Emperor Gaozong of Tang Dynasty (唐高宗)


Islam was introduced in China by the uncle of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh),Saad bin Abi Waqas during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Gaozong of the Tang dynasty in 651. Gaozong is known in the Islamic sources as Yung Wei. The emperor is known to be impressed by the teachings of Islam but he did not himself convert. However he did order the building of the first mosque in China. Additionally the Muslims were also allowed to proselytize in China.

35 responses to “Emperor Gaozong of Tang Dynasty (唐高宗)

  1. Jazak Allah khaira for this blog. I traveled through China from East to West shortly after becoming a Muslim and met so many wonderful Muslims from all different ethnic and cultural groups. I visited a tomb somewhere on my journey that was rather poorly labeled, but I believe was said to be the tomb of Sayyiduna Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas (Allah be pleased with him.) I also have a photo of what I believe is the tomb (my photos are equally poorly labeled.) This was such a long time ago. Can you confirm whether such a tomb actually exists in China, where it is, and I’l try to make the photo available to you if you want to post it, or if you could at least confirm that that’s what it is.

  2. iqag, As’salam’o’alaikum. Welcome to the blog. That’s great. I would love to hear more about your travels in China. There is indeed the tomb of Saad bin Abi Waqas (may Allah be please with him) in Guangzhou. Insha’Allah I will post some information about the tomb also. You can send me the photo, that would be great. My e-mail address is in the about section.

    • “Seek knowledge even as far as China.” – Saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

      Dear Wang Daiyu,

      Assamalualaikum wrt wbrkt! Today is Maulidur Rasul, the birthday of our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW (Peace Be Upon Him). The whole world celebrates this great event. In Malaysia, this is one of the important Islamic events which we celebrate every year.

      Islam was introduced in China by the uncle of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Saad bin Abi Waqas during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Gaozong of the Tang dynasty in 651 (extracted from your brief).

      Few years ago, I visited China. I was in the Province of Guangzhou, besides visiting other places. I also managed to visit the tomb of Sayyiduna Sa`ad bin Abi Waqqas (Allah be pleased with him). I saw a father and a son cried at the corner of the tomb. It was really touching to see them crying. There were other graves outside, whom I thought they belonged to the followers of Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas. Today I watched a documentary movie which says that the grave of Saad bin Abi Waqqas is in Madinah.

      Is the tomb of Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas in Guangzhou, China or in Madinah? Can you help to confirm this matter?

      Thank you very much.

      (Noraini M Yusof)
      Kuala Lumpur

  3. Al-Salamu alikum, i am from kuwait and i have to say your blog is great so thank you for it. i admire the chinese people so much for their customs and traditions and old ways. I am so intesrested to learn about chinese mulims to learn about how they apply the old ways and chinese tradition discipline to islam. We are born muslims but we so much lack the discipline in our daily lives and find it hard to be true to our faiths…


  4. wa’alaikum’as’salam smartyq8, Welcome to the blog. You are correct, being disciplined is very important in Islam. The five daily prayers are also meant to teach us about being disciplined. Initially when Islam spread to other regions many people were impressed by the strong sense of discipline of the Muslims. 🙂 You are correct, things have changed a lot since then 😦 but we can always try to become better and follow the example of the prophet (pbuh). If one thinks about it, the prophet (pbuh) was also a very disciplined man. We should also emphasize this part of his sunnah. 🙂

    • Wow. You cant just say “Seek knowledge even as far as China.” – Saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Just saying that is kufir 1st you put it in quotes. 2nd Muhammad (pbuh) didnt say that he said that knowlage is important but not that! istukfyrla. Im a muslim 13 year old and im proud of it!

  5. Assalamu alaikum

    Precisely what I also referred to in one of my other comments – how my parents raised me with the traditional Chinese etiquettes – with discipline being a big part of it – which helped me to embrace Islam and its practices with ease and appreciation – subhan’Allah.

    Do you know why Islamic sources site the Emperor’s name as Yung Wei vs. Gaozong? Is it a phonetical translation between 2 different dialects? (Like Cheng Ho and Zheng He)? I am just wondering because they are so different.

    Jazakee Allah Khayran

  6. as’salam’o’alikum’wa’rahma’tullah’wa’bara’ka’tahu, Um Yusuf as-Siddiq. The commonalities between the two are indeed striking.

    I have read about the differences in the name but I do not know why this is the case.

  7. Aslam-o-Alaikum

    I am very pleased to get the information about the chinees muslim. Hope to progress day by day.


