Bai Shouyi (Traditional 白壽彝; Simplified 白寿彝; Pinyin: Bái Shòuyì)
Life: February 1909 AD – March 21, 2000)
Born a son of a Hui merchant in Kaifeng in North Henan Province, Bai Shouyi became literate in Arabic from his mother and aunt.
Bai Shouyi was a prominent Chinese Muslim historian, thinker, social activist and ethnologist who revolutionized recent Chinese historiography and pioneered it into a New Era during the post 1949 AD modernization drive in China. His "new" methods strongly reflect Marxist-Leninist Theory and Philosophy, combined with strict methods and rules as applied in its operations by the Communist Party itself and in western sciences, relying heavily on scientific excavations and meticulous reports. Nevertheless, the outcoming results, often published by the State Publisher - Beijing Foreign Language Press in Beijing, were strongly politically flavored.
Bai Shou Yi's works combined and seperate are unique works and thoughts from a unique bygone era not far in the past. His studies thus take a very class-centric view and reasoning.
Famous Muslims of New China - The Peoples Republic of China (1949 AD - Onwards)
Muhammad Ma Jian, or Muhammad Makin; Life: 1906 AD - 1978 AD) was a Chinese Islamic scholar and translator from Yunnan Province in South-West China.
He is the author of Today's most popular translation of the Muslim Holy Book Qur'an).
Born in Yunnan, Ma Jian went to Shanghai in 1928 AD to pursue his studies. In 1931 AD, he left China for Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt as a member of the first group of government-sponsored Chinese students to study there. While at the University in Cairo, he wrote a book in Arabic Language about Islam in China, and translated the Analects of Confucius into Arabic as well.
He returned from Egypt to China in 1939 AD. There he edited the Arabic-Chinese Dictionary and translated the Qur'an and other Islamic works. He became a professor of Beijing University in 1946 AD.
In 1981 AD, the China Social Science Press published his Chinese version of the Qur'an; an Arabic-Chinese bilingual version was later published by the Madinah-based King Fahd Holy Qur'an Printing Press of Saudi Arabia.
Muhammad Ma Jian - Scholar
Yusuf Ma Dexin, Life: 1794 AD -1874 AD was a Hui Chinese scholar of Islamic Descent from Yunnan, known for his fluency and proficiency in both Arabic and Persian, and for his knowledge of Islam.
He is credited with the First Ever translation of the Kuran (Qur'an) Muslim Holy Book into Chinese, published during the Reign of the Daoguang Emperor of the Ching Dynasty.
Life: ca. 1570 AD - ca. 1660 AD) was a Chinese Muslim (Hui) scholar. His given name was Ya, style name Daiyu. He called himself Zhenhui Laoren 真回老人 ("The True Old Man of Islam") and went by his style name.
As a child, Wang Daiyu learned from his father. Later, he studied under Ma Junshi from Nanjing. At the age of 20, he began studying Chinese and an intensive investigation of the writings of Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, as well as other miscellaneous teachings.
His earliest ancestor in the early Ming period came to China in the retinue of a Tributary Emissary through the Silk Road from Central Asia to China from the West.
As a Muslim educated Holy Man and Scholar he was adept at the art of astronomy and calculating calendars.
Under the Ming Emperor Chongzhen (Xisong Reing Period) Wang became Head and Supervisor of the Imperial Observatory (Nanjing) on the Purple Mountain, and was granted a residence in Lu Fei Lane (present day South Hong Wu Street) in Nanjing. His descendants followed in this field.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of the Chongzhen Emperor, Wang Daiyu made a translation of Zhengjiao Zhenquan ("A True Explanation of the Right Religion (or Orthodox Faith)"), in twenty "juan" or parts, and began the enterprise of translating the Islamic scriptures (Qur'an as well the Hadith) into Chinese. Later, he also wrote Qingzhen Da Xue ("The Great learning of Islam") and Xizhen Zhengda ("Rare and True Answers").
Within Chinese Islamic circles, Wang Daiyu is known by the laudatory title, "Great Saint of the Qing Period."
