Mosque
Total population: 9.82 million (in 2000 census)
The Hui people (Chinese: 回族; pinyin: Huízú,
Xiao'erjing: حُوِ ذَو ) are a Chinese ethnic group, typically distinguished by
their practice of Islam. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially
recognized by the People's Republic of China. They are concentrated in
Northwestern China (Ningxia, Gansu, Shaanxi, Xinjiang), but communities exist
across the country. Most Hui are similar in culture to Han Chinese with the
exception that they practice Islam, and have some distinctive cultural
characteristics as a result. For example, as Muslims, they follow Islamic
dietary laws and reject the consumption of pork, the most common meat consumed
in Chinese culture, and have also given rise to their variation of Chinese
cuisine, Chinese Islamic cuisine and Muslim Chinese martial arts. Their mode of
dress also differs only in that adult males wear white caps and females wear
headscarves or (occasionally) veils, as is the case in most Islamic cultures.
The definition of Hui does not include ethnic groups such as the Uyghur, who
live in China and practice Islam, but are Turkic people and are thus different
from Han Chinese.
Included among the Hui in Chinese census statistics (and not officially
recognized as a separate ethnic group) are several thousand Utsuls in southern
Hainan province, who speak an Austronesian language (Tsat) related to that of
the Cham Muslim minority of Vietnam, and who are said to be descended from Chams
who migrated to Hainan.
A traditional Chinese term for Islam is 回教 (pinyin: Huíjiào, literally "the
religion of the Hui"), though the most prevalent is the transliteration 伊斯蘭教
(pinyin: 'Yīsīlán jiào, literally "Islam religion").
Hui people praying in a mosque in
An elderly Hui man in China
It was under the aegis of the Communist Party in the 1930s that the term Hui was
defined to indicate only Sinophone Muslims. In 1941, this was clarified by a
Communist Party committee comprising ethnic policy researchers in a treatise
entitled On the question of Huihui Ethnicity (Huihui minzu wenti). This treatise
defined the characteristics of the Hui nationality as follows: the Hui or Huihui
constitute an ethnic group associated with, but not defined by, the Islamic
religion and they are descended primarily from Muslims who migrated to China
during the Mongol-Yuan dynasty (1206-1368), as distinct from the Uyghur and
other Turkic-speaking ethnic groups in Xinjiang. The Nationalist government had
recognised all Muslims as one of "the five peoples"—alongside the Manchus,
Mongols, Tibetans and Han Chinese—that constituted the Republic of China. The
new Communist interpretation of Chinese Muslim ethnicity marked a clear
departure from the ethno-religious policies of the Nationalists, and had emerged
as a result of the pragmatic application of Stalinist ethnic theory to the
conditions of the Chinese revolution.
The definition of Hui Chinese poses some interesting issues. The obvious
definition of the Hui as being Islamic Chinese poses two problems. The first is
that the People's Republic of China is nominally atheist. The second is that if
Chinese Muslims are entitled to ethnic group status, then there is uncertainty
about the status of Chinese Christians and Buddhists. In defining the Hui, the
government has sidestepped this issue by defining them in terms of their group
identity and ignoring the fact that their group identity is based on religion.
However, many Hui and others believe that the label is appropriate because the
Hui have a history and culture that would not be such without their being
Muslim, and thus setting them apart from other Chinese groups. In contrast, the
cultural differences between Han Chinese Christians and other Chinese are much
more subtle, and the boundary between the two is much more fluid, especially
considering the level of Crypto-Christianity among the Han population. In
addition, many say that a person that is Hui is quite different from a Han
Chinese who simply converts to Islam.
Huis anywhere are referred to by Central Asian Turks and Tajiks as Dungans. In
its population censuses, the Soviet Union also identified Chinese Muslims as "Dungans"
(дунгане) and recorded them as located mainly in Kyrgyzstan, southern
Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. In the Russian census of 2002, a total of 800
Dungans were enumerated. In Thailand Chinese Muslims are referred to as chin ho,
in Myanmar and Yunnan Province, as Panthay.
The Hui Chinese have diverse origins. Some
in the southeast coast are descended from Arab and Persian Muslim traders who
settled in China and gradually intermarried and assimilated into the surrounding
population keeping only their distinctive religion. A totally different
explanation is available for the Mandarin Chinese-speaking Yunnan and Northern
Huis, whose ethnogenesis might be a result of the convergence of large number of
Mongol, Turkic or other Central Asian settlers in these regions who formed the
dominant stratum in the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. However, even Cantonese Muslims, of
the southeastern coast, typically resemble northern Asians much more so than
their typical Cantonese neighbours.
It was documented that a proportion of these nomad or military ethnic groups
were originally Nestorian Christians many of whom later converted to Islam,
while under the sinicizing pressures of the Ming and Qing states.
This explains the ethnonym "Hui," in close affinity with that of "Uyghur,"
albeit Sinicized and contradistinctive from "Uyghur" in usage. The ethnonym "Hui,"
though for a long time used as an umbrella term (at least since Qing) to
designate Muslim Chinese speakers everywhere and Muslims in general (for
example, a Qing Chinese might describe a Uyghur as a "Chantou" who practiced the
"Hui" religion), was not used in the Southeast as much as "Qīngzhēn", a term
still in common use today, especially for Muslim (Hui) eating establishments and
for mosques (qīngzhēn sì in Mandarin).
Southeastern Muslims also have a much longer tradition of synthesizing Confucian
teachings with the Sharia and Qur'anic teachings, and were reported to have been
contributing to the Confucian officialdom since the Tang period. Among the
Northern Hui, on the other hand, there are strong influences of Central Asian
Sufi schools such as Kubrawiyya, Qadiriyya, Naqshbandiyya (Khufiyya and Jahriyya)
etc. mostly of the Hanafi Madhhab (whereas among the Southeastern communities
the Shafi'i Madhhab is more of the norm). Before the "Ihwani" movement, a
Chinese variant of the Salafi movement, Northern Hui Sufis were very fond of
synthesizing Taoist teachings and martial arts practices with Sufi philosophy.
In early modern times, villages in Northern Chinese Hui areas still bore labels
like "Blue-cap Huihui," "Black-cap Huihui," and "White-cap Huihui," betraying
their possible Christian, Judaic and Muslim origins, even though the religious
practices among North China Hui by then were by and large Islamic. Hui is also
used as a catch-all grouping for Islamic Chinese who are not classified under
another ethnic group.
During the mid-nineteenth century, the
Muslims and the Miao people of China revolted against the Qing Dynasty, most
notably in the Dungan revolt (1862-1877) and the Panthay rebellion 1856-1873) in
Yunnan. These little known revolts were suppressed by the Manchu government in a
manner that amounts to genocide, killing a million people in the
Panthay rebellion, several million in the Dungan revolt and five million
in the suppression of Miao people in Guizhou. A "washing off the Muslims"(洗回 (xi
Hui)) policy had been long advocated by officials in the Manchu government.
Huis outside China
Hui in Malaysia
There is evidence that Chinese Hui migrated to Peninsular Malaysia in the influx
of Chinese labourers during the nineteenth and late twentieth century. Chinese
who have the surname Ma are suspected to have Hui ancestry. A number of them
settled in the region of Lumut in Peninsular Malaysia. It is speculated that
these Muslims assimilated with the local non-Muslim Chinese and now most of them
are no longer Muslims. Nonetheless, there are those who still maintain their
Islamic faith. A famous Chinese Muslim missionary in Malaysia has the surname of
If they are married to Muslim Malaysian indigenous persons, their offspring are
officially accepted as part of the "Bumiputra" (indigenous people or "sons of
the land"). Otherwise, the society might treat them as party of the large
Chinese minority group. However as Islam is also an ethnic marker in Malaysia,
many Chinese converts in Malaysia tend to adopt and assimilate into the
indigenous culture. However, there is a trend since the 1900s for Chinese
converts to retain their original pre-Muslim Chinese surname, probably to
maintain their cultural identity.
Total population: 104,503 (2000 census)
Regions with significant populations China: provinces of Qinghai, Gansu,
The Salar people (Salar: Salar, Chinese: ,
Pinyin: Sālāzú) are one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the
People's Republic of China. They numbered 104,503 people in the last census of
2000 and live mostly in Qinghai (in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County and
Hualong Autonomous County of the Hui Nationality, in Gansu (in Jishishan
Autonomous County of the Bonan, Dongxiang and Salar Nationalities and in
Xinjiang (in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture.
Their ancestors were migrating Oghuz Turks who intermarried with the Tibetans,
Han Chinese, and Hui. They are a patriarchal agricultural society and Muslims.
Their origins are uncertain but according to Salar tradition, during the
fourteenth and fifthteenth centuries their ancestors, possibly from an Oghuz
tribe of the Seljuk Turks, left Samarkand in present-day Uzbekistan and
eventually settled in their present location in Gansu province. Over the course
of their history, the ancestors of the Salar are believed to have merged with
Tibetans, Han Chinese and Mongolians to form the present-day Salar.
In 1781, Qing armies crushed a Salar uprising with the results being disastrous
for the Salar. As much as 40% of their entire population was killed in the
The typical clothing of the Salar very similar to other Muslim peoples in the
region. The men are commonly bearded and dress in white shirts and white or
The young single women are accustomed to dressing in Chinese dress of bright
colors. The married women utilize the traditional veil in white or black colors.
They have a musical instrument called the Kouxuan. It is a string instrument
manufactured in silver or in copper and only played by the women.
For the Salar, divorce is a very easy procedure, although it can only be
requested by the husband. In order to dissolve the marriage, the man only has to
tell his wife that he no longer wishes to remain married to her. The woman
abandons the conjugal residence and he remains free to be married
The Salars have been in Qinghai Province, China since the Mongol Yuan period.
For centuries they've maintained their Oghuz language remarkably similar to the
Turkmen language spoken in the Qaraqum.
However, culturally they have strictly conformed to the Naqshbandi ways of their
Hui coreligionists. Therefore many nomadic Turkmen traditions have been lost,
and Turkmen music was forbidden. More secular minded Salars have resorted to
appropriating Tibetan or Moghol (a Qinghai Mongolic Muslim group) music as their
The Salar language has two large dialect groups. The divergence is due to the
fact that one branch was influenced by the Tibetan and Chinese languages, and
the other branch by the Uyghur and Kazakh languages. Only about one third of
Salar speak their own language. In addition to Chinese, many Salar also speak
Tibetan. Salar is not a written language. There are reported similarities with
Total population : approx. 20 million
Uygur, Uighur, Uigur, Uyghur: ئۇيغۇر;
simplified Chinese: 维吾尔; traditional Chinese: 維吾爾; pinyin: Wéiwú'ěr) are a
Turkic people of Central Asia. Today Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang
Uyghur Autonomous Region (also known by its controversial name Uyghurstan or
There are Uyghur diasporic communities in Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Germany and Turkey and a smaller one in
Taoyuan County of Hunan province in south-central China. Uyghur neighborhoods
can be found in major Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai. There are small
communities in the United States, mainly in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York
City and Washington, DC, as well as Toronto and Vancouver in Canada.
Total population: approx. 2,200,000
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the
northern parts of Central Asia (largely Kazakhstan, but also found in parts of
Uzbekistan, China, Russia, and Mongolia).
Total population: 144,000
The Kyrgyz (also spelled Kirgiz, Kirghiz)
are a Turkic ethnic group found primarily in Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz are predominantly Muslims. Islam was first introduced by Arab traders who
travelled along the Silk Road in the seventh and eight century.
In the 8th century, orthodox Islam reached the Fergana valley with the Uzbeks.
Atheism, on the other hand, took some following in the northern regions under
Russian communist influence. As of today, few cultural rituals of Shamanism are
still practiced alongside with Islam particularly in Central Kyrgyzstan. During
a July 2007 interview, Bermet Akayeva, the daughter of Askar Akayev, the former
President of Kyrgyzstan, stated that Islam is increasingly taking root even in
the northern portion which came under communist influence. She emphasized
that many Mosques have been built and that the Kyrgyz are increasingly devoting
themselves to Islam, which she noted was "not a bad thing in itself. It keeps
our society more moral, cleaner."
Total population: 5,000 (2000 est.)
The Chinese Tatars (塔塔尔族 Tǎtǎěrzú) form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially
recognized by the People's Republic of China.
Their ancestors are Volga Tatar tradesmen who settled mostly in Xinjiang.
The number of Chinese Tatars is close to 5000 as of 2000, and they live mainly
in the cities of Aletai, Changji, Yili, Urumchi, Tacheng and other places in
Chinese Tatars speak an archaic variant of the Tatar language, free from
20th-century loanwords and use Arabic variant of the Tatar alphabet, declined in
USSR in 1930s.
Note that the Chinese had often used the term Tatars or Tazi/Dazi in Chinese in
a derogatory manner to distinguish the non-Han groups from the North[citation
needed], such as the Mongols and Jurchens/Manchus from the majority Han
population, especially in those times when China was invaded by these groups,
for example during the Song Dynasty and the Ming Dynasty.
Total population: 16,505 (year 2000 census)
The Bonan are an ethnic group living in
Gansu and Qinghai provinces in northwestern China. Numbering approximately
17,000 they are the 7th smallest of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized
by the People's Republic of China.
The Bonan speak the Bonan language, a Mongolic language, and are predominantly
Muslim. The Bonan of Qinghai speak a slightly different dialect that those of
Gansu. Whereas the Bonan language of Gansu has undergone Chinese influences, the
Bonan language of Qinghai has been influenced by Tibetan. They are believed to
be descended from Muslim Mongol soldiers stationed in Qinghai during the Yuan or
Ming dynasties and to have settled in Gansu during the reign of the Tongzhi
Uzbeks come from a predominantly Sunni
Muslim background, usually of the Hanafi school,. but variations exist
between northern and southern Uzbeks. The majority of Uzbeks from the former
USSR came to practice religion with a more liberal interpretation due to the
official Soviet policy of atheism, while Uzbeks in Afghanistan and other
countries to the south have remained more conservative adherents of Islam.
However, with Uzbek independence in 1991 came an Islamic revival amongst
segments of the population. People living in the area of modern Uzbekistan were
first converted to Islam as early as the 8th century AD, as Arab troops invaded
the area, displacing the earlier faiths of Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. The Arab
victory over the Chinese in 751, at the Battle of Talas, ensured the future
dominance of Islam in Central Asia.
The Tibetan Muslims, also known as the Kachee (Kache), form a small minority in
Tibet. Despite being Muslim, they are classified as Tibetans, unlike the Hui
Muslims, who are also known as the Kyangsha or Gya Kachee (Chinese Muslims). The
Tibetan word Kachee literally means Kashmiri and Kashmir was known as Kachee Yul
(Yul = Country).
Owing to their small population, the Tibetan Muslims are scattered throughout
Tibet, much of whom can be found in Lhasa and Shigatse. If those not living in
the Tibet Autonomous Region are not excluded, ethnic groups such as the Balti
and Burig, who are also of Tibetan origin and consider themselves to be
ethnically Tibetan, are Muslims as well. These groups, however, are
predominantly found in the Indian-controlled Ladakh and the Pakistani-controlled
Generally speaking, the Tibetan Muslims are unique in the fact that they are
largely of Kashmiri and Persian/Arab/Turkic descent through the patrilineal
lineage and also often descendants of native Tibetans through the matrilineal
lineage, although the reverse is not uncommon. Thus, many of them display a
mixture of Aryan and indigenous Tibetan features.
Owing to Tibetan influence, they have adopted Tibetan names while retaining
Persian or Urdu surnames. However, this is not as common as those among the
Burig and Balti. In Baltistan or Baltiyul as the natives call it, youngster
Muslims have started naming themselves in local Tibetan language like Ali
Tsering, Sengge Thsering, Wangchen, Namgyal, Shesrab, Mutik, Mayoor, Gyalmo,
Odzer, Lobsang, Odchen, Rinchen, Anchan, and so forth. Among Khaches, although
the majority uses Tibetan for daily communication, Urdu or Arabic are used for
After the Chinese invasion of Tibet, Muslims were granted Indian citizenship by
the Indian Government, which considered the Tibetan Muslims Kashmiris, and thus
Indian citizens, unlike the other Tibetan refugees, who carry Refugee Satus
The appearance of the first Muslims in Tibet has been lost in the mists of time,
although variants of the names of Tibet can be found in Arabic history books.
During the reign of the Ummayad Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, a delegation from
Tibet and China requested him to send Islamic missionaries to their countries,
and Salah bin Abdullah Hanafi was sent to Tibet. Between the eighth and ninth
centuries, the Abbasid rulers of Baghdad maintained relations with Tibet.
However, there was little proselytisation among the missionaries at first,
although many of them decided to settle in Tibet and marry Tibetan women. In
710-720,during the reign of Mes-ag-tshoms the Arabs, who now had more of a
presence in China, started to appear in Tibet and were allied with them along
with the Eastern Turks against the Chinese. During the reign of the Sadnalegs
(799-815), under Tride Songtsän (Khri lde srong brtsan - generally known as
Sadnalegs) there was a protracted war with Arab powers to the West. It appears
that Tibetans captured a number of Arab troops and pressed them into service on
the Eastern frontier in 801. Tibetans were active as far West as Samarkand and
Kabul. Arab forces began to gain the upper hand, and the Tibetan governor of
Kabul submitted to the Arabs and became a Muslim about 812 or 815 
The 12th century witnessed a large scale migration of Muslim traders from
Kashmir and the Persian Empire to Tibet, most notable was the community that
they established in Lhasa. Like their Arab predecessors, these men settled down
and married Tibetan women, who followed their husbands' religion.
Proselytisation of Islam first took place in Baltistan and the Suru Valley from
the 14th to the 16th centuries, which converted the vast majority of the Tibetan
Burig and Balti communities.
Especially under the reign of Lozang Gyatso, the Tibetan Muslims led a
relatively carefree life, and were given special privileges, in the sense that
they were exempted from observing certain Buddhist religious customs. In the
17th century a small community of Muslims flourished in Lhasa working there
mainly as butchers.
