Islam came to China back over 14 centuries, and it is said that Islam was brought into China by SA’d Ibn abhi Waqqas who was sent to China by the third Caliph Othman. This was some years after the death of Prophet Muhammad. During that time, China was ruled by Emperor Goazong (Tang Dynasty) who warmly welcomed Muslim embassy and the mosque was also built in Canton as Memorial mosque. After this embassy, Muslim merchants and diplomats came to China. This started interaction between Muslim and Chinese
The first Muslims in China were Persians and Arabs merchants. Muslims during the period of Tang Dynasty started to trade through the Silk Road. The trade made a large impact on the economy of China, and as these Muslims started to settle in China, Islam spread over there. Muslims brought their culture, cuisine and even their musical instruments with them.
The Song emperor at the time Shen-tsung sent invitations to 5300 Muslims from Bukhara who then came and settled in China. After a decade in Song Era, another 10000 Arabs migrated to China who settled in different areas. The impact of the Muslims can be judged from the fact that the Chinese Materia Medica was republished during the Song Era, and it included around 200 medicines from the Muslims.
After Song Era, came the Yuan Era in which Muslims further excelled. The ruler had many Muslims in administrative positions all over China.
Later, came the period of the Ming Dynasty in which Muslims further increased and Islamic learning centers also started to be built, like Yunnan and Shandong many of the commanders of the emperor were Muslims. Muslims stared to integrate into the Chinese and adopted their culture and became isolated from the rest of the world even as they started to keep Chinese surnames. In the Ming Era, many mosques were built in different cities of China and Muslims held key positions in the army and government.
Traveling became easy, and communication of the Chinese Muslims increased with the outside world. More immigrants came in China, and Islam flourished. Muslims always remained a minority, but the number of Muslims made a major impact on the economy of China.
When the republic of China was formed, the Muslims faced a few challenges as there were some Muslim groups that caused rebellions against the administration. This led to killings, and in some cases the government accused Muslims and other religious institutes for encouraging anti socialist trends in the society. There were many mosques that were closed down and many copies of the holy Quran were destroyed. After a few years, in 1979, Deng Xiaopeng came to the front. After that Chinese Government started a more liberal outlook against the Muslims and other minority religions.
New legislations were passed which allowed the Muslims to practice their religion with freedom. They were now able to practice Islam as well as have their own culture.
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