Corban Festival is on the tenth day of the last month. The morning of the festival, no one eats breakfast. After attending the mosque, oxen are slaughtered and shared with the poor and with relatives. Selling of oxen on this day is not permitted.

Hua'er is a folk tradition of the Hui people, especially prevalent in Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai. During festivals and the sixth month of the year, there are pageants and joyful singing for six days12.

Hui outside China

Hui in Malaysia

There is evidence that Chinese Hui migrated to Peninsular Malaysia with the influx of Chinese laborers during the nineteenth and late twentieth centuries. Chinese who have the surname Ma are suspected to have Hui ancestry. A number of them settled in the region of Lumut in Peninsular Malaysia. It is speculated that these Muslims assimilated with the local non-Muslim Chinese and that now most of them are no longer Muslims. Nonetheless, there are those who still maintain their Islamic faith. A famous Chinese Muslim missionary in Malaysia has the surname of Ma.

If they are married to Muslim Malaysian indigenous persons, their offspring are officially accepted as part of the "Bumiputra" (indigenous people or "sons of the land"). Otherwise, the society might treat them as part of the large Chinese minority group. However as Islam is also an ethnic marker in Malaysia, many Chinese converts in Malaysia tend to adopt and assimilate into the indigenous culture. Since the 1900s it has been a trend for Chinese converts to retain their original pre-Muslim Chinese surname, probably to maintain their cultural identity.

An elderly Hui man in China


Panthays form a group of Chinese Muslims in Burma. Some people refer to Panthays as the oldest group of Chinese Muslims in Burma. However, because of intermixing and cultural diffusion the Panthays are not a distinct group as they once were.


Dungan (Simplified Chinese: 东干族; Traditional Chinese: 東干族; pinyin: Dōnggānzú; Russian: Дунгане) is a term used in territories of the former Soviet Union to refer to a Muslim people of Chinese origin. Turkic-speaking peoples in Xinjiang Province in China also refer to members of this ethnic group as Dungans. In both China and the former Soviet republics where they reside, however, members of this ethnic group call themselves Hui. In the censuses of Russia and the former Soviet Central Asia, the Hui are enumerated separately from Chinese, and are labeled Dungans.


These are surnames generally used by the Hui ethnic group:

  • Ma for Muhammad
  • Han for Muhammad
  • Ha for Hasan
  • Hu for Hussein
  • Sai for Said
  • Sha for Shah
  • Zheng for Shams
  • Koay for Kamaruddin
  • Chuah for Osman

Contribution to Chinese Civilization

During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, large numbers of Hui peasants participated in reclaiming rural wasteland for farming and grazing. Hui artisans produced incense, medicine, leather items and cannons, as well as mining and smelting ore. Hui merchants were active in the economic exchanges between the inland and border regions, and in trade between China and other Asian countries. Hui scholars and scientists introduced the astronomy, calendars, and medicine of Western Asia to China.

Famous Hui:

  • Yuan Dynasty: (1278 - 1361) The astronomer Jamaluddin compiled a perpetual calendar and produced seven kinds of astroscopes including the armillary sphere, the celestial globe, the terrestrial globe and the planetarium. Alaowadin and Yisimayin developed a mechanism for shooting stone balls from cannons. The architect Yehdardin studied Han architecture and designed and led the construction of the capital of the Yuan Dynasty, the foundation for the city of Beijing.

Sayyid Ajall Sham Suddin (1211-1279), governor of Yunnan Province, created special areas for peasants to reclaim wasteland and grow grain. He advocated the harnessing of six rivers in Kunming, capital of the province; established a series of communication posts where couriers could change horses and rest; initiated teaching in Confucianism and attempted to improve relations among various nationalities in China.

  • Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644): The Hui navigator Zheng He (鄭和), a Semu Muslim, made as many as seven visits in 29 years to more than 30 Asian and African countries, accompanied by his interpreters Ma Huan and Ha San, also of Hui origin. Ma Huan's account of Zheng He's travels, Magnificent Tours of Lands Beyond the Ocean, is of major significance in the study of the history of communication between China and the West. This work is published in English translation as Ying-yai Sheng-lan: The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores.
  • Hui scholar Li Zhi (1527 - 1602) of Quanzhou in Fujian Province was a well-known progressive thinker.
  • Hai Rui (1514 - 1587), a politician of the Ming Dynasty, was famous for his righteousness. He remonstrated with Emperor Jiajing about his arbitrariness and spoke out against the evils of the court and inept ministers. Later he became a roving inspector directly responsible to the emperor, enforcing justice and curbing the excesses of local despots.