However, with the influx of Kashmiri immigrants to Ladakh and forced conversions
of Buddhists to Islam, isolated conflicts between the Buddhists and Muslims were
frequent, especially in Leh. There were even cases when members of the Soma
Gompa and Jama Masjid came out to fight, thus resulting in tensions between
Buddhist and Muslim members of the same family.
After the invasion of Tibet in 1959 a group of Tibetan Muslims made a case for
Indian nationality based on their historic roots to Kashmir and the Indian
government declared all Tibetan Muslims Indian citizens later on that year.
As of today, most of the 99% of Tibetan Muslims are followers of the Sunni
denomination. Despite the factor of their religion, the Tibetan Muslims have
comfortably assimilated into the Tibetan community, while following Islamic
traditions. On the other hand, the Balti and Burig have partially adopted Afghan
Especially in music, the Tibetan Muslims have made contributions to Tibetan
culture. The Nangma, also known as Naghma in Urdu which means melody, are
high-pitched tilting songs that have been popular among all Tibetans. They have
also adopted Tibetan customs, especially in the field of marriage, although they
have strictly maintained their Islamic customs at the same time.
Tibetan Muslims have unique architectural styles, and this is most notable among
the Ladakhi. Mosques, for instance, are built in a quaint blend of Persian and
Tibetan styles. This is evidenced in its beautifully decorated walls, sloping
walls designed to withstand earthquakes, and even Kada scarfs being hanged at
the doorway of the mosques.
Another interesting feature of Tibetan Muslim architecture is that their mosques
encompass the Imambara, a small artefact surmounted on the domes of metal
Special privileges before Communist rule
The Tibetan Muslims had their own mosques in Lhasa and Shigatse, and plots of
land were given to bury their ancestors. They were also exempted from taking
vegetarian meals, on Buddha's birthday, which is mandatory for all followers of
Tibetan Buddhism, and this practice upon the followers of Bön was not excluded.
A Ponj (from Urdu/Hindi Pancch meaning village committee or Panchayat) was
elected to take care of the affairs within the Tibetan Muslim community.
In addition, Muslims were even exempted from removing their caps to Lamas during
a period in a year, when the Iron pole Lamas held sway over the town. Muslims
were also granted the Mina Dronbo, a status that invited all Tibetans,
irrespective of religion, to commemorate the assumption of spiritual and
temporal authority by Lozang Gyatso, the fifth Dalai Lama. However, these
special privileges ended with the beginning of the Chinese occupation of Tibet
Tibetan mosque in Lhasa
Entrance to old mosque in Lhasa -
Islam in Tibet: Preface by His Holiness The Dalai Lama; Including 'Islam in the
Tibetan Cultural Sphere'; 'Buddhist and Islamic Viewpoints of Ultimate Reality';
and The Illustrated Narrative 'Tibetan Caravans'- Fons Vitae books
Islam in Tibet 'The Ornaments of Llasa' Video - Fons Vitae books
Gallery of Tibet (Includes picture of a Minaret)
Mosque in Lhasa
Islam and Tibet: cultural interactions, 8th to 17th centuries
Total population: 513,805
The Dongxiang people (autonym: Sarta or
Santa (撒尔塔); simplified Chinese: 东乡族; traditional Chinese: 東鄉族; pinyin:
Dōngxiāngzú) are one of 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's
Republic of China. Most of the Dongxiang live in the Linxia Hui Autonomous
Prefecture and surrounding areas of Gansu Province in northwestern China, while
others groupings can also be found in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Qinghai
Province, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. According to the 2000 census, their
population numbers 513,805.
Total population: 41,028
Tajiks in China are one of the 56
nationalities officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.
This group, with a population of 41,028 (2000), is located mainly in China's
western Xinjiang region with 60% living in Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County;
some researchers view them as a collection of over a dozen small East Iranian
ethnic groups that are related to, but distinct from, the Tajiks of
Tajikistan. The Ethnologue claims that they are actually Shugni
and Wakhi. Aurel Stein and other writers from his time referred to them
simply as Sarikoli. Some have referred to them simply as "Mountain Tajiks."
Robert Shaw considered them Sarikolis and Wakhis, referring to them collectively
In China, the languages of the Tajiks have no official written form. The great
majority of Chinese Tajik speakers speak the Sarikoli language and use Uyghur,
Kyrgyz or Chinese to communicate with people of other nationalities in the area.
A small proportion of Chinese Tajik speakers speak Wakhi.
Total population: 5,000
The Utsuls are a tiny ethnic group which
lives on the Chinese island of Hainan and are considered one of the People's
Republic of China's undistinguished ethnic groups. They are found on the
southernmost tip of Hainan near the city of Sanya. According to the traditions
of the Utsuls, their ancestors were Muslims who migrated southward out of
Central Asia into their present day location. However, they are thought to be
descendants of Cham refugees who fled their homeland in what is now southern
Vietnam to escape from Annamese invasion.
While most of the Chams who fled Champa went to neighbouring Cambodia, a small
business class fled northwards. How they came to acquire the name Utsul is
Although they are culturally distinct from their neighbours, the Chinese
government places them as members of the Hui nationality. However, from reports
by Hans Stübel, the German ethnographer who "discovered" them in the 1930s,
their language is completely unrelated to any other language spoken in mainland
China. They are speakers of the Tsat language, which is one of the few
Malayo-Polynesian languages that is tonal. In any case, they share nothing more
but religion with other Hui people.
Islam in China
By Yusuf Abdul Rahman
The Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty
describes a landmark visit to China by Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (ra), one of the
companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) in 650 C.E. This event is considered to be
the birth of Islam in China. The Chinese emperor Yung-Wei respected the
teachings of Islam and considered it to be compatible with the teachings of
Confucius. To show his admiration for Islam, the emperor approved the
establishment of China's first mosque at Ch'ang-an. That mosque still stands
today after fourteen centuries.
Muslims virtually dominated the
import/export business in China during Sung Dynasty (960 - 1279 CE). The
office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim
during this period. During the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 CE), a period
considered to be the golden age of Islam in China, Muslims fully integrated
into Han society by adopting their name and some customs while retaining their
Islamic mode of dress and dietary restrictions.
Anti-Muslim sentiments took root in
China during the Ch'ing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 CE), which was established by
Manchus who were a minority in China. Muslims in China number more than 35
million, according to unofficial counts. They represent ten distinct ethnic
groups. The largest are the Chinese Hui, who comprise over half of China's
Muslim population. The largest of Turkic groups are the Uygurs who are most
populous in the province of Xinjiang, where they were once an overwhelming
Although it may come as some surprise,
Islam has survived in China for over 1300  years. It has done so despite
such upheavals as the Cultural Revolution as well as regimes hostile to it.
Even though there are only sparse
records of the event in Arab history, a brief one in Chinese history,
The Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty describes a landmark visit to
China by an emissary from Arabia in the seventh century. Saad ibn Abi
Waqqas (ra), one of the companions of Prophet [Muhammad (s)], led the
delegation [in 650 C.E.], which brought gifts as well as the belief system of
Islam to China. According to the traditions of Chinese Muslims, this event is
considered to be the birth of Islam in China.
Although the emperor of the time,
Yung-Wei, found Islam to be a bit too restrictive for his taste, he
respected its teachings and considered it to be compatible with the teachings
of Confucius. For this reason, he gave Saad complete freedom to
propagate the faith among his people. To show his admiration for Islam, the
emperor ordered the establishment of China's
first mosque at Ch'ang-an. The mosque still stands today, after thirteen
As time passed, relations between the
Chinese and the Muslim heartland continued to improve. Many Muslim
businessmen, visitors, and traders began to come to China for commercial and
religious reasons. [Arabs had already established trade in the area before
Prophet Muhammad (s).] The Umayyads and Abbasids sent six delegations to
China, all of which were warmly received by the Chinese.
The Muslims who immigrated to China
eventually began to have a great economic impact and influence on the country.
They virtually dominated the import/export business by the time of the
Sung Dynasty (960 - 1279 CE). Indeed, the office of Director General
of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period.
In spite of the economic successes the
Muslims enjoyed during these and later times, they were recognized as being
fair, law-abiding, and self-disciplined. Thus, there is no record of
appreciable anti-Muslim sentiment on the part of the Han (Chinese)
By the beginning of the Ming
Dynasty (1368 - 1644 CE) Islam had been nourishing in China for 700
years. Up to this time, the Muslims had maintained a separate, alien status
which had its own customs, language, and traditions and was never totally
integrated with the Han people. Under the Ming Dynasty, generally considered
to be the golden age of Islam in China, Muslims gradually became fully
integrated into Han society.
An interesting example of this synthesis
by Chinese Muslims was the process by which their names changed.
Many Muslims who married Han women simply took on the name of the wife. Others
took the Chinese surnames of Mo, Mai, and Mu - names adopted by Muslims who
had the names Muhammad, Mustafa, and Masoud. Still others who could find no
Chinese surname similar to their own adopted the Chinese character that most
closely resembled their name - Ha for Hasan, Hu for Hussein, or Sai for Said,
and so on.
In addition to names, Muslim
customs of dress and food also underwent a synthesis with Chinese
culture. The Islamic mode of dress and dietary restrictions were consistently
maintained, however, and not compromised. In time, the Muslims began to speak
Han dialects and to read in Chinese. Well into the Ming era, the Muslims could
not be distinguished from other Chinese other than by their unique religious
customs. For this reason, once again, there was little friction between Muslim
and non-Muslim Chinese.
The rise of the Ch'ing Dynasty
(1644 - 1911 CE), though, changed this. The Ch'ing were Manchu
(not Han) and were a minority in China. They employed tactics of
divide-and-conquer to keep the Muslims, Han, Tibetans, and Mongolians in
struggles against one another. In particular, they were responsible for
inciting anti-Muslim sentiment throughout China, and used Han soldiers to
suppress the Muslim regions of the country.
Manchu Dynasty fell in 1911, the Republic of China was established
by Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country
belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Man (Manchu), Meng
(Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. His policies led to some
improvement in relations among these groups.
Mao Zedong's revolution in 1948 and the beginning of communist
rule in China, the Muslims, as well as other ethnic minorities found
themselves once again oppressed. They actively struggled against communists
before and after the revolution. In fact, in 1953, the Muslims revolted
twice in an effort to establish an independent Islamic state [in regions where
Muslims were an overwhelming majority]. These revolts were brutally suppressed
by Chinese military force followed by the liberal use of anti-Muslim
Today, the Muslims of China number some
20 million, according to unofficial counts. The government census of 1982,
however, put the number much lower, at 15 million. These Muslims represent
ten distinct ethnic groups. The largest are the Chinese Hui,
who comprise over half of China's Muslim population and are scattered
throughout all of China. There is also a high concentration of Hui in the
province of Ningsha in the north.
After the Hui, the remainder of
the Muslim population belong to Turkic language groups and are racially
Turks (except for the Mongol Salars and
Aryan Tajiks). The Turkic group is further divided between the Uygurs,
Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Tatars and Dongshiang. Nearly all of
the Turkic Muslims are found in the western provinces of Kansu and Xinjiang.
The largest of these Muslim groups are the Uygurs.
The Uygurs are most populous in
the province of Xinjiang, where they make up some 60% of the total
population. This relatively small percentage is due to the massive influx of
non-Muslim Chinese into the province in recent times, a situation that has
brought problems of assimilation and raised concerns about the de-Islamization
of one of China's predominantly Muslim regions. [Muslims in Central Asia,
under the USSR, were subjected to a similar population management,
Russification of Central Asia;Muslims, and the Uygur in particular,
suffered tremendously under the regime of Mao Zedong and his "Cultural
Revolution." During the communist reign of terror, there was a violent
campaign to eradicate all traces of Islam and of the ethnic identity of all
non-Chinese. The Uygur language, which had for centuries used Arabic
script, was forced to adopt the Latin alphabet. The Uygurs, as with
most believing Muslims, were subjected to forced labor in the some
30,000 communes set up in the predominantly Muslim provinces. The imams and
akhunds were singled out for humiliating punishments and tortures....[and were
forced to] tend to pig farms, which were sometimes kept in government-closed
Under the pretext of unification of
national education, Islamic schools were closed and their students transferred
to other schools which taught only Marxism and Maoism. Other outrages included
the closing of over 29,000 mosques, the widespread torture of imams, and
executions of over 360,000 Muslims.
Since the death of Mao and the
end of his hard-line Marxist outlook nearly fifteen years ago, the communist
government has greatly liberalized its policies toward Islam and Muslims. And
despite the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, Islam has continued to thrive
Today the campaign for assimilation
started during the Cultural Revolution has slowed somewhat and the
Turkic Muslims have greater freedom to express their cultural identity. The
government has, for instance, allowed the reinstatement of the Arabic alphabet
for use with the Uygur language. There is, however, continued discrimination
against the Turkic Muslims by the immigrant Chinese (favored by the
government) who have settled in the far western province of Xinjiang. This
immigration has posed a problem as Han Chinese are migrating to Muslim areas
at the rate of 200,000 a year. In many places where Muslims once were a
majority, they are now a minority.
Since religious freedom was declared in
1978, the Chinese Muslims have not wasted time in expressing their
convictions. There are now some 28,000 mosques in the entire People's Republic
of China, with 12,000 in the province of Xinjiang. In addition, there is a
large number of imams available to lead the Muslim community (in Xinjiang
alone there are over 2,800).
There has been an increased upsurge in
Islamic expression in China, and many nationwide Islamic associations have
been organized to coordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims. Islamic
literature can be found quite easily and there are currently some eight
different translations of the Qur'an in the Chinese language as well as
translations in Uygur and the other Turkic languages. The Muslims of China
have also been given almost unrestricted allowance to make the Hajj to Mecca .
In 1986 there were some 2,300 Chinese Muslims at Hajj. (Compared to the
30 Soviet Muslims allowed to make the same pilgrimage, this number seems quite
generous, considering that the Soviet Muslim population outnumbers China's by
nearly four times).
China's Muslims have also been active in
the country's internal politics. As always, the Muslims have refused to be
silenced. Several large demonstrations have been staged by Muslims to protest
intrusions on Muslim life. Last year, for instance, Muslims staged a massive
protest rally in Beijing to demand the removal of anti-Islamic literature from
China's bookstores. The Turkic [group] Muslims have also held demonstrations
for a greater voice in the running of their own affairs and against the
continued large-scale immigration of non-Muslims into their provinces. In
the news this spring are more reports of demonstrations and struggles by
Chinese Muslims to regain their rights. Insha'Allah they will be successful.
Muslims take great pride in citing a
hadith that says "seek knowledge even it it is in China." It points to the
importance of seeking knowledge, even if it meant traveling as far away as
China. China, which has been close to Muslim hearts for over 1400 years, is
home to millions of Muslims.
Islam's contact with China began during
the caliphate of 'Uthman ibn Affan (Allayhi Rahma, ra), the third
caliph. After triumphing over the Byzantine, Romans and the Persians, 'Uthman
ibn Affan, dispatched a deputation to China in 29 AH (650 C.E.,
Eighteen years after the Prophet's death), under the leadership by Sa'ad
ibn Abi Waqqaas (Allayhi Rahma), Prophet Muhammad's (Salla Allahu wa
Allahai wa Sallam, pbuh) maternal uncle, inviting the Chinese emperor to
The Muslim mission built China's
first mosque, the magnificent Canton city mosque known to this
day as the 'Memorial Mosque.' Over the years Muslim trading activity
through traders and merchant naval movements led many to settle in China.
One of the first Muslim settlements in China was established in port city
of Cheng Aan during the era of the Tang dynasty.
The Muslim presence was resented by the
disbelievers. However, their scorn was replaced by respect when their
provocation met with their resounding defeat at the hand of a small Muslim
force in 133 A.H. (751 C.E.) This victory eventually led to control
over the entire Central Asia, and in 138 A.H. (756 C.E.),
Caliph Mansur posted a unit of 4,000 troops to consolidate the Muslim
These victories opened the doors of
China for the Muslims to spread and propagate the faith. Over the years, many
Muslims settled in China and they married Chinese women. They established
mosques, schools and madrasas. Students from as far as Russia and India would
attend these madrasas. It is reported that in the 1790's, there was as many as
30,000 Islamic students, and the city of Bukhara, - the birthplace
of Imam Bukhari, one of the foremost compilers of hadith - which was
then part of China, came to be known as the "Pillar of Islam."
The early Muslims in China faced
oppression, and the tyrannical Manchu dynasty (1644-191l) was the
harshest era. During this period, five wars were waged against the Muslims:
Lanchu (1820-28), Che Kanio (1830), Sinkiang (l847), Yunan (1857) and Shansi
The Manchus slaughtered Muslims and
razed mosques. Led by determined leaders like Yaqoob Beg (l820-77), Muslims
liberated the whole of Turkestan and set up an Islamic state that lasted from
1867 to 1877. The new Turkic-Chinese Muslim power in Central Asia, comprising
of the provinces of Yunan, Szechawan, Shensi and Kansum, was seen with anxiety
by the Russians and the British who had colonial designs of their own.
The Muslims, inspired by examples of
leaders like Ma Mua-Ming-Hsin, scored many victories. In Yunan, the
Muslims, under Tu Wenhsin, routed the emperor's troops. He assumed the
name of Sultan Sulayman and rallied the Muslims of Tibet to rise up against
After the Communist takeover in 1949,
Mao Zedung set about dividing the Muslims into nationalities so they would
identify with their 'ethnic' origin and not their 'Muslim' identity.
According to population statistics of
1936, the then Kuomingtang Republic of China had an estimated 48,104,240
Muslims. After the introduction of Mao's policies, this number was reduced to
ten million. No official Chinese explanation has ever been given for this
apparent disappearance of around 38 million Muslims. The mass extermination
and destruction of the Muslims of China pales before the much publicized
plight of a handful of Tibetan monks or the democrats of Tiannaman Square.