    Rizwan Jani
    Daska (distt Sialkot)

  8. wa’alaikum’as’salam’wa’rahmatullah Rizwan, Welcome to the blog. I hope you stay. Pakistan is right next to China. I think your national poet also mentions Chinese Muslims somewhere in his poetry. 🙂

  9. Dear Muslim Bro all In China….

    Asslam-Alaikum, I am faisal Hussain from Delhi, India… I would like know about the Islam in China. Kindly tell me about the Islam in chaina.


    Faisal Hussain

  10. Dear Friend,
    i am very much impress to see this information and think Allah must give help to those people who work for islam. I need some help related to Hazrat saad bin abi waqas tomb. If any body send me the exact location of tomb and give me help if i am in Shanghai so how i go to their tomb. I am highly appricated for those person who give me help.
    My email address is given below for all people attention.


    thanks and regards,

  11. Alsalam alikum all
    it is so nice to see the interest in our islamic histroy. it brings us closer and unifies us across the broders of the different nations. if anyone wants any help in learning islam or finding resources don’t hesitate to mail me at smarty_q8@yahoo.com and inshaa allah i will help

    Alsalam alikum my brothers in sisters

  12. asalam alaikum,
    I’m French and I’m looking for pictures of Chinese mosques, people…because I’m writing an article about Islam in China for a French website called “al-wassat.com”. Your blog is quite interesting, may Allah help you continue to inform us about Chinese muslims, hoping that their condition will be better!

  13. wa’alaikum’as’salam sumaya, Welcome to blog. I hope that the pictures in this blog will be of help to you. I am glad that you liked the blog.

  14. Salamin Aleykum,

    I would like to congratulate you for this lovely blog; very nicely done and very informative.

    Just let you know that there is a web site called muslimheritage.com, which has a very detailed article about “Islam in China”: especially the full article which is available there as a PDF file:

    There are also articles about Zheng He and Muslim Kung Fu Masters.

    May Allah make your path easy in search of knowledge.


  15. salam. i am from malaysia. i am interested to know more about islam in guangzhou.can i have your email so then we can communicate further.may Allah bless us.Syukran.

  16. Salam

    I am from malaysia I am interested to visit china muslim communitiy and town. Any travel agent that becan propose.


  17. AA wbt,

    Appreciate very much the work. Hamid had requested (13 February 2008) some information on Hazrat Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas’s tomb in Shanghai? Is there any written Chinese version of the history that Hazrat Sa’ad led the first official delegation of Muslim to China in 650AD? Has your list of research allowed you time to find out the answer to Hamid’s request?

    I will appreciate your response. Thanks

    I would also like to know a little about the seals on the top right of each message and your reply thereto?

    Kind Regards,
    Ajmal Hameed

  18. Salam my dear brother,

    1st time for me and i believe it is for a special reason i write to u, i am from malaysia and it is most interesting to how the chinese muslims integrated to many cultures around the world through its faith..islam (likewise for others too..) Through the many centuries..starting fr Tang/Yuan/Ming & Ching Dynasties…the traders/seafarers/migration/or running fr persecution, some still keep their faith and some denounce after many generations being assimilated into different race through marriages with other chinese of different beliefs (girls side mostly) but men side marry the local muslims which looses their identity after many generations…this happens mainly in South East Asia (@ Malay Archipeleango) This happen because mostly of language barrier, and also the divide & rule concept by foreign conquerers (ie Portuguese/Dutch/English) – well that happen for reason too, the purpose of Christianizing the locals (happen in China too, ie the opium war etc & the Ching Dynasty too practised their divide & rule concept too.
    However, this is all are of ALLAH’s great plan…no doubt about it, what i am emphasizing is about a saying from a hadith…(to know oneself is to know ALLAH), well to know your roots is to remember ur ancestors…to an extend ur ancestors could be muslims/confucious/buddhist etc even to an extend on christians then to as back to jews then lastly of course Prophet Adam as….all spreading the message of the one and only true GOD…ALLAH
    The muslim malays here in Malaysia has always remember a hadith fr our Prophet Muhammad SAW….to seek knowledge is to go to China (*hope i got it right, some say it may not be sahih) Anyway, it has a deeper meaning….back then, the longest plain is the silk road – Arab peninsula to China….the refined meaning is that muslims should have far and wide insight into life…take the challenge of the journey with faith, patience and consistency..gaining knowledge and wisdom on the way fr the beginning to the end…the world & hereafter, travelling the world…destination hereafter…our journey back to HIM….on the way we met the arabs, andalucians, africans, indians, rohingyas, the malays, the central asians, the moghuls, russians, and course the Hans etc…all coming fr the same source Prophet Adam as & destination…the same, some different methods, routes, travelling time…some did not make it….at all, some seem not to make it but actually made it (Allah’s refined plan and splendour)
    Keep up on what ur doing…Alhamdullilah to ur dedication and share of knowledge…Take care

