Black People : The true arabs


Well-Known Member
Nov 14, 2007
There is a war in Yemen,for those who don't know,in the Northern part of this country.Here some pics of the refugees in the border with Saudi Arabia:

The Plight of the People of Tihama, Yemen

Tihama – True Yemen

Tihama. What is Tihama? It is that part of the Arabian Peninsula that faces the Red Sea. There are two parts of Tihama – Tihama Yemen and Tihama Hejaz. What concerns us is the well-known Tihama Yemen, whose capital is Hodeida.

Today there are unity celebrations taking place in the purest part of Yemen, namely,Tihama, the land of the original Yemenis. Yes. It is the land that was called Yumnaat in the past. It is the land that the Prophet (SAWS) said his well-known hadith about when the delegation of the Ash’ari tribe came from Zabid. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “Faith is Yemeni, wisdom is Yemeni – the people of Yemen have come. They are the most soft-hearted people, the most compassionate people.” Yes. Tihama. Whoever lives in Hodeida and Tihama sees another picture of Yemen. The people of Tihama are completely different from the people of San’aa. They are extremely nice, well-mannered, good-natured people. The hadith of the prophet (saws) meant them. Yes. You will not hear a bad sound or bad speech in the markets. These are the people of Hodeida. These are the true, original Yemenis.

Some people think that the people of Tihama are Akhdam. This isn’t so. They are the dark-skinned Yemenis and as a result of Tihama and Hodeida being coastal lands they have accepted many peoples including the Akhdam (click here to read about the Akhdam), who used to live happily on the land. Tihama...which has taken in many of the people of Hadramout and Aden. This is Tihama. But what’s the benefit of all of this when Tihama and its good, original people have had everything taken away from them even the hadith of the Prophet (saws) – the descendants of the Persians, the Ziyoud, have taken it and made it apply to them when in reality it was talking about the people of Tihama and Zabid. The Ziyoud have even taken the land of the original people of Tihama and the people of Tihama - the true, original Yemenis – now live in huts and shanty towns and they live the lowest and most miserable lives only because they have soft hearts. The descendants of the Persians have wronged them with a proverb that says, “People of Tihama are animals.” They don’t know that Yemen in the past was Tihama. The true land of Yumnaat. They don’t know that Abu Musa Al Ash’ari was from Zabid, Tihama and that most religious knowledge and religious people are from Tihama. The president has come and looked on in pleasure at the oppression and poverty that has fallen on the people of Tihama. Wouldn’t it have been better for him to start some projects for this good land? Yes. The people of Tihama receive the minimum degree of rights as if they have come from Mars. In fact, they are treated like animals. They have no rights whatsoever. The rights of the people of Tihama have been stolen. For how long will Tihama remain in poverty?

Whoever goes to Tihama will see that the respectable jobs and positions are held by the Ziyoud (descendants of Persians) and that they (the Ziyoud) possess everything. If it weren’t for the kind-heartedness of the merchants from Hadramout and the Southern Yemenis and their helping the people of Tihama, the people of Tihama would die in their land from poverty and starvation. Yes. The sons of Hodeida have become workers in their own land for the Zidis (Persians). Why? Answer me! And save the people of Tihama.


Well-Known Member
Nov 14, 2007
Injustice Towards Original Arabs

Adil Al-Kalbani, the former Imam of the Haram of Mecca, is from the pure Arab tribe of Bani Kalbaan. Bani Kalbaan are descended from Kulaib Wail and then from Taghlib the son of Wa'il the son of Qaasit the son of Hanib the son of Afsa the son of Da'ami the son of Judaila the son of Asad the son of Rabi'a the son of Nizaar the son of Ma'ad the son of Adnan.

This is the origin of Adil Al-Kalbani. However, look at how he is described by people today. Read what is said about him here. Also read what is said about him in the comments here. Read this comment "...In Riyadh, Saudi one of the best Imaams, if not the best in Riyadh,
is Imaam Adil al-Kalbani, who is originally and ethnically African (his
grand-parents are Omani of African origin) but an Arab
(linguistically)." here. Read about how his features are described as "African" here.