Aside from the physical annihilation,
Muslims have been subjected to a constant attack on their Islamic identity
especially during the so-called Cultural Revolution (1966-76). For
instance, posters which appeared in Peking (later to be called Beijing) in
1966, openly called for the abolition of Islamic practices. Muslims were also
barred from learning their written language which incorporated the Arabic
script and was influenced by Arabic, Turkish and Farsi. This change was
critical as it distanced Muslims from the Arabic language, the language of the
Qur'an and their Islamic aspirations. During this era many Mosques were closed
down and waqf properties were confiscated.
Islamic Horizons, an
ISNA Publication. Web version prepared by Dr. A. Zahoor. This article was
excerpted from "Muslim Uyghuristan: Will the Chinese Communists Learn?" by A.A.
Islam in China
The ‘Great Mosque of
Guangzhou’ is also known as Huaisheng Mosque which means ‘Remember the Sage’ (A
Memorial Mosque to the Prophet) and is also popularly called the ‘Guangta
Mosque’ which translates as ‘The Beacon Tower Mosque’. Huaisheng Mosque is
located on Guantgta Road (Light Pagoda Road) which runs eastwards off Renmin
Prior to 500 CE and
hence before the establishment of Islam, Arab seafarers had established trade
relations with the “Middle Kingdom” (China). Arab ships bravely set off from
Basra at the tip of the Arabian Gulf and also from the town of Qays (Siraf) in
the Persian Gulf. They sailed the Indian Ocean passing Sarandip (Sri Lanka) and
navigated their way through the Straits of Malacca which were between the
Sumatran and Malaysian peninsulas en route to the South China Sea. They
established trading posts on the southeastern coastal ports of Quanzhou and
Guangzhou. Some Arabs had already settled in China and probably embraced Islam
when the first Muslim deputation arrived, as their families and friends back in
Arabia, had already embraced Islam during the Prophet’s revelation (610-32).
Guangzhou is called
Khanfu by the Arabs who later set up a Muslim quarter which became a centre of
commerce. Guangzhou’s superior geographical position made it play an important
role as the oldest trading and international port city in China. Witnessing a
series of historical events, China has become a significant place in history and
one of the fastest growing regions in the world enjoying unprecedented
Whilst an Islamic state
was founded by Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him,
China was enduring a period of unification and defense. Early Chinese annals
mentioned Muslim Arabs and called their kingdom al-Medina (of Arabia). Islam in
Chinese is called “Yisilan Jiao” (meaning “Pure Religion”). A Chinese official
once described Mecca as being the birthplace of Buddha Ma-hia-wu (i.e. Prophet
There are several
historical versions relating to the advent of Islam in China. Some records
claim Muslims first arrived in China in two groups within as many months from
Ethiopia was the land
where some early Muslims first fled in fear from the persecution of the Quraysh
tribe in Mecca. Among that group of refugees were one of Prophet Muhammad’s
daughters Ruqayya, her husband Uthman ibn Affan, Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas and many
other prominent Companions who migrated on the advice of the Prophet. They were
successfully granted political asylum by the Abyssinian King Atsmaha Negus in
the city of Axum (c.615 CE).
However, some Companions
never returned to Arabia. They may have traveled on in the hope of earning
their livelihood elsewhere and may have eventually reached China by land or sea
during the Sui Dynasty (581-618 CE). Some records relate that Sad Ibn Abi
Waqqas and three other Companions sailed to China in c.616 CE from Abyssinia
(Ethiopia) with the backing of the king of Abyssinia. Sad then returned to
Arabia, bringing a copy of the Holy Quran back to Guangzhou some 21 years later,
which appropriately coincides with the account of Liu Chih who wrote “The Life
of the Prophet” (12 vols).
One of the Companions
who lived in China is believed to have died in c.635 CE and was buried in the
western urban part of Hami. His tomb is known as “Geys’ Mazars” and is revered
by many in the surrounding region. It is in the northwestern autonomous
province of Xingjian (Sinkiang) and about 400 miles east of the latter’s
capital, Urumqi. Xingjian is four times the size of Japan, shares its
international border with eight different nations and is home to the largest
indigenous group of Turkic-speaking Uyghurs. Hence, as well as being the
largest Islamized area of China, Xingjian is also of strategic importance
The Quran states in
unequivocal words that Muhammad was sent only as a Mercy from God to all peoples
(21:107), and in another verse: “We have not sent thee but as
a Mercy to all Mankind…” (34:28)
This universality of
Islam facilitated its acceptance by people from all races and nations and is
amply demonstrated in China where the indigenous population, of ethnic varieties
of Chinese Muslims today is greater than the population of many Arab countries
including that of Saudi Arabia.
The history of Huaisheng
Mosque represents centuries of Islamic culture dating right back to the
mid-seventh century during the T’ang Dynasty (618-907) - “the golden age of
Chinese history”. It was in this period, eighteen years after the death of the
Prophet, that Islam - the last of the three monotheistic religions - was first
introduced to China by the third Caliph, Uthman Ibn ‘Affan (644-656 CE/23-35 AH
Uthman was one of the
first to embrace Islam and memorize the Holy Quran. He possessed a mild and
gentle nature and he married Ruqayyah and following her death, Umm Kulthum (both
were daughters of the Prophet). Consequently he was given the epithet of
‘Dhu-n-Nurayn’ (the one with the two lights). Uthman was highly praised for
safeguarding the manuscripts of the Quran against disputes by ordering its
compilation from the memories of the Companions and sending copies to the four
corners of the Islamic Empire.
Uthman sent a delegation
to China led by Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas (d. 674 CE/55 AH) who was a much loved
maternal uncle of the Prophet and one of the most famous Companions who
converted to Islam at the age of just seventeen. He was a veteran of all the
battles and one of the ten who it is reported that the Prophet said were assured
a place in paradise.
In Medina, Sad, using
his ability in architecture added an Iwan (an arched hall used by a Persian
Emperor) as a worship area. He later laid the foundation of what was to be the
first Mosque in China where early Islamic architecture forged a relationship
with Chinese architecture.
According to the ancient
historical records of the T’ang Dynasty, an emissary from the kingdom of
al-Medina led by Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas and his deputation of Companions, who sailed
on a special envoy to China in c.650 CE, via the Indian Ocean and the China Sea
to the famous port of Guangzhou, thence traveled overland to Chang’an (present
day Xi’an) via what was later known as the “Silk Route”.
Sad and his deputation
brought presents and were warmly received at the royal court by the T’ang
Emperor Kao-tsung, (r. 650-683) in c.651 CE, despite a recent plea of support
against the Arabs forwarded to the Emperor in that same year by Shah Peroz (the
ruler of Sassanid Persia). The latter was a son of Yazdegerd who, along with
the Byzantines, already had based their embassies in China over a decade
earlier. Together they were the two great powers of the west. A similar plea
made to Emperor Tai Tsung (r.627-649) against the simultaneous spread of Muslim
forces was refused.
First news of Islam had
already reached the T’ang royal court during the reign of Emperor Tai Tsung when
he was informed by an embassy of the Sassanid king of Persia, as well as the
Byzantiums of the emergence of the Islamic rule. Both sought protection from
the might of China. Nevertheless, the second year of Kao-tsung’s reign marks
the first official visit by a Muslim ambassador.
The emperor, after
making enquiries about Islam, gave general approval to the new religion which he
considered to be compatible with the teachings of Confucius. But he felt that
the five daily canonical prayers and a month of fasting were requirements too
severe for his taste and he did not convert. He allowed Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas and
his delegation freedom to propagate their faith and expressed his admiration for
Islam which consequently gained a firm foothold in the country.
Sad later settled in
Guangzhou and built the Huaisheng Mosque which was an important event in the
history of Islam in China. It is reputedly the oldest surviving mosque in the
whole of China and is over 1300 years old. It survived through several
historical events which inevitably took place outside its door step. This
mosque still stands in excellent condition in modern Guangzhou after repairs and
contemporary Da Qingzhen Si (Great Mosque) of Chang’an (present day Xi’an) in
Shaanxi Province was founded in c.742 CE. It is the largest (12,000 sq metres)
and the best early mosque in China and it has been beautifully preserved as it
expanded over the centuries. The present layout was constructed by the Ming
Dynasty in c.1392 CE, a century before the fall of Granada, under its
(ostensible) founder Hajj Zheng He who has a stone tablet at the mosque in
commemoration of his generous support, which was provided by the grateful
A fine model of the
Great Mosque with all its surrounding walls and the magnificent, elegant
appearance of its pavilions and courtyards can be seen at the Hong Kong Museum
placed gracefully besides the model of the Huaisheng Mosque. I was fortunate to
visit the real mosque last year during Asr prayer, after which I met the Imam
who showed me an old handwritten Quran and presented me with a white cap.
Walking to the prayer
hall is like sleepwalking through an oriental oasis confined in a city forbidden
for the impure. A dragon symbol is engraved at the footstep of the entrance
opposite the prayer hall demonstrating the meeting between Islam and the Chinese
civilisation. All in all it is a dazzling encounter of the architecture of
Oriental China with that of the indigenous fashionable taste of Harun ar-Rashid
(147-194 AH/764-809 CE) of Baghdad - a newly founded city that was to become the
greatest between Constantinople and China, fifty years after the time of Harun.
Sheng-You Si (Mosque of the Holy Friend), also known as the Qingjing Si (Mosque
of Purity) and Al-Sahabah Mosque (Mosque of Companions), was built with pure
granite in 1009 CE during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Its
architectural design and style was modeled on the Great Mosque of Damascus
(709-15) in Syria thus making the pair the oldest extant Mosques to survive (in
original form) into the twenty-first century.
Qingjing Mosque is
located at “Madinat al-Zaytun” (Quanzhou) or, in English, “City of Olives” in
Fujian Province, where also two Companions of the Prophet who accompanied Sa’d
Ibn Abi Waqqas’s envoy to China are buried. They are known to the locals by
their Chinese names of “Sa-Ke-Zu and Wu-Ku-Su”.
Zhen-Jiao Si (Mosque of
the True Religion), also known as Feng-Huang Si (the Phoenix Mosque) in
Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, is believed to date back from the Tang Dynasty. It
has a multi-storied portal, serving as a minaret and a platform for observing
the moon. The Mosque has a long history and it has been rebuilt and renovated
on a number of occasions over the centuries. It is much smaller than it used to
be, especially with the widening of the road in 1929, and it was partly rebuilt
The other ancient Mosque
is located in the city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, once the busiest city of
trade and commerce during the Song Dynasty (960-1280). Xian-He Si (Mosque of
Immortal Crane) is the oldest and largest in the city and was built in c.1275CE
by Pu-ha-din, a Muslim preacher who was a sixteenth-generation descendant of the
According to Chinese
Muslim historians, Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas died in Guangzhou where he is believed to
be buried. However Arab scholars differ, stating that Sad died and was buried
in Medina amongst other Companions. One grave definitely exists, while the
other is symbolic, God only knows whether it is in China or Medina. As one can
see, the spread of Islam in China was indeed a peaceful one. The first envoy
reached the southeast via the Zhu Jiang (The Pearl River) and was later followed
by contact via an overland route from the northwest. Muslim communities are
present over a wide geographical area in China today, including some in the
remote places of Tibet, where I once met Tibetan Muslims in the middle of
nowhere, while on a trek.
Islam -- The Straight Path: Islam
Interpreted by Muslims by Kenneth W. Morgan
Kenneth W. Morgan is Professor of history and comparative religions at Colgate
University. Published by The Ronald Press Company, New York 1958. This material
was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.
Chapter 9: Islamic Culture in China by Dawood C. M. Ting
(Dawood C. M. Ting is Consulate of the Republic of China, Beirut, Lebanon)
Historians are not agreed as to when Islam came to China. There is no record of
the event in Arab history and only a brief mention in Chinese annals. The
Ancient Record of the T’ang Dynasty notes that in the second year of the rule of
Yung-wei (31; A.D. 651) an emissary from Arabia came to the royal court bearing
gifts. The emissary claimed that his state had been established thirty-one years
before, which would mean that he reached the T’ang court during the Caliphate of
Uthman. According to the traditions of the Muslims of China this is considered
to be the first time that Islam was brought to China. The leader of this
delegation was Said Ibn Abi \Vaqqas, one of the noted Companions of the Prophet.
His party included fifteen persons who had traveled together by way of the
Indian Ocean and the China Sea to the port of Kwangchow in south China, going
overland from there to the capital city, Ch’ang-an, where they paid their
respects to the emperor.
The emperor, after searching inquiries about the religion of Muhammad, gave
general approval to the new religion -- which he considered to be compatible
with the teachings of Confucius -- but he felt that five daily prayers and a
month of fasting were requirements too severe for his taste, and he was not
converted. He gave Said and his delegation freedom to propagate their faith and
expressed his admiration for Islam by ordering the establishment of the first
mosque at Ch’ang-an, an important event in the history of Islam. This mosque
still stands in excellent condition in modern Sian after ages of repairs and
Years later when Said was advanced in age and in ill health, he received
permission to return to his homeland, but unfortunately he died on the way and
was buried at Kwangchow. The mosque built at the site of his grave, in memory of
the holiness of Muhammad, is still preserved today, the second historic mosque
in China. Some of his followers died in China and others returned to their
homeland. There is no agreement between Chinese and foreign historians as to
whether Said Ibn Abi Waqqas died in China or Arabia. Chinese historians of Islam
believe he died in Kwangchow, pointing to his grave as evidence, while Arab
historians insist that he died in Medina and was buried there. Chinese pilgrims
who visit Medina after the pilgrimage to Mecca are shown the reputed grave of
Said there. This point is still in doubt and all that can be said is that one
grave is real while the other is only symbolic.
The first Muslim visitors to China came by the sea route, following the example
of the visit and preaching of Said and his party which laid the foundation stone
of Islam in China. Many Arab and Persian visitors came to China for commercial
and religious reasons, both under the Umayyads and the Abbasids. The Arabians
who came in the time of the Umayyads were known in China as the White Robed
Tashi and when relations between China and the Muslim empire further improved
under the Abbasids, their emissaries were known as the Black Robed Tashi. The
Umayyads and Abbasids sent five or six delegations to China, ranging from a few
to a score of persons in each party, bringing precious gifts to the Chinese
emperors. These delegations were cordially received by the Chinese and laden
with gifts to carry back to the Caliphs, indicating the continuing friendly
relations between China and the Muslim rulers.
In the century and a half between 31 and 184 (A.D. 651-800) a considerable
number of Arab and Persian businessmen came to China by the sea route. Initially
they settled in Kwangchow but slowly began to push their way along the coast to
the main cities and even as far north as Hangchow. Wherever they went they
gathered contributions and built mosques as centers for their religion, mosques
which were relatively large and well-built, attesting to the substantial
economic position of the traders. Many of those historically Important mosques
are still preserved, but in some places the converts have dwindled through the
ages and the mosques remain today as historical ruins. During this period a
growing number of Arab and Persian businessmen settled down in the southern
provinces of China, many of them marrying Chinese women. Because of the
differences in religion and customs, these people lived apart in their own
communities where they could follow the religious injunctions of Islam in their
living habits, marriage and funeral rites, and other ceremonies. They had their
own courts in which they handled cases concerning marriage, divorce,
inheritance, and other problems of Islamic law, evidence of the influence and
power of Islam in China at that time.
The Arabs and Persians who came to China by sea exercised great influence in
trade with a virtual monopoly of the import and export business. By the time of
the Sung dynasty (349-678; A.D. 960-1279) a foreign quarter and bazaar had been
established in Kwangchow. The office of Director General of Shipping was created
to take charge of the movement of commodities through the port and to supervise
customs and other commercial matters -- a post which was always held by a
Muslim. further evidence of the strength and social position of Muslim merchants
of the time.
While the Muslims who came by sea were settling in the south along the coast,
Islam was introduced into northwest China by the overland route. For some time
the Hsiung Nu tribes of northwest China had caused constant border disturbances.
After they were conquered by the Arabs these tribes were gradually converted to
Islam. During the T’ang dynasty, in 138 (A.D. 755), Emperor Hsuan Tsung was
faced with a rebellion which forced him to take refuge in Szechwan. He sent
emissaries to ask for assistance from the Muslims of northwest China and they
sent eight thousand soldiers who aided him in his struggle with the rebels. In
recognition of their valuable services Hsuan Tsung gave the soldiers the choice
of returning to their homes laden with gifts or of remaining in China. When they
all elected to remain they were settled on farm land and given eight thousand
young women in marriage. Thus they were provided with land, homes, and an
opportunity to live in peace and happiness. These new settlers became the
founding fathers of the Muslim communities of northwest China.
The improved relations with the Hsiung Nu tribes brought greater numbers of
their people into China proper for business, many of whom chose to settle there.
Still later Iranian and Afghan traders came through the northwest to Ch’ang-an,
continuing the introduction of Islam to China by the overland route.
The Rise and Fall of Islam in China
During the T’ang dynasty (ended 295; A.D. 907) and the Sung dynasty (349-678;
A.D. 960-1279) foreign trade grew steadily as Arabs and Iranians took silk, art
objects, Chinese porcelain, and other commodities to the Middle East and to
Europe, returning with herbs, spices, pearls, and other products of those areas.
They became middlemen in a most profitable trade which attracted ever greater
numbers for commerce and the propagation of their faith, and as the new traders
came to China many Muslim communities were established in the southeast and
northwest parts of the country. These Muslim communities became a strong force
in Chinese society. Because the Muslims were law-abiding and self-disciplined
citizens of high economic status they were received with respect and friendship
by the Han (Chinese) people and were given the confidence and protection of the
government. During the T’ang and Sung dynasties there was no anti-foreign
feeling on the part of the government, and the Muslim population was able to
increase steadily and move inland. Thus the Chinese and Islamic cultures lived
together in harmony and tolerance.
