Chinese Uighur Muslims Points to Ponder । Md. Eftekhairul Islam Mithun
Muhammad (PBUH) advised his Sahabas to go to a distant country like China for learning. It was said because the country had a diverse culture and they were prosperous. The country is confined within high hills and mountains. Not only that all big rivers driven from this country. They were also highly educated then. It is true that paper had been invented in China when rest of the world literature was oral and when the rhymes of the Qur’an were written on the piece of stones, leaf of the trees and on the animal skins as well. Depending and believing this speech of Muhammad (SM), Sahabas had started journey to China.
China borders with many countries, like, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Vietnam, North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Having border with so many Muslim countries, the Muslims had taken shelter to the province near Muslim populated country. Muslims look place in China’s far western Xinxiang province. It is more than 16,65,000 Km2 area with 2.13 crore people.
Islam was introduced in China in 650 A.D., when Waqqas (R) was sent as an official envoy to Emperor Gao-zong during Caliph Uthman’s (R) reign.
RELIGIOUS PRACTICE IN CHINA
China is the largest populous country in the world although it is not the biggest one. China, having a plenty of population, is a country with a great diversity when it comes to the question of religion. Buddhism is their main religion. Besides, there are Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism. It is called that citizens of China are allowed to choose and express their religious faith, and make clear their religious affiliations. There are 74 religious organizations and colleges run by religious organizations. Buddhism has a history of 2,000 years in China including 13,000 Buddhist temples and 1,700 living Buddhas. Taoism has a history of more than 1,700 years including 1,500 Taoist temples and more than 25,000 Taoist priests and nuns. Islam was introduced into China intermittently in the seventh century, 616 – 18 AD. So, it has also 1,400 years of history in China including 30,000 old mosques and 40,000 Imams and Akhunds (Scholars). Catholicism and Protestantism were first brought to China in the early 19th century and widely spread after Opium War in 1840. They have 22,000 clergy, 16,600 church and some 25,000 meeting places throughout China.
PROTECTION TO FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF
Many ethnic groups are living in China. The Chinese government formulated a policy of equality, unity and mutual assistance among all the ethnic groups. While making great efforts to promote progress in economy, culture, education and other undertakings in the areas where ethnic minorities live in compact communities, so as to improve the mental and cultural well-being of the broad masses of the ethnic minorities, the Chinese Government pays special attention to their religious beliefs and protection of their cultural heritages. The Chinese Government respects and protects the Muslims’ freedom of religious belief as well as their folk custom. The departments have provided special pilgrimage related services for Muslims pilgrims. Since the 1980s, the number of Chinese Muslims going to Mecca on pilgrimages has exceeded 40,000. In the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region alone, there are now more than 23,000 mosques having met the believers’ religious life. Considering the dietary habits and funeral rites of Muslims, the Chinese government has enacted regulations on the product of ‘Halal’ food and opened Muslims only cemeteries.
ISLAM IN CHINA
Sahaba, companions of Prophet Muhammad (SM), introduced Islam in China in 616 AD. Paper was invented two years after the arrival of Muslims in China during the Tang Dynasty in 618 AD.
Attaching much importance to the speech of Prophet (SM) Sahabas felt the urge of visiting China for their education. They discovered most of the Chinese seaports. According to the Chinese Muslims traditional legendary accounts, Wahab Ibn Abu Kabcha (R) reached Canton by sea in 629 AD. Sa’ad Ibn Abu Waqqas (R), Sayid (R), Wahab Ibn Abu Kabcha (R) and another anonymous Sahaba introduced Islam in China. Sa’ad Ibn Abu Waqqas (R) along with three Sahabas, namely Suhayla Abuarja (R), Uwais Al-Qarani (R) and Hassan Inn Thabit (R), returned to China from Arabia in 637 AD by Yunan-Manipur Chattogram route, then reached Arabia by sea.
