Islam in China
*China was considered the most developed civilization.
*Emperor Yung Wei ordered the establishment of China’s first mosque.
*First Muslim settlements was established in the port city.
*There are 32,749 mosques in China.
*Muslims given unrestricted allowance to make the Hajj to Mecca.
Muslims take great pride in citing a hadith that says “Seek knowledge even unto China.” It points to the importance of seeking knowledge, even if it meant traveling as far away as China, especially as at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), China was considered the most developed civilization of the period.
Islam in China began during the caliphate of the third Caliph ‘Uthman ibn Affan. After triumphing over the Byzantine, Romans and the Persians, ‘Uthman ibn Affan, dispatched a deputation to China in 29 AH (650 CE, Eighteen years after the Prophet’s (pbuh) death), under the leadership by Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqaas Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) maternal uncle.
Even before this, the Arab traders during the time of the Prophet (pbuh), had already brought Islam to China, although this was not an organized effort, but merely as an offshoot of their journey along the Silk Route -land and sea.
Even though there are only sparse records of the event in Arab history, a brief one in Chinese history, the Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty describes the landmark visit. To Chinese Muslims, this event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China. To show his admiration for Islam, the emperor Yung Wei ordered the establishment of China’s first mosque. The magnificent Canton city mosque known to this day as the ‘Memorial Mosque’ still stands today, after fourteen centuries.
One of the first Muslim settlements in China was established in this port city. The Umayyads and Abbasids sent six delegations to China, all of which were warmly received by the Chinese.
The Huaisheng Mosque – built by Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas
The Muslims who immigrated to China eventually began to have a great economic impact and influence on the country. They virtually dominated the import/export business by the time of the Sung Dynasty (960 – 1279 CE). Indeed, the office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period. Under the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 CE) generally considered to be the golden age of Islam in China, Muslims gradually became fully integrated into Han society.
An interesting example of this synthesis by Chinese Muslims was the process by which their names changed. Many Muslims who married Han women simply took on the name of the wife. Others took the Chinese surnames of Mo, Mai, and Mu – names adopted by Muslims who had the names Muhammad, Mustafa, and Masoud. Still others who could find no Chinese surname similar to their own adopted the Chinese character that most closely resembled their name – Ha for Hasan, Hu for Hussein, or Sai for Said, and so on.
In addition to names, Muslim customs of dress and food also underwent a synthesis with Chinese culture.
The Islamic mode of dress and dietary restrictions were consistently maintained, however, and not compromised. In time, the Muslims began to speak Han dialects and to read in Chinese.
Shopping in a Muslim locality
Well into the Ming era, the Muslims could not be distinguished from other Chinese other than by their unique religious customs. In spite of the economic successes the Muslims enjoyed during these and earlier times, they were recognized as being fair, law-abiding and self-disciplined. For this reason, once again, there was little friction between Muslim and non-Muslim Chinese.
Over the years, many Muslims established mosques, schools and religious schools attended by students from as far as Russia and India. It is reported that in the 1790’s, there was as many as 30,000 Islamic students, and the city of Bukhara, – the birthplace of Imam Bukhari, one of the foremost compilers of hadith – which was then part of China, came to be known as the “Pillar of Islam.”
The rise of the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 CE), though, changed this. The Ch’ing was Manchu (not Han) and were a minority in China. They employed tactics of divide-and- conquer to keep the Muslims, Han, Tibetans, and Mongolians in struggles against one another.
In particular, they were responsible for inciting anti-Muslim sentiment throughout China, and used Han soldiers to suppress the Muslim regions of the country.
When the Manchu Dynasty fell in 1911, the Republic of China was established by Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Man (Manchu), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. His policies led to some improvement in relations among these groups.
Since the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, tremendous upheavals occurred throughout China culminating in the Cultural Revolution.
The Great Mosque of Xi’an, one of China’s oldest mosques
Muslims along with all the Chinese population suffered. After the third congress of the 11th Central committee, the government greatly liberalized its policies toward Islam and Muslims. Since religious freedom was declared in 1978, the Chinese Muslims have not wasted time in expressing their convictions.
Under China’s current leadership, in fact, Islam appears to be undergoing a modest revival. Religious leaders report more worshippers now than before the Cultural Revolution, and a reawakening of interest in religion among the young.
According to a publication on mosques in China (1998 edition), there are now 32,749 mosques in the entire People’s Republic of China, with 23,000 in the province of Xinjiang.
There has been an increased upsurge in Islamic expression in China, and many nationwide Islamic associations have been organized to coordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims.
Islamic literature can be found quite easily and there are currently some eight different translations of the Qur’an in the Chinese language as well as translations in Uygur and the other Turkic languages.
Muslims have also gained a measure of toleration from other religious practices. In areas where Muslims are a majority, the breeding of pigs by non-Muslims is forbidden in deference to Islamic beliefs. Muslim communities are allowed separate cemeteries; Muslim couples may have their marriage consecrated by an imam; and Muslim workers are permitted holidays during major religious festivals. The Muslims of China have also been given almost unrestricted allowance to make the Hajj to Mecca.