The Yuan dynasty was considered a foreign dynasty because it started under
Genghis Khan, whose Mongol forces occupied China, Central Asia, Iran, Arabia,
and parts of Eastern Europe. When these areas were divided Into various
kingdoms, Kublai Khan became the ruler of China and Mongolia, and the founder of
the Yuan dynasty. Of the other areas which were for a time under Mongol control,
the kingdoms of Central Asia were converted to Islam. Throughout the whole area
the freedom of travel maintained by the Mongols encouraged great crosscurrents
of peoples and cultures -- the Chinese into Central Asia and the Arabs, Turks,
and Iranians into China -- which brought an influx into China of Muslim
merchants and also Muslim doctors, scholars, astronomers, astrologers, and
high-ranking warriors who were attached to the Mongol army as advisors, military
aides, and staff officers. Although the Yuan dynasty was Mongolian, Muslims
enhanced their standing by holding positions of military and civil power, and
the propagation of the faith was greatly facilitated. According to the eminent
Chinese historian Professor Ting-hsueh Wu, over thirty Muslims were high
officials at the royal court in Peking, and the governors of nine provinces were
Of the many important Muslims at the royal court of the Mongols, Sayyid EdjelI
was the most prominent. Rising through a series of high offices, he became
Commander-in-Chief of the Mongolian Expeditionary Forces in Szechwan and was
appointed the governor of the province in 671 (A.D. 1272). Two years later he
was transferred to the governorship of Yunnan where his enlightened and glorious
rule spread Chinese culture into the southwest, bringing the people Chinese law,
education, and improved agriculture. He did this without prejudice as to race or
religion and without forced conversion of the people to Islam -- on the
contrary, he was the first to establish Confucian temples in Yunnan. Many of the
cultural patterns of the present day are due to this great governor whose name
is still revered by the people of Yunnan. Were it not for his religion, he would
long since have been worshiped in the temples.
The great Iranian historian, Rashidu’d-Din Fadlu’llah, in his remarkable history
Iami’u’t-Tawarikh -- the first volume of which deals with the history of the
Mongols -- tells us that "China during the Mongolian dynasty of Kublai Khan was
administered in twelve districts, with a governor and vice-governor in each. Of
these twelve governors, eight were Muslims. In the remaining districts, Muslims
were vice-governors." Thus we can imagine the status and importance of Muslims
in China during the Yuan dynasty
The Yuan dynasty lasted for roughly ninety years (678-770; A.D. I 279-1368)
until it was overthrown and the Ming dynasty was established. During the Ming
dynasty -- which ruled almost three centuries, from 770 to 1054 (A.D. 1368-644)
-- the Muslims made many great contributions to the life of China, and Islam
gained its rightful place as a popular religion.
By the beginning of the Ming dynasty Islam had been in China for seven
centuries. The considerable number of Muslims who had settled in China had laid
a secure foundation for Islam, but during those seven hundred years the Muslims
had retained their alien status as a special class which preserved its own
language, customs, and manners and was never fully integrated with the Han
people. Under the Ming dynasty, however, with the retreat of foreign influence
and the cessation of the migrations, the Muslims in China slowly lost their
alien status and became Chinese citizens, and their manner of living was
The most striking example of this process of integration was the adoption of
Chinese surnames. Many Muslims who married Chinese wives adopted the name of the
wife. In most cases Muslims picked Chinese names which sounded closest to their
original names. For example, the surname Ma belonged to a prominent Chinese
family and many historical figures were named Ma. Many Muslims whose names
started with the letter M took the name Ma, partly because of the similarity in
sound, and partly because the Muslims loved horses and the character Ma stands
for horses. Thus so many Muslims of northwest China bear the surname Ma that
there is a common saying, "Nine Ma in ten Muslims." The Chinese surnames Mo,
Mai, and Mu have been adopted by Muslims whose names were Mohammed, Mustafa,
Murad, Masoud. Many Muslims who found no existing common Chinese surname
sounding like their names simply used the Chinese character sounding closest to
their name -- Ta for Daoud and Tahir; Ha for Hassan; Ho for Hussein; Ting for
Jelaluddin, Shamsuddin, Ghamaruddin; Sai for Said and Saad; Na for Nasser and
Naguib; Sha for Salem, Salih, Sabih; Ai for Issa and Amin.
Muslim customs concerning food and clothing were also Sinicized, but these
changes in food did not involve the breaking of religious admonitions concerning
the use of pork or wine. In education, Muslim children started speaking Han
dialects and reading Chinese books. In a relatively short time the Muslims in
China became almost totally Sinicized so that, except for those religious tenets
which were retained as necessary to their Islamic faith, the Muslims could not
be distinguished from other Chinese. Hence the Muslims were respected and
accepted without prejudice and enjoyed equal treatment and opportunities in
government, business, and agricultural life. There was very little conflict or
The Ming dynasty may be called the golden age of Muslims in China, for long
years of peace and prosperity brought a flowering of art and culture in which
the Muslims participated. Prominent Muslims had taken part in the establishment
of the Ming dynasty, and later, in the reign of Yung Lo from 808 to 836 (A.D.
1405-32), the eminent Muslim statesman Cheng Ho was sent by the monarch to
establish friendly relations with the countries of the South Pacific and with
India, Arabia, and East Africa. During the Ming dynasty Muslims continued in
positions of power, some historians even going so far as to say that the Ming
was a dynasty of Muslims. There is even evidence for the claim that Ming T’ai
Tsu, the founder of the dynasty, was a Muslim. It is pointed out that the wife
of T’ai Tsu, Empress Ma, was a Muslim, that many of his responsible officials
were Muslims, that he never worshiped in a temple after his accession, that he
forbade the drinking of wine, that he composed the hymn of praise of one hundred
words to Muhammad which may still be found inscribed in the main mosque in
Nanking, and that historians mention his strange facial features, which may have
been due to foreign blood as a descendant of a Persian or Arab. At any rate,
Muslims were well treated during the Ming dynasty and there was harmony between
the Muslims and the Han people.
The Ch’ing dynasty ruled from 1054 to 1329 (A.D. 1644-1911). This last imperial
dynasty of China was not a dynasty of the Han people, but of an alien minority,
the Manchus. The Manchus established by force the Ch’ing imperialism which ruled
over the majority of Han, Muslim, Mongolian, and Tibetan people. Their ruthless
policy of divide and rule, setting off one group of people against another,
meant the beginning of trouble for the Muslims of China. The Ch’ing dynasty,
jealous of the influence of the Muslims and fearful of a counterrevolutionary
attempt to restore the Ming dynasty, created many incidents to foment
anti-Muslim feeling. The Chinese Muslims reacted with violence several times and
the Ch’ing dynasty retaliated with their army. Since their armies were led and
manned by Han soldiers, these incidents led to Muslim enmity toward the Hans.
There were four major rebellions between 1236 and 1293 (A.D. 1820-76)
The loss of life and property as a consequence of these events was severe, and
the spiritual and psychological reactions of the Muslims were unfortunate. They
developed a hatred for officialdom and the Han people and forbade their own
people to study Han books or work for the government. They developed a passive
attitude toward life, did not participate in government, took no interest in
politics, and derived their chief comfort and satisfaction from their religion.
This led to their gradual disappearance from the national political scene and
represents the low ebb of the fortunes of the Muslims in China.
With the downfall of the Manchu dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of
China, the status of Muslims in China entered a new era because the founder of
the Republic, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, in his wisdom and foresight, proclaimed that the
Republic belonged to the five races of China -- Han, Man (Manchu), Meng
(Mongol), Hui (Muslim), and Tsang (Tibetan) -- the five great components of the
Republic, with equal status. They were like five brothers of a big family, with
the Han peoples acting as the elder brother in leading the others.
Under the Republic the Muslims of China once more regained their former
eminence. The passing of the Manchus and the tolerant policies of the Republic
led the Muslims to regain their faith in the people and to participate actively
in the affairs of the country. The Muslims made great contributions both in
money and manpower in the revolutionary wars, the anti-Communist wars, and the
Sino-Japanese war. Now that China has unfortunately fallen under the yoke of the
Communists the Muslims of China are struggling hand in hand with their Han
brethren to regain the freedom of the people. When the mainland was lost the
Muslim leaders followed the government to the island of Taiwan. The Chinese
Islamic Association, spiritual heart of the fifty million Muslims of China, also
moved to Taiwan to continue its struggle. The unfortunate Muslims forced to
remain in China are, with few exceptions, still loyal to the Republic even
though they cannot openly defy the Communists. Their reasons are not hard to
find, for the Communists are anti-religious, denying the existence of a Creator,
and the Muslims in China have had personal experience of the deceit and
brutality of the Communists. When they have an opportunity they will certainly
rise in rebellion, but inferiority in numbers and lack of arms make the Muslims
an easy prey to the oppressors. At present the Chinese Communists are following
the peaceful offensive of the Kremlin, the policy of conciliation of the Muslims
as a strategy to obtain the friendship and sympathy of the Islamic countries --
but these sly maneuvers will not deceive the Chinese Muslims.
The Muslim Community
There are many conflicting figures as to the number of Muslims in China. The
1948 China Year Book, published in Chungking, states the population of Muslims
in China as 48,104,000. That official estimate of the government is close to the
figure of fifty million which is considered by Chinese Muslims to be the most
accurate and reliable figure. Thus, if the total population of China is taken as
five hundred million, the Muslims constitute about ten per cent of the people.
This makes the Muslims the second largest of the five races comprising the
Chinese nation; following the Han race are the Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongolian),
Tsang (Tibetan), and Man (Manchu) minorities, in that order. The recent claim of
the Communists that the Muslim population is ten million may be dismissed as
pure propaganda. The largest concentration of Muslims is found in the provinces
of the northwest and the northeast, followed by Honan, Hopei, and Shantung
provinces. In the southwest, Yunnan and Szechwan lead; while in the southeast,
in the Yangtse valley Anhwei province leads in the number of Muslims. The
coastal provinces of Kiangsu, Chekiang, Fukien, and Kwangtung contain the
smallest number of Muslims in modern times, although formerly they had the
largest Muslim population. The size of the former Muslim community in that area
is indicated by the fact that when the Ming Dynasty established its capital in
Nanking there were thirty-six mosques in the city.
According to recent investigations, there were very old Muslim communities in
Taiwan, but today only five or six thousand Muslims can be found, mostly
fishermen living along the west coast of Central Taiwan. Their forebears
presumably came from Fukien. Time, lack of religious leadership, isolation from
the Chinese mainland, and Japanese control have reduced this group to apathy.
Like sheep who have lost their way and await their shepherd, the only remnant of
their religion is their refusal to eat pork.
In the early days the Chinese Muslims were mostly rich merchants; in Yuan times
they were high government officials; and in Ming times they were leading
intellectuals. In the north they almost monopolized transportation with caravans
of donkeys, horses, and camels. Along the Yangtze river and the Huai Ho, and in
the provinces along the canal where rice was produced, the Muslims controlled
the grain trade and transportation. Evidences of this may be found even today in
those areas where Iranian commercial terms and numbers are used in the grain
trade, even though the present grain merchants are not Muslim and use the terms
without understanding their meanings.
During the Ch’ing dynasty the Muslims lost their grip on commerce and finance.
At present the principal trades of the Muslims are the jewelry and curio
business, leather-working, the tea business, raising and butchering animals, the
operation of restaurants, and agriculture. The collecting of precious pearls,
jade, antiques, calligraphy, and paintings is a highly specialized business
which caters to royalty and wealthy merchants and requires great skill and
experience. At the end of the Ch’ing dynasty Muslims owned nearly all the curio
business in Peking and many other cities in China, and even today they are
leaders in the field. Recently the Chinese government in Taiwan invited Muslim
experts to study the quality of the jewels possessed by the treasury.
In the northwest and northeast of China the Muslims deal in a great variety of
furs and leathers. In Yunnan the Muslims are tea planters and carry on a large
business with Tibet and Sinkiang as well as with Burma, Thailand, Nepal, and
Bhutan. Tea is transported by donkey and horse caravans to neighboring countries
over a difficult and tedious route which serves as a channel of trade on the
return journeys. The great plain of the northwest is a good place to raise
cattle, sheep, horses, and camels, and since that is home ground for the Muslims
they have been deeply involved in raising animals. Because of Muslim rules
governing butchering, Muslims have become involved in the butchering business
not only in the northwest, but in many other provinces as well. But they do not
raise and kill pigs.
In addition to those trades which are restricted to limited areas, Muslims have
engaged widely in restaurant-keeping throughout China. Their cooking methods are
slightly different from those of the Chinese since they use no pork or lard, and
their restaurants are always identified by special signs. Many Muslims are
farmers, and in the cities there are many Muslim merchants as well as doctors,
engineers, lawyers, teachers, and public workers. Due to their interest in brave
deeds, Muslims frequently join the army and follow careers as soldiers and
officers. A Muslim will not take a job as a barber, or perform other personal
services such as cutting toenails or massaging. Nor will Muslim girls become
prostitutes. If a Muslim girl should fall into bad company the local service
committee of Muslims would buy her freedom right away and remarry her -- an
evidence of the well-organized and closely cooperative Muslim community.
Chinese Muslim Customs.
Chinese Muslim customs are very different from those of the Han, Manchu, Mongol,
and Tibetan peoples. This is due to the special ideals of Islam which result in
customs different from those of people who come close to believing in no God --
such as Confucianists and Taoists -- or of those who believe m many gods, as do
the Buddhists. Although other religions pay no attention to such matters, the
rules of Islam forbid the eating of pork, certain sea foods, dead animals,
blood, or anything not killed according to the Islamic method, and Muslims must
obey. Special customs naturally developed under such circumstances.
To solve many living problems, separate residential areas for Muslims and for
Hans were created in large cities where Muslims were dominant. Whether or not
the Muslims live in separate quarters there are differences in the homes which
are recognizable. At the Chinese New Year the Hans decorate their homes with a
pair of door gods on each side of the door and paste posters by the door frames.
Muslim residences do not have anything on their doors; they are well-kept,
clean, and natural in appearance. In Han homes, you find the gods, the
ancestors, and the Heaven and Earth Emperor in their proper place in the living
room, with incense burning all year round. There is no such thing in Muslim
homes. At the four seasons festivals the Han people hang certain herbs in their
homes, but the Muslims never do. Most Muslims have had bathrooms in their homes
in order to perform their religious rites, but few Han people had bathrooms;
they usually used wooden tubs for bathing. Modern construction and living
customs have brought bathrooms to the Hans, so outward differences seem to be
The clothing of Chinese Muslims is similar to that of the Chinese except for a
few tribes like the Uighurs of Sinkiang and the Kazakhs of the northwest. There
are still some differences, however. In the northwest Muslim women wear a face
veil when they go out, and in some provinces women wear a turban. Muslim men in
the northwest provinces wear flat white hats and men in Sinkiang have colorful
embroidered small hats. Some wear white cotton or yellow silk turbans. Muslims
in other provinces put on a flat white hat when they attend the weekly service
in the mosque. Men, especially religious leaders, generally do not wear silk
since it was forbidden by the Prophet as a means of preventing luxurious habits
and maintaining the heroic nature of men. Women are allowed to wear silk. Muslim
children do not wear a necklace or the "one hundred families" locket which is
used in the superstitious belief that it protects children from the devil.
Instead of the prayer for longevity around hats, Muslims decorated hats with the
Word of Witness in Arabic. Since white stands for purity the Muslims love to use
white material for clothing, and because Muhammad’s favorite color was green the
Muslims like to use green also. Muslim men did not wear the long hair of the
Manchu period and Muslim women did not bind their feet. Muslims in the interior
parts of China, where they are in a minority, tend to follow the common
practices of their communities.
Islam, for hygienic reasons and in order to form kind and good habits, forbids
Muslims to eat pork, animals dead by themselves, animals not killed by Muslims,
blood, food given to gods, snakes, poultry which eats meat, and sea food not
shaped like a fish, and forbids smoking, drinking, and the use of narcotics.
Because of these laws concerning food, Muslims are very careful at home and when
they are traveling. It was customary for local governments to provide a certain
ratio of cows and sheep monthly to the Muslim community and Muslim butchers
prepared the meat. Even chickens and ducks must be taken to the mosques to be
killed unless there is someone in the family who knows how to do it properly.
In Muslim restaurants there is no trace of pork, of course, but wine is
tolerated because of the many non-Muslim customers. The wine is always served in
special cups which can be kept separate. Because Han Chinese love to eat pork
and lard the Muslims are very careful not to eat anything cooked by Hans, such
as candy, bread, and pastries. In a Muslim community the Muslims have their own
stores, bakeries, and restaurants where vegetable oil is used for cooking so
every-thing is pure and fragrant. Non-Muslims also like the foods prepared by
Muslims. Fried dumplings are a very common and popular form of dessert. They are
made of flour shaped into a ball, flavored either salty or sweet, and fried in
vegetable oil. They are served on many occasions in the home -- to remember dead
relatives, to treat friends after worshiping in the home, and to give to
friends. No one knows the origin of this food, but it is very popular.
When traveling in the northwest and Yunnan, Muslim traders customarily formed
caravans for mutual help and for convenience in cooking food and worshiping
together, but in China proper there was no need to form groups for travel. There
are no superstitious preparations before traveling among Muslims, such as the
custom of choosing a lucky day to travel by the use of diagrams or by drawing
lots. Many Muslims take their own cooking utensils with them to prepare their
own food. When they come to a town the first thing they do is to locate a mosque
to decide where to stay for the night, for the mosques serve as service centers
where the traveler always gets help no matter who he is or where he comes from.
Timely aid and brotherly cooperation help to solve difficulties and serve as
consolation and inspiration to travelers.
Two kinds of Muslims live in China, the so-called Turbanded Muslims of Sinkiang
and the Han Muslims of China proper. In Sinkiang they speak Turkish and most of
them can also speak the Kansu dialect. The Han Muslims speak Mandarin and local
dialects. But Arabic and Iranian terms, especially Iranian, are used for
religious purposes in a mixture which is hard for non-Muslims to understand.
