Guangzhou

Guangzhou is a very old city in China. Some evidence has been found of people living there as far back as the 11th century BCE [1]. The city has some folklore about its creation. They used to believe that five gods ascended from heaven with five goats and five ears of corn to save the city from famine. This gave the town the nick name of “Goat Town.” The city flourished as a route for merchants from Persia, India, and the Arab countries. Islam was introduced to the city because of its trade. The Huaisheng Mosque (pictured to the left) was built during the Tang Dynasty, which ruled from 618CE-970CE. It is one of four great mosques in Guanzhou (the other mosques are Dongjiao Mosque, Haopan Mosque, and Dongying Mosque) [2]. Because a few of the companions of the Prophet went to China, cities like Guangzhou had a relatively high percentage of Muslims in their community.

Ibn Battuta refers to Sin Kalan and Sin al-Sin, but the name of the city is actually Guangzhou. In Guangzhou, Ibn Battuta experienced his first Chinese bazaar. He saw items that he had previously seen in Yemen and India, and which were exported from China. He also saw a version of a nursing home, where elderly people would stay when they could no longer take care of themselves. It was a temple, though, and widows and orphans could stay there as well. For the Muslims of the town, there was a Mosque, a bazaar, and a qadi and shaikh. These officials would deal with the legal matters of the Muslims, and the Muslims were kept separate from the rest of the population. Ibn Battuta also had a marvelous encounter in Guangzhou. He went to meet a shaikh that was 200 years old and who did not eat or drink anything. The man knew of Ibn Battuta’s travels, and blessed him for his travels. He kissed Ibn Battuta’s hand, and then left. Ibn Battuta wanted to see him again, but someone told him this man would only see a person once, then never again. It was a very mystical encounter Ibn Battuta had in Guangzhou.

Guangzhou is the third largest city in China. The city is an economic capital for southern China because it is the largest in southern China. The city has always been this way, even when Ibn Battuta visited it. There is still a small population of Muslims in Guangzhou.

 

Sources:

[1]¬†China Tour Online, “Guangzhou History.” Accessed August 3, 2012. http://www.chinatouronline.com/china-travel/guangzhou/guangzhou-facts/guangzhou-history.html.

[2]¬†Islam Can, “Islam in China.” Accessed August 3, 2012. http://www.islamcan.com/islamic-history/islam-in-china.shtml.