The Hui

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 96:1-4

The Basics:

The Hui, made up of about 15 million people, are the largest and most widespread of China’s Muslim nationalities. They also comprise the third largest minority group in China. Remarkably, Hui live in 2,310 of China’s 2,369 counties and municipalities. Small pockets also live in Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Only .006% of them know Christ!

Their Beliefs:

To be Hui is to be Muslim – it is the core of who they are. Even if they don’t fully understand it, or even follow it the same as some other countries do, it has been hidden deep inside of them from the time they were very young. For the Hui, Islam is more than just a set of religious beliefs – it is a total way of life.

Their Culture:

The Hui are some of the most hospitable people you will ever meet. Some of this comes from just being Chinese, and the rest of it comes from just being Hui. Either way – you never want to visit the Hui on a full stomach! Many of the Hui own restaurants. You can find them in cities all over China and they serve some of the best food you will ever eat. As you walk down the street, you can often recognize the men by their prayer caps and the women by their head scarves. Hui with other Hui are like family. Even if they are strangers, you would never know.

Their Language:

Mandarin Chinese is the heart language of the Hui in both spoken and written. But the spiritual language of the Hui is a mixture of Arabic and Persian.

Their History:

The Hui are descendants of Muslim traders, soldiers and officials who came to China between the 7th and 14th centuries. They settled and intermarried with Arab Muslims and Han Chinese.

The Situation:

Although there are around 15 million Hui scattered throughout China, very few (including the Chinese church) are intentionally planting their lives among the Hui to tell them about Christ. It is estimated that every five minutes one Hui person dies. Currently, more Hui people are dying daily than are hearing the gospel. The Hui are in desperate need of more laborers to boldly proclaim the gospel and reap the harvest that God has prepared.

Hui People

%

Muslim

  • Christian .006%

He Brings the Rain – Short-term Teams Bring Encouragement

My home among the Hui is on the edge of the Gobi Desert, the largest desert in Asia with an area of 500,000 square meters. The weather is dry, and it rarely rains or snows. I come from a place in America that has a very similar climate so it was not a hard adjustment adapting to the physical environment. However most recently I lived in the Pacific Northwest where rain is much more common. Sometimes my spirit seems to match the environment in its dryness, and I long for rain to quench my thirst spiritually.

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“Prayer for the Hui” – A Devotional

Sometimes, when you hear a new song, there’s one single line that just gets stuck in your head. For me, “Prayer for the Hui” has one of those lines. Of course, there are clearly God-glorifying, gospel-centered words throughout the song, laying before God our prayer that He would work throughout the world bringing people into His Kingdom. But there was this one line that resonated with me in a profound way and had a huge impact on my thoughts and prayers, because it was so applicable to my own life and my own struggles with sharing the gospel with those I know personally.

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Hearts in Need of a Savior

She listens to hip-hop. She likes to take selfies with her friends on an app with fun filters – the cat one is her favorite. She hangs out at coffee shops and likes to sing with her friends at a KTV restaurant on the weekends. She’s laughing at a GIF that one of her friends sent of a baby dancing. Meet MaHui*, a college student.

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Anyone Can Do It

We had an extra room that no one was using so why not? We met a friend who is Hui about six months ago and have gotten to know her and her family. We learned during her school break she was planning on living in a small two bedroom apartment with her other five relatives. We knew in our apartment we had an extra room available that no one was using so we prayed about asking our friend to live with us for her two month school break.

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Not the Muslims You Might Expect

I sat around the lunch table and couldn’t help reflecting on the irony of it all. Here we were, celebrating the national Spring Festival (which Muslims don’t participate in) where our Hui friend’s family were smoking and drinking alcohol (which Muslims don’t consume) asking their non-muslim friend why Muslims in fact are not allowed to eat pork! This was not the Islam I had read about in most books.

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The Couch Full of Tears

I have a friend who is Hui. She might be my best friend in the city. Why are we so close when it seems like it takes so long for relationships to be built here in East Asia? Many times when I try to become friends with people here I get surface answers of “I’m fine, life is great, no problems here.”

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Wrapping Dumplings

One o’clock rolls around, and what had previously filled the table – a feast of chicken, beef, sweet rice, special bread, and stir-fried vegetables – now fills our bellies. As I begin standing up from the table, my Chinese grandmother, a sweet Hui lady in her late 70’s, tells me, “Don’t you run away now; we still have to wrap the dumplings. You are staying to wrap the dumplings, aren’t you?” Her question leaves room only for a Yes.

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The Girl Next Door

I met my Hui Chinese friend through a mutual friend, and it didn’t take long at all for me to discover she lives in the same building I do and also owns a nearby restaurant that I visit pretty often. Our friendship started out with me asking her if she’d like to come over to have tea (because why else would one invite a stranger over?), and from there we progressed into a sort of “language exchange.”

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“I am Hui.”

She was adamant about there being a difference between us; whatever I said or showed her to read that had to do with Jesus, she responded with something like the above.

We had other conversation, some of which was about what she does during the day. After thinking and then listing off some things, she said, “Maybe I am not a good Muslim.”

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Pray for the Hui

 

  • Pray for laborers called by God to reach the Hui – laborers from other countries as well as Chinese Christians currently living among the Hui.
  • Thank God for ongoing gospel proclamation efforts among the Hui. Pray that effective strategies can be identified and implemented to make Christ’s love known to the Hui.

  • Pray for God to tear down the barriers that keep the Hui from hearing the Good News of Jesus’ forgiveness and love.

  • Pray that Hui believers will gather together and form churches that will multiply.
  • Pray for followers of Jesus to boldly proclaim the gospel to the Hui, believing that God is at work among them.