There is another secret dialect which is used by some Muslims. Some Muslims who
speak Chinese but do not write it use Arabic letters to spell Chinese words.
Muhammad said to his followers, "Teach your children riding, archery, and
swimming." All three were necessary for military training in the old days and
are still useful as exercise and for sport in modern times. In the Chinese
northwest where the Muslims are good at riding and archery because of their
surroundings many of the Muslims recruited for the cavalry learned these skills.
Chinese Muslims also like swimming, wherever water is available, and for
generation after generation they have participated in boxing as a favorite
Islam and Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.
China did not produce any religion of her own. Confucianism and Taoism are
schools of philosophy and political theory, not religions. The religions of
China -- Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity -- were imported and allowed to grow
freely and peacefully
Confucius, the great politician, great philosopher, and great educator, did not
claim to discover his teachings but said that his ideas came from good and wise
scholars of ancient times. "I teach but do not invent," he said. "I believe in
the ancients." Confucianism is concerned with the principles of human relations
but not with the universe. Confucius taught that to develop good relations
between man and man one must start with oneself -- therefore he emphasized
self-sacrifice, good manners, cultivating oneself, and trust and reconciliation
in relations with others. He stressed loyalty to the ruler and the nation as the
path which would lead to utopia. Confucianism has a perfect ethical system based
on the five human relations; it teaches that man should faithfully search for
reason for human actions and should refine and control himself; should carry on
his ancestral traditions and teach them to succeeding generations; should die to
preserve his virtue; and should be just without partiality. There are eight
virtues, with filial piety ranking first, followed by the subordination of
younger to older brothers, loyalty, sincerity, propriety, morality, modesty, and
a sense of shame. All of these principles of Confucianism go very well with
Islam but they are insufficient because they are related only to material human
existence, and Islam goes further and searches the universe. Confucius refused
to answer any questions concerning the future. "Since you do not know life," he
said, "how do you know death?" Thus we see that he had an ethical philosophy,
but not a religion.
Originally Taoism was also a body of philosophical ideas and political theories
but not a religion. In Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching the fundamental theory in
political relations is "to follow nature in order to obtain perfection," and to
follow the principle of "noninterference." Everything is to be allowed to follow
its own course. Proper relations between man and man can be attained only by
suppression of self and abolition of hatred -- which can be achieved by
eliminating desire. Lao Tzu says, "To stop competition, do not honor virtues; to
halt stealing, do not value rare objects; and to obtain a peaceful mind, do not
develop craving." The philosophy of Lao Tzu is quite similar to Sufism in Islam.
Islam agrees with his doctrine of the suppression of self and of enmity. In
Islam the purpose of the five daily prayers and the month of fasting is to
purify oneself and to decrease desires as a means to the practice of
Confucianism and Taoism both created temples where images are worshiped -- which
is contrary to Islam, for Islam believes in only one God, without form or
likeness. So Islam has no intercourse with Confucianism and Taoism but has great
respect for Confucius and Lao Tzu as Chinese prophets. In the Qur’an God says,
"I have sent native prophets to each race to influence and to teach." Lao Tzu
and Confucius were before the Prophet Muhammad, therefore they were prophets
sent by God to the Chinese race.
When Buddhism came to China it was easy for the people to accept it because many
of its teachings coincided with Confucianism and Taoism. It gained the
confidence and protection of the ruling class for generations, and the great
books of Buddhism were carefully translated by many first-rate scholars.
Buddhism also penetrated to the Chinese public and profoundly influenced the
literature and art of China. Its contribution to Chinese literature and art has
not been equalled by either Islam or Christianity. There was no relation between
Buddhism and Islam because the Buddhist belief in passiveness, in idols, and in
rebirth is absolutely contrary to Islam. True Muslims studied the books of
Confucius and Lao Tzu, but very few touched the Buddhist classics.
The Muslims of China lost connections with other Muslim countries for a long
time and were influenced unconsciously by Confucianism and Buddhism in several
ways -- for instance, they call the worship place shih, the Buddhist word for
temple, rather than mosque as in Islamic countries. The mosques constructed in
China look exactly like Confucian and Buddhist temples from the outside. The
responsible personnel in the mosques held ranks similar to those of the head
priest, priest, and monk in Buddhist temples and lived in the mosque and
received alms and performed all religious duties. At a wedding or a funeral the
religious leaders of Islam were asked to say prayers and recite passages, just
as the Buddhist monks did in the temples. Just as the Buddhists emphasized
silence and meditation, so also the Sufis among the Muslims stressed similar
practices and shared the belief that meditation would finally give power to
perform miracles. The men who gained such powers were called Shaikhs by the
Muslims. The Shaikhs and Buddhist monks often had contests in magic, which the
Muslims frequently won.
The good characteristic of the Chinese, summarized in the phrase "to let live,"
paved the way for all religions in China. In recent years the four great
religions of China -- Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam -- founded
a "Religious Friends Association" to unite in the fight against communism.
Religious Organization of Chinese Muslims.
Mosques in China, as centers for spiritual inspiration and social activities,
are used as a place of worship, prayer, and chanting -- and also used as a
meeting place, a school, a place to perform Islamic ceremonies, a funeral home,
and a judicial court. In former times there were women’s mosques in some parts
of China, used as religious and charitable centers for women and led by women
religious teachers. Now both men and women share the same mosque but meet in
different rooms for praying and religious rituals, coming together for
discussions and conferences. In appearance the mosques look like Confucian or
Buddhist temples because during the monarchic period no foreign-style buildings
were allowed. The graceful domes and pointed minarets which characterize the
stone mosques of other countries are not found in the wooden mosques of China.
The interior of Chinese mosques is divided into a lecture hall, a dormitory,
conference rooms, the office of the leaders of the mosque, a bathroom, and the
"dead man s room" for washing the deceased. The endowments of the Chinese
mosques are held chiefly in real estate. The yearly income of some mosques is
more than enough to support a technical college or a light industrial factory,
but because there is no central organization -- such as a Ministry of Waqfs --
to look after the budget, much that could be done to advance the cause of Islam
is not accomplished.
The chief religious leader in the mosque is called the Ahund (or Ahung), which
means scholar, or teacher of religion. He is assisted by the Imam whose duties
are to lead the congregation in worship and in prayers. The Khatib preaches at
the Friday service, which is usually of a religious nature but is also sometimes
political, and is also responsible for religious ceremonies in engagements and
weddings. The mu’ezzin gives the call to prayer five times a day. There is also
in some mosques an "unclassified Ahund" who knows some Arabic and has a little
training in religion but is not sufficiently educated to be a real Ahund. He is
responsible for chanting, praying, and arranging funerals. The educational
activities of the mosque are cared for by the Ahund. The administration of the
income and property of the mosque is the responsibility of a committee of from
three to seven members who are elected for a year and serve without pay.
The Muslims of China are all Sunnis and followers of the school of Hanafi in
jurisprudence. They differ from other Muslims in some details -- notably in the
chanting of the Qur’an -- because Chinese Muslims lost contact with other Muslim
countries due to difficulties of communications. During the long period of
isolation when few of the Ahunds could read either Chinese or Arabic, the
practice of handing down the teachings orally led to misinterpretation of
doctrines and the development of different circles in the Muslim community. With
the coming of the Republic it became possible to take the water route to the
Middle East, and many Muslim scholars made the pilgrimage to Mecca and visited
the educational organizations in Egypt and Turkey. They were inspired by what
they learned and brought back many books which served as the basis for careful
studies of the fundamentals and consequences of Islam. As a result a great cry
for reform was raised. The Muslim community was divided, with one side favoring
reforms and becoming known as the New Sect, and the other opposing changes and
known as the Old Sect. Each side suspected the other and accused it of heresy.
It was a shame to have such a break develop.
The New Sect was limited to a few large cities while the Old Sect was dominant
throughout the rest of China. As communications improved and the number of
pilgrims to Mecca increased, many more Ahunds and intellectuals recognized the
differences between Chinese and other Muslims and the New Sect grew in strength.
Before the end of the SinoJapanese war the Old Sect died a natural death and the
problem of half a century was solved without a break. The struggle between the
Old and New Sects made Islam a laughing stock in China, for the differences were
not over fundamentals but over trivial matters. A listing of some of those
differences gives an illuminating picture of the problems faced by Chinese
Muslims after the restoration of communication with the rest of the Islamic
It was customary in the old days to give a Qur’an to those who attend a funeral,
as atonement for the deceased, but the New Sect said that only cash should be
given; actually, only God can forgive and neither the Qur’an nor cash should be
given for atonement. The Old Sect followed the Chinese tradition of wearing
white mourning garments, while the New forebade wearing special clothes of
mourning; Islam has no rules governing this custom. During Ramadan, on the
twenty-seventh night, the Old Sect bowed one hundred times, but the New Sect did
not. It was formerly the custom to give money to the leader after chanting and
praying, but the New Sect opposed the custom. The New Sect introduced the custom
of pointing the forefinger in the middle of worship to indicate that God is One.
The New Sect also insisted that the style of chanting the Qur’an should conform
to the standard of other Muslim countries. There were also differences as to the
proper way to kill poultry, and the New Sect insisted that on the basis of the
Hadith it is permissible to eat crabs but not seals or dolphins. These are
indicative of the differences between the sects.
Except for those minor differences, there was only one sect which was a
disturbing element in China, the Jahriyah, a word which means to pray aloud. The
Jahriyah was originally a Sufi sect whose ritual included the practice of
praising God aloud in a high voice. The members of the sect gather in a circle,
holding hands and praying so loudly that they can be heard outside the mosque.
Following their leader, they start by turning the body to the left, then to the
right, with their feet moving lightly, their eyes closed, their heads shaking as
they walk and chant. The chanting goes faster and faster with the bodily
movements keeping pace with the tempo of the chanting. Finally they are chanting
only one phrase -- Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah -- and they keep on until they are
too tired to continue. Some even faint. That is why the Chinese call the
Jahriyah the "shaking head" religion.
The headquarters of this sect was originally in Kansu province under a leader
whose position was hereditary. In the great earthquake of 1338 (A.D. 1919) their
leader was killed, and his followers spread to Sinkiang, the northwest
provinces, Shantung, and Yunnan. Because of the peculiar customs of the Jahriyah
sect, which are judged to be superstitious, they are regarded as heretical by
the other Muslims. The result has been bad relations between the Jahriyah sect
and other Muslims which have caused frequent conflicts and have even led to
killing. The members of this sect are striving for virtue, but not many have
arrived there. Beside this sect there are no other Sufi sects in China, although
there are Muslims with Sufi tendencies.
Since the founding of the Republic there have been three organizations which
sought to unite all the Muslims of China for the good of Islam. The first of
these was the Muslim Progressive Society of China which was founded in Peking in
1332 (A.D. 1913) by Ahund Wang Hao-nan after his pilgrimage to Mecca and his
visits to Turkey and Egypt. Inspired by the new ideas aroused during the Chinese
revolution and by the cultural advancement he had seen in other Muslim
countries, he felt deeply the need for education among the Chinese Muslims.
Therefore, he founded a national organization to unite the manpower, material
strength, and talents of the Muslim community to raise their standard of living
and improve the level of education. His proposal was enthusiastically accepted.
His first aim was to add a few hours of teaching in Arabic and Islamic
interpretation to the instruction in the elementary schools in the mosques.
Although his aims were purely religious, political interests penetrated the
movement and the united Muslims showed strong potential political power. But
three years after the movement was started the organization was ill-used by Yuan
Shih-kai in an attempt to become emperor, and when he was defeated the
The Chinese Muslim’s Association was founded in 1357 (A.D. 1938) at the start of
the Sino-Japanese war when the Central Government ordered a Muslim general in
the armed forces to form a nationwide organization which would unify the Muslims
of China in support of the government and obtain support from Muslim countries.
This is the only Muslim organization initiated by the government in Chinese
history. Its five thousand local units carried on both religious and political
activities. During the war it united Muslims in the fight against the Japanese.
It trained more than two thousand men in its military academy for service in the
armed forces and organized visiting committees in the northwest to give medical
aid and comfort to wounded soldiers and officials. In the field of education it
established a religious research committee to translate the Qur’an and print
religious books and pamphlets, and it established schools in the northwest and
gave scholarships which enabled outstanding Muslim students to study in the
universities of Turkey and Egypt. Three different times it sent delegations to
Southeast Asia and the Middle East to stimulate friendship and understanding and
to encourage cultural exchange. When the constitutional government was
established by the Republic of China it represented the Muslim people as one of
the five races of China.
A third national organization was the Muslim Literary Society of China, founded
in 1345 (A.D. 1926) in Shanghai by Hajji Jelaluddin Ha Teh-cheng, a famous
scholar who had studied in India and Egypt and knew Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and
English. The Society was organized to encourage scholarly study of the Qur’an
and Hadith, to improve and extend Islamic education, to increase cultural
exchanges with Muslims of other countries, and to improve the social position of
Muslims in China. It avoided politics. One of its first undertakings was the
translation of the Qur’an into Chinese, using Chinese quotations and literary
language -- a task which is unfortunately unfinished due to the outbreak of the
Sino-Japanese war. The Society published the Chinese Muslim Monthly -- later
changed to a quarterly -- and gave public lectures and courses on Islam as part
of its educational program. It established a normal school and a primary school,
constructed a Muslim library and public reading room, assisted Muslim students
in Shanghai universities, and provided scholarships for promising young men and
Chinese Muslim Religious Practices.
Muhammad taught that Islam is based on the Five Virtues, the Five Pillars, which
are the repetition of the Word of Witness, praying, fasting, almsgiving, and
pilgrimage. Every Muslim, man or woman, must chant the Ching Tseng Yen and Tso
Chung Yen once in his or her life. The Ching Tseng Yen is, "All things are not
God. Only Allah is the God. Muhammad is God’s special Prophet." The Tso Chung
Yen is, "I witness that all things are not God. Allah is the only One. I also
witness that Muhammad is God’s Messenger and His Prophet." In the early days the
Muslims of China knew Arabic and could chant in Arabic but because of the
unstable times they lost the ability and today less than twenty per cent of the
people can chant in the original language. Now they chant in Chinese. Very few
people in China can read the Qur’an in Arabic.
In the beginning the Chinese Muslims were very serious about practicing the five
daily prayers, but in recent years, due to the influence of materialism,
unsettled conditions, difficulties of obtaining a livelihood, and the distance
from mosques, only the Ahunds and country people of strong faith observe the
five daily prayers. Others observe only two or three prayers and make the rest
up at home and others go to the mosque only for the Friday service, but the
largest group go to the mosque only for the two great festivals. Some Muslims
never go to the mosque except for a relative’s funeral and then they disappear
as soon as the ceremonies are finished; this is a large group. Not many men go
to the mosque to worship and even fewer women go.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan changes the daily schedule of the people
throughout the whole Muslim world, and so it used to be in China. There are
several kinds of fasting observed by Muslims in China -- some keep the whole
month, some fast on the first ten days or the last ten days, some observe only
the Gadar fast which begins on the twenty-seventh night. When Ramadan is a
thirty-day month there are three full days of fasting, but when it is a
twenty-nine day month there are only two days. This is not the right way, since
the Holy Command is for a full month of fasting. Of course, even two or three
days of fasting shows that the person has an interest in religion, but if the
full thirty days is interrupted it should be made up later.
Almsgiving, zakat, is the requirement that two and one-half per cent of the
total yearly income should be given to charity. It is the duty of rich people.
Some Chinese Muslims are rich but most of them are poor, and some are very poor,
so more people would receive zakat than would give it. Many of those who can
afford to give alms lack any interest in religion and are misers so actually
their giving approaches the zero point. This is true in every country of the
Muslim world. Zakat is a special characteristic of Islam which encourages social
cooperation, helps to balance the rich and the poor, stabilizes society, and is
the best weapon against communism. Unfortunately, religious leaders do not seem
to recognize the importance of zakat, and political leaders in the Muslim world
do not seem to have much interest in religious teaching, especially in
almsgiving. Now that we are facing the pressure of communism we ought to wake up
and rethink the importance of zakat.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is such a long trip and so costly that very few Chinese
are able to go. Before the second World War not more than two or three thousand
were able to make the pilgrimage each year, chiefly from the northwest and
Yunnan. Some went by boat from Shanghai or Hong Kong to Jidda, while others went
overland to India and then by boat. After the mainland was locked behind the
iron curtain Chinese Muslims were not allowed to leave the country, so the
number of pilgrims in recent years has been quite small. Recently when a Muslim
committee from Free China visited Mecca the first question asked by King Saud of
Saudi Arabia was why no Chinese Hajjis had come from the mainland in the last
few years. When he learned that the Communists would not allow them to make the
pilgrimage he expressed his pity and prayed God to help all Chinese Muslim
brothers to be free men. There are now about fifteen thousand Chinese Hajji
refugees in Saudi Arabia, all strong anti-Communists. The Saudi government,
guided by the spirit of Islam which recognizes all Muslims as one family, allows
the refugees to live there and to support themselves.
Marriage ceremonies may differ in Muslim countries according to local customs,
but the basic principles of Islam must be obeyed: the bride and groom must be of
the same faith, consent must be given by both parties, there must be two
witnesses, and betrothal money must be paid by the man’s family. Chinese Muslims
have been so scattered that each province adopted its own customs, with only the
Muslims in the northwest able to keep close to Muslim practices. A Chinese
Muslim wedding is very complex, but it avoids all superstitions such as the
reading of the horoscopes of the betrothed persons. Some ask the Ahund to read
the Arabic wedding rite on the wedding day or the day before. If one of the
parties is not a Muslim, the Ahund admits that one into Islam one or two days
before the wedding so both may be of the same faith. Betrothal money was not
taken seriously since it looked like a business transaction. Now it is customary
to give clothing or jewelry, or a small amount of money is given and looked upon
as only a symbol. Marriage is based on love, which shows that Chinese Muslims
are comparatively progressive. This change should be introduced to other Islamic
countries as a means of solving the problem of the decrease in marriage due to
the heavy betrothal price.
