Muslim China? Challenge accepted!

The issue is when Kǒng Fūzǐ teaching ceases to be a philosophy and become a religion, as ancestor worship is the same kind of paganism the prophet(PUBH) fought hard in Mecca, if anything this give more amunnition to the Abbasadid as they can paint shia as pagan kafir now, still is very telling, how sinicize become the shiism...
You will probably get something like the rites controversy. The issue will not be whether ancestor worship will be incorporated into core Shia ritual and prayer - it obviously won't be, though certain Chinese gods may be declared saints worthy of veneration but not worship if an when Shia becomes the actual state religion. The issue will be whether it will be permissible for Han Shia converts to attend ancestral rites, or state rites, and under what limitations. An earlier fusion, which I hinted at, was that with zorastroism, and certain concepts and terms will enter core teachings. Also, by way of contesting Manichiesm, the Shia will adopt what amounts to an emphatically pro-material world position, which while in line with orthodox Islamic teachings (which were, for example, quite anti monastic), will still give it a different flavor.
 
You will probably get something like the rites controversy. The issue will not be whether ancestor worship will be incorporated into core Shia ritual and prayer - it obviously won't be, though certain Chinese gods may be declared saints worthy of veneration but not worship if an when Shia becomes the actual state religion. The issue will be whether it will be permissible for Han Shia converts to attend ancestral rites, or state rites, and under what limitations. An earlier fusion, which I hinted at, was that with zorastroism, and certain concepts and terms will enter core teachings. Also, by way of contesting Manichiesm, the Shia will adopt what amounts to an emphatically pro-material world position, which while in line with orthodox Islamic teachings (which were, for example, quite anti monastic), will still give it a different flavor.
That is why i mentioned too, that thing line separated a philosophy from a faith and when some formal act become a religious rite too, that would be something interesting to see how those lines are draws and what controversy those bring too, very nice your comment on it too. Still as say Before, Shiism will be far even more unique OTL.
 
Maybe you could see Islam Nusantara for inspiration regarding the "worship" of traditional deity
Had that in mind actually. Basically, the more lower class Han converts (as opposed to literati conversion and Arab/Persian/Sogdian Muslim expansion through intermariage) you get, the more these practices will become prevalent, and the more the Imamate will have to find a formula to accomodate them, while delineating what is permissible and what profane.
Mind you, at some point you are also going to get a counter-reaction aiming to purge Chinese Islam of "local superstitions", especially if when performing the Haj to Mecca becomes a major thing.

Generally speaking, the spread of Islam within TTL China is similliar to that of Islam within OTL Java in that it is by persuassion and economic inducement (trade contacts) rather than coercion, conquest prestige or "hard" state power inducements, at least until a critical mass is reached. The difference is that the Shia in China will have a "pope" like figure who has the authority to make binding rulings on what is permissible, which makes it more adaptable in some respects, but more rigit in others. In addition, said pope figure will always keep one eye on his adherents in Central Asia, Persia and Messopotamia and will hence not wish to deviate too much. At most, he will permit accomodation and reinterpetation of local customs - but will not incorporate them as core beliefs.

So my models for accomodation, adaptation and evangelization are:
1. Islam Nusantara, as you said.
2. The spread of Manicheanism within China and Central Asia.
3. To some extent, the spread of Christianity within the Roman Empire/Post-Roman Europe, and it's eventual incorporation of pagan Gods into its collection of saints.
but....
3b. With the cult of Mithra being a somewhat more relevent example in terms of evangelization MO. Shia Islam will definately kick off in CHina as a "soldier's religion", and the mass of its early converts will be Turkic and Sogdian mercenaries/auxilaries rather than Han.
4. Various Zorastarian-gnostic-shiite fusions which occured throught the 9th-12 century in Persia and Central Asia (for one thing, variants thereof, will rise, be crushed, and flee to China)
5. OTL spread of Hui, but on steroids, with an earlier infusion of a seed of Middle Eastern and Central Asian adherents, and repeated later infusions, converting through intermarriage with Han women.
and...
6. The Bahai'i who are a late 19th century Shiite mutation.

That said, Confucius (and other competing Chinese traditions?) and Zoroaster will be recognized by the Imam as Divine Prophets *as they were by the Ahmadis) with relatively minor criticism of the distortion of their teachings by current followers. Perhaps Budha and even Lao-Tzi will be as well, albeit with very heavy criticism of the distortion of their teachings. Mani will be denounced as a false, even Satanic/Aharimanic prophet.
 