    PS ( if ur interested on finding up on some insight, pls key in (Koay clan in Penang, Malaysia) – they are descendants of Hui chinese muslims but denounce their faith after many generations when arrived in Malaysia)


  19. Assalamualaikum to all,

    Pertaining to KK’s response, here’s an article by Ong Seng Huat:

    Koay Jetty: The social evolution of the Hui people in Penang


    Contains some information on the Koay [Kuok] [Guo] [郭] Clan originating from Hui’an County, Fujian Provice, China in English.

    On the matter of assimilation for the Koay Clan, besides language, other grounds include culture as well as to some extent the Islamic beliefs originating from different traditions. Feeling alienated from the larger local Muslim community, the dependability for support goes to the mainstream Chinese community. No longer practicing Muslims, however, some families still abide to the significant attachments concerning the Hui identity e.g. abstaining from the consumption of pork similar to their counterparts in Taiwan.


  20. Salams again,

    Is it true that the old scriptures or one of the 1st chinese caligraphy of the word ‘Tao’ if seen in the mirror image has very close similarities to the kalimah ‘ALLAH’. someone out there who has some kind of reference or proof pls share..???

    And also one of the scriptures OF tAO tE CHING mentioned that there would be a great sage whose teachings would last a thousand years…. He must have meant our prophet Muhammad SAW???

    Is it true that the mythology or legend about the great journey to the west of the buddhist monk, and his other deities as companion was actually searching for the holy scriptures in the middle east???

    It was mentioned to me before that there are actually 313,000 prophets of Allah and only what we have read about in the Al Quran is only a small fraction??? so could it be that the other true teachings from others ie Siddharta Gautama Buddha, Lao Tze. Socrates (Greek philosophers) etc.. – many muslims scholars back then used some Greek knowledge into their studies….are actually wise men or prophets???

    Is it true that some Chinese traditional beliefs or practise…offer offerings & incense ie joss sticks to their altars & actually has deeper meaning : 1) Offerings to Heavens (when out at the door way, u can see one) 2) To Main altar with a deity being their teacher or mediator to GOD) 3) Ancestor tablet where even they seek their blessings and assistance for proctection & guidance….
    THE 3) point interest me…can some out there do a thorough research ie checking records/family trees or clans/ history background of clans/migration of Chinese Muslims when? How? etc and did they have different names when assismilated to socities of different race…also their actual Muslim names…….do a documentary/book/magazines with strong da’wah purposes…sending out to these other chinese that they are actually speaking to their ancestors whore are Chinese Muslims!!!??? Then we will seek ALLAH’s guidance and blessings for Allah to summon the Heavens & its Government…to sent forth the Chinese Muslims/Angels or those under appoinment who is ever living in the Heavens to revert their decendants to the truth of HAQQ!!
    Welcome more reverts or converts…Alhamdullilah…better for the society/more zakats/less triads/more chance of endangered species survival, less gambling, less vices, etc …well the list can go on and on…as the Chinese are very well spread out & amongst the backbone of some economy of Muslim Countries….so who ever out there gets these msg…insyaallah let’s do it the better way, smarter way of da’wah..en mass reversion/conversion…can apply for other races too (different research only) Ya Rabbilalamin Amin



  21. Bismillahirrahmanirraheem

    A bit of a late response to Gaozong vs. Yung Wei comment. I believe it is because the former (Gaozong) relates to the emperor’s royal name, and the latter (Yung Wei) refers to the name of one of his reigning periods.

    It’s the Chinese tradition for emperors to name their reign different names at different points in time. However, I’m not sure why the Islamic sources uses the era’s name (since Gaozong’s reign comprises of different eras) vs. the royal name. Maybe it’s easier to spell in arabic?

    Great blog!

  22. journey to the west is to search for the truth, when Islamic influence was at its peak, but they were stuck in India and became Buddhists.
    chinese muslims are very very pious and dedicated, they lived through many dynasties and also many changes but are still Muslims. So even if in malaysia, they may be discriminated, they will still be faithful and happy.