Wang Daiyu - Ming Dynasty Official & Scholar
Liu Zhi - Qing Dynasty Scholar
Liu Zhi, Life: ca. 1660 AD - ca. 1739 AD. was a Chinese Muslim scholar of the Qing period native to Nanjing, Capital of Jiangsu Province.
Famed for his exploits to read and understand all Philosophies of the East and the West, attempting to reconcile the values of Islam with those found in Chinese Philosophies.
Locally famous in Nanjing City Muslim Community for having residence at the foot of Qingliangshan in Nanjing, a famed and a millenium old Islamic residential area of the City, with a historic hillside cemetary.
The "Ma Clique" of Warlord Generals
Bai Chongxi - Guangxi Warlord & Nationalist General
Famous Muslims of the Warlord Era (1911 AD - 1936/37 AD)
Famous Muslims of the Ching Dynasty Era (1644 AD - 1911 AD)
Famous Muslims of the Ming Dynasty Era (1368 AD - 1644 AD)
Tang Dynasty General An Lushan :
Famous Muslims in Chinese History :
This page was last updated on: May 23, 2017
The China Report
History of Islam in China and the distribution of the Islamic Faith in China :
Probably the most famous Chinese Muslim of all Time was Admiral Zheng He, also known as Sanbao throughout South-East Asia where many Temples are dedicated to him. The eunuch admiral, who was of Islamic Descent, led the 7 Grand Tributary Missions of the Fleet of Emperor Yongle (Reign Period 1403 AD–1424 AD) of the early Ming Dynasty (15Th Century). Sailing from Nanjing on the largest wooden ocean going vessels in world history, carrying tens of thousands of Chinese Soldiers and merchants, the Ming Navy fanned out across the oceans to seek contact with the neighboring States and Civilizations. Dubbed tribute missions by the Chinese themselves, the Muslim Admiral stood at the helm of the greatest maritime explorations the Chinese Nation ever saw. His expeditions are credited with exploring a new direct route from India to the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. Chinese ships reached Cape Agulhas -Africa's Southernmost Point- and sailed beyond it. How far beyond however is unknown.
Zheng He was a mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral. He was born in 1371 AD, in Yunnan Province. Initially captured in War, Zheng He, was enslaved, made a eunuch and rose the ranks to be a close confidant of the Yongle Emperor of China, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Between 1405 AD and 1433 AD, Yongle and succeeding Emperors sponsored a series of seven Naval expeditions, led by Zheng He to reach across South-East Asia, into the Indian Ocean, and as far away as The Arabian Peninsula (Yemen and Oman) and East Africa.
Far Less often mentioned, Fei Xin, Zheng He's translator and Ma Huan, a travel companion on the Fleet of Zheng He were also Muslims.
Throughout the Ages and Millenia there were many Famous and Important Muslims in Chinese History. There were Muslim Scholars and Scientists, Muslim Generals and even Muslim Officials. At No Time however, there was a Muslim Emperor. Only one came close. He was a revolting General of the Tang Dynasty, who unified large parts of the Nation behind (and under) himself, and gave his best attempts to overthrow the Throne and establish his own Dynasty. His Name was An Lushan.
General An Lushan was a Tang Dynasty General of born out of conquered lands of the Silk Road in the former Sogdian Kingdom (Persian-Turkish). An Lushan's mother was of Tujue ethnicity, from the Ashide clan. He was therefor part of the Turkic / Turcmenic Ethnic group and Non-Han.
Rising to Power under the Han Emperor Tang Taizhong, An Luan was appointed Commander in Chief of no less than than 3 Garrisons guarding and protecting in the North against the recurring attacks of the Northern Nomadic Tribes. In this position, the General was the de facto Military Ruler of all Territories North and beyond the Lower Flows of the Yellow River inlcuding large parts of Inner-Mongolia, a strategic and powerful position he would come to abuse when the Time was right. In 755 AD the time was near perfect.
