Edward Harper Parker.

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with other religions.

It is a remarkable thing that, while the Chinese
annals are clear about the Persian and Babylonian


religions which came and went during a couple of
centuries, none of their histories record a single
word about the introduction into China of the
Mohammedan faith, the only one which has come
to stay, and has taken deeper root than any other
foreign teaching introduced from those parts : the
numbers of Mussulmans in China may not exceed
those of Buddhists ; but for steadfastness of purpose,
and influence on the social and moral character,
there is no comparison between the serious Chinese
Mussulman and the superficial Chinese Buddhist.
Buddhism appeals rather to the women of China.
The Chinese first heard of the Arabs in 651,
immediately after the defeat and death of the
Persian King, Yezdegerd, when the flight of his
son, Piruz, to China (i.e. Tokhara) evidently made
the Mussulman conquerors anxious. An embassy
from Othman — or "King Emir-al-mumemin " as
the Chinese endeavour to put it in their awkward
phonetic character — sent a tribute mission, announc-
ing: that he ruled over the Tazih,^ " which state
had already existed under two successive rulers
for thirty-four years." The Chinese histories of
the period, in describing the Tazih, mention the
veiling of their women, and the worship five times
a day of the Spirit of Heaven. "There is a rites-
hall (mosque) holding several hundred people ;
every seven days the king sits aloft, and,

^ It has not yet been absolutely proved whether the Persian word
for "trader" or "nomad" is primarily meant; but it seems to be
generally agreed that Tazih in effect represents the Persian word for
" Arabs," whichever of the two it be.


preaching to the people, says : 'He who dies in
battle is born in Heaven above ; he who kills an
enemy receives bliss.' " They then proceed to
describe the rise of Mohammed at " Medina
Mountains"; the "Black stone" (Kaaba), and
the prophecies which moved him to action ; these
events are put down to a period embraced within
the Chinese reign 605-617.^ "He grew powerful,
extinguished Persia, and broke up Fuh-lin " —
evidently alluding to Khalid's taking of Damascus
in 635 and to the battle of KadisTya in 637, of
course after Mohammed's death in 632. "South
he assailed the Brahm," — as the Chinese had always
styled the Punjaub region ; probably referring to
the events of 676. " K'ang and Shih all went to
him as vassals ; east were the Tiirgas." These are
the Chinese names for Samarcand and Tashkend ;
Ziyad crossed the Oxus against the Turks and
Samarcand in or about the year 676 ; the Tiirgas
(so-called in the Turkish inscriptions too) were a
branch of the Western Turks. In the year 713
another Arab mission came, and the envoy declined
to kneel to the Emperor on the ground that "the
men of our state only kneel to Heaven, and do
not kneel before the king." There was some
angry discussion on this point, and a conciliatory
statesman endeavoured to mollify the ruffled emperor
by pleading Qtwt homines, tot sententiae ; however
the envoy did under severe pressure kneel after
all. The rest of Arab history down to the

This error in date is explained lower down.


succession of the Black Clothes (Abbassides) is

told with as much accuracy as one has a rio-ht

to expect. The Arabs defeated at Talas the

Corean general in command of the Chinese armies

of the West in 751. Abu Djafar^ is said to have

lent China some troops in 756-757 to cooperate with

the Ouigours in rescuing China from her difficulties.

/ In 758 the Arabs and the Ouigours had a squabble

about precedence at an imperial audience, when a

suitable compromise was devised. In the same

year the Arab and Persian soldiers and merchants

at Canton conspired to attack the city, which was

abandoned by the Governor. We may conclude

from this that there may have been Mazdean,

Manichean, and Arab places of worship at Canton

and other coast ports ; but, if there were, we know

nothing specific of them as yet. In the year 798

/ envoys from the ruler Harun once more went

through the kneeling process. The above slender

sketch comprises everything specific and certain

■^ that we can gather from Chinese history, or, in

fact, from Chinese works of any sort, concerning

the Mohammedan religion up to the time of

Genghis Khan (say 1200).