  23. Assalam mu’alaikum warahmah

    I love history, especially Islam. But I was very minimal at all about spreading Islam by the Companions. Hopefully with this blog I can learn more about the history of the spread of Islam in the country in China and other countries. Syukron

    Wassalam, Greetings from the Indonesian Muslim

  24. Salam everyone,

    Very interesting stories. Keep it up.

    I grew up in Koay Jetty, Penang. Please allow me to add a few things I gathered from my own family about the Koay clan. As fas as I can tell, the Koay clan moved South to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia from Baiqi in Fujian province, google “Baiqihuizuxiang”. My father handed me a piece of paper not too long ago. It contains the genealogy of our Koay clan. It tells the story of our past and also contains a prose consisted of 40 characters. Each character signifies one generation. Each generation adopts one character sequentially as the middle name. My sons are the 22nd generation. My grandfather and my father had the correct middle names but my father named all of us wrong because he did know about this important piece of paper until recently.

    Due to geographic isolation from the larger Islamic world, poverty and illiteracy from generation to generation, most of the Islamic traditions that were used to practice in the family were lost. I was once told that, many generations ago in Baiqi, if someone passed away, an Imam would come to recite the Quran. After few generations passed, the villagers were no longer able to find qualified persons to recite Quran. Instead of reciting the Quran, someone would turn the pages of Quran to represent recitation. Copies of Quran became very rare in recent generations. Therefore, by the time the Koay clan members moved South, they had already lost most of their Islamic traditions.

    Most of the Koay clan members in Koay Jetty were laborers, odd job workers or fishermen. Many are still illiterate. They never denounced Islam because many of them didn’t even know they had Islamic root except that we realize that we have a very special (perhaps, peculiar) family traditions such as not offering pork to our Ancestors during prayers or not eating pork for certain period of time if someone in the family passes away.

    I am not a Muslim but I am fascinated by my Islamic root, and by choice, I do not eat pork out of respect for my ancestors.

    May peace prevail on earth and may peace be with you.

  25. Assalam O Alikum,

    I am a Pakistani muslim and a student of Chinese Language and History. Could you please let me know the Chinese Name for Saad Ibn Abi Waqas (R.A) both in pinyin and hanzi.

  26. I am Abdul Raoof
    recently I visited china and was in guagzhou for a week . on Friday I used to go to Abi Wqas Masjid for Juma prayer it was an amazing experience according to me. after the Juma prayer is over I go around the mosque and watched all the campus. everything is impressed me except the Roula of swahabi abiwaqas there I saw one man is doing sujood on the roula it is not the islamic way of faith no one is allowed to do sujood on any of the holly maqbaras even it is rasulullas so please try to learn the perfect Islam

  27. Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqaas (ralhi allahu anhu)

    Quick Overview
    This story is the life of one of the greatest heroes of Islam, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas (ral). He was among the great warriors of Islam and one of the ten people whom the Prophet promised their entry to paradise.
    Background of Saad Ibn Abi Waqaas(ral):
    • Saad Ibn Abi Waqqaas radhiallahu anhu was born in 595 *CE.
    (Note: Prophet Muhammad (sal) was born in 571 CE)
    • He was closely related to the Prophet Muhammad’s(sal) mother, Aminah. Aminah’s father was a brother of Saad radhiallahu anhu’s grandfather and the Prophet Muhammad (sal) called him as his uncle.
    • Saad Ibn Abi Waqqaas(ral) was one of the first people to accept Islam –
    Sa’ad was the seventeenth person to embrace Islam at very young age
    15-17 within seven days after Prophet Muhammad (sal) became a Prophet (610.CE) His mother Hamnah, starved herself for days trying to get Saad to leave Islam, but she failed.
    • Sa’ad is also known as the first companion to have shot an arrow in defence of Islam. Ofcourse, He is a great archer.
    • The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said he was equal to 1,000 warriors. He was promised Paradise in this world.(Ashrathul Mubassirah)
    • Due to his bravery, Saad Ibn Abi Waqqaas(ral) was put in command of many Muslim armies. He was commander-in-chief of the Muslim army in the historical Battle of Qadisiyyah when Muslims defeated Persian empire.
    • Sa’ad was blessed with great wealth. Just as he was known for his bravery, so he was known for his generosity.
    • Umar raliallahu anhu choose Saad Ibn Abi Waqqaas(ral) as one of 6 possible successors to him as Khalifah.