Last edited:
Mind you, at some point you are also going to get a counter-reaction aiming to purge Chinese Islam of "local superstitions", especially if when performing the Haj to Mecca becomes a major thing.
The Haj is always a turning point for musli and the whole thing would be very interesting.
 
Any way to get a Chinese caliphate to synergizes with the mandate of heaven?
Techically that was the concept of Rashidun, ie Rigthfully guided, again the issue of that thing is the 'god-emperor'(not that useless sumerian) that is like the chinese 'zeus'(to use an example), mandate of heaven is already a politheistic/kafir concept.
 
Any way to get a Chinese caliphate to synergizes with the mandate of heaven?
Mandate of heaven itself could be modify to fit the concept of the Rightly Guided as @Nivek already said, but the problem is when getting to the part about the "Son of Heaven". It could be consider blasphemous, as islam is very serious about God not having children or that there are another gods other then God (or Allah, to avoid confusion)
 
Mandate of heaven itself could be modify to fit the concept of the Rightly Guided as @Nivek already said, but the problem is when getting to the part about the "Son of Heaven". It could be consider blasphemous, as islam is very serious about God not having children or that there are another gods other then God (or Allah, to avoid confusion)
I don't think that anyone actually believed that the Chinese emperors were literally children / descended from heavenly beings or deities. A Muslim dynasty could claim that "Son of Heaven" is nonliteral and mean "regent" or something, too.
 
I don't think that anyone actually believed that the Chinese emperors were literally children / descended from heavenly beings or deities. A Muslim dynasty could claim that "Son of Heaven" is nonliteral and mean "regent" or something, too.
If you can spin it like Rumpelstinski , you could argue the idea of 'Khalifa' was introduced among some proto-sabians(there were chinese monotheist? those could past as sabians) but Kafir corrupted it, as Adan(PUH) as the first 'son/regent of God/Allah' on earth, you could... but i think you should not discount people beliefs, people believed on spirits,etc.
 
This is a really cool idea of a timeline. I really look forward especially to how this will shape ITTL chinese culture, literature and otherwise.

Such as what would be the equilavent to Journey to the West in a Shia Muslim China that has been muslim for centuries by the time it was written.

Though I guess part of me would have found it cool if west of China it was generally Sunni Muslim, with the Shiites having generally fled to China during periods of religious oppression with the general Sinosphere being shiite muslim in contrast to the more sunni muslim Arabo-Persian cultural sphere.

(I am going to be interested how the Sino-sphere shiite branch will react to the other branches of Shiite islam, and those branches to the Sino-sphere branch.)
 
Such as what would be the equilavent to Journey to the West in a Shia Muslim China that has been muslim for centuries by the time it was written.
Maybe a Groups of Shia Imam alongside some others(the mystical elements..Djinns..something else?) try to search some document to prove the Ummayads were always ursurpers(they were not) and all the adventure the way to Mecca?

hough I guess part of me would have found it cool if west of China it was generally Sunni Muslim
The same
 
Honestly a massive part of me finds it rather unlikely China can be all that influential in affairs west of central Asia directly, even with them being interested in the matter. From what I understand they were probably at the edge of their logistical rope with their territory in Central Asia under the Tang dynasty, and China has not have any real impact on Persia and further west politically. Now with China being Muslim in this timeline I imagine it would be more interested in the generally being outwards oriented, but I would think logistics and communication time and travel time would greatly limit it's ability to overtly influence matters.

After all, Andalusia and Persia were both part of Dar al Islam, but that doesn't mean that Persia was able to really affect the trajectory of Andalusia in any meaningful manner the vast majority of the time.

Intellectuals from China traveling to and back from areas in the Arabo-Persian world and cultural and intellectual exchange is something I can easily see happening though. Alongside quite possibly making trade a bit easier, but I'm not positive on that matter.
 
Intellectuals from China traveling to and back from areas in the Arabo-Persian world and cultural and intellectual exchange is something I can easily see happening though. Alongside quite possibly making trade a bit easier, but I'm not positive on that matter.
Eh China proper have Southeast Asia as it's backyard whenever a South-leaning dynasty with focus on maritime affairs came, like the Tang and Early Ming. From Atjeh, it's easy to sail all the way to NW India and therefore Iran and Arabian Peninsula.

