Muslims in China

History – Early Muslim Ties with China

Islam was introduced to China as early as the 7th century (during the Tang Dynasty) when merchants from Arabia and Persia came to China to trade via the Silk Road. In AD.651, the third Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan, sent an envoy to call on the reigning Tang Emperor Gao Zong, and since then Islam began to be found in many parts of China.

In the midst of trade and cultural exchanges across the Asia-Europe continent for the next few centuries, streams of Muslim immigrants from central Asia settled permanently in China. They had contacts with local Chinese Muslim converts. They carried on their faith, built mosques and cemeteries and gradually created a unique social unit of their own.

However all these exchanges gradually diminished during the Ming and Qing(Manchu) Dynasties and they came to a stop with the establishment of the Communist government. It was only in the 1980’s under the leadership of Deng Xiaopeng that China slowly open up to tourists from all over the world.

Muslims in the present day era

Today China has ten Muslim nationalities, numbering more than 30 million Muslims. They are the Hui, Uighur, Kazakh, Dongxiang, Khalkhas, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek, Baoan and Tartar. These nationalities have their own written and spoken languages and cultures and their unique ethnic traditions.

When the Republic of China was formed in 1911 the Muslims were recognised as a Race in China. Now the Communist Government calls all Muslims as the HUI race. The national constitution testified to the freedom of faith.

Beijing has about 200,000 Muslims, Xian — 60,000, Shanghai – 100,000 and Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, a modest 30,000.

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Categories: Asia, China, Islam, Muslim Heritage

4 replies

  1. Thank you brother Rafiq for sharing with us:

    “Today China has ten Muslim nationalities, numbering more than 30 million Muslims. They are the Hui, Uighur, Kazakh, Dongxiang, Khalkhas, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek, Baoan and Tartar. These nationalities have their own written and spoken languages and cultures and their unique ethnic traditions.”

    Muslims should focus on demographics and have non-violent approach to gain their human rights and give the rights to the minorities whenever they are in majority, that is the key to succeed.

  2. China is undergoing a diverse spiritual renaissance – Daoism, Buddhism and Islam have all seen a significant increase in believers. But there is one religion in particular that has experienced phenomenal growth, Christian evangelism.
    The number of worshippers remains unknown, as there are two types of church in China – the officially sanctioned churches and the underground churches.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/101east/2011/06/201162811201441957.html

  3. Before Chinese choose between Islam, Christianity and Daoism they should read as much as they can, to make informed decision. Here I link my collections abuot Islam and Christianity:

    http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/-/1qhnnhcumbuyp/0#collections

    The fundamental question that the Chinese should ask to choose between Christianity and Islam, is whether the traditions of Buddhism and Daoism would be closer to, or provide metaphors for, Monotheism and personal responsibility or Trinitarianism (three in one God) and atonement (some body on suicidal mission for sins of others).

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