    NOTE: Instead of using the religious “AD” which stands for anno domini, we use “CE” meaning the common era. CE simply means Common Era . A reference to the calendar first adopted by the Christians, years were nominated as AD (anno Domini which means ‘the year of our Lord’). As a universal, world calendar, this is somewhat unsuitable, as Jesus is obviously not recognized as the Lord of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists and so on. Hence, the gradual adoption of CE in place of AD. So, This year is 2012 CE.

    Historical achievements of Saad Ibn Abi Waqaas(ral): (Only 2 pages that you must know)
    During initial period there was lot of oppressions against Muslims and Islam, to overcome these troubles. A small group of 70-80 members migrates to Abyssinia (current Ethiopia) on 615 CE. as per Prophet Muhammad(sal)’s order.
    Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas(ral) was one amongst them. He was very much eager to convey the message of monotheism, to all across the world. So he decided to make a sea voyage from Ethiopia to China going around India. They sailed crossing Red sea, and then Arabian sea,and then reached Indian Ocean. While crossing India he penetrated via Palk strait (between today’s Rameshwaram and Srilanka).
    His group with full knowledge of sea route to china via Indian Ocean which is most dangerous route.

    On 616 BC, Their ship reaches Chittagong Port (which lies in today’s Bangladesh) that was considered as major sea port for trade and popular business point. Manipur is near to Chittagong Port – The team then moved up to Manipur. In Manipur they could meet traditional Manipuri tribes who spoke Manipur’s traditional language Meiti. They conveyed the fundamentals of Islam and concept of God, monotheism to Manipuri Tribes, alerting them against idol worships and other false practises.
    (Note: Only few verses were revealed to Prophet (sal) at this period). The team proceeded to China. Followed by Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas(ral) Ameer Hamza (ral) also reached Manipur where he conveyed the message of Islamic Monotheism to people of Manipur and then to the Kings of traditional and popular Manipuri Tribes many of them embrace Islam.
    On 622 BC, the news of Prophet Muhammad(sal) hijrat from Mekkah to Medina reaches Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas(ral) and Ameer Hamza (ral), then both of them returned back to Madina, two years after their arrival to Medina they participated in Battle of Badr, followed by Battle of Uhad. During Battle of Uhad Hajrat Ameer Hamza(ral) becomes shaheed. The seeds of Islam which they had sprouted in the regions of Manipur and China began to spread vigorously.
    The people of Manipur started to change their worshiping practices (by not giving any image to God). During the period of third caliph Hajrat Uduman (ral), Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas(ral) was appointed as the official envoy/ambassador and sent to China once again (27+ years later).
    This time they bring a fully compiled copy of The Holy Quran and give it to the Manipuri Tribes – many of them embrace Islam. Then plans to build masjids in Manipur is being plot. Then again by 651 BC, he moved towards China and meets the Emperor of Tang Dynasty – Gaozong, He was given a good welcome by Chinese Emperor Gapzong, Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas(ral) makes request to build masjids in China, which was accepted and approved.
    There constructed masjid named Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas(ral) Memorial Masjid – at Canton State – China. (Canton tomb), Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas(ral) was the progenitor of the Hui (Chinese Muslims).
    Later the trade between Arabia and china increased which makes many Sahabas to move to Manipur and China, where they marry with Manipuri and Chinese women. Islam began to spread more in those regions. In Manipur muslims were called Pangals, and Manipur residents were called Meities, muslims who are married with Manipuris are called MeitiPangals. (Released in Book: ‘Manipuri Muslims’ by Dr.Farooque Ahmed after doing 10 years of historical research over Manipur Muslims life and history)
    In short, Islam reached Manipur and China after 615 CE only through Saad ibn abi Waqqas(ral) and Ameer Hamza(ral).
    Later lot of literary books were written in Meiti language about Ameer Hamza(ral). [Eg. Ameer Hamza ladai]
    Beautiful Hadith describing Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas(ral)’s generosity:
    During the farewell pilgrimage with the Prophet(sal), he fell ill. The Prophet(sal) came to visit him and Sa’ad(ral) said: “O Messenger of Allah. I have wealth and I only have one daughter to inherit from me. Shall I give two thirds of my wealth as Sadaqah?” “No,” replied the Prophet(sal). “Then, (shall I give) a half?.” asked Sa’ad (ral) and the Prophet again said ‘no.’ “Then, (shall I give) a third?’ asked Sa’ad(ral). “Yes,” said the Prophet(sal).
    “The third is much. Indeed to leave your heirs well-off is better than that you should leave them dependent on and to beg from people. If you spend anything seeking to gain thereby the pleasure of Allah, you will be rewarded for it even if it is a morsel which you place in your wife’s mouth.”

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