The old type of Chinese wedding ceremony is now out of date except among poor
people in the country. According to the old custom the parents of the concerned
parties monopolized the whole affair. The new type follows the teaching of Islam
and gains the consent of both parties. Islamic wedding customs are progressive
and rational and at the same time are timeless, for they follow rules laid down
more than thirteen hundred years ago. Emphasis on agreement between both
parties, especially the consent of the girl, shows the Islamic stress on the
rights of men and the protection of the rights of womanhood.
The ceremonies of engagement and marriage are quite similar for Chinese Muslims
and non-Muslims except that the Muslims celebrate the event with a religious and
a general ceremony, and they do not use old Chinese music or gongs or fire
crackers since they consider them to be superstitious. The religious ceremony is
held a day before or just preceding the general ceremony. At present Muslims
hold the marriage ceremony in the mosque. In modern times Western music has been
adopted for marriages since it is not associated with the worship of other gods.
Chinese Muslims obey the Civil Law of China by practicing monogamy almost
everywhere except in the frontier provinces. There is no Muslim court to take
care of divorce, adoption, and inheritance, as in other Muslim countries; all
these matters are now handled in the general courts.
The Chinese Muslims follow Islamic rites strictly in the funeral but follow
Confucianism in mourning and in dressing because of its fitness in the
surroundings. When a sick person reaches his last moments of life the family
ought to keep calm so there will be no disturbance of the emotions which could
cause the dying person any loss of faith in the last moments. During that period
the relatives stay with the dying person and remind him all the time to chant,
"All things are not God. Only Allah is God. Muhammad is His special Prophet."
This keeps the sick person close to his Islamic faith as he returns to his
Maker. This short and delicate moment is very serious and ought to be
Right after death it is necessary to close the mouth and eyes, to straighten the
hands and feet, and to cover the face with a cotton towel. Then the family can
start to mourn but must not cry aloud nor curse the Creator. The family moves
the dead body out of the room to place it on the death bed and then passes the
sad news around. They remove the clothing and cover the body with a white cloth,
and burn incense at the feet. Experienced relatives should be around taking care
of details so the burial can be carried out within twenty-four hours if
possible, and not later than three days. They start digging the grave and
getting the necessary articles, and then wash the body. Men wash a dead man and
women wash a dead woman. Before starting the last bath they walk around the
death bed seven times with burning incense. Washing is done strictly in order --
the dirty parts first and then the head, face, neck, shoulders, back, and so on;
the top first, the bottom later; right first, left last; front first, and back
later. This is done three times. One person washes, one pours water, and a third
turns the body around, then they dry it gently with a soft white cloth and put
on three coverings -- underwear, a small sheet, and a large sheet. There is a
headdress for a man and a turban veil and brassiere for a woman. Powder with
medical perfumery is used on the forehead, nose, mouth, hands, feet, and
knee-cap to discourage insects. Then the body is put in a coffin and covered and
a blanket spread over the coffin, which is then placed in the great hall or the
yard until the funeral service. At present in China all Muslims, rich and poor,
use the mosque as the center for all these procedures.
The funeral ceremony consists only of raising the hands and standing up. The men
who attend the funeral stand in line and follow the Ahund in worship -- they
pray by raising the hands, bowing, and chanting aloud, "God is Greatest,"
chanting it again as they bow the head; then they shake the head right and left
and say, "Salam." This funeral service is very important. If a man is not buried
with a religious funeral his family is to blame, of course, but all Muslims in
the locality are to be blamed as well.
According to Islamic customs the funeral march begins when four men place the
coffin -- head first -- on their shoulders and walk slowly; every few minutes
another four men take over. Everyone walks after the coffin, without music or
talkmg, and with heads bowed in meditation, thinking that just as death has come
to this person it will come to everyone. At the grave the host inspects the
grave and perfumed powder is spread in the four corners. Then the body is taken
from the coffin by three or four men and placed in the grave face up, head to
the north, with the uncovered face toward Mecca. It is covered with a stone or a
thick board and then with a rectangular mound of earth while the Ahund recites
the first chapter of the Qur’an. All the mourners follow the Ahund and raise
their hands and pray. The tombstone and plantings are private matters of the
family, but the religious regulations forbid too much decoration on a tomb.
After the funeral the family keeps on mourning and visits the cemetery according
to schedule, also inviting the Ahund or other religious leaders to pray for the
dead. The prayers should be said on the funeral day, the seventh day, and the
second, third, and seventh week. Some keep the seventh day, the fortieth day,
the hundredth day, the first year, and the third year. After that chanting is
carried out only on the anniversaries of birth and death. The best way is to
pray for one’s own dead relatives on Fridays and chant the Qur’an. If one
invites the Ahund or religious leaders to chant at the home, the host provides
food after the service, and money wrapped in red paper must be given to the
Ahund and to the poor in the name of the dead.
Chinese Muslims regard the funeral as important because it relates to the
everlasting happiness of the dead. At the time of funerals the whole community
tries to help. Even members who are not religious ordinarily come to the mosque
to help at this time and often they are impressed by the greatness of religion
and the closeness of friendship among Muslims and are brought back into the
community. In weddings Chinese Muslims have modified their practices according
to local customs, but in funerals everything is done by the Islamic method with
no single trace of change, for they recognize its importance.
There are three important festivals, one at the end of the month of Ramadan, one
when the pilgrimage at Mecca reaches the peak of Arafat, and one on the birthday
of Muhammad. Id al-Fitr, the feast at the end of the fast of Ramadan, is
celebrated throughout the Muslim world as the Little Festival.
Id al-Adha, also called Id al-Qurban, the festival at the end of the pilgrimage,
is the Great Festival at which Muslims from all over the world gather at the
mosques to worship and then kill animals to memorialize the story of Abraham and
Ishimael and their willingness to obey the authority of God. According to Muslim
rule five men kill one camel, three one cow, and one person kills one sheep;
then they divide the meat among the poor and their relatives, saving a small
portion for themselves. Chinese Muslims turn the two festivals around, making
the Ramadan feast the large festival and the pilgrimage festival the small one,
which shows wrong teaching.
The Holy Birthday of Muhammad follows the Arabic lunar calendar, which means
that every three years it is advanced one month, so it can be at any season. On
this day every Muslim dresses in his best clothes and gathers with the others at
the mosque to chant the Qur’an and the praises of Muhammad under the leadership
of the Ahund. Then they listen to the Ahund speak about Muhammad’s good deeds
and teachings, and are inspired by what he says. Soon after the worship sweets
are distributed to adults and children, and some mosques even have banquets. In
recent years Muslims have broadcast inspirational talks about Muhammad on his
birthday and have even distributed leaflets by chartered airplanes.
There is also a Fatimah memorial day which is a festival for women.
Education and culture of Chinese Muslims.
The old style of religious education in China was patterned after the Arabic and
Iranian methods of the Middle Ages in which there were several specialists who
lectured and the students chose their lectures according to their inclinations.
But in China there were only special schools of this kind in three centers and
there one Ahund would handle all courses. There was no schedule, no definite
standard, and no required length of schooling since everything depended on the
will of each Ahund. Such a system had serious drawbacks because the teaching
materials were several centuries old, the study of Arabic -- and no Chinese --
was inadequate, so the students could read only a limited amount and could not
speak the language, there was no general educational background for the
religious courses, and the freedom allowed to the students often led them to
form bad habits.
After the founding of the Republic, in response to the progressive demands of
the period, several new style schools were founded for religious education, of
which the three best were the Cheng.-tai Normal School at Peking, the Islam
Normal School at Shanghai, and the Ming-teh High School at Kunming.
Unfortunately, the schools at Peking and Shanghai were forced to move inland
during the Sino-Japanese war, and although it was hoped that they could be
revived after the war, there has been no news of them since the Communists took
over the mainland. Before the war these three schools had sent twenty-eight
students to study at Al Azhar in Cairo, the first time in its thousand years
that it had received students from China.
Under the Republic the Muslims also founded more than a thousand primary schools
and several well-known high schools for general education. They lacked the funds
to found colleges and universities, but there were special classes in Islam and
the Arabic language at Peking University, the Central University, Yunnan
University, and Chung San University. At present in Taiwan the Taiwan University
and Tsun-Chi University also give such courses for Muslims and others who are
In the short period of just over thirty years between the founding of the
Republic and the Sino-Japanese war Chinese Muslims did their utmost to advance
the culture of their people. Several local magazines and papers were published,
both of a political and a religious nature, but there is still need for national
publications which will reach all Muslims in China. As a means of reaching a
wider group the Chinese Islamic Association obtained permission after the
Sino-Japanese war to broadcast Islamic lectures once a week. Many scholars
broadcast on these programs, which were well received by the public. Their talks
were also published as pamphlets and distributed widely. The Taiwan broadcasting
station continues this practice.
For more than a thousand years after Islam came to China there was no
translation of the Qur’an or the Hadith, nor were there books which touched on
Islam’s philosophy, history, science, and literature. The work of providing such
literary and historical materials began to be accomplished shortly before the
war but then suffered serious interruption; however, a new translation of the
Qur’an was recently published in Taiwan. The Education Bureau of Taiwan has
recently invited Arabian, Iranian, and Turkish scholars to become members of a
World Literature Committee to transalate Arabian, Iranian, and Turkish books
into Chinese. This is a most significant development.
The majority of Chinese Muslims were descendants of Arabian, Iranian, or Turkish
parents who intermarried in China and adopted Han customs. This led to a mixture
of both cultures, which is shown in their appreciation for the cultures of both
areas, and led also to some interesting cultural contributions in China. During
the Ming dynasty Muslims began to make cloisonné vases, plates, and bowls
covered with colorful blues and with delicate Arabian and Persian designs or
with writings from the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Tradition. They are found today
among the Chinese national treasures and in museums and the homes of wealthy
Chinese artists of Muslim background also made contributions to the art of
calligraphy by forming first the outline of a Chinese character and then filling
it with the Muslim creed, or proverbs, or poems. At a distance it is a big
Chinese character meaning "tiger" or "long life" but on careful examination it
is seen to be filled with Arabic phrases. Another form of calligraphy was the
writing of Arabic words in the Chinese running hand; in appearance it is Chinese
writing, but it can be read only by those who know Arabic. In painting, also,
Muslim artists made their contribution, but they painted only vases, water
containers, or flowers, and never mountains, water, birds, or animals. Art of
this kind is a combination of Arabian and Chinese forms, a new contribution to
art which symbolizes the contribution to Chinese culture made by the Muslim
people who settled in China.
Haider Shamsi Award for Islamic Studies
Ministry of Hajj official site
Hong Kong Mosques
There are fives mosques in Hong Kong, four of them on HK Island, one in
/ Shelley Street Mosque
30 Shelley Street, Central, Hong
built in 1890, rebuilt in 1905,
the oldest mosque in H.K.
listed by the government as a
historical building to be preserved as heritage
plan to construct an Islamic
Cultural Centre by its side
Tel : 2523 7743
Masjid Ammar &
Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre
40 Oi Kwan Road, Wanchai, Hong
opened in 1981
frequently visited by Muslims, can
accommodate 700 people for Jumah
Tel : 2575 2218
Fax : 2834 5409
and Islamic Centre
105 Nathan Road, TST, Kowloon
opened in 1984, replacing old
mosque built in 1896 on the same site
built at a cost of HK$25million
can accommodate up to 2,000 people
Tel : 2724 0095
Fax : 2724 2661
Chai Wan Mosque
Tel : 2556 2507
Fu You Lu Mosque
(next to Yuyuan Garden), No.
378, Fu You Road ( It is only one way street!), Shanghai, CHINA.
General Information: Mosque (the best time to find
this masjid is on Friday) You will find lot of Muslims on street and the masjid!
Dongsi road, Dongcheng District.,Beijing, Dongcheng
District 100710, CHINA. Phone:
Wai Mesjid, Dongzhimenwai
Street, Dongcheng District. Beijing., Beijing, Dongcheng District , CHINA.
Near from Dongzhimen metro station. Bus #44,109,117.
Hu Xi Mosque,
No.3, lane 1328, Chang De Road., Shanghai, 6227 2076,
Mosque, No.375, Yuanshen
Road (in Pudong), Shanghai, , CHINA.
Phone: 5054 0416,
General Information: It sells fresh halal meat in
front of the mosque every Friday. You can get some breads also there.
Daxing County Lixian Town Muslim's
House For Aged, Xiaoma Lane Village,Daxing
County,Beijing , Daxing County , Beijing City,
Beijing, 102604, CHINA. Phone:
General Information: House For Aged
Mosque and Cemetery, shache, Shache, Xinjiang
Uygur , CHINA. Email:
MOSQUE, 901, JIE FANG BEI ROAD, Guangzhou,
Guandong, CHINA. Phone:
General Information: IT IS LOCATED OPPISITE DIRECTION
TO YUEXIE PARK, JIEFANG BEI ROAD GUANGZOU NEAR TO CHINA HOTEL ITS VERY FAMOUS
MOSQUE IN CHINA,AT THE FAIR TIME MANY FOREIGN VISTOR PRAYING IN THIS MOSQUE.
Mosque (Golden Mosque), shache, Shache,
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regi , CHINA.
General Information: The Altun Mosque in Yarkand is
said to have been established as early as the tenth century during early
Qarakhanid rule in Turkestan, although the current structures were probably
built much later. The prayer hall itself, which closely resembles that of the
Great Mosque of Yarkand, may have been built as late as the nineteenth century.
The mosque complex includes a main gateway leading from the court in front of
the palace and the prayer hall. Located in the center of Yarkand beside the
palace, the Altun Mosque, or Golden Mosque, is accompanied by the royal burial
Turfan,Turfan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regi , CHINA.
Dong Kowruk,Urumqi, Xinjiang 830000, CHINA.
Baytulla Jameh ( Mosque),
No 12 Shengli Road,Urumchi, Xinjiang China 830001, CHINA.
General Information: It is the one of the oldest
mosque in Urumchi,Xinjiang province. It has been called Noghay Masjid,Tatar
Masjid. It was built in 1881. Rebuilt in 2001 and finished in 2004.
Renmin Road,,Urumqi, , CHINA.
6TH FLOOR TIANYU
HOTEL,DIYANG ROAD NO.227 KEQIAO CHINA,Keqiao, CHINA , CHINA
URL: , General Information: THIS IS A NICE MOSQUE AND THIS MOSQUE
PROVIDES US THE GATHERING OF MUSLIMS FIVE TIMES A DAY.AS WE ARE FAR AWAY FROM
OUR HOMES SO THIS GATHERING MAKE US HAPPIER. THIS MOSQUE IS SITUATED ON THE 6TH
FLOOR OF TIANYU HOTEL
BUKHARI MASJID,NO.88 XIAOMA ROAD,
KEQIAO,Shaoxing, ZHEJIANG 312030, CHINA. General
Information: Tayaba Mosque is the only jamia mosque situated in the
area of Keqiao(Shaoxing).People of many countries especially from Pakistan and
Afghanistan come here in this city for textile business in China,This mosque
provides them to perform their relegious activities at utmost ease,five time
pryers,Jumma\'ah and Eid prayers are also performed in this Mosque AND ALSO YOU
CAN SEE A GREAT UNITY OF MUSLIMS HERE
Changsha shi qing zhen si(central mosque),
baisha jingling,Changsha, hunan 410007, CHINA.
Fax: 07315116069, Email:
Chao Wai Mosque,
29th Chao Wai
street,Beijing, , CHINA. General Information:
Close to Ritand park.
jinjiang city chendai andao, Jinjiang CHINA
Chongshan Street Mosque, Chongshan
Street, Guilin, Guangxi Zhang Autonomous Regio , CHINA.
Crane Mosque, Nanmen Street, Yangzhou, ,
Da wei Mosque,
Daowai District, ShiSi
DaoJie, Harbin, China 150001, CHINA. General
Information: It is a big mosqie in Harbin, we always pray in this
place. From City center you can take Bus No 107 or 64. And from Harbin Institute
of Technology, you can take Bus no 73
Dalian medical university
(MUSLIMS), Dalian medical
university has been shifted to lushan (a town of dalian),
Dalian, liaoning , CHINA. Phone:
, General Information: At dalian medical university there is this big
community of Muslims. About 350 muslim students in
dalian medical university doing best to keep the name of islam in this part of
the world. Five time pray each
day.we want the people to get more near and nearer to islam.
Daxuexi Xiang (Mosque),
Zhonglu, Xi\'an City Shaanxi,Xi'an, Shaanxi , CHINA.
General Information: This is the second big Mosque after Great Mosque
in Xi\'an City.Its not only a mosque but also a madrassa where students are
taught Holy Quran.Its located on the same side of main road as the great
mosque,away by a single bus stop from Great Mosque & takes just 5-10 minutes by
feet.The name of the mosque is after the street "Daxuexi Xiang" with "Grand Honk
Kong Chao Yue Restaurent" at the enterance.
Dhoung Mosque, Kashi, Xinjiang Uygur
Autonomous Reg 844000, CHINA
Urumqi,Urumqi, , CHINA
Dongsi road, Dongcheng
District.,Beijing, Dongcheng District 100710, CHINA.
Phone: 010-65120402, General
Information: One of famous Mesjid in Beijing. Bus #110, 106,101.
1,XIAO DONGYING YUEHUA
ROAD,Guangzhou, GUANGDONG , CHINA. Phone:
General Information: DONGYING MOSQUE WAS BUILT BY HUI SOLDIERS OF
OTHER PROVINCES IN (MING DYNASTY)IT HAS A HISTORY OF MORE THAN 500 YEARS .IT IS
SITUATED IN YUEHUA ROAD .FUNERAL ARE HELD IN THIS MOSQUE .IT INCLUDES A SERVICE
OF MUSLIM AND TAKING THE JANNAZA(BODY) FROM THE MOSQUE TO GRAVEYARD.
