Hui Zu is a general term for all Muslims in China. The origin of Islam in China
has been estimated to have occurred around 651 A.D. during the Tang Dynasty. Around
that period, the South China Sea and Persian Gulf were filled with merchants from
Arab and China. Arab traders brought back silk, art, porcelain to the Middle East.
As the Arab traders began to settle in communities in China and built mosques, they
lived wealthy lives settling in the upper echelons of the social classes. Soon Muslims
began to integrate with and married non-Muslims. According to Islam, the whole family
must embrace Islamism. This became the birth of Islamism in China.
The second influence on the adoption of Islam in China is through slavery. Poor
Chinese peasants ran to the Muslim rich masters to escape their social obligations
and became slaves. As non-Muslim slaves, these Chinese peasants were soon influenced
by the Islam religion of their Muslim masters.
Contributions of Islam in China
Throughout history, Muslims have contributed to the Chinese society. The Chinese
may have invented gun powder but the cannon was first manufactured in China in 1271
by Muslims living in China, Alau Wadin and Yesmaian.
The introduction of Arab Islamic medicine, Hui Hui medicine to China was also the
result of Muslims.
Practices of Islam in China
Two kinds of Muslims live in China: Turbanded Muslims of Sinkiang and the Han Muslims
of China proper.
In Sinkiang, Muslims speak Turkish or Kansu dialect while the Han
Muslims speak Mandarin and local dialects.
The chief religious leader of a mosque is called the Ahund or Ahung. There are Imams
who assist in leading the congregation to worship and prayer
Chinese Muslim religious practices: The Muslim in China must chant the Ching Tseng
Yen and the Tso Chung Yen at least once in his/her life.
Ching Tseng Yen - "All things
are not God, only Allah is the God, Muhammad is God's special Prophet"
Tso Chung Yen
- "I witness that all things are not God. Allah is the only One. I also witness
that Mohammad is God's Messenger and His Prophet.
Reciting Quran - Photo Credit: Hasimsyah
Islam in China Today
During the cultural revolution, many Mosques were destroyed. As the cultural revolution
ended and the death of Mao occurred, there has been a resurgence of Muslim communities
and Islamic religious activity. It is estimated that there are over 20 million Muslims
faithfully practicing Islam in China today.