Myanmar Chinese Muslim Masjids

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Panthays form a group of Chinese Muslims in Burma. Some people refer to Panthays as the oldest group of Chinese Muslims in Burma. However, because of intermixing and cultural diffusion the Panthays are not as distinct a group as they once were.

Panthay ( MLCTS: pan: se: lu myui: is a term used to refer to the predominantly Muslim Hui people of China who migrated to Burma. They are among the largest groups of Burmese Chinese, and predominantly reside in the northern regions of Burma (formerly known as Upper Burma), particularly in the Tangyan-Maymyo-MandalayTaunggyi area and Shan States.

The name Panthay is a Burmese word, which is said to be identical with the Shan word Pang hse. It was the name by which the Burmese called the Chinese Muslims who came with caravans to Burma from the Chinese province of Yunnan. The name was not used or known in Yunnan itself.

Myanmar Chinese Muslim Masjids
Scanned pictures of Masjids from the calender of the Myanmar Chinese Muslim Youth Association (Yangon)
  1. Panthay Masjid in Tantlyan? Tantyang?
  2. Panthay Masjid in Kyinetung, Eastern Shan State
  3. Panthay Masjid in Mogyoke, Ruby land.
  4. Panthay Masjid in Tachileik, Eastern Shan State
  5. Panthay Masjid in Myitkyina, Kachin State
  6. Panthay Masjid in Taunggyi, Southern Shan State 
  7. Interior of the Panthay Masjid in Mandalay
  8. Panthay Masjid in Mandalay
  9. Interior of the Yangon Panthay Masjid
  10. Panthay Masjid in Yangon
  11. Panthay Masjid in Yangon

Panthays during Konbaung period

Beginning from the late Konbaung period, the Panthays started to settle in the royal capital of Mandalay, particularly during the reign of King Mindon. Although their number was small, a few of them seemed to have found their way inside the court as jade-assessors. They lived side by side with non-Muslim Chinese at Chinatowns (tayoke tan), which had been designated by King Mindon as the residential area for the Chinese. The non-Muslim Chinese had started settling in Mandalay considerably earlier than the Panthays so that by the time the latter arrived, there already was a Chinese community at Mandalay, with their own bank, companies and warehouses and some kind of organized social and economic life.

It happened that there were also Chinese jade-assessors in the employ of the king. Rivalry between the Chinese and Panthay jade-assessors in courting the royal favor naturally led to a quarrel between the two groups, resulting in a number of deaths.[15] King Mindon had not given much serious thought to the religious and social differences between the Panthays and the Chinese. He had treated the two more or less alike. But after the Chinadown quarrel, the king began to see the wisdom of separating the two groups.

[edit] King Mindon and Panthays

Panthay Mosque (清真寺; Qīngzhēn Sì) in Mandalay

It was also during this time that King Mindon granted the Panthays of the royal capital land on which to settle as a separate community, with a view to preventing further quarrels between them and the Chinese. The Panthays were given the rare favor of choosing their own place of residence within the confines of the royal capital, and they chose the site on which the present-day Panthay Compound (Chinese Muslim Quarter) is located. It was bounded on the north by 35th Street, in the south by 36th Street, in the east by 79th Street and in the west by 80th Street. This site was chosen because it was the camping ground for the mule caravans from Yunnan, which regularly came to the capital via the Theinni route.

The broadminded King Mindon also permitted a mosque to be built on the granted site so that the Panthays would have their own place of worship. Having no funds for an undertaking of such magnitude, the Panthays of Mandalay put up the matter to the Sultan of Yunnan. Sultan Sulaiman had already started a business enterprise (hao) in Mandalay.

His company was housed in a one-story brick building located at the present-day. Taryedan on the west side of the 80th Street, between 36th and 37th Streets.[16] The hao had been carrying on business in precious stones, jades, cotton, silk and other commodities of both Chinese and Burmese origins.


  1. TQ Myanmar Chinese Muslim Youth Association (Yangon) for this wonderful calender.
  2. Continue to read all in the Panthay. From Wikipedia

Panthay Mosque (清真寺; Qīngzhēn Sì) in Mandalay


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2 Responses to “Myanmar Chinese Muslim Masjids”

  1. 28 – ပသီလူမ်ဳိးစု (မနာလုိအုပ္စုကတုိက္ခုိက္၍ဖ်က္သိမ္းၿခင္း)- စမ်က္ႏွာ( 5 ) « lumyochit Says:

    […] Autobiography of Dr Abdul Rahman Zafrudin « King Theebaw, Queen Soopy-a-lat and her sister Myanmar Chinese Muslim Masjids […]

  2. 28 – ပသီလူမ်ဳိးစုသမုိင္းကုိ (မနာလုိအုပ္စုကတုိက္ခုိက္၍ဖ်က္သိမ္းခံရၿခင္း) စကားဝုိင္း- စမ်က္ႏ Says:

    […] Autobiography of Dr Abdul Rahman Zafrudin « King Theebaw, Queen Soopy-a-lat and her sister Myanmar Chinese Muslim Masjids […]

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