History of Islam in China

The Yangzhou Mosque.

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The History of Islam in China began when three Sahabas- Sa’ad ibn abi Waqqas (b.594-d.674 AD), Sa’id ibn Zaid (b.594- d.673 AD) and Qais ibn Sa’d (d.682 AD)preached in 616 after coming by sea from Abyssinia, reaching Chittagong port and hinterland Kamrup-Manipur (northeast India) in 615 where they preached for some time and then they reached China by land route. 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 Mongol Yuan Dynasty.

 

灣仔區 Category:Oi Kwan Road 愛群道 Category:Evening...

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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 Mongols.

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.

According to China Muslims‘ traditional legendary accounts, Islam was first brought to China by Sa’ad ibn abi Waqqas, who came to China for the second time at the head of an embassy sent by Uthman, the third Caliph, in 651, less than twenty years after the death of prophet Muhammad. The embassy 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, in memory of the prophet.[1][2]

While modern historians tend to argue that there is no evidence for Waqqās himself ever coming to China,[2] they do believe that Muslim diplomats and merchants arrived to Tang China within a few decades from the beginning of Muslim Era.[2] The Tang Dynasty’s cosmopolitan culture, with its intensive contacts with Central Asia and its significant communities of (originally non-Muslim) Central and Western Asian merchants resident in Chinese cities, which helped the introduction of Islam.

Read all at the Source: History of Islam in China. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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3 Responses to “History of Islam in China”

  1. Shiraz Khan Says:

    A.M.A. Shushteby noted:“According to Chinese tradition, a certain S’ad, son of Vaqqas, or Wahab, the son of Abu-Kabshah, was the first Muslim who reached Canton by sea, as early as 629 AD.” In one instance, Umar addressed Sa’d ibn abi Waqqas as Sa’d ibn Waheeb. So, here Wahab is Abi Waqqas (Sad’s father) and Abu Kabsha is Uhaib (the father Abi Waqqas). [See: A. M. A. Shushteby, 1938, Outlines of Islamic Culture, volume 1: Historical and Cultural Aspects, The Bangalore Press: Bangalore, P. 25.]

    Before we try to reach any conclusion on how early and who reached China as a Muslim first, we need to peruse the following classical accounts including Chinese and of the western historians.

    Classical/Original Original Source

    Source 1:

    Based on Minshu (1620 CE) by Ho Ch’iao-Yuan:

    “Activities of Persians and Arabs in these cities (Yang-chou and Canton) were confined to maritime trade because the majority of them were merchants. There were also Islamic disciples who came to China with the intention to preach. In the reign of Wu-te (AD 618-626), four Islamic disciples were dispatched to China to spread the Muhammadan faith. Of these four, one was posted in Canton, one in Yang-chou and the other two were stationed in Ch’uan-chou”.
    (Source: Chiu Ling-Yeong, Persian, Arabs and other Nationals in Tang China, in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Hong Kong, vol. 13 (1973): [ISSN: 1991- 7295] page 62, quoting Ho Chiao-Yuan (He Qiaoyuan) , c. 1620 AD, Manshu, Chapter 7}.

    Source 2:

    Original Chinese Account of the 651 Embassy based on Old & New Tang Dynasty Records:

    According to Tang histories, an Arab embassy from Caliph Usman (described as the fourth king/Caliph) arrived at Tang court in 651 CE which was in the second year of Emperor Yung-hui.