But some sources tell that Islam was introduced in China in 650 A.D., when Waqqas (R) was sent as an official envoy to Emperor Gao-zong during Caliph Uthman’s (R) reign. In the time of the third Caliph, Uthman (R), the Holy Qur’an is alphabetically visible on paper. So, that is why Uthman (R) is called the ‘Collector of the Holy Qur’an’. Muslims have been contributing to development of China since they came into country. Muslims quickly increased in China at the time of Ikhtiyar al-Din Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khaljiat, a Turkic tribe long settled in what is now southern Afghanistan, in 13th century. Some Indian Muslims took shelter in Xinjiang at the time of Mughal Empire from 1526-1707.
Since Muslims practicing their religion and becoming civilized in manner, thinking and views, the Chinese Government is trying to transform them into so called communism. Where there are a number of differences between Islam and communism, traditional Muslims and migrate new Muslims from other religion are not accepting the Chinese formulated low and regulations. As they are denying the government creates pressure on Muslims and captivates numerous them, in the name of ‘re-education’. The Chinese Government says that we are arresting them to learn the law and regulations of China. In their talking, it is easily understood that what Muslims are teaching and practicing is ancient and not fit of present days as well as not right! Where Allah (ST) says that He sent Prophet (SM) to teach the wrongful human civilization; as a teacher of all creations. The most different is that the Government of China follows the truth that they are solely powerful in the country but Muslims belief Allah (ST) is all sources of power. So, the Government of China in the name of ‘re-education’ transfers where there was no building before, to imprison Muslims, they had built these red prisons.
b. To Remove the Devotion to Islam:
The building sits behind a fence topped with barbed wire on the line of a desert in far western China. Large red characters on the façade urge people to learn Chinese; study law and acquire job skills. Guards clearly mentioned that visitors are not welcome. Inside the building, hundreds of Uighur Muslims spend their horrified days in a high-pressure indoctrination program. In where they are forced to listen to lectures, sing hymns praising the Chinese Communist Party and writes ‘self-criticism’ essays. In this circumstance, we easily conceive that the goal of detaining Muslims is to remove any devotion to Islam.
c. Considering Terrorists:
Muslims are being considered as terrorist all over the world by their recent activities. Honestly speaking, Muslims are following the latest, supreme and a unique code of behavioral conduct. For practicing such behavior and manner, they are to be considered terrorists. Being afraid of riot that happened between Hui and Uighur minorities; 200 people were killed; they think civil-war may be happened in the name of wanting freedom of Xinjiang, because Muslims destroys brotherhood in Iraq and Afghanistan between in the name of Sunni and Shiah. For this reason, the Chinese Government takes pre-step to stop violence. Going to stop violence, they are making oppression, killing and arresting Muslims. The Chinese Government keep eyes on the Uighur Muslims, because they are demanding Xinjiang as Second East Turkistan which was illegally incorporated into the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and has since been under Chinese occupation. The Chinese Government also confuses if the Uighur gives shelter to accidental amiss Muslims and the Chinese Government tells, “There are Uighur that have fled overseas and joined Islamic State,” said Zhang Chunxian, Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang. “The organization has a huge international influence and Xinjiang can’t keep aloof from it and we have already been affected. We have also found that some who fought returned to Xinjiang to participate in terrorist plots.”
NOT APPRECIATING RELIGIOUS PRACTICES
The Government forbade “Azan”. They are scuppering ‘Mosques’. They are forbidding Muslims not to fast in Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. They have warned against wearing Hijab. In the beginning of the Islamic history in China, Muslims contributed a lot to the society. As a diverse religious country China had given Uighur Muslims opportunities including government jobs. But, nowadays, they have to strive to continue with their job.
For the time being the treatment of Chinese Muslims is very bad. In the modern world, everyone has rights to observe their religious activities.
Uighur Muslims are not going to drink alcohol; to eat porkpies; to marry non-Muslims. They are only going to the mosques to say five times prayer. When Prophet Muhammad (SM) was 40, Allah (ST) sent a holy angel with some of 5 verses/rhymes. Among them the first word was “Iqra”. This word may have double meaning to all, I guess. The first is ‘read to know something’. And the second one is ‘read for search something’.