Islam in Inner Mongolia

Most people outside of China do not know this but there are more Mongolians that live in China then Mongolians who live in the country of Mongolia itself! Most of them live in Chinese provinces of Inner Mongolia and Liaoning. A minority of Mongolians are also Muslims. I recently came across this article on “Muslim” tourism in Inner Mongolia which was an interesting read. Consider the following excerpt:

MOTHER and daughter were standing at the entrance of the Great Mosque in Hohhot, the main city in Inner Mongolia. “But it doesn’t look like a mosque, Mummy,” said eight-year-old Nur Aziqa Abu Zaren. “But it is. Look at the Arabic calligraphy on the walls,” explains Madam Rubiah Salleh, 38. At first glance, the traditional Mongolian architecture makes it look like a temple.

But closer scrutiny reveals some common features of a mosque such as the mihrab, which indicates the direction of Mecca. There are also several Qurans on the shelves.The 300-year-old Great Mosque is one of the attractions in Inner Mongolia, which is becoming a hot spot for Malays looking for alternative vacation destinations. Besides Inner Mongolia, Beijing and some parts of China, as well as Uzbekistan, with large Muslim populations are packing in Malays from Singapore too.

Metting Muslims from other countries and background can be a good experience since it can broaden one’s horizon and make one realize that Muslims are not limited to one’s own group or that one’s culture does not define Islam. Consider the following excerpt.

Madam Rubiah, who went on a tour to the Gold Coast, Australia last year with her husband and four children, says: “Unlike the Gold Coast which was all fun and entertaining, Inner Mongolia was an eye-opener for my children. “They learn that Muslims are not just Malays and Arabs. There are Chinese and Mongolian Muslims too and although their way of life differs slightly, their religious beliefs are similar.” And, instead of saying Assalamualaikum (Muslim greeting of peace be upon you), they say Salamolekom.

And then there is of course the feeling and recognition of brotherhood in Islam which is recognizable everywhere.

One can tell a Mongolian Muslim from his headgear. Women wear white scarves to cover their heads while men put on a songkok (cap). A Muslim house is also distinguished by Arabic calligraphy on the door. Although language can be an obstacle, bilingual guides help the tourists communicate with the local people. Madam Rokiah Anang, 59, who went on the May and June trips organised by Halijah Travels, says: “Although there was no exchange of words except for Assalamualaikum, we feel the closeness simply by being together.”

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49 responses to “Islam in Inner Mongolia

    • Dear brother,
      Salam,
      I am an Indian Muslim and Ex-serviceman from Indian Air Force. I am a Moghul/ Mongol and a descendant of Chagtai Khan, the second son of Chengiz Khan.

      The chagtai clan muslims in India write Mirza s Prefix and Baig as Suffix.

      The mother of Babur, Qutlugh Nigar Khanum, was a Chagtai Moghul. The word Mongol is called Moghul in Persian/ Arabic.

      Plz tell me whether you are also a person with Mongol bloodline.

      Regards,
      Mirza Ekramullah Baig
      Bangalore – India

      • Dear Brother,
        first of all Chengiz Khaan was not Muslim and His name KHAN is not correct pronunciation,if you ask any NATIVE mongolian person what is name of CHENGIZ KHAAN he will tell you the name and meaning KHAAN, but many peoples live in INDIA they thinking his name was KHAN but originally his name was KHAAN mean the best all KINGS, those who trying to find their link with this NON MUSLIM CHENGIZ KHAAN must correct their self and proud to be a MUSLIM not KAFIR as he was

  1. assalaamu aleikum~
    I really like your blog, it is very interesting~ how many muslims live in mongolia? are they consider themselves as “mongols or chinese?
    love to hear from you>
    salaama aleikum~

    • Assalamu alaikum bro,

      there are approximately 130 to 180,000 Muslims in Mongolia, most of them are Kazakhs by their nationality. They count themselves as Muslims, and Kazakhs, I think, neither Chinese nor Mongols ( althought they feel ” Mongolians ” a citizens of Mongolia.

  2. W’salam,

    In response to Ali ::

    Section I. Religious Demography – Religions in Mongolia.

    The country has an area of 604,247 square miles and a population of 2.9 million thereby the Ethnic Kazakhs, most of whom are Muslim, are the largest ethnic minority, constituting approximately 6 percent of the population nationwide and 80 percent in the western province of Bayan-Olgiy. Muslims operate approximately 40 mosques in Bayan-Olgiy and 4 Islamic centers in Ulaanbaatar, serving nearly 3,000 students combined. The mosques and Islamic centers receive financial assistance from religious organizations in Kazakhstan, Turkey, and the Gulf States.