But yeah, they'll need to hold the Malaccan straits to get there, and that will mean a very, very different China than we're used to. Tho the Imams seem to be focusing more on Central Asia compared to the seas.

Hmm, surviving Shiite Sogdians... My Sunni heart is rebelling but my mind is very very interested in this timeline.

I wonder if Korea, Japan, and Vietnam also goes Shiite, or if one of them choose another to spite the Middle Country. Sunni Japan allying with Sunni Malays to hold the Shiite Han back around Formosa and NE Philippines would be a very interesting time... Especially post-gunpowder.
 
Out of all them it probably Vietnam that would most likely not go shiite honestly, with how, from what I understand, what is now modern day Vietnam very often, even before the 19th century, resented and disliked China meddling in their affairs, though I admit I have a very limited understanding of Vietmese history so I could be off base. Whereas Japan in this time period hasn't even solidified itself culturally if I remember correctly, being all the way back in the later portions of the Asuka period. With Japan during this time period following China so closely culturally I would find it most likely that they would simiarly convert to the Shiite branch of islam. Plus Japan in this time period being able to do anything against Japan is very, very doubtful. Even ignoring how Japan would be in the early periods of it's centralization on a small, rather backwards at the time archipeligo, the example of the Heian period (which admittingly is later) being what is what makes it very doubtful Japan can really do anything against China.
 
If you can spin it like Rumpelstinski , you could argue the idea of 'Khalifa' was introduced among some proto-sabians(there were chinese monotheist? those could past as sabians) but Kafir corrupted it, as Adan(PUH) as the first 'son/regent of God/Allah' on earth, you could... but i think you should not discount people beliefs, people believed on spirits,etc.
I don't forsee problems with spinning this. It's not as if the Emperor's were actually claiming "biological" divine descent like Alexander the Great, etc. What I do foresee is that the Imamate will try approproate a divine ordination to proclaim which Emperors/dynasties gain/lost the mandate of heaven.... which some dynasties mught play along with.

Honestly a massive part of me finds it rather unlikely China can be all that influential in affairs west of central Asia directly.
A proper Chinese dynasty cannot. The tyranny of distance and thed ecreasing effectiveness of large land empires the more they expand past a given point in the pre-modern era, means that China cannot expand it's direct rule, or even meaningful tributary relations, much beyond what the Qing were able to achieve. What I can see a Shia Ccina acheiving is providing an incentive for the various Kurasani, Central Asian and Irnian Plateau dynasties (and perhaps even North Indian muslim synasties?) who shook off direct Abbasid rule to proclaim themsleves Shia. OTL, it was only the Saffavid conquest which transformed Perisa into a Shiite island in the Sunni sea. TTL, you will have an uniterrupted Shiite Arc from the Pacific to the Zagros/ Causacaus by the 12 century. And I'm suprised no one has picked up yet on who that will benefit, at least for a time.


I wonder if Korea, Japan, and Vietnam also goes Shiite, or if one of them choose another to spite the Middle Country. Sunni Japan allying with Sunni Malays to hold the Shiite Han back around Formosa and NE Philippines would be a very interesting time... Especially post-gunpowder.
Out of all them it probably Vietnam that would most likely not go shiite honestly, with how, from what I understand, what is now modern day Vietnam very often, even before the 19th century, resented and disliked China meddling in their affairs, though I admit I have a very limited understanding of Vietmese history so I could be off base. Whereas Japan in this time period hasn't even solidified itself culturally if I remember correctly, being all the way back in the later portions of the Asuka period. With Japan during this time period following China so closely culturally I would find it most likely that they would simiarly convert to the Shiite branch of islam. Plus Japan in this time period being able to do anything against Japan is very, very doubtful. Even ignoring how Japan would be in the early periods of it's centralization on a small, rather backwards at the time archipeligo, the example of the Heian period (which admittingly is later) being what is what makes it very doubtful Japan can really do anything against China.