As I've said, Adil Al-Kalbani is descended from the Taghlib. Read about the tribe here. Taghlib is the son of Wa'il the son of Qaasit. As I will show now, the well-known Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal is also descended from Wa'il the son of Qaasit. He is Ahmad the son of Mohamed the son of Hanbal the son of Hilal the son of Asad the son of Idris the son of Abdellah the son of Hayyan the son of Abdellah the son of Anas the son of Awf the son of Qasit the son of Mazin the son of Shaibaan the son of Dhahal the son of Tha'laba the son of Ataaba the son of Sa'ab the son of Ali the son of Bakr the son of Wa'il the son of Qaasit the son of Hanib the son of Afsa the son of Da'ami the son of Judaila the son of Asad the son of Rabi'a the son of Nizaar the son of Ma'ad the son of Adnan. His mother is also from the above-mentioned tribe of Shaibaan (descendants of Wa'il the son of Qasit). Read about Ahmad ibn Hanbal here.

As you can see, Adil Al-Kalbani's tribe - the Bani Kalban - and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal are from the same descent. We see the above picture of Adil Al-Kalbani. Let's now read the description of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Imam Al-Dhahabi says in his book Siyar A'laam Al-Nubalaa:

"Ibn Duraiy Al-'Akbari said: 'I searched for Ahmad ibn Hanbal (and then found him) and gave him my salaams and he was a tall, black-skinned man with a dyed beard'". Like Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Adil Al-Kalbani is also a tall, black-skinned man. Why are people describing Adil Al-Kalbani as a person with "African features". I'm sure that people didn't describe Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal as "African". Do you see how people today have lost knowledge of what a pure Arab looks like?


Well-Known Member
Feb 27, 2007
Injustice Towards Original Arabs

A couple of points are worth noting. One, it is generally impossible to see a distnction between a Yemeni or Omani Arab and any other Africa. And two, the best and most outstanding imams have always been indispatably African.

My own Imam, for instance, is of Somali origin. But, there is no doubt that he is one of the best in the world in teerms of his command of the Recitation of Quran, if nothing else. This is due in part to the fact that Quran in Arabic has a definite African rhythm and musicality. In other words, we know when we hear ther blues in any language due to its thythm and musicality. Quran has a quality similar to that of the blues.

Ramadan is approaching. During Rmadan, Quran will be Recited in Masjids around the world. If you have an opportunity, please join us and you will see for yourself what I am talkning about.


Feb 28, 2009
The real arabs are still alive,and they a got a story to tell about what is an arab.You people need to understand that we are the original men and women,stop giving whites that attention,they are just children,you can't limit black history to Afrika.
more at:

Just a call to order:this topic is about the origin of the ancient inhabitant of the land that we call Arabia.I gathered in this topic evidences from scholars who prove without a shadow of a doubt that the true arabs were and are black people,or african if you will.The goal of this topic in the long run(as the topic of Black Asia) is to bare witness of the teaching of the most honorable Elijah Muhammad that the Black man is the father of humanity,owner of this planet.

Nobody say that you have to convert to islam,nobody say that the arabs are our friends (hell no!),nobody denied the slave trade,it's about TRUTH.I don't concern myself with BELIEFS,im getting tired of you religious people,whether you kemetist,rbgists,muslims,5%,israelite,scientists,a theists, etc...Most of you are religious,whether you like it or not,dogmatism is a disease.Stop quoting scholars like Diop or Clark,these men brought facts,be like them study and start banging on the beast for once ,instead of banging on your brothers!

Well said, Brother Seneb! :toast:


Well-Known Member
Feb 27, 2007
Injustice Towards Original Arabs
Arabs are not a skinc oloror a race. They are not even an ethnicity. They are a language community. Peopel sometimes call me an Arab, for instnace. But,my Arabic is not good enough to fake it.


