The Characteristics of Islam and Muslims in China

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When I was young, I think that Muslim is only in the Malaysia, India, and Indonesia, but actually no, Muslim are all over the world such as China, Russia, and so on. Thus, I decided to study about Muslim in China, because some of the people may think that Chinese will believe in Buddhism. Then, I found a book about History of China Muslim. After I read this book, I realize that Islam was incoming when Tang Dynasty until nowadays, almost have 1400 years of history. Also, the Muslim in China is no called as Muslim, they call them “HuiHui”. First seen in North Song Dynasty, a writer call Shen Kuo have written “HuiHui” in his, it means the people who stay in the Anxi area call “HuiHe”. Over time, the Islam in China also call “Hui Jiao”.

As for the time when Islam was introduced to China, the author denied the ‘opening the emperor’, Tang Wudezhong, the six-year view of Yongguan, the second year of Yonghui, and the reference to Chinese and foreign literature, ‘determined that Muslims entered China.’ In the second year of Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty (628). The author proposes that the history of Chinese Islam can be divided into three periods; the first period from the early Tang Dynasty to the Southern Song Dynasty, HuiHui to the era of Chinese living in the country, the second period from the Mongolian era to the Song Dynasty to the middle of the Ming Dynasty, HuiHui to the era of assimilation in China, the third From the middle of the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty, it was an era of HuiHui to China.

When a thing is integrated into the local life, local colors and features will be added to the new thing. So, the people are forced to married with another nationality in Ming Dynasty. This caused the HuiHui who stay in China gradually merged with the Han Chinese. They used the Chinese as their mother tongue and changed to the Chinese surname. Many mosques also look like Chinese architecture, but these ethnic group still retain the Islam faith. Later, due to the large number of the HuiHui exchanges with the Han and Mongolians in China, they merged to form the predecessor of the Hui who gradually formed today.

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There are some influences about the China custom system like Muslim use the silver as the coin, eating betel nuts, the women stay in Quanzhou no need to foot binding in that time, and the most important one, using the compass to sail. Later, the Chinese founded magnet polarity and invented the compasses. Chinese Muslims have also demonstrated their outstanding talents in terms of architecture. In order to facilitate the ceremony, mosques were first established in Chang’an, Guangzhou, Quanzhou and Hangzhou. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the real temple built by Alder in Hangzhou was praised by the Arab traveler Ibn Bintuso who came to China at that time. The temple has been restored and still exists. Heideldin is also a big architect. He was ordered to plan the construction of the capital of the Yuan Dynasty in the Yuan Dynasty to the third year. Today, the Forbidden City in Beijing, the capital of China, was developed on this basis. Therefore, we can see the mosques in China have Incorporating Chinese characteristics, like the Guangzhou Huaisheng Temple – the earliest extant mosque in China, was built in 627 ADand Xi’an Grand Mosque, one of the oldest surviving mosques in China.

Chinese Islam has also made historical contributions in economic and political terms. Uighurs, Huis, Kazaks, Dongxiangs, Kirgiz, Salars, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Tatars and Baoan, who are loyal to Islam, are good at cooperating with other brothers, Han and Mongolian, Tibetans and others. Members of ethnic minorities exchanged production experience, improved production tools, rationalized land reclamation, and built water conservancy, and jointly developed agriculture and animal husbandry in all areas of Northwest China. Hence, we can see that Chinese Islam are influences many things in China.

I found an interesting about the calendar in China is lunar calendar, but it is not the real lunar calendar. The real lunar calendar is the Moslem calendar. It has a big difference between them which are the Moslem calendar treat 354 days or 355 days as one year, and do not have leap month. Which means that if use Chinese calendar count with it, every 30 years will have one-year difference, every one hundred years will have 3 years difference, every thousand years will have 30 years difference. Another thing that shock me is Zheng He, a world-famous Chinese Muslim navigator. He is a Hui Muslim in Yunnan, his surname Ma, his grandfather and father have been to Mecca ‘Hajj’. In 1405, he was ordered by the government to lead a fleet of sixty-two ships each with a length of 44 feet and a width of 18 feet. The huge fleet of 27,800 people traveled far and wide. In the future, he has repeatedly sailed. From the time of 1405 to 1433, he went to the sea seven times and visited thirty-five countries in Asia and Africa. He was the first person to sail to the east coast of the African equator. He was more than half a century ahead of the West Columbus and Da Gama. His fleet was not only large, but also more than the Western Voyager II. Ten times, it is an unprecedented pioneering work in the history of world navigation.

Zheng He’s fleet has visited many Muslim countries and regions, such as Malaya, the Indonesian archipelago, the Indo-Mamba subcontinent, Iran, the Maldives archipelago, the Arabian Peninsula’s Dhofar, Aden, Jeddah, Mecca and into the Gulf of Oman. The Strait of Ermuz arrived at the Buddhism, Zhubu, Mogadishu, Marin and other places on the East African coast. And on the seventh voyage and sent people to Hajj. It has strengthened the friendly relations between China and the people of Asia and Africa and Muslims and promoted economic and cultural exchanges and the development of Chinese and foreign transportation. According to their personal experience, Zheng He’s followers Ma Huan, Fei Xin and Gong Zhen wrote “The End of the World”, “Xing Yu Sheng Guan” and “Xi Yang Fan Guo Zhi”. These works have become important materials for studying the history of friendly relations between Asian and African countries and China and Asian and African countries.

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