It has been stated by several European writers
that a monument — somewhat similar to the well-
authenticated Nestorian tablet — has in recent times
been discovered at Si-an Fu, bearing the date 742,
and stating some of the facts just cited about the

1 The Chinese character for this far or/er is exactly that used for
Fanngh (Fuh-hn or Franks).


earliest penetration of Islam into China ; but no
one has yet come forward to say that he has
himself seen such alleged tablet ; nor can any of
the Europeans who allude to it give any better
authority for their statements than the very
modern (and only) Chinese works devoted to a
study of the Mussulman question, none of which
date farther back than 1651, and all of which bear
evidence of defective or imaginative workmanship.
It is, of course, possible that it may have been
the policy of the officially recognised historians, or
of the emperors under whose segis their works
were always published, to conceal or slur over facts
connected with foreigners which it might at some
future date prove politically inconvenient to have
on record. At least two first - class Chinese
historians have been emasculated as a punishment
for talking too freely about royal follies and obscure
royal origins ; but, in view of the frankness with
which Turkish, Tibetan, Japanese, Corean, and
other foreign politics have been invariably dis-
cussed, it is difficult to see why the more distant
Arabs and their religion should have created more
alarm than the much nearer Persian beliefs. The
real explanation is probably this : Tibet, and later,
the powerful Tibeto - Tartar kingdom of Tangut
north of Tibet, for many centuries formed a barrier
between China and the West, until Genghis Khan
started upon his wonderful career of conquest by
first subduing Tangut. To put it in another
form — between the fall of the T'ang dynasty (907)

144 ISLAM [chap

and the reuniting of most of China under the Sung
dynasty (960), lacerated China had no time to
think of religion or distant policy ; and during the
300 years of Sung rule (960-1260), the Cathayan,
Nuchen, and Mongol Tartars in succession governed
as rival emperors north of the Yellow River. The
more southerly Sung dynasty from its inception
was in principle unwarlike, literary, and peace-
loving ; entirely opposed to unnecessary expansion.
Its relations with the Arabs were extensive, but
almost entirely mercantile, and by the sea routes.
A quiet penetration of Mussulman principles,
especially at the coast ports, is not unlikely to
have run its unobtrusive course ; but, however
that may be, for 300 or more years after the
Caliph Hariin-al-Rashid's mission to China in
798, not a single word is said about any Arab
religion, about any of the Turkestan states having
adopted or been forced to accept Islam, or about
even the mere fact that a name existed for
" Mussulman," which name solely and exclusively
has existed in that sense for nearly 800 years
past. Mussulman history begins with the year
1 1 24 ; history never mentions a name previous to

The following are the facts on historical record.
When the Cathayans lost their empire in North
China to the Niichens, one of the Cathayan princes
mustered all the forces he could, and determined
to found an empire in Persia. On arrival at Kan
Chou (Marco Polo's Campichu), he reminded the


Hwei-huh (Ouigour) king reigning there that for
over ten generations he had enjoyed the patronage
of Cathayan suzerains ; " I am now about to pro-
ceed to the Tazih, and want a road through your
dominions, etc." Bilga Khan offered him every
hospitahty. Then he went on to Samarcand,
fought various battles, and after subduing several
states "received at Samarcand the submission
and tribute of the Hwei-hwei (Mussulman) king."
The use of this word does not, of course, create
the word Mussulman ; but as, ever after, the word
means exclusively " Mussulman," the effect is the
same. The modern Pekingese put a final r at
the end of most nouns as a diminutive, and when
this is done, the final vowel or nasal is often
modified. Thus Hwei-hur and Hwei-kwer, freely
uttered, are as indistinguishable as our sounds
sailor and sailer. Hence when 150 years ago
the Manchu Emperor K'ien-lung, after conquering
the Turkestan states, and establishing a mosque
for the captive Mussulmans in Peking, looked up
his history of Ouigour relations with China, he
officially announced to his people that "the
Mussulmans now amongst us, are the identical
Mussulmans (Ouigours) who came with mullas
(Mani) iioo years ago." Thus the not unnatural
confusion between two different ideas has received
imperial sanction ; the second confusion of the
word mulla with the word Mani is proved by
the imperial dedication being written in Turkish,
Mongol, and Manchu as well as in Chinese. But



