Muslims in Yunnan

Currently, Muslims are a significant minority group in China, thought to represent 1 to 3% of the total population. Now, Islam has spread all over Yunnan Province, mainly in Kunming, Yuxi, Honghe, Wenshan, Dali, Baoshan, Zhaotong, Chuxiong, Simao, and Qujing prefectures and municipalities. It is believed by the Hui, some Dais, Bais, Tibetans and Zhuangs. Muslim population in Yunnan are about 698265 by 2010, there were 717 mosques in service, 11 qubbahs (domed buildings) and Yunnan Branch of the Islam Association of China was founded in 1984 and its office is set in the Shunchen Mosque in Kunming.

History of Muslims in Yunnan

The Hui Nationality had very first lived in Yunnan since the Tang Dynasty; and at that time, they had built mosques. A large number of the Hui people moved into Yunnan during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. During the early Qing Dynasty, Yunnan has nearly 800000 Hui population, becoming China second largest Hui ethnic community after northwest region of China.

Islam was introduced to Yunnan in 1253 when Kublai, the fifth emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, pacified Dali. Later, Kublai sent Sayyid All Omer Shams al-Din to Yunnan to be the Prime Minister (now called governor) to take charge of the state affairs (1274-1279). Sayyid All Omer Shans al-Din, during his reign, established 12 mosques in Kunming, two of which are the Nancheng Mosque (Kunming South Mosque) in Zhengyi Road and the Yongning Mosque (The Mosque of Everlasting Peace) at the Dongsi Street (East Temple Street) corner. The Islamic festivals observed in China are mainly those of Mohammed’s Birthday, Lesser Bairam, and Korban Bairam.

Three Sects of Muslin

Historically, Yunnan Islam was divided into three sects: the Old Sect, the New Sect, and the Newest Sect. The Old Sect is the most popular sect and has the largest number of Islamists, accounting for 90% of the total Islam follower. It has incorporated lots of Confucius thoughts and initiated the unique mosque education characterized by the way of teaching in both Arabian and Chinese. The mosque education is a kind of religious education that is provided by schools attached to the mosques in the history of popularizing Oslam in China.

Famous Muslim Mosques in Yunnan

The distribution of the mosques in Yunnan is in accord with the distribution of the Hui people who scatter over widely and live together in compact communities. Yunnan province has more than 820 mosques. Most Mosques in Yunnan are in a Chinese temple style except those in an Arabic style. They are the natural combination of Islamic culture with the Han, Dai, Tibetan, and Bai architectural art.The famous ones are Kunming Nancheng Mosque, Kunming Shuncheng Street Mosque, Gejjiu Shadian Great Mosque, Tonghai Najiaying Mosque, etc…

1.Kunming Nancheng Mosque昆明南城清真寺

As the largest mosque in Kunming, the Nancheng Mosque was first constructed during the Tang Dynasty(618-907), and then renovated and reconstructed for many times during the Qing Dynasty. The mosque’s design reflects architectural style of Chinese temples due to the influence of the Buddhist culture. With the reconstruction of the mosque in 1996,  it has been with an estimated area of 2,557 square meters, holding 200 people at the same time. The highlights of the mosque are the Chaozhen hall, Xuanli Tower and the Muslim building. 

2. Kunming Shuncheng Street Mosque昆明顺城清真寺

The Kunming Shuncheng Street Mosque is one of the most famous masques in China. It was first built in the first year (1425) of Hongxi, Ming Dynasty(1368-1644) and was rebuilt and enlarged for many times in Qing Dynasty(1644-1911). The existing temple covers an area of 10,000 square meters. The major constructions are the prayer hall, pair halls, wing-rooms, guest house, dining hall and other facilities. In the yard, the pine sand cypress are planted around the building.  

3. Kunming Yongning Mosque

First built in Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) when Nancheng Mosque was constructed, the Yongning Mosque was reconstructed in Qing Dynasty. Despite the small scale of the mosque, it still attracts a large number of Muslims. The prayer hall has an area of 200 square meters and it is directly opposite to the wing-room, which is a resting room for Muslims here. There is a meeting room and a teaching room in the sides of the hall. The mosque is well-known for its imam’s education in Yunnan province, and most of imams in Yunnan province are graduates of Yongning Mosque. 

4. Shadian Great Mosque沙甸大清真寺

Shadian is a famous Hui ethnic community in Yunnan. The full name of Shadian is Yunnan Honghe Hani Yi Autonomous Prefecture Gejiu City Shadian District. It is the hometown of Muhammad Ma Jian and Lin Song, who are China’s famous Islamic scholars and Arabic translators. ShaDian is located in the northern suburb of Gejiu City; about 12 kilometers away from the city. The new Shadian Great Mosque, built in 2010 is located on the side of Shadian Gongnong Bridge. It can accommodate 10000 people’s worship; it is the largest mosque in southwest China.

5. Tonghai Najiaying Mosque通海衲家营清真寺

The Najiaying Mosque is a mosque in Tonghai County, Yuxi City, Yunnan Province. It was originally built in 1370. Over the past 600 years, the mosque had been expanded several times. In 2001, a new mosque building was constructed. The new mosque building consists of five floors, four minarets and one dome. According to the local mountain establishment. The hall occupies an area of 10,000 m2. The towers are 72.4 meters in height. The second floor can accommodate 3,000 worshipers. The old building uses a traditional Chinese style, and since has been used as a mosque for women which can hold up to 800 worshipers.

6. Tuogu Mosque拖姑寺

Built in Yongzheng Period (1722-1735) of Qing Dynasty, Tuogu Mosque is one of the five ancient temples and one of the ten mosques in Yunnan Province. According to records inscribed on steles in the mosque, in 1730, Ma Lincan and Ma Linzhi led the fundraising effort to construct the Main Hall used for religious services. Since then, the complex has undergone several renovations. With a long history, it was known as the “ancestral temple” in Yunnan province. It is a Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the Provincial Level. The mosque remained undamaged from the magnitude 6.1 earthquake which struck Ludian County on 3rd August 2014. 

Muslim Restaurants in Yunnan

City District  Muslim Restaurant Name Address Tel No.
Kunming Panlong Taoyuan Beef Restaurant (桃源牛菜馆) No.67 Taoyuan Street, Panlong District, Kunming (0871)63138387
Kunming Panlong Yi Tian Yuan (伊天园) No. 146-148 Linyu Road, Bus Group Building, Kunming     (0871) 65846666
Lijiang Gucheng Yipin Loulan (一品楼兰) No. 70 Jinkai Street, Jinkai Square, Gucheng District, Lijiang 13709999193
Lijiang Gucheng  Xin Xue Ge(新月阁) No.33 Dingye Street, Suhe Old Town, Gucheng District, Lijiang 13628889460
Dali   Pinmei Halal Steak Buffet(品美) No.6-4, Raopengmingzhu, the Opposite to the city court, Cangshan Road, Dali (0872)2211788
Dali   Dali Halal Restaurant(大理清真饭店文昌街) No. 382, Wenhua Road, Dali 15912674268

Muslim Tour in Yunnan

5 Days Kunming Muslim Tour

6 Days Kunming Shadian Muslim Tour with Yuanyang Rice Terraces and Jianshui Old Town

6 Days Kunming and Qujing Muslim Culture Tour

6 Days Kunming and Zhaotong Muslim Culture Tour

7 Days Yunnan Muslim Culture Tour with Shadian Mosque and Yuanyang Rice Terraces

9 Days Yunnan Classic Tour with Muslim Culture Exploration

13 Days Yunnan Muslim Culture Discovery Tour