New Member
Dec 9, 2009
Prophet Muhammad and the Black Arabs: The Witness of Pre-Modern Chinese Sources
Wesley Muhammad, PhD © Copyright Wesley Muhammad 2011

  1. Introduction

China has a remarkable Sinophone Muslim community, the Hui, which is at least 1300 years old and may actually go back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad (d. 632) who, according to Chinese Muslim tradition, is supposed to have sent ambassadors to China to teach Islam [Lipman 1997; EI2 s.v. al-Sin]. Numbering around nine million today, this Chinese Muslim community began as Arab (and later Persian and Central Asian) migrants (diplomats, traders, soldiers) during the T’ang dynasty (618-907) who settled, married local women and, through a long and gradual process of assimilation and acculturation, became nearly totally sinicized [Leslie, 1998; idem, 187; Israeli, 1979; Lipman, 1997].

This community of Islam is remarkable on a number of accounts: (1) While Islam arrived in China around the same time Judaism and Christianity did, these latter along with other non-indigenous religious traditions like Manichaeism failed to survive the purge of all things foreign by and during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Islam not only survived this purge, but prospers, a fact that continues to raises questions for researchers. (2) Chinese Islam survived and prospers despite its near-total isolation from the centers of Islamic spirituality and learning in the Middle East [Chuah, 2004]. It was not until the 18th-19th centuries that Chinese Muslim scholars had access to enough Arabic and Persian literature to develop a Muslim apologetic literature of their own and a Chinese translation of the complete Qur’an did not appear until the 19th century [Peterson, 2006]. What has sustained Islam in this sometimes hostile environment for so long?

Despite this geographical and intellectual isolation, but also because of it, Chinese annals and Hui traditions prove to be an important alternative source of information for a reconstruction of early Arabian Islam. In particular, the relevant pre-Modern Chinese sources – Muslim religious literature as well as official dynastic histories – confirm what we learn from the Western Christian (Crusader) sources and the Late Antique and Medieval Jewish sources: that the Arabs that erupted out of Arabia in the seventh century and established probably the greatest empire in the last six thousand years were black-skinned Arabs, descendents of the African Arabian (Afrabian) inhabitants of ancient Arabia [on which see Muhammad, 2011; idem, 2009]. These non-Arabic sources - non-Muslim and Muslim - challenge popular conceptions about Arabs and Islam that are mainly based on late Arabic and Persian Muslim literature and iconography. On the other hand, these sources agree with an earlier Arabic tradition wherein Arabs self-identify as black (Muhammad, 2010; Berry, 2002).

2. Muhammad: Chinese Islam’s Black Prophet

The Hui have a foundation myth that both recounts the origin of Islam in Zhong Guo, ‘the Middle Kingdom (i.e. China),’ and also seeks to provide meaning to Chinese Muslim existence as both Chineseand Muslim - heirs to a dual legacy of civilizational greatness. This popular myth, called Huihui yuanlai(‘Origins of the Hui’) circulated in several oral versions among different Chinese Muslim communities before being committed to writing sometime during the Ming. It was no doubt revised during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).

In the Third Year of Zen Guan [Tai Zong] of the Tang Dynasty (r. 629-649), in the evening of the 18th of the third month, the Emperor in his sleep dreamed that a turbaned man came running into the palace grounds, chasing after a demon. He woke up and was puzzled by the dream, for he knew not what it foretold. On the following day he assembled all the officials of the court to discuss the matter.

The Imperial Astronomer respectfully reported to the Emperor, saying: “In the night, as I observed the appearance of the heaven, I saw a strange and evil appearance which impinged on the Tzu wei star, and I feared this might portend trouble for the Empire; I also saw in the West a felicitous light brightly manifested and encircling the Tzu wei star as a wall of protection. I opine that in the west there must be a sage who can control the threatened evil; would it not be well for your Majesty to send a messenger to enquire, in obedience to the heavenly portents?”

The Emperor then said: “At midnight I dreamed of a turbaned man and a demon which had a black face, red hair, large and prominent teeth, and was of very evil appearance generally. The man in the turban, with his hands clasped and murmuring prayers, pursued the demon closely. To look on, he (the turbaned man) indeed had a strange countenance, totally unlike ordinary men; his face was the color of black gold, his ear lobes reached his shoulders, his whiskers stood outward, his moustache and beard were cut off, short and even; he had phoenix eyebrows, a high nose and black eyes. His clothes were white and powdered, a jeweled girdle of jade encircled his loins, on his head was a plain hat, and around it a cloth turban like a coiled dragon. His presence was awe-inspiring and dreadful to behold, as might be that of a sage descending to the palace. When he entered he knelt towards the West, reading the book he held in his hand. When the demons saw him they were at once changed into their proper forms, and in distressful voices pleaded for forgiveness. But the turbaned man read on for a little, till the demons turned to blood and at last to dust, and at the sound of a voice the turbaned man disappeared. Now,” the Emperor continued, “whether this be a good or an ill omen I’m sure I don’t know.”

