The significance of mosques in Islam is no controversy. For centuries, they have gathered Muslims under a single roof. They have always presented the unity of Islam to the whole world.
Among these mosques, there are several that have their names written on the pages of history. Ones that have brought Muslims from different races and cultures side by side… Ones that have delivered a message of solidarity to the whole world… Such places have not only served the ummah, but also played a crucial role in the promotion of Islam.
Every mosque in which Allah’s holy name is mentioned and heads prostrate to him is sacred to us. To build some of them, however, limits were pushed and sacrifices were made. Thus, they became the means for Islam to reach the region.
Today, we will introduce the Huaiseng Mosque: the first mosque of China and all of Asia. More importantly, a mosque that was built by the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Huaisheng Mosque is the oldest mosque not only in China, but also in all of Asia with a history of approximately 1300 years.
China was introduced to Islam after the visit of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas with other companions.
He was the uncle of the prophet (PBUH) who accepted Islam at a young age. For he hit every single arrow he shot, the messenger of Allah complimented him:“Throw (arrows)! Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you !”. Therefore he went down in history as the first person to shed blood for the sake of Islam.
Marine Expedition to China
According to Chinese records, Sad ibn Abi Waqqas and three other companions voyaged to China in 616.
Along with various gifts, a copy of the Qur’an was presented to the regional administrators during this trip. After the arrival that coincides the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Yung Wei warmly welcomed the visitors and allowed the delegation to freely talk about Islam. In this way, construction of the the Huaisheng Mosque which happens to be the very first mosque in China began.
According to official records, the mosque which is located in the city port was completed in 627.
“Respect for the Prophet”
Unlike its counterparts, the minaret of the mosque has a structure similar to that of a lighthouse. It is recorded that the 20-meters-high minaret was actually used as a lighthouse. For obvious reasons, the building was initially named The Lantern Tower Mosque. Later on, however, it was changed to Huaiseng which literally means Respect for the Prophet. The name has remained the same to this day.
Although it is claimed that there is a tomb belonging to Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas in the yard, no confirmatory source is found.
It is extremely pleasant to know that after hundreds of years, the mosque is perfectly conserved thanks to the efforts of our brothers and sisters in China. The interest of tourists is also increasing day by day.
It is claimed that there lay tombs belonging to the companions in the graveyards of the mosque’s garden.
This mosque, built more than 1300 years ago, has witnessed the conversion of thousands of people to Islam. I am hopeful that it will proceed witnessing thousands more.
This article was originally written in Turkish. Click here to read it! : Sahabilerin Çin’de İnşa Ettiği Camii