    Info taken from the International Religious Freedom Report 2008; released on Sept. 19, 2008 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

    The full report can be found here :: http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2008/108416.htm

    W’salam,
    Hajar

  3. Assalamualaikum

    In response to Hajar alvi

    That was a good peace of information,

    Its good to know Islam and its institutions work in such very less know areas of the world

    Allah hafiz

  4. All the Muslim in the world, specially in the minority population of those Country is highly appreciable. Allah bless each and every Muslim brother in the world with proper education, knowledge.

    Best wish from Bangladesh

    Mahidul.

  5. I’m a muslim also, bangladeshi by origin, lived in London, England all my life.

    I found this page after wondering if ghengis Khan was ever a muslim, would be interesting to know for sure, as I know he did invade muslim lands and a lot of his followers did convert.

    Also intresting to know that Islam is going strong is regions of the world where religious freedom is repressed so much.

    • Dear brother,
      Salam,
      Chengiz Khan was an Idol worshipper. Khan is also a legendary title of the mongol tribal leaders. He was neither a friend nor an enemy of Islam. He formed a large Mongol Empire. He captured a large Muslim area in Central Asia.

      Some of his descendants accepted Islam. I am also one of his descendants. I am a descendant of Chagtai Khan, the second son of chengiz khan who ruled in Central Asia. The descendants of Chagtai Khan accepted Islam. The mother of Babur, Qutlugh Nighar Khanam was a member of chagtai clan.

      The Mongol is called Moghul in Persian/ Arabic language.

      Regards,
      Mirza Ekramullah Baig
      Bangalore-India

  6. Descendants of Mongols currently reside in Afghanistan, and they are called Hazaras.

    Of course many Sunni Muslims will not bother to point it out, but they were ruthlessly slaughtered by the Taliban simply because of their appearance and their Shi’aa faith.

    • Dear,

      Salam,

      Hazaras in Panjsher Valley of Afghanistan are sunnis. Rest of the Hazaras are mainly Shias. There is a Province Hazarjat in Afghanistan. Initially, all Hazars were sunnis but during the rule of Emperor Khudabandah of Il Khan dynasty of Persia, in early 14th century, most of Hazars were converted to Shia faith and now they are discriminated in Afghanistan, Pakistan based on their faith.

      Even General Musa Khan of Pakistan Army in 1965 was a Hazara.

      I am an Indian Sunni Muslim with Mongol bloodline. I am a descendant of Chagtai Khan, the second son of Chenghiz Khan. We write Mirza as Prefix and Baig as Suffix. The mother of Babur, Qutlugh Nighar Khanum was a chagtai. Chagtais are mainly sunnis.

      The Mongol is known as Moghul in Arabic and Persian language.

      Plz continue to exchange your ideas and frankly write about yourself.

      Regards,
      Mirza Ekramullah Baig
      Bangalore- India

  7. Salamo alaikom …

    Maashallah walhamdulillah it’s really fascinating and absolutely magnificent we knew mongol’s muslims brother and sisters.

    Allaho akabar !!!

  8. Assalamu’alaikum.

    It is great to know about how moslem lives in other countries and in different cultures.
    I really wish there will be some kind of Islamic Network among moslems around the world mainly from common people, not just political elites.
    What I see (at least in my country, Indonesia), there is little information about Islam or moslems in other countries aired on TV.. most are dominated with news from America …
    Perhaps someone will make VOI (Voice of Islam) ?

    Jazakallahu khairan ..

    wassalamu’alaikum.

  9. Hello
    How are you
    I hope that you continue to raise issues and Dawa to Islam and ask God to admit you to Paradise
    Page on the Internet is very beautiful and wonderful,
    I have a question that is more the language used by the Muslims in Mongolia
    I hope to get a response

  10. s a,
    this article is not about Islam in Mongolia. the place mentioned in it is the capital of inner mongolia, now a prefecture in china. there are muslims in state of mongolia, too. most of them are from kazakh origin. so, mainly the muslim population in mongolia use kazakh in their daily lives. but there are mongolian muslims with mongolian native tongue. furthermore, mongolian is the official and common language of the nation, and there are some kazakh kids, living in major cities such as the capital ulaanbaatar, who can not even speak kazakh. so almost everybody communicates in mongolian. recently there is an activity going on in there, as i know, to make mongolian language a fluent language for Islam. some people are trying to translate Islamic materials into mongolian; but they are in need of a very serious financial support.
    Allah mahfez

  11. What I want to know is if I can find muslim Mongolians living the traditional Mongolian nomadic lifestyle, ie in yurts and herding camels and sheep.