Under the pretence of punishing a political Rival, General An Lushan commanded his troops to move south in an open attack and uprising against all other Tang Dynasty Troops. Due to the strategy and the considerable political discontent after the decline and corruption the Taizong Reign, the Rebellion was quite succesful and moved rapidly South from its base area in current day Hebei province (Fanyang City), along the economically vital Grand Canal, to reach LuoYang, Capital of Henan Province within the Year. This was a serious situation indeed.
After the Death of the Xuanzong Emperor and the crowning of his Son Li Heng as Emperor Tang SuZong An Luan finally revealed his true intend by declared himself Emperor of the Yan Dynasty, newly founded by himself and his Clan of followers. Having established a firm and impressive power-base, the new Great Yan Emperor now ambitiously prepared to move on the Tang Capital City of Chang 'An and the heartland of Tang Powers. He however miscalculated badly in his estimates.
The Battle for Southern and Central China did not go as planned and An Lushan did not become the First Emperor of China of Islamic Descent.
Although in control of a powerful army, the new Yan Emperor failed to conquer key strategic area's beyond LuoYang, preventing a further march on South China and a quick Victory over the Tang. The following Struggle in mountainous regions lasted for a full 2 years, after which the element of surprise in any move on South China had long passed. An Lushan's fortunes had turned, and they had turned upon himself.
The more the civil war was prolonged, the more the Rebellion started to run out steam and optimism.
No other options remained but to try and conquer the Capital of Chang 'An directly and make a head-on assault on the Tang Forces. The Imperial Tang were awaiting and ready.
The TianBao Rebellion lasted for eight years in total until 763 AD and sent the Empire into formidable turmoil. It was grandiose Civil War and was nearly successful in toppling the Tang Dynasty. In 756 AD, the Yan Troops even managed to capture the Tang Capital at Chang'An (current day Xi'an). A new Yan Dynasty was established there, but lasted only briefly while the real Emperor had escaped to the West (current day Sichuan Province) to carry on the Tang Dynasty and fight back.
According to historic sources An Lushan, the Yan Emperor, suffered severe health problems at the end of his lifetime. Possibly it was Syphilis, a common illness at the time. The ambitious General turned Emperor had turned nearly blind, and suffered from ulcers on his body. His mind suffered, his temper became terrible, and his servants, if they had caused him any ill will, would often be whipped or caned, and sometimes even executed. Since declaring his Imperial Title, An Lushan spent most of his time inside his Imperial Palace in Luoyang (Henan Province), and his subordinate generals rarely saw him. In fact, the most important affairs were handled by high official Yan Zhuang.
In the End, An Lushan, Emperor Yan was assassinated by his own Crown Prince, An Qingxu, who prevented the old General Emperor to change his will and appoint another Heir apparent.
On the night of January 29, 757 AD,with the Crown Prince An Qingxu in close proximity, his close assistant Li Zhu'er took a sword and Killed An Lushan.
In the aftermath of the attack, murder and Coup D'Etat its was first announced to the Yan officials that An Lushan was seriously ill and was appointing An Qingxu crown prince or heir apparent.
Soon after the original Crown Prince An Qingxu, who murdered his Father took the throne, before announcing An Lushan's death.
An Qingxu could be contend. He was Victorious and would be the Emperor to continue the a brandnew Dynasty. The world was his. Or was it ???
Unfortunatly for the new Emperor, the sweetness of Victory through betrayal turned sour quite fast. In a continuance of the intrigues, An Qingxu himself was deposed and murdered not two years later, providing a final end to the Story of General-Emperor An Lushan.
After Shi Siming killed An Qingxu in 759 AD and took imperial title himself, the body of An Lushan was (re)buried with ceremony due an imperial prince, not an emperor, receiving the rather unflattering posthumous Imperial Title of La (剌, meaning "unthinking").
An Lushan the General had gambled all, won through all struggles and battles to become Emperor, only to be deposed
and discarded off. In the end his work did not pay off and his person and family were largely forgotten. The Tang Emperor returned Victorious and there would be one more period of relative peace and prosperity before the Tang died.
