Islam in the eye of Chinese Imam

Chinese Muslims are fasting and praying during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which lasts from June 18 to July 17 this year.

But the holy month means more for clergies, as they need to lead Muslims to perform all the practices and do prayers during the whole month.

We’ll show you how does an Imam in northwest China’s Lanzhou city spend a day during the Ramadan.


Ma Jun is the Imam of a mosque in China’s northwestern city of Lanzhou.

It’s 3 o’clock of a Friday morning, Ma has begun to perform calmness in a preparation for hosting Jumah, or Friday prayer.

Jumah is a congregational prayer that Muslims hold every Friday.

On the day of Jumah, Imams deliver Wa’z, or preaching of sermons.

Unlike other Imams in Lanzhou who usually do Wa’z in dialect, Ma Jun delivers Wa’z in Mandarin Chinese.

He says he hopes his Wa’z can be accepted by more people, no matter where they come from.

“To be honest, I did feel the pressure when I started to do Wa’z in Mandarin Chinese, as it’s traditionally conducted in dialect. But I think in modern China, which has a huge moving population, Wa’z in Mandarine Chinese can reach more people. Because you don’t know where those people, who are hearing you, come from. So I determined to do Wa’z in Mandarin Chinese the day I became the Imam.”

Ma became the Imam of the mosque after his graduation from the Islamic University of al-Madinah in Saudi Arabia.

As an Imam who has an experience of study overseas, he is called by local Muslims as a “modern” Imam.

But about the title, Ma Jun has his own understandings.

“A ‘modern’ Imam, I think, is someone who is able to know the modern society well, someone who can interpret the social problems with Islam in a tolerant, peaceful and neutral way. With my understandings, any Imam who is capable of doing this can be called as a ‘modern’ Imam.”

At one o’clock in the afternoon, Ma Jun started his Wa’z.

Shifting freely between Arabic and Chinese, the “modern” Imam explained to the followers the peaceful and inclusive nature of Islam.

Many of the listeners are young Muslims.

Ma Jun is very pleased to help his Muslim brothers solve the problems facing their life with Islam knowledge.

“Most of the Muslims will come to Mosque during the Ramadan. It’s a good occasion to preach sermons and guide their life. I help them solve problems facing their life with Islam and tell them what is Islam.”

As for the situation of Chinese Muslims, who has a long history in China, Ma says he is very satisfied. And he feels he is obliged to spread the Islamic merits in China.

“I’m very delighted to see that all the Chinese Muslims can live a happy life nowadays, as our religion is protected by the Constitution. Muslims have lived in China for over a thousand years. We have formed our own cultural background. It’s our Chinese Muslims’ top task to pass on the peace and inclusiveness of Islam, and apply them in our daily lives and help others better understand Islam and Muslims.”

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