    I am intrigued by the life, but it would be difficult to visit the non-muslim ones because they follow Tibetan bhuddism and they would offer meat which I could not eat as well as drink alchohol with their meals.

    So if I could find muslims I who are nomadic pasturalists living in yurts please let me know.

  12. Assalamualaikum,

    It is wonderful to know about Muslims in Inner Mongolia\
    and Mongolia.
    Love to all

  13. Assalamu Alikum

    I am a Sri Lankan married to a Mongol, from Huhhot Inner Mongolia. We are working in Middle East and visit yearly during our vacation. Our marriage was solemanized 17 years ago, by Imam Nur Islam an ex Imam of the Huhhot Great Mosque. It is a blessing to have the opportunity to attend Juma Prayers on Friday in these mosques and to exchange the knowledge of Islam practiced in Inner Mongolia.
    I even attended a Janaza Prayer conducted in this mosque and it is the first time I have seen even the Muslim Ladies too join in, for the Janaza Prayers. Which you do not see this in the Middle East and other Asian countries.

  14. since long i love mongolian people sonum narbu from our state was indian ambasder in mongolia by reading this article i got information about mongol people i have written a poem on mongal people in kashmire language iwas facinated by reading about brave mongol people espically muslims in inner mongolia god may be pleased upon them

  15. Asalam o Alikum

    its good to hear that there are Muslim brethren living in Mongolia today…………. its my dream to visit Mongolia as its the motherland of my ancestors…………………..

  16. as salam alykum
    my name is abdul khalak, my wife is a mongolian, she loved me and i too consented, now she wanted to read on islam and then embrase islam please send me some books on prophet mohammed sas and on quran in mongolian language.

    she can not read any other language except mongolian.

    please send me some mongolian islamic websites links.

    i am resident of BANGALORE. INDIA, karnataka state.

    wasalam
    abdul khalak

  17. as salamualikum wa rahmatullahi barkatuhu,
    dear brothers and sisters,
    we should stand behind mangolian , chians muslims for their religious freedom.
    may allah the almighty help all of us,
    regards,
    gulab pathan india

  18. In the Name Of Allah, the Most Beneficial and the Most Merciful.
    Assallam- o- Aliekum wa ramathAllah wa Barakathou, (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon YOU)

    Dear brothers and sisters,

    i need some basic islamic books in mongolian language as well as qurran translation in mongolian.

    Or if any one know a place in mongolia where we can get that matterial.

    This is required for one of newely converted to Islam and the person is in mongolia and dint know other language only little bit english. Hence appreciate if any one knows the requested stuff in mongolian language.

    Regards,
    Nauman Iftikhar

  19. Asalam o Alikum

    I am very much interested in mongolian script and i was searching for a Quran in mongolian text, especially Ayathul kursi, since i am mongolian by blood and muslim by religion i am looking forward to tattoo Ayathul kursi with mongolian text on my right arm……if someone here from mongolia and knows how to write mongolian or find a script of Ayatul kursi in mongolian please email me at
    jon.bon007@hotmail.com

    Regards
    Ilyas

  20. Salam.
    Nice to read conversation here, and I’m happy to hear presence Muslim in Mongolia.. I’m a Muslim from Southern part of the Philippines and i’m going to work in Mongolia on the next month…
    my name is ANWAR UPAHM, and hope to see mosque in Mongolia…

    anwar

    • Assalamu alaikum brother,

      My name is Nasser Hussain.I am an Indian muslim.I reside in the state of Tamil Nadu in India(The southern most part of India).
      May Allah pass on his grace upon you.Have a safe journey and have a wonderful time in mongolia my brother.pray for all the muslims around the world.

      May Allah be with you.

  21. Assalamualaikum… dear Muslimin & Muslimat… brothers & sisters.

    Greetings… my name is Zaman, from Malaysia.

    Interesting to note the extent of Islamic influence in Mongolia, China & Eastern Europe etc.

    Let’s keep the brotherhood strong.

    Syukran jazilan…

  22. Assalamu alaikum,

    I’m an Indian Muslim.
    May Allah’s grace be upon all muslims around the world.I request all mongolian muslims to spread Islam more in mongolia.