Hui poets, scholars, painters and dramatists included Sadul, Gao Kegong, Ding Henian, Ma Jin, Ding Peng and Gai Qi.13

  • Bai Chongxi (白崇禧), a general of the Republic of China
  • Bai Shouyi (白壽彝), prominent Chinese historian and ethnologist
  • Hui Liangyu (回良玉), a Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
  • Lan Yu was a Ming Dynasty general who ended the Mongol dream to reconquer China.
  • Li Zhi (李贄), a famous Confucian philosopher in Ming Dynasty, would perhaps be considered a Hui if he lived today because of some his ancestors being Persian Muslims.
  • Ma Dexin (马德新), Islamic scholar in Yunnan
  • Ma Bufang ( 馬步芳), was a warlord in China during the Republic of China era, ruling the northwestern province of Qinghai.
  • Ma Hualong (马化龙), one of the leaders of the Muslim Rebellion of 1862-1877.
  • Shi Zhongxin, mayor of Harbin from 2002 to February 2007, whose ancestors came from Jilin
  • Zhang Chengzhi (張承志), contemporary author and alleged creator of the term "Red Guards (China)"


  1. ↑ CHINA'S ISLAMIC HERITAGE, China Heritage Project, CHINA HERITAGE NEWSLETTER, No. 5, March 2006. The Australian National University.
  2. The Hui Ethnic Minority Retrieved August 16, 2008.
  3. ↑ Ibid.
  4. ↑ Mark Levene. Genocide in the Age of the Nation-State. (London: I.B. Tauris, 2005. ISBN 1845110579), 288
  5. ↑ Charles Patterson Giersch. Asian Borderlands: The Transformation of Qing China's Yunnan Frontier. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006. ISBN 1845110579), 219
  6. ↑ Muslim History in China
  7. ↑ Michael Dillon. China's Muslim Hui Community. (Curzon, 1999. ISBN 0700710264), xix
  8. ↑ Damsan Harper, Steve Fallon, Katja Gaskell, Julie Grundvig, Carolyn Heller, Thomas Huhti, Bradley Maynew, Christopher Pitts. Lonely Planet China. 9. (Lonely Planet, 2005. ISBN 1740596870)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Jacques Gernet. A History of Chinese Civilization. 2. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN 0521497124)
  10. ↑ Jonathan N. Lipman. Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China. (Studies on Ethnic Groups in China) (University of Washington Press, 1998. ISBN 0295976446.)
  11. The Hui ethnic minority Retrieved August 18, 2008
  12. Hui Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  13. The Hui ethnic minority Retrieved August 18, 2008


  • Chuah, Osman, "Muslims in China: the social and economic situation of the Hui Chinese," Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 24 (1) (April 24, 2004) 155-162
  • Dillon, Michael. China's Muslim Hui Community: Migration, Settlement and Sects. London: Curzon Press, 1999. ISBN 9780700710263
  • Gladney, Dru C. Ethnic Identity in China: The Making of a Muslim Minority Nationality (Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology), 1997, ISBN 0155019708.
  • Gladney, Dru C. Dislocating China: Muslims, Minorities, and Other Subaltern Subjects. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. ISBN 0226297756.
  • Gladney, Dru C. Muslim Chinese: Ethnic Nationalism in the People's Republic, 2nd ed.,1991 Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers 1998. ISBN 0674594975.
  • Lipman, Jonathan N. Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 1997. ISBN 9780295976440
  • Lonely Planet Publications (Firm), and Damian Harper. China. Hawthorn, Vic: Lonely Planet, 2005. ISBN 9781740596879
  • Ma Huan. (1433) Ying-yai Sheng-lan: The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores. (original 1970) White Lotus Press, 1997. ASIN: B001BKRAOM (in English) (record of Zheng He's world tours)
  • "CHINA'S ISLAMIC HERITAGE" China Heritage Newsletter (Australian National University), No. 5, March 2006. Retrieved August 19, 2008.