it is plain from the Cathayan history, quoted above,
that, 650 years before the Manchu emperor's
mistake, the fugitive Cathayan prince visited or
saw first the Ouigour Khagan Bilga, and then the
Mussulman king (probably of Otrar), at intervals
of several weeks ; and this at places thousands
of miles apart, but in the same year. There
is another point. Although the sign hwei of
"Ouigour" may be the same as the reduplicated
sipfn hwei of " Mussulman," still it need not be
so, and the oldest form was not so ; on the other
hand the hwei of "Mussulman" has never once
varied. It is useless to speculate why the Mussul-
mans were so called ; but, if conjecture is to be
allowed, then M. Deveria's conjecture that the
Moslems are in the habit of addressing each
other as "brother" khouya (plural khaoua) e.g.,
ya khouya, "my brother," is as suggestive as any.
The reason why in 1 1 24 the fugitive Cathayan
was making for Persia (where remains of his tomb
still exist) is that in 924, when the founder of the
Cathayan empire conquered the Ouigours, he
"received tribute missions" from the Arabs and
Persians on the River Orkhon. This manifestly
means that the foreign traders already there had
hastened to signify their submission. In 1020 the
reigning Caliph sent a real mission, begging that
a Cathayan princess might be given in marriage
to his son. Persia did not continue official relations
with Cathay, and indeed she had for long dis-
appeared as a separate political entity, and was a


prey to Samanide, Ghaznevide, Seldjuk, and other
Turks, so far as she was not directly under the
Caliphs' rule. Thus the Cathayan prince of 1 1 24
had historical ties in the West, and was simply
making his way through a number of petty states
to the only great empire — Tazih — which lay to the
west of North China.

It is known in a general way that Islam spread
over Central Asia during the ninth and tenth
centuries, and that the Ouigours (known to the
Mohammedan writers as ''Eastern Turks")
extended their empire during the same period
far away west to the Caspian ; but, so far as we
can judge from Chinese history, their religion in
the eastern parts continued on old lines, and in
the few instances where it is mentioned at all,
the notice clearly refers only to Buddhism or
Brahmanism. But from the moment (i 203) Genghis
Khan commenced his struggle with '' Prester John "
of the Keraits (who had previously fled through
the Ouigour country to the Mussulman country),
and passed on to the conquests of Otrar, a flood
of Mohammedans of all kinds, Arabs, Persians,
Bokhariots, converted Turks — and doubtless
Ouigours — passed freely to and fro, and scattered
themselves gradually over China itself, in a way
they had never done before ; for, as Marco Polo
and Chinese history both tell us, the Mongols
could not trust the native Chinese with high
office. Marco Polo, also frequently mentions
the " Saracens," and their hostility to other sects,



at various places on the route from Persia to
China ; and this vague word of his corresponds
to the equally vague Chinese word Hwei-hwei.
Although the history of the Mongol dynasty (1200-
1368) is carelessly written, more especially as
concerns foreign proper names, there does not
seem to be one single instance of this word being
used to signify specifically " Ouigour," or to mean
anything except " Mussulman." On the other
hand, many prominent generals and ministers of
the Mongol Khans, who from their names and
acts are manifestly Mussulmans, are occasionally
stated to be of Ouigour nationality. Of these
the celebrated Achmat (of Marco Polo) was one,
but it is said "of his provenance nothing whatever
is known." The explanation, or at least the
inference, naturally is that many Ouigours had
either before or during Mongol domination
accepted Islam. The Mongols themselves seem
to have perceived the awkwardness of this
confusing nomenclature, at least if we may judge
from the "spelling" adopted in their annals,
which probably record at each date the written
form used in the documents filed at such successive
date, and subsequently copied by the historian.
At first they wrote Hwei-ho-r, but gradually
they adopted a quite new form, which could not
possibly be confused with the word meaning
" Mussulman " ; this new form was Wei-wu-r.
In 1262, after the accession of Kublai Khan, a
decree appears ordering that Musu-aiman


(Mussulmans), Hwei-ho-r (Ouigours), and other
persons (named) of foreign religion, shall do
their share of military duty. In 1270 the Hivei-
hwei of all provinces were ordered to serve in the
army ; this points to there being members of
that religion already widely scattered ; for the
whole of China was by this time conquered. In
1 27 1 a Mussulman observatory was established
at Peking, with a Persian named Djamal-uddin
at the head of it ; the following year it was
ordered that the Mussulman almanac should
not be sold without proper authorisation. In 1272
a Medical Hall was started at Peking by the
Mussulman Aisie (perhaps Isaiah) from Fuh-lin ;
his sons bore the names of Elias and Gioro-is.
Mussulman gunners, Ismail and others, attained
great notoriety, having come from Persia with
their whole families post haste to Peking in order
to assist at the siege of certain towns. In 1280
the Emperor displayed great indignation because
the Mussulmans in his suite or on his service
caused distress to the people by declining to eat
mutton which had not been slaughtered by them-
selves. In 1282 both Mustiman and Erkun'^
(Mussulman and Christian) chiefs at Quilon in
India send missions to Kublai. In 1284 Hwei-
hwei and Wei-wu-r are both placed on a Mongol
footing as regards their capacity to serve as district
governors. In 1289 a Mussulman High School
was established, and about 200 Mussulman