  23. The article is a bit misleading, Mongols are mainly Budhists. The Muslims in Mongolia itself are not Mongol but Kazakh, whilest the Muslims in Inner Mongolia are practically exclusive Hui Chinese and NOT Mongol at all. However there does exist a small etnic group in China called the Dongxiang Mongols who are Muslim, but they are of mixed origin (descendants of Persians and Arabs that married local Chinese girls and who were stationed there to serve the Mongol Empire, hence their use of the Mongolian language though they themselves have hardly any Mongol blood) also these Dongxiang “Mongols” live in Gansu province and not in Inner Mongolia. The descendants of Mongols who did convert to Islam like the Hazara of Afghanistan or the Mughals of Indo-Pakistan are so mixed with the “Aryans” that most of them don’t look very Mongol any more (though the Hazara do have some more pure Mongol blood than the Mughals). The only real pure Muslim Mongol tribe that does exist are the Sart Kalmuks from Kirgizstan (not to be confused with the Budhist Kalmuks from upper Kaukasus) , but even they are disappearing by absorbtion into the Kirgiz people, whilest up to the 1940’s the Sart Kalmuks still spoke their own Mongolian Kalmuk language you will not find any Sart Kalmuk speaker in Kirgizstan today any more.

  24. In responce to Mirza Ikramullah Baig: Taimur (Tamerlane) was not a Mongol but an Tartar whose mother was amongol thus making his descendants Tartars and not Mughals – and by logic Indians who claim to Chagtai ancestory are misled.
    I am from the family of Tanaoli Khans who are Barlas Mughals. Our rule in our autonomous state of Darband (Tanawal) came to an end in 1971 – this state is in the Hazara division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa formerly known as North West Frontier Province of Pakistan which was eastern province of Afghanistan and only seceded from its motherland in 1910 due to Durand Line treaty with the British.. As a historian of the family I can tell I meet Indian claimants to Mughal ancestory to be deluded. Most of them look more like south Indians. There seem to be so many native/Dravidian types of Indians claiming to be Pashtuns, Mughals/Turks and Syeds that its hard to be sure which of them may be real if any. During the initial Muslim rule of India local Hindus would organise themselves into four types of Muslims based on the caste system they were escaping. These four Ashraf divisions were as follows Syeds, Mughals, Pathans and Shaikhs. Historians of Indian caste system opine that majority of these converts were of much humbler backgrounds i.e. they were converting from untouchable origins. If you look at some famous Indian Muslims claiming noble descent you will understant what I am saying. General Mirza Aslam Baig (Indian mahajer in Pakistan), Altaf Hussain of MQM and countless others look more south Indians that south Indians. It is true that some are genuine e.g. Feroze Khan and family, Shahrukh Khan (on father’s side only) and many more in the Bollywood film industry perhaps but 99.9% of claimants should get their DNA analysed.

  25. i have been looking for Moslems in Inner Monggolia since I saw Uudam on youtube…. and I wonder the way the Monggolian’s speaks sound like Arabic … from there I learn a lot about Monggolia… and the ‘adhgam’ was so deep ….. thanks to the blog owner and all the comments here….. now I have a dream to visit Monggolia one day!

  26. I found this site, while I was search to know whether there are muslims among mongols and their historical hero Genghis khan was a muslim or not! On which am still left without answer to my q, but my feeling rest on him being a muslim and I now know that I have a lot of brothers and sisters out there, which increases my love and affection for that side of planet.

  27. السلام عليكم و رحمة الله تعالى و بركاته
    i have mongolian friend who need knowing somethings about islam and coran…he is budist…but i could not help him…so i need some book about islam in mogolian language…please if someone can give help…to contact me in ; mister.1falah@hotmail.com.
    جزاكم الله خيرا.
    tanks.

  28. genghis khan was not a muslims but he learned about most of the religions of that age i.e. Islam, buddhism and some native religion of mangolia. He was impressed by first 4 pillars of islam and his view about Hajj was some what negative. he thought Hajj is not necessary. He followed the teaching of islam but he was not a muslim

  29. Assalamualikum….!!!!!!!!!!!!bless ramadhan al-mubarak i’m muslim from philippines, so nice and interested to read all of your comments…..!!!!!!!!!
    =>Allah is the only god that’s why we are here to live in this world to
    whorship and we are the follower of islam(Mohammad S.A.W)our prophet.

  30. Assalam alaikum,
    I am an Indian Muslim living in Hong Kong.
    It is very nice to about Muslims in Mongolia.
    Thanks for giving the informations.

  31. Assalamualaikum , I’m from Malaysia . Nice to come across this blog that gives me some important infos on Islam in Mongolia. I wish to visit Mongolia one day , InsyaAllah .

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