Ming Dynasty Admiral Zheng He :
Much Later, during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 AD - 1368 AD), Muslims from Central Asia and the Middle East were instrumental in the Conquest over Cathay (China). As a result they were given elevated status over the native Han Chinese in Mongol Empire and inside political circles throughout it. During the Yuan Era there were many prominent Muslims who were trusted associates of the highest levels of the Imperial Government.
This tradition was copied by the succeeding Ming Dynasty, who -although of Han origin- needed skilled officials to administer the many corners of the Empire just as badly as anyone did.
Several of the commanding Generals of Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, were Muslims. Among them, the three founding Generals of the Dynasty, Lan Yu, Mu Ying and Hu Dahai.
In 1388 AD, General Lan Yu led a strong imperial Ming army out and North of the Great Wall of China beyond which the Mongols had been regrouping eversince they had been pushed out of the Great Wall at JiayuGuan in 1368 AD, marking the 1st Year and Start of the Ming Dynasty Hong Wu Reign.
In the desert and grasslands of Inner & Outer Mongolia the General won a decisive victory over the Mongols, breaking up the regrouped Mongol Forces and effectively ending any Mongol ambitions for counter-attack and the re-conquering of the Chinese Heartlands. As the final Victor over the Mongol Armies, Lan Yu became a National Hero, and is a General who is fairly well-known historically even today.
Lan Yu was later killed by the Emperor, along with several others, in a purge of those deemed to be a potential threat to his heir apparent.
Mu ying was one of the few capable generals who survived the massacre of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. He and his descendants guarded Yunnan, a province in South-West China near Bhurma, Laos and Vietnam, until the end of the Ming Dynasty.
Other Islamic Generals of the Ming Dynasty include Feng Sheng, Ding Dexing and Hu Dahai, the latter renowned in history as one of the Three founding Generals of the Ming Dynasty.
Among the Famed Muslims of the Qing Dynasty Era are first and foremost the Leaders of Rebellions in predominantly Ethnic Islamic Area's and Regions of the Empire, located far away from the Imperial Capital at Beijing. Among the most well-known and revered (among their own Ethnic and/or Religious Groups) are Du Wenxiu (=Yang Xiu) and Ma Hualong, who were the leaders of the Panthay Rebellion. A Third Muslim General, the supreme Commander Ma Dexin discredited himself and was made notorious by his betrayal, selling out to the Ching Court in 1861 AD.
The Panthay Rebellion was a Muslim Uprising which ignited in Yunnan Province in South-West China in 1856 AD. In China, the Rebellion is also known as the Du Wenxiu Rebellion after its second Main Leader, Rebel General Du.
It was a Revolt against severe discrimination against Muslims established by the Ching after various earlier Muslim uprising since the year 1848 AD, and against the burden of heavy taxes levied by The Empire on the Territory of Yunnan in a desperate effort to pay the indemnities demanded by Foreign Nations after the 1st Opium War.
Although Mountainous and Rugged, the Towns and Cities in the Province had thrived economically on the extensive trade with trade caravans along what later became known as the "Burma Road". Year after year of increased taxation however collapsed the trade and the economy, leading almost inevitably to a Peasant Revolt.
The first to take to arms were the Muslim population of Yunnan, who had been socially excluded and left powerless. They Rose up under Leadership of Hui Generals, Du Wenxiu (1823 AD–1872 AD) and his Lieutenant Ma Hualong, all members of a Muslim Elite who were disgruntled by being excluded from the official class and promising administrative positions.
Although the original tensions were longer standing, the initial troubles in Yunnan originated in 1853 AD from a conflict over Mining Rights between newly arrived Han and original Muslim tin miners. From an economic dispute, the whole affair quickly degenerated into an Ethnic Affair followed by mutual violence.
In the year 1854 AD, the Empire struck back ruthlessly, organizing a hunt-down and massacre of Muslims in Yunnan Province. Tens of Thousands were killed, homes and villages burned and the uprising quelled.