Thereupon the diviner of dreams reported: "The turbaned man is a Huihui (i.e. Muslim) from the Western Region, out beyond the Jiayu Pass. The kingdom of Arabia is ruled by a Muslim king of great knowledge and virtue. His land is rich and powerful. The demon entering the palace grounds surely means that there is evil lurking, which you will only be able to dispel with the help of a Huihui"…

The general reported: "The Huihui are impeccably honest in their dealings. If you meet with them peacefully, they will serve you loyally and with no care for reward. You may send an emissary to the Western Region to see the Muslim king, and request the services of an enlightened one (zhenren) to keep the portended evil at bay."

The Emperor did as was advised, and sent the senior official Shi Mingtang on a mission to present a letter to the Muslim king. [He travelled to Mecca and saw the Prophet Muhammad]. The Muslim king was delighted upon receiving the letter, and sent with the official his senior disciples (Thabit b. Qays), Uways and (Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās) to China to offer their services. Muhammad said to the official: “When you return to China take with you my portrait to give to the king of T’ang, who when he sees it, will naturally understand (about the dream)…” He then charged the official that when the portrait was given to the king of T’ang, it was clearly to be told him that no one was to worship the picture…

The Emperor received them with full honors, and asked what were the ritual and scriptural differences between his land and China. The turbaned man (Sa’d or Qays) replied that the revealed scripture of the Western Region was called the Quran, which could be likened to the Five Classics of China. He then expounded the difference between Eastern and Western ritual and teachings.

The Emperor was delighted, and so selected 3,000 T’ang soldiers to move to the Western Region, in exchange for 3,000 Muslim soldiers to accompany the turbaned elder in China. These 3,000 Muslims had countless descendants, and are the ancestors of the followers of Islam in China today. [Broomhall, 1966 [1910]: 64-67; Mason, 1929: 46-53; Lunde, 1985: 12]

The apocryphal nature of this story is fairly obvious to those familiar with Chinese history and religious literature [Israeli, 2001: 191; Garnaut, 2006; Mason, 1929: 53]. The literary use of the motif of “the Emperor’s Dream” to justify a faith newly introduced to China also appears in legendary accounts of the origin of Buddhism in China, according to which emperor Han Mingi (57-75) in 64 CE had a dream of a person from the West identified by an interpreter as Buddha. The Emperor thus sent envoys to the Indus region to find out all about the new religion [Israeli, 2001: 192, 204; Broomhall, 1966 (1910): 68; Parker, 1907: 64]. It is also the case that references to events that occurred much later can be discerned in this story, such as the eighth century rebellion of An Lushan against the Chinese emperor Xuan Zong (712-756) which brought, by his request, 3000 Muslim soldiers to China who settled their and whose descendants became a part of the nucleus of the developing Hui community. This myth is a ‘community biography,’ aimed at legitimizing Arabian Islam within a Chinese cultural and political environment [Benite, 2004: 85; Israeli, 2002: 62]. Nevertheless, there is undoubtedly a ‘grain of truth’ underneath all of the apologetic accretions [Hongxun, 1985; Sushalo, 1971: 42-43 (Dyer, 1981-1983: 563); Stratanovich, 1954: 52-66 (Dyer, 1981-1983: 563)].

One quite fascinating piece of this grain of truth is no doubt the remarkable description of the turbaned Muslim who appears in the Emperor’s dream and who turns out to be the Prophet Muhammad himself (See Endnote 1). Singularly arresting is the description of his color: black gold. What could this possibly mean and what is the source of this very eccentric Chinese description of Islam’s prophet? Black gold, one of several ‘colored golds’ used for jewelry, is gold with a black oxidide layer resulting from a cobalt component and heat treatment. As eccentric as such a description may seem vis-à-vis the popular, though late, Arabic/Persian description found in the more central Muslim lands according to which Muhammad is ruddy white, this Chinese description actually is curiously consistent with an earlier Arabic description, a description, we should add, that is more in agreement with the ethno-cultural context of Jahili and early Islamic Arabia [on which see Reynolds, 1992; Berry, 2002].

