May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
More than 15 million Muslims live across China, identifying themselves ethnically as Hui, Salar, Dongxiang or Huihui. They trace their roots back to the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, and all have intermarried with each other as well as Han, Mongols or Tibetan peoples over the centuries. Today, the majority have their homeland in Northwest China, stretching from Ningxia, and Gansu over toQinghai province. However, Hui families are scattered all over China in every province and are even found in several other countries while the Huihui live on Hainan Island. Missionaries have planted their lives among Chinese Muslims since the 1800s to proclaim the Gospel, yet today there are still only about 1,000 followers of Jesus.
Islam is at the core of who Chinese Muslims are — it has been engrained in them from childhood, even if they don’t fully understand it. Far more than a set of religious beliefs, Islam is a total way of life. For many Hui, Salar, Dongxiang and Huihui, rejecting Islam is as radical as rejecting their families and their ethnic identities.
Their Culture and Language:
Chinese Muslims are some of the most hospitable people you will ever meet. Although some have become very successful in business, many are quite poor and struggle to make ends meet. Regardless of their income, though, they treat guests like royalty. Agriculture, transportation, and the restaurant industry are where many Chinese Muslims earn a living. In Northwest China, most are farmers or shepherds. In the cities many own vegetable stands, butcher shops or noodle restaurants. Hui move all over China opening restaurants as it has proved to be a lucrative venture. Mandarin Chinese is the heart language of the Hui people; the Salar, Dongxiang and Huihui each have their own language. Each Muslim needs to hear the gospel in their heart language, be it Mandarin, Salar, Dongxiang, Huihui or a local dialect.
The Hui, Salar, Dongxiang and Huihui are the forgotten faces of the Silk Road. Their ancestors traveled into China centuries ago for trade, business, war or to find a new home. Today, Han Chinese Christians travel the Silk Road taking the gospel Back to Jerusalem, but they often forget their Muslim neighbors who have never heard the gospel. Very few — Chinese or foreigners — are committed to living intentionally among the Chinese Muslims for the sake of the gospel. The barriers are immense. But the reward is worth risking it all.
Pray for Chinese Muslims
- Pray for God to give the Chinese church a vision for proclaiming the gospel and planting churches among Chinese Muslims.
Thank God for ongoing Kingdom efforts among Chinese Muslims. Pray that effective strategies can be identified and implemented to make Christ’s love known to Chinese Muslims in their heart languages.
Pray for Chinese Muslims to hear and believe the Good News of Jesus’ forgiveness and love, and gather together to form multiplying churches.
- Pray that Chinese Muslims will no longer be the forgotten faces of the Silk Road, but that thousands of Jesus’ followers from around the world will plant their lives among the Hui, Salar and Dongxiang, proclaiming the gospel boldly and believing that God is at work.