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Chinese historian reveals Arab-China ties dating back to 14th century.

In this 2012 file photo, leaders of a Chinese Haj delegation are seen at the Chinese Consulate in Jeddah before proceeding to Makkah. Ancient Chinese documents show that the first batch of Chinese Muslims visited Makkah and Madinah between 1360 and 1424 AD. (AN file photo)

Ancient Chinese documents show that the first batch of Chinese Muslims visited Makkah and Madinah between 1360 and 1424 AD during Caliph Uthman's reign in 651 AD. Traveling by sea, Haji Mahmud Shams (Jing He) came to Makkah and Madinah on the orders of Emperor Ming and Qing who ruled China from 1360 to 1424 AD, leading a naval fleet to visit countries bordering Western Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean in order to increase trade relations between China and the outside world. The expedition spanned over 28 years. During his long journey, Haji Shams, who lived between 1317 to 1433 AD, reached Jeddah port from Calicut, India, along with his grandmother. They went to Makkah where they drank the holy water Zamzam and later accompanied his companions to Madinah to visit Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) Mosque and Grave. This historical chronicle was recorded by the Chinese historian and researcher of China-Arab relations Song Sean, who was born in 1946. Relating historical relations between the Arab and the Chinese, Sean revealed that Islam reached the shores of China during the period of 618-907 AD. The Chinese historical books documented that 37 Arab envoys were sent by the Muslim caliphs to China at different times. Umayyad Caliph Sulaiman bin Abdul Malik's messenger visited Chang'an city in 716 AD and the messenger of the Abbasid Caliph Harun Al Rashid met Emperor Tang Jin Yuan during his reign between 786 AD and 809 AD. Highlighting the role Arabic language, he revealed that the language was used in international trade and among scientific community for several centuries. For example, Xinjiang region of China used Arabic letters and Chinese symbols on silver coins in the early 20th century. The book also reviewed details of historic cultural exchanges between China and the Arabs since the beginning of the seventh century until the early 19th century, highlighting bilateral trade through Silk Road, influence of Arabs' advancement in medicine and Arab art in China.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 3, 2016
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