^ This term is explained in Chapter IX.


families were given parcels of land in Ho
Nan province. In 1290 occurs a passage which
may possibly explain the mysterious Persian
term Dungan, or " Chinese Mussulman," the
origin of which has for very many years puzzled
students of Asiatic history ; in that year 3000
Thtg-kie-r Mussulman families were supplied
with cattle and seed — unfortunately no further
details are given. The same year it was recom-
mended to Kublai by one Shab-uddin that
the punishment of branding and cutting off the
hand at the wrist should be introduced to meet
cases of peculating government stores. Kublai
said : " This is the Mussulman practice," and
declined to sanction it. In 1297 the Mussulmans
were ordered to farm the taxes on trade in China
proper. In 131 1 the Mussulman observatory is
again mentioned, and certain limitations are
placed on the right of those of the Mussulman
shuh (craft) to visit the private houses of princes
and ministers; certain Mussulman hati (?hadji)
who "pray for happiness," are also alluded to,
as also a bureau to which they were attached.
In 132 1 a Mussulman monastery at Shang-tu
{" Xanadu," or Upper Capital, near the present
Dolonor or Lama-miao) was destroyed, and its
glebes were given over to the Tibetan patriarch.
In 1328 the "Bureau of the hati managing the
concerns of their religion " was suppressed ; but
it was found that many of the Mussulmans had
been implicated with one Abdullah and others


executed for treason ; however, the innocent were
told not to be afraid, and to resume their occupa-
tions in peace. In 1340 the Mussuhnans and
Chi-u (emsiles (Jews) were prohibited from marrying
with their uncles. In 1354 the Mussulmans and
Shuh-hu (Jews) were ordered to take part in the
defence of the tottering empire.

Not only is the term Hivei-hwei (which seems
to be called Miisu-ai-man or Mttsu-man only or
usually in allusion to sea-coming Mussulmans) used
absolutely always in the single sense of " Mussul-
mans " ; but it is manifest that all the science
and art of the West came solely through them.
On the other hand, the Ouigours, besides from
first to last beinof named in the same sentences
as being different persons from Mussulmans (except
when they happen themselves to be Mussulmans),
are mentioned in senses which show that they were
quite a different class of people. Thus the Ouigour
script, which the Mongols are known to have
first used, and which is also known to have been
derived from the Syriac, was in 1272 replaced,
so far as imperial decrees were concerned, by the
newly-invented Mongol script. In 1275 and 1287
certain game laws were established for Ouigour
land. Bishpalik is frequently mentioned as a
Ouigour centre, and the Ouigour kings are often
given their well-authenticated title of Idikut. In
1 28 1 a Mongol history was published in Ouigour
character; in 1286 the same thing was ordained
for Genghis Khan's history. In 1283 a distin-


guished Ouigour and Buddhist had a dispute with
and defeated a Western bonze in connection with
astrology. In 1310 Ouigour bonzes were impHcated
in a conspiracy. In 1324 the Tibetan sutras were
translated into Ouigour character, and in 1331
sutras in ©old Ouio^our letters are mentioned. In
1329 Ouigour bonzes were ordered to conduct
certain Buddhist services. In 1336 the Emperor's
mother is stated to have been a Ouigour ; and,
as the empire gradually collapsed, the Idikuts
faithfully marched their troops east to try and
save it.

Thus it is quite clear that, so far as Mongol
history is concerned, there may be an excuse for,
but there is no real ground for the oft-repeated
plea that "Ouigour" and "Mussulman" run into
each other and become one. It is true that more
than one Manchu emperor may have thought so, and
that many distinguished European sinologists have
followed them into the trap ; but all is clear when
sufficient patience is exercised. It will be con-
venient to recur to the subject when the Jews
are discussed.

It is doubtful if the word " Mussulman " occurs
more than once during the three centuries of indulgent
native Chinese rule (Ming dynasty, 1368- 1673), at
least in connection with inland affairs. This
dynasty, for the first hundred years at least, was
particularly active in fostering the sea trade of the
Indian Ocean, from Africa to the Malay States ; and,
of course, most of these states were Mussulman.