Without going into details, the Five dynasties and Ten Kingdom interregnum of China will be averted, as will be the post An-Lushan regionalization of power. Annam, accordingly, will not get a window of opportunity to break away. By the time it does, sinification and islamification (over time the two will become synomynous) will be far more advanced than OTL, so Annam may remain a core CHinese province over dynastic cycles. THough fartherst from the center of Islam in China, Shia Islam will still reach it... and collide with the mostly Sunni Islam reaching Champa by the Martitime route. Hillarity ensues.
Japan won't go Muslim, but Islam will be transmitted to it via China as Budhism was OTL. However, unlike Budhism it cannot coexist with SHinto, and the Emperor's source of legitimacy, as Budhism does and did. So at some point a showdown will occur, and if Islam at that point is the "state religion" of China, conflict may result. Korea will go as China goes, one way or another. Adaptation of Islam may play a role in the North and South and later three kingdoms period conflicts and currying of favor with China by the various states.
 
Last edited:
TTL, you will have an uniterrupted Shiite Arc from the Pacific to the Zagros/ Causacaus by the 12 century. And I'm suprised no one has picked up yet on who that will benefit, at least for a time.
Oh snap this will have a major beneficial impact on the Mongols

Japan won't go Muslim, but Islam will be transmitted to it via China as Budhism was OTL. However, unlike Budhism it cannot coexist with SHinto, and the Emperor's source of legitimacy, as Budhism does and did. So at some point a showdown will occur, and if Islam at that point is the "state religion" of China, conflict may result
Will we see a much, much, much earlier attempt at sakoku by Japan to keep Shia-Chinese influence out? And if so, will we see Japan be conquered by Shia-China or will there be another typhoon miracle as what happened OTL during the failed Mongol invasions?
 
Oh snap this will have a major beneficial impact on the Mongols
Right, partially because it would enable the *Mongols to choose single religous focus for their Empire rather than drifting into Lamaic Budhism in the East Sunni Islam in East Europe, and SHia Islam in the Middle East after a century plus of clinging to their Tengirism, partially because it would bridge the gap between rulers and ruled and allow for greater legitimacy, and also for other reasons, which will become apparant.

* Who may end up being Uyghurs, or Khitans or Kirgiz.

And if so, will we see Japan be conquered by Shia-China or will there be another typhoon miracle as what happened OTL during the failed Mongol invasions?
I would call this statistical ineveitability rather than a miracle. Consider the difficulties suffered by the Mongols when they came to aid the Nivek against the Ainu in Sakhlain. Or the casulties suffered by the Japanese missions to the Tan'g (roughly a third didn't return). Naval technology at the time made invasion across the sea of Japan a highly attritional affair. While the Kamikaze might have been an outlier, over time, the Mongol forces would not have been able to maintain a presence against determined resistance. To eitherbuild up a sufficiently powerful bridgehead,force the Japanese into a decisive engagement on their terms, or maintain long term control over the country or parts thereof, powerful local allies would be needed....
 
Will we see a much, much, much earlier attempt at sakoku by Japan to keep Shia-Chinese influence out? And if so, will we see Japan be conquered by Shia-China or will there be another typhoon miracle as what happened OTL during the failed Mongol invasions?
I would call this statistical ineveitability rather than a miracle. Consider the difficulties suffered by the Mongols when they came to aid the Nivek against the Ainu in Sakhlain. Or the casulties suffered by the Japanese missions to the Tan'g (roughly a third didn't return). Naval technology at the time made invasion across the sea of Japan a highly attritional affair. While the Kamikaze might have been an outlier, over time, the Mongol forces would not have been able to maintain a presence against determined resistance. To eitherbuild up a sufficiently powerful bridgehead,force the Japanese into a decisive engagement on their terms, or maintain long term control over the country or parts thereof, powerful local allies would be needed....
Random idea: Buddhist Reconquista of Korea sponsored by Japan.
 
You know, if Japan does stay buddhist here (which I am not entirely convinced of happening admittingly), they may have one of their main cultural perspectives be that they are the last Buddhists in the world with how they would be so isolated from other buddhists.


Also the cultural divergences from OTL will be something as with the completely different religious tradition from the mainland it may make Japan less sinophillic that OTL with the religious divergences (which is why I personally find it unlikely for Japan to not eventually become Shiite, Japan generally followed China culturally and viewed it as the center of civilization up until the 19th century if I remember correctly and it's early enough in Japan's history that I could easily see the Yamato dynasty or another dynasty that based on the Shiite population from misionaries from China to base their legitimacy on something completely different.)
 
Top