    (Sources: Liu Shu (ed.), 945, The Old Tang History (Chiu T’ang Shu)Bold text, SSu Pu Pei Yao edition: Wu Tai Publication (Catalogue: 198.28b) and Ou-Yang Hsiu & Sung Ch’i (eds.), 1061,The New Tang History (Hsin T’ang HsuBold text), Kai Ming Erh Shih Wu Shih Edition: Sung Publication (Catalogue: 221.19a). Ou-yung Hsien (1007-72 CE) wrote the New History of the Tang Dynasty (Hsin Tang Shu/ Xi’n Tang Shu> source: Wm. Theodore deBarry, (ed.), 1960, Sources of Chinese Tradition, New York: Columbia University Press; Raphael Israeli, 1994, Muslims in China, New Delhi: Ambika Publications, p.80). The Old Tang History mentions Yung-hui erh-nien (meaning: the second year of Yung-Hui, i.e. in 651 CE about the Arab embassy. )

    Source: 3

    E.J. Brill’s ‘First Encycloprdia of Islam 1913-1936, by M. Th. Houtsma, 1993, page 841 wrote:

    As to Chinese Muslims legend on Sad ibn abi Waqqas, the maternal uncle of the Prophet, after research, “Thiersant mentions the name Wahb Abu Kabsha in addition to Sa’d ibn Abu Wakkas. The legends have been collected by Thiersant and more critically by Deveria, Origine”. Traddition also says that Islam was brought to China after a dream by Chinese Emperor Tai-Tsung (627-650AD) by land route via Hami (Kumul) by Arab envoys in the Emperor’s time.

    Source 4:

    C.L. Pickens , China and Arabia prior to the T’ang Dynasty (618 AD) in The Muslim World, vols. 32-33, Hartford Seminary Foundation, 1942, p. 200 noted:

    “Sahib Sa’d Wakkas came to China in the years of K’ai Huang of the Sui Dynasty” (ie., between AD 581- 600) ; says the “Great Ming Geography” which was commenced in AD 1370 and published in AD 1461.

    Source 5:

    Franz Xaver Biallas, Heinrich Busch, Rudolph Rahmann, in Monumenta Serica: Journal of Oriental Studies, vol. 36, 1984, Tokyo: Monumenta Serica Institute, page 556-7: wrote.

    {G. Deveria, he continues, has “traced it back to the ‘Great Ming Geography,’ which was commenced in 1370 AD,…. In this geography a chapter devoted to Medina states that Sahib Saad Wakkas came to China in the years of Kai Hwang of the Sui Dynaty. Page 557 noted: ” …therefore in Mason’s work, p. 268, no.2, it should be read as Wa Ko-shih and in Ma Yi-Yu’s work, p. 104, it should read as Wa-ko-ssu which would make it ‘Wakkas’. Only Vankhas, as I will continue to call him in the Soviet Dungan version of the legend, survives the trip and reach China. There is no doubt that Vankhas is Wakkas, about whom a great deal of contradictory, legendary and confusing information is written”, as Waqqas was noted to have arrived in China in 628 and 651 also.}

    (also by Franz Xaver Biallas, Fujên ta hsüeh, Monumenta serica: journal of oriental studies, Volume 36, 1984, Peking, Tokyo (Japan) SVD Research Institute, Monumenta Serica Institute, Nanzan Daigaku, p. 268)

    Source 6:

    Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Part 16 by James Hastings & James A. Selbie (1932, 2003), page 889 noted:

    “Chinese tradition says that Islam found its way into the country by land and sea. It tells a maternal uncle of the Prophet, Wahb Abu Kabsha, who landed in Canton in AD 628 or 629, bearing presents from Muhammad to the Emperor of China together with an invitation to embrace Islam., and who then proceeded to Hsi-un-fu. Other reports say that the earliest message was brought by Sa’d ibn abi Waqqas, whose tomb may be seen in Canton. The tradition attaches special importance to an expedition of 4000 Muslim troops which the Khalifa Mansur is said to have sent to assist the emperor in a struggle with rebels (AD 755). The Emperor permitted them to settle in the chief cities of the country; they took Chinese wives and became the progenitors of the numerous and important Muslim community in China.”

