The Earliest Muslim Communities in China

Wan Lei

This article explores the earliest Muslim immigration into China during the Tang and Song dynasties. The background of such immigration, along with various Chinese titles to designate Muslims, their communities, and their leaders demonstrate the earliest forms of recognition of the Muslims by the Chinese people. The article focuses on the studies of the Muslim leaders’ duties and their confrontations with the Chinese legal system; to adapt to a new society, a community must undergo acculturation. Finally, the system of Muslim leaders was improved by the succeeding Mongol Yuan dynasty, by which time it became an established tradition that has been passed on by the Hui people until today.