This book, through its rich and abundant collection of fourteen centuries of pictorial illustrations, takes us on a journey of discovery through history, culture, architecture and an overall look at the historical ancestry of Muslims in China. It also draws attention to the spread of Muslim settlements across the landscape of China.
The themes also bring us nearer home to Malaysia and an overall look at Islam’s historical contact with the Malay archipelago where a variety of religious faiths have harboured in our midst for centuries, interacting and assimilating each other’s socio-cultural practices and heritage. The spread and adaptation of Islamic cultural civilisation across China through fourteen centuries of peaceful co-existence we can in many ways find affinity with China’s historical experience.
It is our hope that this book will open the readers’ eyes and minds yet a little more on people and land beyond our borders, especially of Islam In China.
This is a pictorial treasure trove of over thirteen centuries of Islam’s place in China. it reveals that Islam not merely coexisted within Chinese society but harmoniously blended into it, then emerged with Chinese characteristics to thrive within the land.
China is only a notional nation state. It is a civilisation state. It rests upon Chinese civilisational values and not any theocratic tenets. The state and the Islamic faith however seems not to face contradiction in their integral existence.
This harmony is projected through the architectural adaptation of Islamic houses of worship and monumental buildings as well as the socio-cultural practices and way of life. The innovative inclusion of women as imams into its congregation reflects acceptance of the Chinese society’s espousal of gender equality. Historically Chinese Muslims also patriotically partook in the promotion and defence of the Chinese state. The role of Admiral Zheng He and the all Muslim military corp, the Kansu Braves, in seeking dynastic glory and defending their contemporary dynasties are examples of Chinese Muslim’s allegiance to China’s dynastic rulers.
Glimpsing through the book, the old Confucian adage “Hearing something a hundred times isn’t better than seeing it once” (百聞不如一見, băi wén bù rú yī jiàn) come to mind. It could not be more transparently true than the graphic presentation in this book of the harmonious integration of Islam into the Chinese society that Haji P. K. Koya has so painstakingly compiled.
TAN Koon San
Retired Malaysian Ambassador.
Published Works: Excellency—Journal of a Diplomat (2000)
and Dynastic China—An Elementary History (2014).
What a creative idea! Telling the fascinating story of the interaction of two civilisations through pictures. The pictorial dialogue between two civilisations has made its appearance at the right moment. There is a great deal of misunderstanding and misrepresentation in the mainstream media today on the situation of the Uighurs and other Muslims in China. A book of this sort will literally and figuratively open the eyes of the readers to the actual prevailing realities. Haji Koya Kutty who has spent a lifetime publishing gems which enhance our knowledge of Islamic civilisation should be lauded for putting together this pictorial book. Through this noble effort of his, Haji Koya has strengthened a precious inter-civilisational bond which will play a significant role in shaping the future of humanity as a whole.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar
President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and
former Professor for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
The formal style of Islamic calligraphy known as Sini script testifies to the magnetism and power of Chinese culture true to the saying that while you can capture Chinese land you cannot conquer its civilization. On the contrary, China overwhelms her victors and through the process of cultural osmosis, they and their cultures become Sinicized. Islam in China is a testament to this phenomenon capturing, with fascinating photos, pictures, charts and calligraphic representations, the amazing narrative of the spread of Islam in the world’s most populous country. In portraying the diversity, richness and profound heroism of the Muslim peoples of China against the backdrop of the flowering of Islamic artistic expression, creativeness and beauty, this pictorial book is a must have and a must read for all homes and libraries.
Author of The Province of Shariah Determined
—Fundamental Rethink of the Shariah.