  2. Abdul Malik Qureshi Says:

    Curiusly also, I find another evidence of Abu Waqqas and other Sahabas in Chittagong (Bangladesh) on way to China, in a book “Challenege of Islamic Da’wah in Bangladesh: The Christian Missions and Their Evamgelization, by Dr. Md. Yusuf Ali & Abu Sadat Nurullah, IIUC Studies, vol. 4, Dec 2007, p. 88. The text (extract) is as follows:

    *Evidence of Abu Waqqas in Bangladesh*

    “The advent of Islam in Bangladesh or Bengal is said to be in around
    year 620 CE (around 10th year of prophethood). MuÍaddith Imam
    Abadan Marwazi (R), in his book, wrote that the Companions of the
    Prophet (pbuh) like Abu Waqqas, Malik ibn Wahaib, Qays bin
    Huzayfah, ‘Urwa ibn Athathah, Abu Qays ibn al-×ārith (R) and some
    other Companions, in the seventh year of prophet hood, went on a
    voyage from Ethiopia (after the first migration) towards China. During
    their long journey on the ocean for nine years, they stopped over at the
    ports of Bangladesh, or Bengal. By their influential characters, many a
    one accepted Islam there.(Ref: KHAN, MAULANA MOHIUDDIN (1999); “Bangladeshe Islam: Koyekti
    Tothyosutra.” (Islam in Bangladesh: Sources), The Monthly Madinah. Jan 1992,
    PP. 41. Cited in A K M Nazir Ahmad. Bangladeshe Islamer agomon (The advent
    of Islam in Bangladesh), (Dhaka: Bangladesh Islamic Centre, 1999) P. 20.)

    “This event is assumed to be in Chittagong,
    as the major port prevalent in Bangladesh is the port of Chittagong. In
    an account, Qureishi mentions about the initiation of Islam during the
    reign of ‘Umr bin al-Khattab (R) through Chittagong, which was, thus,
    known as ‘Islamabad’ previously.” (Ref: QUREISHI, UMR B. A. AZIZ (2002); Al-Islam fi Bilad al-Banjal (Islam in the
    Bengal), (Cairo: Islamiyyah lil-Taba’ah, 2002), P. 79.)

  3. Abdul Malik Qureshi Says:

    Curiusly also, I find another evidence of Abu Waqqas and other Sahabas in Chittagong (Bangladesh) on way to China, in a book “Challenge of Islamic Da’wah in Bangladesh: The Christian Missions and Their Evangelization, by Dr. Md. Yusuf Ali & Abu Sadat Nurullah, IIUC Studies, vol. 4, Dec 2007, p. 88. The text (extract) is as follows:

    Evidence of Abu Waqqas in Bangladesh

    “The advent of Islam in Bangladesh or Bengal is said to be in around
    year 620 CE (around 10th year of prophethood). MuÍaddith Imam
    Abadan Marwazi (R), in his book, wrote that the Companions of the
    Prophet (pbuh) like Abu Waqqas, Malik ibn Wahaib, Qays bin
    Huzayfah, ‘Urwa ibn Athathah, Abu Qays ibn al-Hārith (R) and some
    other Companions, in the seventh year of prophet hood, went on a
    voyage from Ethiopia (after the first migration) towards China. During
    their long journey on the ocean for nine years, they stopped over at the
    ports of Bangladesh, or Bengal. By their influential characters, many a
    one accepted Islam there.(Ref: KHAN, MAULANA MOHIUDDIN (1999); “Bangladeshe Islam: Koyekti Tothyosutra.” (Islam in Bangladesh: Sources), The Monthly Madinah. Jan 1992, PP. 41. Cited in A K M Nazir Ahmad. Bangladeshe Islamer agomon (The advent of Islam in Bangladesh), (Dhaka: Bangladesh Islamic Centre, 1999) P. 20.)

    “This event is assumed to be in Chittagong, as the major port prevalent in Bangladesh is the port of Chittagong. In an account, Qureishi mentions about the initiation of Islam during the reign of ‘Umr bin al-Khattab (R) through Chittagong, which was, thus, known as ‘Islamabad’ previously.” (Ref: QUREISHI, UMR B. A. AZIZ (2002); Al-Islam fi Bilad al-Banjal (Islam in the Bengal), (Cairo: Islamiyyah lil-Taba’ah, 2002), P. 79.)

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