Letter from China: Eid al-Fitr at the Huasheing Mosque in Guangzhou

By Zulfikar Mulji

Location of Guangzhou in China. Historically know as Canton, it is the 3rd largest city in Chine with a population of over nearly 13 million. Map: Wikipedia

Location of Guangzhou in China. Historically know as Canton, it is the 3rd largest city in China with a population of nearly 13 million. Map: Wikipedia

Thursday, August 8, 2013.
Guangzhou, China.

A beautiful sunny day it is; the heat and the humidity this morning is unbearable. As I walked in, the zikr chant of allahu akbar allahu akbar allahu akbar la ilaha ilallah allah hu akbar walillahi hamd greeted me. I took my place outside, under the shade of a ground roof extension where the overhead fans lessened the humidity by circulating the air. For half an hour the zikr chant continued; in addition, the greenery provided by the trees and the plants in the courtyard provided a calm and serene ambiance amid the silent chatter of people exchanging greetings for the occasion.

The prayer hall of the Huaisheng mosque in Guangzhou. Photo: Zulfikar Mulji. Copyright.

Prayer hall of Huaisheng mosque, Guangzhou, China. Photo: Zulfikar Mulji. Copyright.

At exactly 8:30 a.m., the Imams made their entrance, stopping first at the outer door, then at the steps to the courtyard and next at the entrance to the prayer hall. Each time they stopped, they recited over and over again on the public address (p.a.) system, allahu akbar allahu akbar allahu akbar la ilaha ilallah allahhu akbar rabbil aalameen arahmanir raheem walillahi hamd.

Next everyone stood for the salaat; at the end of the al-Fateha, the congregation recited in unison, an emphatic aameen which reverberated all around; one could sense the whole salaat in body, mind and soul. The whole creation within and infinite womb! The One, the Eternal, not Begetting, nor Begotten and none like unto Him! All Praise to the Most High!

Muslims at the Eid ul Fitr prayers at the Huasheing mosque on Thursday, August 7, 2013. Photo: Zulfikar Mulji.

Muslims from all backgrounds at the Eid al Fitr prayers at the Huasheing mosque on Thursday, August 8, 2013. Photo: Zulfikar Mulji. Copyright.

I took my exit soon after; I did not wait for the complete sermon. I had taken some pictures and very short clips. Outside, I made my way straight to the restaurant to have rice with mutton and fish, tareli machhi! The tea was excellent. At the table was a man from Morocco, and two others from Urumqi. I exchanged contact information with them.

I saw Muslims from all over; Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of China, Pakistan and I am sure there were others from many other parts of the world. This is a living proof that the Government of China is doing its best to promote diversity and pluralism in the country, contrary to western media reports. Yesterday, I met a man from Syria. It was horrible and terrible to hear him say that nobody really cared about Syria anymore; it was a hopeless statement about the future of Syria existing as a country. Deep inside, I felt otherwise. His vision tells of a better future for all people.

Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Huasheing Mosque. Photo: Zulfikar Mulji. Copyright.

Muslims from many parts of the world were present for the Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Huasheing mosque on Thursday, August 8, 2013. Photo: Zulfikar Mulji. Copyright.

And now here I am back in my room typing this, hoping to send to all of you; some of you, who in a few hours will wake up and celebrate the day with joy, just like I did this morning. As we have been taught, Ramadhan is more than fasting of the body; it is also fasting of the mind through which the veil to and of the soul is lifted.

My thoughts were with you all this morning.

Allah Hafez.

Date posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013.

Copyright: Zulfikar Mulji.

__________________

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11 thoughts on “Letter from China: Eid al-Fitr at the Huasheing Mosque in Guangzhou

  1. Thank you Zulficar, for ‘taking us’ to China for the Eid celebrations.
    “Next everyone stood for the salaat; at the end of the al-Fateha, the congregation recited in unison, an emphatic aameen which reverberated all around;”

    I remember the above when receiting the Eid namaz back home in Dar-es-Salaam. Everyone saying Aameen at the end of al-Fateha. It was indeed beautiful. Somewhere along the line, in Canada, we seem to have lost this beautiful practice.

  2. Very informative. Would be interested to know what the sermon was about. May be you left because it probabkly was in Chinese. I guess women and children do not participate in Eid Namaz. I would have liked to know more, viz. whether Chinese Ismailis were there; was there an Ismaili Mosque there? How do they communicate with foreigners? were there Muslims of other Madhabs?

    • Gulshan,

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Please see a very interesting response to this piece from Imran Ifti who was present with his father at the same place. You may write to him at the email address he has provided.

      Malik Merchant
      Editor, Simerg

    • In China women and children pray together in same mosque but in separate rooms whether it is Eid Namaz or Friday Namaz. Here in Guangzhou city it is very hard to find Chinese Ismailis because their sermons and praying style is totally different from us. But if we go to Northwest of china we can find many Ismailis there in Tashkorgan Region. They recite Tasbih everyday instead of Dua and they also have Jamat Khanas.

      If you have any more question you can ask me.
      Thanks
      Imran Ifti

  3. Ya Ali Madad,
    Sir Zulfiqar Mulji on Eid ul Fitr Namaz I was also at the same place where I recited Salat with my father. I was siting inside the HuaSheng Mosque. I’m living in Guangzhou for the last four years and will feel very fortunate if I can come in contact with any Ismaili living in GZ or get chance to help in Mawla’s work.. Sir it will be great if we could meet as in GZ I’m dying to see any Ismaili :)

    Best regards,
    艾朗 Muhammad Imran Raza Aka Zain,
    广东外语外贸大学国际商务学院
    邮编:510420
    School of English International Business,
    Guangdong University of Foreign Studies,
    Guangzhou, China, 510420
    Tel:0086-13724178025
    E-mail:zainifti@hotmail.com

    • It was wonderful to meet Zulfikar. I graduated from SYSU, Anthropology, a years ago. And I used to do Ismaili research in Huaisheng Mosque, when i was a student.I now live in Beigang, University City now. I understand that you are a teacher in GDUFS, so we could meet each other if possible and convenient.

  4. Jazakallah khair..
    Subhan alah, nice to hear about your feelings and sentiments.
    Be blessed

  5. Good to know about Eid celebration in China whereby you can meet & interact with Muslims from the different parts of the World. May Allah bless you for the write up Zulfikar.

  6. I was much surprised and happy to hear Zulfiqar Mulji’s analysis about the Chines Government’s attitude to promote diversity and pluralism in the country. This, I feel, has to do a lot with education and the huge economic advantages to China abroad. It is good that they are trying to interact with people from other parts of the world with varying cultures.

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