Islam in China

The Prophet ﷺ was sent as a messenger to all of mankind. Due to this, Allah made it such that the Prophet’s message was spread across the world. One such area was China. Islam was introduced to China in 615 AD when a group of companions visited China for trade. Here, they also preached the new faith.

Later, in 651 AD, an envoy lead by Sa’d ibn Abī Waqqās was sent to China by the third caliph of Islam, Uthmān. The ruler at the time, the Tang Emperor Gaozong, received the envoy with open arms and welcomed them. The emperor constructed the Memorial Mosque (Huaisheng Mosque) in commemoration of the Prophet ﷺ.This Masjid is one of the oldest masājid in the world today. So within 20 years of the demise of the Prophet ﷺ, Islam was established as a new culture and religion in China.

In 1910, the population of muslims in China was approximately 7 million, a figure which would equate to 2% of the population. However, during the communist era many faiths suffered. This was a result of intense anti-religious education and persecution. Despite this, currently in modern China Islam has seen a resurgence.

Islam arrived in China after Buddhism and Christianity when Muslim traders began to arrive in China during the Tang Dynasty as was eluded to before. Perhaps hundreds of thousands of Muslims were brought into the Yuan Empire by the Mongols. Many of the Mongols reverted to Islam and due to this the religion spread quickly in central Asia.

Nowadays, people in China are mainly Muslims by birth. This is because very few Chinese citizens have converted to the religion in recent times. Nevertheless, Islam holds a prominent place in the faith and lives of the Chinese people. It is the third largest world religion in the country after Buddhism and Christianity. Today, there are 25 million Muslims spread across China. Muslims do live all across China, however the greater numbers are found in the provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, and Yunnan.

by Inaamul Hasan Chothia, 4th Year Alim Class

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