Islam in China
Islam has been practiced in China for 1,400 years. Muslims are a minority in China, now, according to the latest estimates, who accounts for 0.45 to 1.8 percent of the whole population. Hui Muslims are the largest group. The largest concentration of Muslims is in Xinjiang, a region with a large Uighur population. Some live in Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai regions.
History of Islam in China
Islam was founded by Muhammad in the Arabian peninsula in the early 7th century. During the Tang and Song dynasties, Islam was introduced into China by Arab merchants. During the Northern song dynasty, Islam was introduced into the Kashgar region of Xinjiang and spread throughout Xinjiang in the 16th century. By the time of the Ming dynasty, about 10 ethnic minorities had embraced Islam. In the process of development, Islam and the feudal system were combined to form the Jiaofang system and Menhuan system.
After the founding of New China, the Islam in our country carried out the democratic reform. Islam is believed by the masses of 10 ethnic minorities in our country, such as Hui and Uyghur, with a total population of about 22 million. The annual hajj activity is well-organized and well-planned. Since the reform and opening up, nearly 140,000 Muslims have participated in the pilgrimage.
Mosques in China
There are over 35,000 mosques, 50,000 imam and mullah, and 10 Islamic Institute in the country. Islam opposes idolatry, so there are no images of human or animal figures in the mosque. Most of the decoration are abstract patterns composed of Arabic, geometric patterns and flower paintings. There are two types of mosques in China, one with traditional Chinese architectural style and the other with arabian style. Below are the list of mosques in China.
Culture and Heritage of Islam
In China, Islam has influenced technology, science, philosophy and art. In terms of material culture, the decorative patterns of Islamic architecture and calligraphy in central Asia as well as their obvious influence on the cuisine of northern China have been found.
Islamic Architecture in China
As in all regions, Islamic architecture in China reflects the local architectural style. China is famous for its beautiful mosques, which are like temples. However, in western China, mosques are similar to those in the Middle East, with tall, slender minarets, curved arches and domed roofs. In northwest China, the Chinese Hui ethnic group built mosques, combining the eastern and the western style. The Chinese-style roofs of these mosques feature walled courtyards accessed through arches with miniature domes and minarets. The first mosque was the Xi ‘an Grand Mosque, which was established in the Tang dynasty in the seventh century. See more Chinese Architecture.
Halal food in China
Halal food has a long history in China. Arab and Persian merchants’ arrival during the Tang and Song dynasties saw the introduction of the Muslim diet. Muslim cuisine in China strictly follows Islamic dietary rules, with mutton and lamb being the main ingredients. The advantage of Chinese Muslim cuisine is that it inherits various cooking methods of Chinese cuisine, such as stewing, roasting, steaming, and so on. Due to China’s multicultural background, Muslim cuisine retains its own style and characteristics according to the region. See more China’s Religious Food.
Martial Arts of Muslims
With a long history of development, Muslims have participated in Chinese martial arts at the highest level. The Hui began and adapted to many styles of martial arts, such as Bajiquan, Piguazhang and Liuhequan. Some specific areas are called Muslim martial arts centers, such as Cangxian county in Hebei province. These traditional Hui martial arts are quite different from the Turkic styles in Xinjiang.
Literature of Muslims
The Han Kitab was a collection of Chinese Islamic texts that synthesized Islam and Confucianism, written by Chinese Muslim. It was written in the early 18th century during the Qing dynasty. Han is Chinese, and kitab (ketabu in Chinese) is Arabic for book. In the early 18th century, Liu Zhi wrote his Han Kitab in Nanjing. The works of Wu Sunqie, Zhang Zhong, and Wang Daiyu were also included in the Han Kitab. The Han Kitab was widely read and approved of by later Chinese Muslims such as Ma Qixi, Ma Fuxiang, and Hu Songshan. They believed that Islam could be understood through Confucianism.
Muslin Tour with China Dragon Tours
Being one of the three great religions in the world, Islam has rooted deeply in China through the centuries. Start a Muslim Tour in China to explore the Muslim culture during your trip. With the essential knowledge of the Islam, our specialists design the best itinerary for you to find the life of Muslim. Our China Muslim Tours will help travelers to get around the most well-known Muslim sites and share their knowledge of Islam, dinning features and other aspects of Muslim culture. Pre-arranged tours and personal tailor-made tours are all available.