Islam in China 616–18 AD

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    The Huaisheng Mosque’s construction is attributed to the Prophet Muhammad’s second cousin, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas.

    According to Chinese Muslims’ traditional legendary accounts, Islam was first introduced to China in 616–18 AD by Sahaba (companions) of Prophet Muhammad : Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, Sayid, Wahab ibn Abu Kabcha and another Sahaba. Wahab ibn abu Kabcha (Wahb abi Kabcha) may have been be a son of al-Harth ibn Abdul Uzza (also known as Abu Kabsha). It is noted in other accounts that Wahab Abu Kabcha reached Canton by sea in 629 CE.

    Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, along with three Sahabas, namely Suhayla Abuarja, Uwais al-Qarani, and Hassan ibn Thabit, returned to China from Arabia in 637 by the Yunan-Manipur-Chittagong route, then reached Arabia by sea. Some sources date the introduction of Islam in China to 650 AD, the third sojourn of Sad ibn Abi Waqqas, when he was sent as an official envoy to Emperor Gaozong during Caliph Uthman’s reign.

    The History of Islam in China goes back to the earliest years of Islam. According to China Muslims’ traditional legendary accounts, eighteen years after Muhammad’s death, the third Caliph of Islam, Uthman ibn Affan sent a delegation led by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, the maternal uncle of Muhammad, to the Chinese Gaozong Emperor.

    Hamada Hagras in which he recorded that “Chinese historical sources indicate that the Chinese had not heard about Islam only in 639 A.D., according to the old Book of Tang Jiu Tangshu the Emperor Taizong (626‐649) received an embassy from the last Sassanid rulers Yazdegerd III asking for help against the invading Arab armies of his country. however, the emperor avoid to help him”.

    According to Chinese Muslims’ traditional legendary accounts, Islam was first brought to China by an embassy sent by Uthman, the third Caliph, in 651, less than twenty years after the death of prophet Muhammad. The embassy was led by Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās, the maternal uncle of the prophet himself. Emperor Gaozong, the Tang emperor who received the envoy then ordered the construction of the Memorial mosque in Canton, the first mosque in the country, in memory of the prophet.

    While modern historians say that there is no evidence for Waqqās himself ever coming to China, they do believe that Muslim diplomats and merchants arrived to Tang China within a few decades from the beginning of the Muslim Era. The Tang dynasty’s cosmopolitan culture, with its intensive contacts with Central Asia and its significant communities of (originally non-Muslim) Central and Western Asian merchants resident in Chinese cities, which helped the introduction of Islam.

    Hamada Hagras in which he reported that “Islam arrived China during Tang era in 651, during summer of the second year of the era of Emperor Gaozong; in that year was the first Arab embassy to the court of the Tang Dynasty, This is the first direct contact between the Chinese and the Arabs”. Arab people are first noted in Chinese written records, under the name Dashi in the annals of the Tang dynasty (618–907), (Tashi or Dashi is the Chinese rendering of Tazi—the name the Persian people used for the Arabs). Records dating from 713 speak of the arrival of a Dashi ambassador. The first major Muslim settlements in China consisted of Arab and Persian merchants.

    Arab sources claim Qutayba ibn Muslim briefly took Kashgar from China and withdrew after an agreement, but modern historians entirely dismiss this claim.

    The Arab Umayyad Caliphate in 715 AD desposed Ikhshid, the king the Fergana Valley, and installed a new king Alutar on the throne. The deposed king fled to Kucha (seat of Anxi Protectorate), and sought Chinese intervention. The Chinese sent 10,000 troops under Zhang Xiaosong to Ferghana. He defeated Alutar and the Arab occupation force at Namangan and reinstalled Ikhshid on the throne.

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