DONGYING MOSQUE, 1,XIAO DONGYING YUEHUA
ROAD,Guangzhou, Canton, , CHINA
Dongzhimen Wai Mesjid, Dongzhimenwai
Street, Dongcheng District. Beijing., Beijing, Dongcheng District , CHINA.
Phone: 010-65257824, Fax:
General Information: Near from Dongzhimen metro station. Bus
Fu You Lu Mosque (next to
Yuyuan Garden), No. 378, Fu You Road ( It is only one way
street!),Shanghai, , CHINA. Phone:
6328 2135, General Information:
Mosque (the best time to find this masjid is on Friday) You will find lot of
Muslims on street and the masjid! Take Henan Nanlu and it will run into Fu-You
-Lu ( remember it is one way street!). Must get off and walk to it( going toward
Yuyuan Garden). Look For a green sign board with Islamic writing. It is a small
alley that will lead into a red masjid!
Xiaohuo Lane in Hongqiao
District, just off Dafeng lu.,Tianjin, , CHINA.
General Information: How to get there: Take the subway and get off at
the western end.
Great Mosque of Quanzhou,
Street, Quanzhou, Fujian Province , CHINA.
Great Mosque of Tongxin,
Tongxin, Ningxia Hui , CHINA. Email:
Great Mosque of Xining, Dongguan Dajie,
Xining, Qinghai Province , CHINA. Email:
General Information: The Great Mosque of Xining is one the four
largest mosques in northwest China and is the largest and most important mosque
in the Qinghai Province. Locally, it is known as the Dongguan Masjid, or the
East Gate Mosque, due to its eastern location in the city alongside the Muslim
Hui neighborhood. According to an inscription added to the mosque during a major
reconstruction in 1914, the mosque was first built during the Ming Dynasty under
Emperor Hongwu (1368-98). However, it is known that the mosque was destroyed and
rebuilt entirely as recently as in the late nineteenth century. Renovated in
1914, the mosque was enlarged in 1946. Built atop an irregular two-level brick
platform, the mosque complex consists of a grand eastern gateway that opens into
a large rectangular courtyard that is flanked by two lecture halls to the north
and south, with the prayer hall to its west. The five-arched gateway is anchored
at either end by bangke towers, which served as minarets and moon-watching
pavilions. They rise to three-stories above a tall base: The first two stories
are built of brick and have a window on each façade, while the third story is an
open pavilion with a pyramidal roof. Built at a later date than the mosque, the
wide gateway features neo-classical elements. It leads into the courtyard
flanked by lecture halls, where a set of stairs climb up to the prayer hall
Great Mosque Xian,
Muslim street near bell and drum tower old city Xian, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710061,
General Information: There are about 60000 Muslims in xian city
majority of which is living in west area of the old city and there are about 15
mosques in this city. The great mosque of Xian is located at about 500 meters in
the north-west of the main square of the city centre (bell tower) and very next
to the drum tower of the famous ancient Chinese capital city of xian.
Guangxi, Baise City
Mosque, Guangxi zhuang autonomous region, Baise City, guangxi , CHINA.
General Information: It is a mosque and Muslim center where you
can get information about Muslims in and around the city. While in baise city,
take a taxi and ask the driver to drop you at baise mosque.
mosque, Guangxi zhuang
autonomous region-liuzhou city, Liuzhou, , CHINA.
General Information: It is a mosque with the imam residing in the
compound. Daily prayers are offered here and consultation on Muslims activities
in and around the city is done here. While in liuzhou city,take a taxi to drop
you at Gong yuan road or liuzhou central mosque.
Guilin Ancient Mosque, Near Taohuajiang
River, Minzu Road, Guilin,Guilin, Guangxi Zhang Autonomous Regio , CHINA
Guo Si (Mosque), Zhonglu, Xi\'an China,
Xi'an, Shaanxi 710049, CHINA. General
Information: Its Located in the Same street where the West Mosque is
but inside the street and hardly away by 3-5 minutes walk.
Handan city mosque,
42 renmin road handan
city, Handan, Hebei 056003, CHINA. General
Information: Apposite of bank of china handan branch
Nen meng, Urumchi, East
Turkistan ( XinJiang) 830001, CHINA. General
Information: Take number 1, 101, 3 buses from anyfrom of the city and
get off at Nen Men station, you wil see the mosque.
HAO PAN MOSQUE,
378,HAO PAN STREET
TIANCHENG ROAD,Guangzhou,Canton, , CHINA.
SHOUCHUN ROAD, Hefei, ANHUI , CHINA. Email:
Hoglou hotel masjid,
70chouzhou midlle road, Zhangjia, 322000, CHINA.
Hu Xi Mosque,
No.3, lane 1328, Chang De
Road., Shanghai, 6227 2076, CHINA.
Huaisheng mosque, Huaisheng Road,
Guangzhou Shi, guang zhou city , CHINA
Huaisheng Mosque, 56 Guangta Lu, Canton,
, CHINA. Phone:
General Information: GUANGZHOU ISLAM HAS A HISTORY MORE THAN 1300
YEARS.IT IS SAID SHABI SAD ABI WAGGAS CAME TO CHINA FOR DA'WAH BY THE ORDER OF
PROPHET MOHAMMED (PBUH)AND BUILT CHINESE FIRST MOSQUE - HUAISEHENG MOSQUE. THERE
IS A TOWER IN IT,SO THAT,IT IS CALLED ALSO TOWER MOSQUE. HUAISHENG MOSQUE WAS
BUILT IN EARLY TIMES OF TANG DYNASTY AT NO. 56 GUANGTA ROAD. IT IS THE OLDEST
MOSQUE IN TANG STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE IN CHINA.,WITH AN AREA OF 2966 Sq.METRES.
THERE IS AN OLD TOWER IN ARABIAN STYLE,TOWERING TO 36.3 METRES. THE PRAYER HALL
IS A MODERN BUILDING REBUILT IN MINGUO TIMES. IT WAS REGARDED AS NATIONAL KEY
HISTORICAL RELICS IN NOVEMBER 1996 AND WAS AWARDED NATIONAL MODEL MOSQUE IN
NOVEMBER 1999. GUANGHZOU ISLAMIC ASSOCIATION IS IN THIS MOSQUE. Take bus No.31
from the Railway Station to Ximenkou or the metro to the same stop
Hui Hui Ying Mosque, Hui Hui Ying, Cheng
Gong County, Kunming City,Kunming, 650050, CHINA.
Email: email@example.com, General Information:
are two mosques in Cheng Gong county, one in Hui Hui Ying, another one in Cheng
Gong town Center.4km from Cheng Gong Town, 15 mins drive from Kunming city
center, it\'s located at side of highway between Kunming and Yuxi.
Main square, Kashi,
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regi , CHINA.
General Information: Located in the heart of Kashi, on the west side
of the city\'s main square, the Aitika Mosque is the largest mosque south of the
Tianshan Mountains. The complex covers 16,800 square meters, 120 meters long
from east to west and 140 meters wide from north to south.
IDKAH Great Mosque, 200,NEW airport road,
Kashgar, Xinjiang, Kashgar, Xinjiang 844006, CHINA.
General Information: Great and ancient Mosque of Uighur pepole in
Kashgar, have more than 1000 years history. From Kashgar International airpor
about 10 km. from Kashgar railway station about 7-8 km.
108 XIYU Jie (Xiyu Street), Near Tianfu Square, Chengdu, Sichuan , CHINA.
Phone: 86 28 6144821
Kargalik city, Kargalik, xinjiang
844900, CHINA. General Information:
This is a very old mosque about 700 years old.
Jamai Mosque of Hotan,
Yanan Road, Urumchi,
Xinjiang 830001, CHINA. General Information:
From Urumchi International airport driving through the WaihuanLu
( Outer Ring
road) east direction to Tuanjie Road exit , heading to Yan\'an Park , then can
ISLAMIC ORGANISATION OF CHONGQING,
CHONGQING SHI YU ZHONG QU ZHONGXING LU 8TH FLOOR,
Chongqing, , CHINA.
Jiamusi Foreign Students,
culture exchange centre of jiamusi university p.no.154007, Jiamusi, heilongjiang
154007, CHINA. Phone:
General Information: Muslim students from Pakistan. All Islamic
festivals and celebrations observed. Heilongjiang province, Jiamusi city, da xue
road .Jiamusi university area no.3 hostel no.2
Shanghai, China 200135, CHINA. General Information: Gathering,
praying,reading+ larning Al-Quran together for Womans only. Near JinQao Carefour
in Pudong area, Shanghai
Muslim's Kindergarten Branch Division, No.
1,188 Lane, Anyuan Road , Shanghai City, Shanghai, , CHINA.
General Information: Kindergarten School
Muslim's Little Xue (
Yangpu District ), Huansha 4
Village , Shanghai City, Shanghai, , CHINA.
No. A 223,Guangnei Avenue, Beijing , Beijing City,
Beijing, 100053, CHINA. Phone:
Muslims Unity at Weifang
Weifang Medical University, Weifang, shandong 261042, CHINA.
General Information: Aslam o alaikum ! dear brother
and sisters welcome to muslims gathering at weifang medical university . venue :
weifang medical university Forth floor (international students dormitory ) its
take about 10 min from railway station / bus station . if you cannot speak
chinese these words will help you Inshallah ( weifang yi shue yuan laoda) adress
to weifang medical university
No. 222,Qinglian Street,South District,South District,Shanghai , Shanghai City,
Shanghai, 200010, CHINA. Phone:
General Information: Kindergarten School
School, Xing House
Village, Quanzhou City, Fujian, 362000, CHINA.
General Information: School
Shandong Jinan Muslim's
High School, No. 33,Minsheng
Avenue,Zhong District,Zhong District,Jinan City,Shandong , Jinan City, Shandong,
250001, CHINA. Phone:
Shanghai Muslim's High
School, No. 1000,Hu Tai Road ,
Putuo District , Shanghai City, Shanghai, 200065, CHINA.
Shenyang Muslim's High
School, Shenyang City,Liaoning ,
Heping District , Shenyang City, Shenyang, 110006, CHINA.
Houshayu Prefecture Ofc Muslim's Yingcun Village Commission,
Huimin Camp Village,Shunyi County District, Beijing ,
General Information: Muslim Committee
The Islamic Association
Heilongjiang Province, .
Phone: The Islamic Association Heilongjiang Province
No 139 Gexin Street, Nangang District, Harbin, Heilonjiang 150001, CHINA.
Tianjin Muslim's High
School, No. 18,West Road,Hongqiao
District,Tianjin , Hongqiao District , Tianjin City, Tianjin, 300121, CHINA.
Phone: 22-27270262, General Information: High School
Tianjin Muslim's Little Xue,
Xia Po,Yu Factory,Tianjin , Tianjin City,Tianjin, ,
CHINA. Phone: 22-24453672, General Information: Primary School
Guoleng Zhou Yanqi Muslim's High School,
Xincheng Road,Bayin Guoleng State Meng Gu Autonomous Prefecture Yanqi Hui Zu
Self-Government County, Xinjiang, 841100, CHINA. Phone: 996-6022331,
General Information: High School
Miquan City Muslim's High School, Changji
Miquan City,Xinjiang , Miquan County , Changji Autonomous P, Xinjiang, 831400,
CHINA. Phone: 994-5302741, General Information: High School
Muslim's High School, Changji Changji
City,Xinjiang , Changji City , Changji Autonomous P, Xinjiang, 831100, CHINA.
Phone: 994-2342770, General Information: High School
Xinjiang Urumqi City
Daban City Muslim's High School, Wulumuqi
City,Xinjiang , Urumchi City, Xinjiang, 830000, CHINA. Phone:
991-5940066, General Information: High School
Xinjiang Yili Prefecture
Chabu Chaer Miliangquan Muslim's Town High School
No.1, Chabu Cha Er Xi Bo Self-Government
County,Yili Di District,Xinjiang , Chabu Chaer Autonomo , Yili Pr, Xinjiang,
835300, CHINA. Phone: 999-3860494, General Information: Muslim
Xinjiang Yili Prefecture
Chabu Chaer Miliangquan Muslim's Town Police Substation,
Chabu Cha Er Xi Bo Self-Government County, Yili Di
District, Xinjiang , Chabu Chaer Autonomo, Xinjiang, 835300, CHINA. Phone:
999-3860456, General Information: Police Substation
CHINA MEDICAL UNIVERSITY,
MUSLIM STUDENTS, CHINA MEDICAL UNIVERSITY, NO.92 NORTH
SECOND STREET, SHENYANG CITY, Shenyang, LIAONING 110001, CHINA. Email:
General Information: We are muslim overseas students of china medical
ORGANIZATION Xi'AN JIAOTONG MEDICAL UNIVERSITY,
Xi'an, shaanxi 710069, CHINA. Phone: 0086-2985336708,
Fax: 0086-2985273958, Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org, General Information: JUST A SIMPLE WORK of DAVA
College, Dongzhimenwai, Sanlitun, Beijing,
Chaoyang 106000, CHINA. Phone: 0086-10-65321905, Fax:
www.pecb.org.cn, General Information: High School run by the
Pakistani Embassy. Kindergarten-O/A level and Higher Secondary School
(Intermediate) Federal Board, Pakistan. Activities: 1:30-2:45: Friday,
Jumm'a prayer, All Islamic festivals and celebrations observed. Al Quran, and
Islamic Studies part of the curriculum for Muslim students.
road mosque, 279 chouzhou bei lu ,2f, Yiwu, zhejiang 322000, CHINA.
Phone: 0086-57985545270, Fax: 0086-579-85545270, Email:
THIS MOSQUE NEAR TO MAEDA RESTAURANT, General Information: MOSQUE
in Hong Kong
Kowloon Mosques and Islam Centre
105 Nathan Road, TST, Kowloon.
Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic
Community Fund of HK
Imam Suaibu Noohu / Iman Muzzafar
Masjid Ammar & Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre
40 Oi Kwan Road,
Wanchai, Hong Kong.
Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic
Community Fund of HK
Qari Attiq - ur- Rehman
Chai Wan Mosque
Hong Kong .
Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of HK
Stanley, Hong Kong.
Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of HK
Sham Shui Po KNM Islamic
Tung Chau Street,
Sham Shui Po,Kln.
Khatme-Nubuwwat Movement Hong Kong
MTR：Sham Shui Po Station
30 Sheung Heung Rd.,
To Kwa Wan, Kln.
Imam Muhammad Anis
4:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Kwun Tong KNM Islamic Education Centre
2/F., Back- 2 Yue Man Square
4,Hong Ning Rd.,
Khatme-Nubuwwat Movement Hong Kong
Hafiz Tahir Iqbal
MTR：Kwun Tong Station Exit A1
2:00 p.m.- 6:30p.m.
Prayer Room of City University
City University of Hong Kong, F7, Room
7226, Amenities Building,
83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, kowloon
Kwai Chung KNM Islamic Education Centre
M/F., 440 Castle Peak Rd.,
Ming Tak Bldg.,
Ping Fu Path,
Khatme-Nubuwwat Movement Hong Kong
Kwai Chung Madressa
Hoover Court 2nd Mez.
Fl., 33 Tai Pak Tin
Kwai Chung, N.T.
Idara Minhajul Quran HK
Iman Muhd. Naseem
Imam Tanveer Shah
M/F., 75 Ho Pui St., Tsuen Wan, N.T.
Imam Muhammad Anis
A7-8 Brilliant Garden
Tuen Mun, N.T.
Imam Muhammad Shakeel
( Hafiz Shehzed)
Hong Station Exit
Chai Ferry Pier B/T
Prime View Garden Statin
Sat. & Sun.
Tuen Mun KNM Islamic Education Centre
FU Hang Rd.,
To Yuen Wai,
Castle Peak Road,
Khatme-Nubuwwat Movement Hong Kong
Sat. & Sun.
Yuen Long Madressa
1/F.,No.44 Tai Tong Road, Yuen Long
Pakistan Islamic Welfare Union of HK
Qari Abdul Rehman
Tseung Kwan O
Khatme-Nubuwwat Movement Hong Kong
5:00p.m. - 7:30p.m.
Islamic Centre for Community Service
G/F., Yan Ying House
Tin Yan Estate
Tin Shui Wai
Pakistan Islamic Welfare Union of HK
Al Sultan Muslim Restaurant,
Xiyuan Hotel, 1 Sanlihe Lu , Xichen District, Beijing, ,
Guangqumenwai,Beijing , Beijing City, Beijing, , CHINA.
Tianxiu building, Guangzhou, , CHINA.
INDUSTRIES LIMITED, RM 1810-1811 BLDNG T0 FuLi Plaza
Business Center No. 23-27 Zhong Shan 8Rd., Guangzhou, GUANGDONG 510150, CHINA.
Information: We are manufacture for garments,and we
deal with electrical /electronic appliances, taxtile, toys etc.
Daxing County Lixian Town
Muslim's House For Aged, Xiaoma Lane Village,Daxing County,Beijing ,
Daxing County , Beijing City,
Beijing, 102604, CHINA. Phone:
Industrial & Commercial Bank Of China Muslim Saving
Bureau, Hualong County,Haidong Di District,Qinghai , Hualong Huizu
Autono , Haidong Prefecture, Qinghai, , CHINA
Liaoning Anshan City Duilu Muslim's Hotel,
Tiedong,An Shan City,Liaoning , Anshan City, Anshan, 114003, CHINA.
Liaoning Chaoyang City Vegetable Non-staple Food Co.
Muslim's Comprehensive Shop Shuangta Street, Chaoyang City, Liaoning , Chaoyang
City, Chaoyang, 122000, CHINA. Phone:
Liaoning Shenyang Muslim's High School,
No. 53,Guan Rong Street,Shenyang City,Liaoning , Shenyang City, Shenyang,
110006, CHINA. Phone: 24-23862969
Lixian Town Muslim's House For Aged,
West, Li Xian Town,Daxing County,Beijing , Daxing County , Beijing City,
Beijing, , CHINA.