The most common description of the Prophet in Arabic sources of the ninth century, the date of the earliest extant Arabic Islamic literature, is abyad [Muhammad, 2011: 2 n. 9]. This term usually means ‘white’ in contexts not related to human complexion. In the latter context, however, by antiphrasisabyad frequently means black [Stewart, 1999: 119; Shivtiel, 1991:336]. But in Classical Arabic there are several distinct ‘blacknessess’ or ‘shades of blackness’ [al-Asyuti, 1992, II: 574; al-Tha‘labī, 2006: 81-82]. Abyad is a particular shade or ‘type’ of blackness. According to the important Syrian hadith scholar and historian of Islam, Shāms al-Dīn Abū `Abd Allāh al-Dhahabī (d. 1348),

When Arabs say, ‘so-and-so is white (abyad),’ they mean a golden brown complexion with a black appearance (al-hintī al-lawn bi-hilya sudā’). Like the complexion of the people of India, brown and black (asmar wa ādam), i.e. a clear, refined blackness (sawad al-takrūr). [al-Dhahabī, 1981, II: 168]

Abyad, the most common descriptor of Muhammad, is, like this black gold, a black complexion with a golden-brown undertone and it is a complexion free of blemish or dark patches [al-Asyuti, 1992, II: 574; Ibn Manzur, 1955-1956, IV: 209; al-Zabīdī, 1965, XVIII: 251-253]. Abyad, like the black gold analogy, also suggests a ‘black luminosity,’ viz. a black complexion that is imbued with a luminosity or glow [Muhammad, 2010a: 23-25]. This is the ideal of beauty in early Arab society [al-Zabīdī, 1965, XVIII: 251; Ibn Manzur, 1955-1956, VII: 124; Muhammad, 2011: 245; contra Badawī, 1973], and gave rise to the metaphoric use of coal (another ‘black gold’) to describe Ethiopian blackness. See e.g. the words of the epigrammatist Ascelepiades (fl. 300-270 BCE) who wrote concerning a certain Didyme:

Gazing at her beauty I melt like wax before fire. If she is black, what is that to me? So are coals, but when we burn them, they shine like fire [Anth. Pal. 5.210].

This association of ethnic blackness with coals alit is relevant here, not only because ‘black gold’ is a common metaphor for coal, but also because in Arabic coal is euphemistically called abyad [EI2 s.v. Lawn]. It should be noted here that in early Arabic society a beautiful, clear and luminous blackness was distinguished from an ‘ugly’ blackness, blemished by excessiveness due to scorching [Ibn al-Faqīh al-Hamadānī, 1996: 199; al-Dimashqī, 1923:274]. It is thus unsurprising that we find in this Hui myth the black gold complexion of the Prophet in implied contrast to the black and generally evil appearance of the demon.

There is an alternative version of this myth of the Chinese Emperor’s dream that is relevant also:

One night the Emperor Tai Zong of the Tang dynasty dreamt that a roof beam of his golden palace was collapsing. The roof beam nearly smashed his head, but it was intercepted and pushed back by the right hand of a man. The man wore a green robe, and a white turban was around his head. He had a towel draped over his should and a water kettle in his left hand. He had deep eye sockets, a high nose bridge, and a brown face. [Li and Luckert, 1994: 237; Benite, 2004: 83]