Starting in 1855 AD the Muslim majority of Yunnan rebelled against the oppressive policies they had been subjected to. But only after Han provocations.
What sparked the Muslim Fury enough to lead to Rebellion was the destruction of Muslim Mosques, an affront that lead to a widespread desire among the Muslim Populace for Revenge. Not much later, the local aristocracy led their Muslim Towns Folk into a universal and well-planned uprising that swept the Province. In no Time there raged a full scale War between the Han supported by the Imperial Armies and the Rebellious Muslim Population.
While the Muslim Generals held out in their Mountain-locked Province, the Empire tried to mend things in Yunnan Territory through negotiations with and bribing of the Rebel Leaders, a shrewd, and customary tactic in Chinese Feudal Politics.
After lengthy negotiations and promise of money and titles, the Commander in Chief of the Rebels Ma Dexin, finally agreed to (re-)submit to the Qing Throne in 1861 AD, only to be succeeded as Commander in Chief by General Du Wenxiu (杜文秀; pinyin: Dù Wénxiù), an ethnic Hui born in Yongchang in Yunnan.Thus the Rebellion continued regardless of Imperial Plots to subdue it.
Du Wenxiu went on to become Sulayman ibn `Abd ar-Rahman, Sultan of Yunnan and lived on until 1873 AD.
His troops managed to capture the City of Dali but not the Capital of Kunming.
By 1871 AD the Rebel Sultanate was in its decline. Recovering after a second Opium War in 1860 AD and the demise of the Taiping Rebellion, the Empire launched a well-equipped campaign into Yunnan supported by Foreign Finance and War materials. Inevitably the Muslims Rebels were going to lose out, cornered in their mountain bulwark.
The Rebellion eventually imploded, leaving the Yunnan Muslims, mainly in the Western Regions, to suffer a terrible and bloody revenge from their Imperial Rulers. Dali, the city with the Three Marvelous Pagoda's, fell in January of 1873 AD, putting an end to resistance. The first ones to suffer were the Rebel Sultan and his Generals, but all the others would follow. The head of Du Wenxiu, preserved in honey, was sent off to Beijing to be presented to a -no doubt - pleased Emperor. After Du Wenxiu had been "dispatched", the population would be taught a lesson.
In a pattern many times repeated in Chinese History, the Army moved in to root out the stragglers. Those that didn't or couldn't flee across the borders into Thailand, Bhurma and Laos, mainly the peasantry was left in their villages at the hand of the advancing troops. During the Rebellion and aftermath up to a Million (Muslim) Yunnanese were butchered. Often wholesale, villages at a time. Their homes were burned, and for many long years after the survivors and their families would be excluded from all benefits by the Empire.
They were left to fend for themselves and overtime established themselves as traders, traveling merchants and smugglers in the Mountainous Regions between China and Bhurma and Thailand. The descendants of Rebel Muslims from China settled in border area's becoming known as the Panthay Tribe of the Bhurmese Border Regions.
The Ma clique of warlords during the Republic of China era. These ere "Generals" Ma Bufang, Ma Chung-ying, Ma Fuxiang, Ma Hongkui, Ma Hongbin, Ma Lin, Ma Qi, Ma Hun-shan.
The Ma Clique together were the Warlords overseeing and ruling Parts of Ningxia (AR) and Inner-Mongolia, as well as North and Western-Gansu province. In short - The Ma Clique Members held power over the Hui Hui people and their Territories.
Bai Chongxi, Life: 18 March 1893 – 1 December 1966.
General in the Army of Republic of China (, aka the Nationalist Army or KuoMinTang Army).
Chief of Staff of the Nationalist Armies during the Northern Expeditions (1926 AD - 1928 AD).
Commander of the 1927 AD Shanghai Garrison. "Butcher of Shanghai".
Although officially sub-ordinate to Generalissimo Chiang-Kai Check, the Head of the National Government of The Republic of China, in practice Bai Chongxi was and independent warlord with a large power-base in what today is Guanxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in South China. More notorious than famous, He died in 1966 AD and lies buried in Tapei, Taiwan.