Descendents of Chinese Muslims in Taiwan

I use the word descendant because these group of people are no longer Muslim but still maintain some Muslim practices that differentiate them from their neighbors. The following is an excerpt from an early 20th century text which itself was quoted in a 1970 issue of Aramco. Many Muslims followed Koxinga in the 17th century when the Chinese first came to Taiwan in large numbers. Over the course of time they lost their culture and religion. Surprisingly and even strangely some of their descendants still have copies of the Quran to honor their ancestors.

In his History of Taiwan, written in 1918, Professor Lien Ya Tang said, “The spread of Islam in Taiwan is nil; believers are few, mostly from other provinces; hence there is no mosque in Taiwan as yet.” Still, interesting traces of Islamic practices are preserved by the present-day descendants of the Muslim followers of Koxinga. The Kuo family in Lukang, for example, does not include pork among its offering at the family shrine even though the family is not Muslim. Two families in Keelung place copies of the Holy Koran before the tablets of their ancestors. The present owners are not Muslims and do not read Arabic, but they honor a book held sacred by their forebears. Two or three families in Tainan observe funeral customs of Islamic origin including the ceremonial washing of the body and wrapping it carefully in white cloth—though in all other respects they are culturally Taiwanese.

3 responses to “Descendents of Chinese Muslims in Taiwan

  1. Asalam Alaikum,
    I am glad to read about Islam in China. I am keen to network with Chinese Muslims/scholars who are interested to do dawa work in East Africa as well as business.

    We are currently building an Islamic center and school. Any advise/help you give is well appreciated. I hope to travel to china soon.

    Abu-baker W.

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