The use of electricity And We made a fount of molten copper flow out for him. (Qur’an, 34:12)
One of Allah’s great blessings to Prophet Sulayman (as) was “a fount of molten copper.” This can be understood in several senses. By the use of melted copper, it may be referring to the existence, at his time, of an advanced technology that employed electricity.
We know that copper is one of the best metals for conducting electricity and heat, and thus constitutes the basis of the electrical industry, which uses much of the copper produced in the world. The expression “flow out” may indicate that electricity can be used in many fields. (Allah knows best.)
The exploration of space
Humanity’s exploration of space was accelerated with the Soviet satellite Sputnik on October 4, 1957, which carried aloft the first man to ever leave Earth’s atmosphere: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
On 20 July 1969, the American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being ever to set foot on the Moon.
In fact, the Qur’an revealed that such developments and achievements would one day be realised. For instance, Allah draws our attention to this in the following verse: O company of jinn and human beings. If you are able to pierce through the confines of the heavens and Earth, pierce through them. You will not pierce through, except with a clear authority. (Qur’an, 55:33)
The Arabic word sultan, translated here as “a clear authority,” has other meanings as well: force, power, sovereignty, dominion, law, path, permission, give leave, justify and proof.
Careful examination reveals that the above verse emphasizes that humanity will be able to move into the depths of Earth and sky, but only with a superior power. In all likelihood, this superior power is the superior technology employed in the twentieth century, for it enabled scientists to achieve this great feat.
Favours upon you
*Our heart beats around 10,000 times everyday. Our blood is on a 60,000-mile journey.
*Our eyes can distinguish up to one million colour surfaces and take in more information than the largest telescope known to man.
*Our lungs inhale over two million litres of air every day, without even thinking.
They are large enough to cover a tennis court.
*Our hearing is so sensitive it can distinguish between hundreds of thousands of different sounds.
*Our sense of touch is more refined than any device ever created.
*Our brain is more complex than the most powerful computer and has over 100 billion nerve cells.
*We give birth to 100 billion red cells every day.
*When we touch something, we send a message to our brain at 124 mph.
*We have over 600 muscles.
* We exercise at least 30 muscles when we smile.
* We are about 70 percent water.
* We make one litre of saliva a day.
* Our nose is our personal air-conditioning system: It warms cold air, cools hot air and filters impurities.
*In one square inch of our hand we have nine feet of blood vessels, 600 pain sensors, 9000 nerve endings, 36 heat sensors and 75 pressure sensors.
* We have copper, zinc, cobalt, calcium, manganese, phosphates, nickel and silicon in our bodies. (The Holy Qur’aan Surah Rahman 55: Ayah 13)
Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:
1. Four things that make your body sick: a) Excessive talking, b) Excessive sleeping, c) Excessive eating and d) Excessive meeting other people
2. Four things that destroy the body: a) Worrying, b) Sorrow, (Sadness/Grief) c) Hunger, d) Sleeping late in the night
3. Four things that dry the face and take away its happiness: a) Lying, b) Being disrespectful/ impudent (insisting on something wrong knowingly)
c) Arguing without adequate knowledge and Information. d) Excessive immorality (doing something wrong without fear).
4. Four things that increase the wetness of face and its happiness: a) Piety, b) Loyalty, c) Generosity (being kind), d) To be helpful to others without he/ she asking for that.
5. Four things that stop the Sustenance: a) Sleeping in the morning (from Fajr to sunrise) b) Not Performing prayer or Irregular in Prayers c) Laziness/ Idleness d) Treachery/ Dishonesty
6. Four things that bring/increase the sustenance: a) Staying up in the night for prayers, b) Excessive Repentance, c) Regular Charity, d) Zikr (Remembrance of Allah/ God).
Hearts find peace in remembrance of Allah
According to research by David B Larson, of the American National Health Research Centre and his team, comparisons of devout and non-religious Americans have given very surprising results.
Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace
For instance, religious people suffer 60 percent less heart disease than those with little or no religious belief, the suicide rate among them is 100 percent lower, they suffer far lower levels of high blood pressure and this ratio is 7:1 among smokers.
It was reported in one study published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, an important scientific source in the world of medicine, that people who describe themselves as having no religious beliefs become ill more frequently and have shorter life spans.
According to the results of the research, those with no beliefs are twice as likely to suffer stomach-intestine disease than believers and their mortality rate from respiratory diseases is 66 percent times higher than that of believers. Secular psychologists tend to refer to similar figures as “psychological effects.”
This means that belief raises peoples’ spirits and this contributes to health. This explanation may indeed be reasonable, but a more striking conclusion emerges when the subject is examined.
Belief in Allah is much stronger than any other psychological influence. The wide-ranging research into the connection between religious belief and physical health carried out by Dr Herbert Benson of the Harvard Medical Faculty has produced surprising conclusions in this area. Despite not being a believer himself, Dr Benson has concluded that worship and belief in Allah have a more positive effect on human health than that observed in anything else.
Benson states that he has concluded that no belief provides as much mental peace as belief in Allah.
What is the reason for this connection between belief and the human soul and body? The conclusion reached by the secular researcher Benson is, in his own words, that the human body and mind are regulated to believe in Allah.
This fact, which the world of medicine has slowly begun to appreciate, is a secret revealed in the Qur’an in this words: “…. Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace.”