Mussulman interpreters accompanied the Chinese
eunuch envoys in charge. In 1407 there was
founded an Interpreters' College, the duty of which
was to prepare and translate tribute addresses,
commands to vassals, and rules for foreign envoys.
The Arabo - Persian department dealt with the
affairs of Samarcand, Arabia, Turfan, and Hami,
which two latter kingdoms were still partly, if not
wholly, under Ouigour rule. It is repeatedly said,
however, that in consequence of their having
been so long under Mongol rule, these principalities,
and especially Hami, had three contending parties
among the population, the Hwei-kwei (Mussulman),
Wei-wu-r (Ouigour), and Hala-hwei (not identified,
but possibly Karluks) : the Mussulman party was
very powerful, and apparently often interfered very
effectually in matters of succession, diplomacy, and
so on. One of the neighbouring towns is stated
to have belonged formerly " to the Mussulman "
country — probably referring to some part under
Tamerlane's influence. One of the contending-
Turfan - Hami princes was named Achmat ; and,
curiously enough, Hami (through which nearly all
missions from the West passed) is accused of
"blocking the tribute road of the Hivei-heh'' (old
term for Ouigours) of the Western Regions, who
would therefore appear to have been detached
from the easterly Buddhist group. A long account
of Tamerlane's empire is given — Samarcand, Herat,
etc. ; — the fast of Ramadan is described ; and
mention is made of certain officials called ddwwan.

154 ISLAM [chap.

In the paragraphs devoted to Arabia, an account
is given of Mohammed and Ismail (evidently
Ismael, the supposed progenitor of the Arabs) ;
but the scrappy way in which the Mussulman
faith is described proves that, however common
Mohammedans may have been on the high road
to China, scarcely anything was known of them
in China itself. We may therefore say that,
up to the advent of the Manchu dynasty 260
years ago, the history of Islam in China, save for
what is said above, is a complete blank. If the
faith spread, as it probably did quietly, wherever
Abbassides and Ouigours had fought side by
side with the Chinese armies — e.g. in Yiin Nan
and Kan Suh provinces — no more official notice
was taken of it than was taken of Catholicism
in England previous to the Emancipation ; of
Protestantism in Spain previous to the recent
policy of bare toleration ; or of the Mormons in
America until they became a public nuisance. At
no period in China has "conscience" ever been in
the faintest degree persecuted, so long as State
policy, municipal convenience, and popular senti-
ment were in no way flouted. In this matter we
Europeans have scarcely had competence to teach
China any historical lessons in philosophy.

No sooner was the Manchu dynasty firmly
seated on the throne of China, than "the Mussul-
man states and Arabia sent tribute" (1645). This
laconic announcement almost certainly refers to
the Kuche, Yarkand, Khoten, and Kashgar group,


usually known to us cumulatively as Little Bucharia ;
during the Ming dynasty these had developed a
Mohammedan life under their old Mongol Khans
quite beyond the Chinese sphere ; latterly, it appears
under the suzerainty of the Eleuths of Hi, but more
immediately under the supreme rule of a certain
Mahmud and his descendants, who are supposed
to have come from Bagdad, and to have been direct
representatives of the prophet ; the tribes about
1640 began to desert the old Mongol Khans in
their favour. Even before this (1622) the Jesuits,
Schall and others, had been appointed by the last
emperor of the Ming dynasty to the Astronomical
Board at Peking, where it seems that Mussulmans
had for ages been employed as men of science.
At all events, in 1657, a Mussulman holding a
position on that Board, in denouncing the methods
of Schall, informed the Emperor that, " 1059 years
ago," eighteen men from the western regions
had brought to China the Mussulman calendar,
and their descendants had ever since assisted
China in astrological matters. The second Manchu
emperor, K'ang-hi, had to conduct in person several
wars against the Eleuth Tartars ; during the
course of these, in the year 1696, the prince of
a Mussulman State named Abdul Ishtar, or Ishid,
who had been sixteen years a hostage or captive
amongst the Eleuths, took advantage of his
escape, after the defeat of the Eleuths by the
Manchus, to offer the latter the assistance of
20,000 Yarkand Mussulman troops. These events


led the Emperor to enquire amongst the Mussulman
officers of his entourage if any of them were aware
why they and their co - religionists were called
Hwei-hwei. It turned out that no one had the
remotest idea. Then it was that K'ang-hi, who

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