Yusuf Abdul Rahman

(This is a summary of the article developed by Dr. A. Zahoor.)

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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 majority.

Copyright © Al-Basheer, Vol. III, No. 1.
Copyright © 1997 Web version prepared by Dr. A. Zahoor.


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