Islam and Muslims in China

As our Chinese neighbours and friends in Singapore and around the world celebrate the dawn of a new lunar year, we at take this opportunity to reflect on Islam in the world’s most populous country, People’s Republic of China, which is home to between 25 million (official) and 200 million (unofficial) Muslims.

Our beloved Shaikhuna, Dr. Taika Shu’aib, spent some time in Canton in the late 70s/early 80s, performing da’wa work. He was there long enough to become versed in spoken Cantonese. It is worth noting that our Shaikhuna’s 880-page research work, “Arabic, Arwi and Persian in Sarandib and Tamilnadu”, was released in Hong Kong in 1994 by the then President of the Islamic Union of Hong Kong, Hajj Malculm Idris Peak.

» Articles

1. Islam in China

By: Mohammed Khamouch

Prior to 500 CE and hence before the establishment of Islam, Arab seafarers had established trade relations with the “Middle Kingdom” (China). Arab ships bravely set off from Basra at the tip of the Arabian Gulf and also from the town of Qays (Siraf) in the Persian Gulf. They sailed the Indian Ocean passing Sarandip (Sri Lanka) and navigated their way through the Straits of Malacca which were between the Sumatran and Malaysian peninsulas en route to the South China Sea. They established trading posts on the southeastern coastal ports of Quanzhou and Guangzhou. Some Arabs had already settled in China and probably embraced Islam when the first Muslim deputation arrived, as their families and friends back in Arabia, had already embraced Islam during the Holy Prophet’s revelation (610-32).

Full article can be read here.

2. The Islamic Heritage in China: A General Survey

By: Anthony Garnaut

“Muslims were the largest group of non-Chinese peoples during the Yuan. Referred to as “Semu“, they occupied a privileged position directly below the Mongol nobility in the social structure of that dynasty. Over ten thousand Muslim names can be identified in Yuan historical records. The standard word used to denote Muslims in Chinese language documents of the late Yuan period is “Huihui“, and this has remained the most common Chinese term for Muslims through to the 21st century.”

Full article can be read here.

3. Zheng He – The Chinese Muslim Admiral

By: Mohammed Khamouch

“Speak of the world’s first navigators and the names Christopher Columbus or Vasco da Gama flash through a Western mind. Little known are the remarkable feats that a Chinese Muslim Zheng He (1371-1433) had accomplished decades before the two European adventurers.”

Full article can be read here.

4. The Legacy of Muslim Kung Fu Masters

By: Mohammed Khamouch

“A 1400 year chronology of Islam in China is nearly as old as the following reminder by the Prophet Muhammad: “The strong man is not the one who throws people in wrestling. The strong man is the one who has control of himself when he is angry“. Such “hikmah” (wisdom) adhered to by Muslim Masters for centuries, intertwined with self development and cultivation of “Chi” (inner energy) utilized to tame the animal within and to help further their mastery of martial arts.”

Full article can be read here.

5. Islam in China


“After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Sun Yat Sen, who established the Republic of China immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Man (Manchu), Meng (Mongol), Hui (Muslim), the Tsang (Tibetan), and the Miao peoples. During the rule of the Kuomintang party, the Kuomintang appointed the Muslim warlords of the family known as the Ma clique as the Military Governors of the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Ningxia. Bai Chongxi was a Muslim General and Defence Minister of China during this time.”

Full article can be read here.

» Websites and Blogs


“The subject of Islam in China is an oft neglected one. In the West most people conceive of Muslims as being Arabs despite the fact that majority of the Arabs in America are Christians. Outside of China there are also many misconceptions that Muslims have about Muslims in China. Many Muslims are even surprised to learn that there are more Muslims in China than there are in Saudi Arabia. In China there a general misconception with respect to Islam being an ethnic religion which may come as a surprise to many Muslims in other countries. In China Islam is generally associated with the Hui ethnic group and sometimes with the Uyghars.”

Click here to visit the website


“Islam in China is a blog that seeks to cover all things Chinese and Islamic. Additionally my aim is also dispel some myths about Islam and also about China. I write under the name of Wang Daiyu, which was the name of a Chinese Muslim scholar who held the office of the Master Supervisor of the Imperial Observatory in China and also wrote many famous books on Islam in Chinese.”

Click here to visit the blog

» Art

1. Peter Sanders Photography of Muslims in China

This website is a testimony to the statement, “A picture paints a thousand words.” It showcases the works of the world renowned photographer of the Islamic world, Peter Sanders (Abdul Adheem). Click on “Travel” under the “Gallery” menu to view the beautiful images of Muslims in China.

Click here to visit the website

2. Master Calligrapher, Hajj Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang

Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang is a renowned master of Arabic calligraphy. Born in 1963 in Shangdong province, China, he brings an immense learning in traditional thought and Islamic art to a modern audience, juxtaposing them in a new calligraphic style all his own, both Eastern and Western.

Click here to visit the website

And Allah is the Guide

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