Qingdao City Zhongshan Road
Muslim's Food Shop, No. 22,
Zhongshan Road, South District, Qingdao City, Shandong, 266001, CHINA.
Shanhaiguan General Merchandise (Group) Corp Sitiao Muslim's Market,
Shanhaiguan, Qinhuangdao City, Hebei, CHINA.
Purchasing Wholesale Division,
No. 290,Fu Road,Shenhe District City,Shenyang City,Liaoning , Shenhe District ,
Shenyang City, Shenyang, 110013, CHINA.
General Information: General Food and Beverages
Tianjin City Xincun
Street Xinqing Muslim's Snack Bar, Front,Room
Ping,3 Segment,New Village,Hongqiao District,Tianjin , Hongqiao District ,
Tianjin City, Tianjin, 300130, CHINA.
General Information: Snack Bar
Tianjin Hongqiao District
Catering Corporation Muslim's Snack Bar,
No. 7,Wuai Road,New Village Street,Hongqiao District,Tianjin ,
Hongqiao District , Tianjin City,Tianjin, 300130, CHINA. Phone:
22-26373158, General Information: Snack Bar
Tianjin Xiyu Xian Muslim's
Food Shop, Avenue,Ru Yi Nunnery,Tianjin , Tianjin
City, Tianjin, , CHINA. Phone: 22-27561623, General Information:
General Foods Retail
Tianjin Yu Sheng Xian
Muslim's Cake Fty, Rongji Avenue,Tianjin ,
Tianjin City, Tianjin, , CHINA. Phone: 22-27353759, General
Information: Cake Shop
Bank Muslim Service Department, No. 65,Da Zhon
Street,Xining City,Qinghai , Xining City, Xining, , CHINA. Phone:
971-8124706, General Information: Commercial Bank
Prefecture Chabu Chaer Miliangquan, Chabu Cha
Er Xi Bo Self-Government County,Yili Di District,Xinjiang , Chabu Chaer Autonomo
, Yili Pr, Xinjiang, 835300, CHINA. Phone: 999-3860115, General
Information: Muslim's Financial Bureau
Snack Bar, Avenue,Yonghe Palace , Beijing City,
Beijing, , CHINA. Phone: 10-64045070, General Information: Snack
A. MOTEX INDUSTRIES
LIMITED, RM 1810-1811 BLDNG T0 FuLi Plaza Business Center No. 23-27
Zhong Shan 8Rd., Guangzhou, GUANGDONG 510150, CHINA. Phone:
86-20-81196651, Fax: 86-20-81357554, Email:
Information: We are manufacture for garments, and we deal with electrical
/electronic appliances, taxtile, toys etc. We have offices in Guangzhou, Yiwu to
exploite available resources in china. We have wide range contact with quality
manufactures in china. And also have regular business with some leading
manufactures in china. We can satisfy any of our customers by sincere service
bcs we have enough manpower and dedicated staff.
B-10 5th Fl Nanfang Blg, Guangzhou, , CHINA. Phone:
86-20-81291732-81291, Fax: 00-86-20-81010840, Email:
Information: Air/Sea CARGO, Cargo/Supplier
AA Lion Gate Co.,
LTD, XingZhong XinCun, Yiwu, Zhejiang 322000, CHINA. Phone:
0086-579-5577764, Fax: 0086-579-5577754, Email: email@example.com,
General Information: Export all kinds of products
Aamal Used Heavy
Motors & Machinery, 65 Hang Shang Road, Shanghai, Shanghai, Shanghai
200001, CHINA. Phone: 0086-136718771822, Email:
While coming from Wuhai Middle Road take turn towards Hang Shangh Road and come
toward Public Security office we are near their.
AAT Arab Asian
Tradeمجلة التجارة العربية الآسيوية, P.O.Box 001-021 Jianshe Post
Office, Shezhen, 518014, Shenzhen, GuangDong 518014, CHINA. Phone:
00-86-755-82233528, Fax: 00-86-755-82251680, Email:
Near Train Station, Front of Land Mark Hotel, Add.: Flat 11E, International
Trade Commercial Building No.3009, Nan Ho Raod,Shenzhen,China. General
Information: AAT Arab Asian Trade is advertising monthly magazine in both
arabic and english languege.. help arabic & muslim businessmen to locate
factoreis & suppliers in CHINA and FAREAST .. The Advertisers Benefits at AAT
Arab Asian Trade magazine .. ** Will help to find potential buyers. ** To find
the right business partners to establish join venture. ** Opportunity to expand
your business in their country. ** Will help you to get Agents or Distributors.
** To promote your products and services. ** To promote and highlght your
organization. ** Therefore, all advertisers actualy get more mileage by
participating in the AAT Arab Asian Trade magazine, and other publications. **
Ask for your free copy.
CTI, jiangbin Road Jinshun Da Mansion902, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325000,
CHINA. Phone: 0086-13175612236, Fax: 0086 57788117751, Email:
-Directions: Besides Famous
HaiShang Tian Hotel, General Information: Aslam O Alaikum! We are running
a medium size optical frames manufactory.
International Trade Srevices, 3F,Unit no. 9,Building no.
10.zhaozhai.,YIWU,Zhejiang province,China, Yiwu, zhejiang 322000, CHINA.
Phone: 0086-579-85544523, Fax: 0086-579-85544623, Email:
behind bingwang bus station. General Information: Your Agent in china **
for any kind of pruducts and business Our services: Translating, Follow up
orders Checking , Inspection, Packing and repacking Shipping,
Documentation.looking for the best serviec.
ADEN MED TRADING
CENTER LIMITED, JIAN SHE 6 RD NO 48, WAN CAI PLAZA ROOM NO 701,
Guangzhou, GUANGDONG 510060, CHINA. Phone: 0086-20-83710870, Fax:
http://adenmed.topcities.com/, Directions: NEAR THE GARDEN HOTEL,
General Information: TRADING SERVICE OFFICE, SHIPPING, DEALLING, TRANSLATION
No 416 ,Xuanhua Street, NanGang District, Harbin, Heilongjiang ,
CHINA. Phone:0451-82528833, General Information: Ugur Food -
Muslim Food (Halal)
Consulting Co., Ltd, No. 2, Guanghua Rd, Chaoyang Dist., Beijing,
Beijing 100022, CHINA. Phone: +8610-51000617/ 931, Fax:
firstname.lastname@example.org, Directions: Sunshine 100, 800 meters to the
East of China World Trade Centre, General Information: Trade facilitator
between Africa and China, Promotion of Chinese Investments in Africa
BUSINESS ENTERPRISES, GONGREN NORTH ROAD NO,9, 2ND FLOOR, Yiwu Shi,
ZHEJIANG 322000, CHINA. Phone: 0086-579-85551914, Fax:
email@example.com, General Information: WE ARE HERE FOR BEST
QUALITY BUYING AND FORWARDING TO ALL OVER WORLD. WE MAILY DEAL IN GIFTS &
PREMIUMS,HOUSEWARE,DINNERWARE FURNITURE, ELCTRICAL ITEMS, FASHION JEWLERY,
STATIONARY AND TOYS. YOU ARE WELCOME ALL THE YEAR
swab international trading, no.2 , buildg 285 chouzhou north road,
Yiwu, zhejiang 20300, CHINA. Phone: 86-57985544591, Fax:
firstname.lastname@example.org, Directions: Our head office is beside the
arabic mosque just near to maeda restaurant, General Information:
Our company is established in 2003, we are special at arabic lady scarf and
scarf fabric. We have factory specifically to make new design. And also we can
make any design that you bring to us. For other goods, we also can provide our
best service, such as purchasing, loading and cargo. Welcome any time to do
business with us.
CURTAIN.. مصنع اجياد للستائر, SHAOXING, Shaoxing, ZHEJIANG 312030,
CHINA. Phone: 0086-13777347933, Fax: 15958510603, Email:
Information: TEXTAILE.. CURTAIN
Al Deepsea Freight
Services, 689, Beijing Road East, Shanghai, Shanghai 200001, CHINA.
Directions: Walking distance from Nanjing Road pedestrain streetGeneral
Information: Our company is shipping company indulge into freight forwarding
and logistics bussines. We are moving container cargo and break bulk cargo
around the globe from all major ports of china.
Al Majdi Machinery
and Electric Equipments Co., SUIT 601, Building NO 4, WANG ZU CHENG
GARDEN, 251 Cao Xi Road, Shanghai, China 200235, CHINA. Phone:+86-21
64826372, Fax: +86 21 64829120, Email:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, URL:
Information: The company specialist in Machinery and Equipment; for Food
Industry, Construction, Medical Equipment, Beverage and Drink etc. welcome your
AL MALEKI INT'
LCO.,LTD شركة المالكي العالمية المحدودة, 17 A 01 JinZhou
International Business Center No.899 JieFangBei Road, Guangzhou, , CHINA.
Phone: 8620-36181003, Fax: 8620-36182660, Email:
General Information: نقوم بكافة الخدمات التجارية , منها : مساعدة الزبائن في
بحث عن المصانع و الشركات و البضائع المناسبة, و متابعة الطلبية أثناء التصنيع ,
إجراءات التصدير و شحن البضاعة , تخليص الجمركية , أضافة الى جميع الخدمات العامة
حجز الفنادق وتأكيد الحجوزات الطيران.
Al Sultan Muslim
Restaurant, Xiyuan Hotel, 1 Sanlihe Lu , Xichen District, Beijing, ,
CHINA. Phone:6831-3388, General Information: Muslim restaurant
INTERNATIONAL CO.,LTD شركة الفلكيات للتجارة العالمية المحدودة, RM
NO.7A15 , JINZHOU INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CENTER , NO.899 JIE FANG BEI ROAD,NEAR
THE CHINA HOTEL., Guangzhou, , CHINA. Phone: +86-13434183738, Fax:
86-20-36182727, Email: email@example.com,
General Information: نقوم بكافة الخدمات التجارية , منها : مساعدة الزبائن في
بحث عن المصانع و الشركات و البضائع المناسبة, و متابعة الطلبية أثناء التصنيع ,
اجراءات التصدير و شحن البضاعة , تخليص الجمركية , أضافة الى جميع الخدمات العامة
من الترجمة و مصاحبة في الزيارات وغيرها.
co'ltd, Tianxiu building,Guangzhou, , CHINA. Phone:
00862-083229804, Fax: 83229840, Email:
AL-QUDS COMAPNY AHMED
REFAT, yi wu jin mao build 0710 room, Yiwu Shi, zhejiang , CHINA.
Phone: 008613173867470, Fax: 057985591411, Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org, Directions: WE
HELP MOUSLIM FREE WITH OUT ANY MONEY , ONLY WE NEED THE PROFIT FROM ALLAH,
General Information: WE ARE TRADE COMPANY
CO,.LTD. Office 301, No. 10-13 4th building, district B, Futian
Ornament Specialized zone, Yiwu, 322000, CHINA. Phone: 0086-5795597502,
Fax: 00865795597503, Email:
ALAE - آلاء للتجارة
العامة, SHISHI NEAR MC DONALDS, Shishi, FUJIAN , CHINA. Phone:
REYANEA@YAHOO.COM, Directions: YOU CAN TAKE ROAD FROM JINJIAN AERPORT
TO MC DONALDS RESTAURANT AND YOU CALL 13489870439 MR REYANE... YOU WELCOME
THANKS , General Information: OUR BUSINESS IS AROUND ALL KINDS OF GOODS
IN SPECIALITY CLOTHS AND MAKE EXPORTATION TO ALL STATES AROUND THE WORLD.
room no 303 honglou hotel yiwu,Shanghai, yiwu 320000, CHINA. Phone:
0086-579-5521116, Fax: 0086-579-5520980, Email:
Directions: easy from shanghai and also easy from hanzhou. well know city of
china. YIWU (international commodity City), General Information: we are
trading in various products. basically we are the sourcing agent.
Alameen shipping &clearanc
co.,ltd. room302,no 1 ,Building 48,WuAi New Village Yiwu Zhejiang,
Yiwu, 0086, CHINA. Phone: 0086-13335797880Fax: 008657985214982,
office, gong ren north road yi wu china, Yiwu, zhe jiang , CHINA.
Phone: 05798-5555125, Fax: 057985555221, Email:
7 Haikou Lu, Haikou, , CHINA. Phone: 6350-8698General
Information: Muslim Restaurant
Allied Rock Limited
415, Qi Lin Plaza, Pan Fu Road. Guangzhou, Guangdong 510518, CHINA. Phone:
86-20-81364518,81367, Fax: 0086-20-81367487, Email:
ALRAWDDA EST FOR
IMP&EXP, GUANGZHOU - HUAN SHI LU,Guangzhou, GUANGDONG 0086, CHINA.
Phone: 0086-13925182358, Fax: 00862086695600, Email:
Information: تجاره عامه شحن وتخليص بالاضافه الى التخصص في اثاث الفنادق
Close to Trust Mart,Nanjing, Jiangsu , CHINA. Directions: Close to
Trust Mart and Suguo combination little away from Huju Road.
Restaurant, HengShan Road 4-7,Shanghai, China 200030, CHINA.
Phone: 021-54650977, Email:
email@example.com, Directions: No. 4-7 Hengshan Rd. Xuhui District
Wellknown Entertainment Street in Shanghai, General Information: Anadolu
the authentic Turkish restaurant has created a full service Restaurant on the
HengShan Road with original dishes like Humus and other starters, Kebabs and
Turkish pizzas (100 % HELAL). However, Anadolu is what you should expect of a
Kebab: tasty, fresh and good at any time. Don’t forget to try the hookah.
Opening hours: Sun – Thu 11 am – 2 am Fri – Sat 11 am – 5 am
no.2063,shennan east road,shenzhen, Shenzhen, , CHINA. Phone: 0086-755-82192077,
Directions: Andalous is located in the city center.drive 5 minutes by taxi
from lou railway station.General Information: The first mediterranean
food restaurant in china. andalous is a hallal food restaurant.
Anhui Taihe County
Muslim's Food Processing Fty. No. 20,Youyi Road,Guan Town,Taihe
County City,Fuyang Di District,Anhui , Taihe County , Fuyang Prefe, Fuyan,
236600, CHINA. Phone: 558-8624917General Information: Cake Shop
Anhui Wanhe Farm
Sanyi Muslim's La Kou Fty, Shuanghekou,Anqing City,Anhui , Anqing
City, Anqing, 246009, CHINA. Phone: 556-5511199, General Information:
Anxin Muslim's Snack
Bar, Andingmennei Avenue,Beijing , Beijing City, Beijing, , CHINA.
Phone: 10-64042657General Information: Snack Bar
Restaurant, No.1-19 Hanguang Street , NanGang District, Harbin, ,
CHINA. Phone: 86404277, Email:
It is very near from Harbin Institute of Technology (campus no. 1), get out from
the gate which oppose the railway. when you reach the railway, just one minute
and you get there. General Information: The first Islamic Arab Restaurant
in the North of China , You are welcome to try our new flavour
Restaurant, 4/F, 17 Ji Chang Lu, Bostan, , CHINA. Phone: 8655
5278General Information: Muslim restaurant
Xiangfang District , Hongqi Str. No. 196, Harbin, Heilongjiang ,
CHINA. Phone: 0452-82343712General Information: Chinese Hui
Restaurant, No 89 North Shisi Daojie, Daowai District, Harbin,
Heilonjiang , CHINA. Phone: 0451-57800837, Directions: this
Restaurant is located at Daowai District, it is not far from Daowai Mosque (the
bigest mosque in Harbin),in this area you can find other muslim restaurants.
General Information: Muslim Hui Restaurant (Halal Food)
Restaurant, Funei Avenue,Beijing , Beijing City, Beijing, , CHINA.
Phone: 10-66022605General Information: Restaurant
Trading Co.LTD Imp,Exp &Ttransport, 212.3f-changchun, Yiwu, zhejiang
579, CHINA. Phone: +8657-85598471 85598Fax: +8657985598478Email:
Quancheng Grain & Edible Oil Corporation Muslim's Hotel, 5th Guan
St.,Baodi County City,Tianjin , Baodi County , Tianjin City, Tianjin, 301800,
CHINA. Phone: 22-29241396General Information: General Restaurants
No. 102, Xuanwumen Street, Xuanwu Men, , CHINA. Phone:
66031700, General Information: Muslim Restaurant
District Catering Service Headquarters Muslim Restaurant, Building
No. 6,Xibahe Zhong Li,Chaoyang District,Beijing , Chaoyang District , Beijing
City, Beijing, 100028, CHINA. Phone: 10-64623027,General Information:
District Jingchao Muslim Food Processing Fty, North,Xihui Street
Road,Shuangqiao Road,Chaoyang District , Chaoyang District , Beijing City,
Beijing, 100024, CHINA. Phone: 10-65762175, General Information:
Muslim Restaurant, Nansanli Tun,Beijing , Chaoyang District , Beijing
City, Beijing, 100027, CHINA. Phone: 10-65015882, General Information:
District Catering Corporation Yongjin Muslim's Restaurant, No.
68,Ciqikou Avenue,Chongwen District,Beijing , Chongwen District , Beijing City,
Beijing, 100062, CHINA. Phone: 10-67021403General Information:
District Jin Xin Muslim's Dou Juice Shop, No. 214,Guangqumennei
Avenue,Chongwen District,Beijing , Chongwen District , Beijing City, Beijing,
100062, CHINA. Phone: 10-67123690, General Information: General
District Jinrong Muslim's Snack Bar, No. 142,Ciqikou Street,Chongwen
District,Beijing , Chongwen District , Beijing City, Beijing, 100062, CHINA.
Phone: 10-67021126, General Information: Snack Bar
Islam in China (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_China , June, 2008).
Info please (
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107411.html , June, 2008).
Islam Finder (
http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=xx , June,
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in China,