While this version of the myth continues in a way similar to the above, our attention is drawn to the description of the turbaned Muslim, Muhammad: here he is brown complexioned. This too is consistent with what we find in the Classical Arabic tradition. In two reports on the authority of the famous Companions Anas b. Mālik and ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Abbās the Prophet is described as having a “beautiful brown-complexioned (asmar) body” [See sources in Muhammad, 2011: 20]. Asmar is a color term denoting a dark brown, short of black [Borg, 1999: 129; Stewart, 1999: 111-112; Vollers, 1910: 88]. Thus, the two descriptions of the Arabian prophet that feature in the central and most wide-spread myth of Chinese Islam – indeed the defining myth – precisely correspond to the two descriptions we meet with in the early Arabic literature. But this general description of Muhammad as a very dark-skinned Arab more or less completely disappears from the Arabic literature of a later period and is replaced by what will become the orthodox and popular description of Muhammad: abyad musrab bi-humra, ruddy white-skinned [see Muhammad 2011:25-28]. Being that the black-skinned Muhammad completely disappears from the Arabic Islamic tradition and is almost totally forgotten, and that the ruddy-white Muhammad becomes universally recognized throughout Muslim and non-Muslim literature and iconography, how is it that Chinese Islam clung to this black Arab Muhammad for so long?

The Chinese myth is difficult to date, but a printed version of it was probably in circulation in the late Ming period (ca. 1622), certainly by the early Qing [Leslie, Daye and Youssef, 2006: 144; Leslie, 1981: 55; Garnaut, 2006; Benite, 2004: 84]. However, as Anthony Garnaut reminds us, legends such as this are the material of oral literature, and the earliest written accounts represent only the endpoint of a long process of oral narrative development [Garnaut, 2006]. Therefore, though the narrative as we currently find it is apocryphal and its historical context is late [Ma, 2006], it certainly incorporates ancient Muslim tradition. This Old Arabic description of Muhammad as a dark-skinned Arab is no doubt a part of the ancient Muslim tradition that was brought to China early. Because Chinese Islam was, despite some sporadic intercourse, intellectually isolated from the main centers of Islam, it seems to have been minimally impacted by the major intellectual, culturally, and demographic shifts that occurred in the Muslim heartlands following the misnomered ‘Abassid Revolution of the eighth century. These shifts I have generally called the Aryanizing of Islam, because Persian (Aryan) converts were the main shapers of Islamic tradition following the Revolution. Newly introduced into Islam, among other things, was a virulent anti-black, anti-Arab sentiment which ultimately ‘de-Arabized’ Muhammad by transfiguring him into a ruddy-white Persian [Muhammad, 2011; idem, 2010]. This Aryanizing process seems to have had minimal impact on Chinese Islam at the time this myth of the Emperor’s Dream was canonized and popularized.

3. Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās: Chinese Islam’s Black Saint

On the Dingzhou Mosque, the oldest mosque in China located in Dingzhou city, Hebei Province (in eastern China), there is a stele commemorating the rebuilding of the mosque in 1348 during the Yuan dynasty (1206-1368). The stele mentions briefly: “In the Kaihuang reign (581-600) of the Sui, our Companion Sa’d Waqqas (Sa Ha Bo Sa Ha Di Wo Ge Si) first brought the teaching to China.” The is the oldest documented reference to the canonical Hui legend according to which the maternal uncle of the prophet Muhammad, Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās (d. 664), the conqueror of Persia and founder of Kufa, came to China on instructions from the Prophet and introduced Islam there [See Ma, 2006]. There is a tomb built in his honor in Guangzhou in southeastern China, where Arab and Persian maritime merchants formed communities as far back as the Tang dynasty (618-907). This account of Chinese Islam’s origin is also found in official records, such as the Ming dynasty’s official history Ming Shi, which was commenced in 1370 and published in 1461. There it is stated: “Sahib Sa’d Waqqas came to China in the years of K’ai Huang of the Sui Dynasty (i.e. between 581-600).”

Nevertheless, most scholars reject this claim as completely legendary [e.g. Broomhall, 1966 (1910): 77-79; Mason, 1922: 3; EI2 s.v. al-Sin; Jun-yan, 1980: 95]. The main reasons, other than the relatively late documentation, are two: (1) the impossible dates offered in the various versions of the narrative (e.g. Muhammad's date is off by decades) and (2) the lack of Arabic documentation of a trip by Sa’d to China, coupled with the standard Muslim tradition that he died in al-Aqīq and was buried in Medina [EI2 s.v. Sa’d b. Abī Wakkās]. The latter argument is unpersuasive. The assumption by Western scholars that Sa’d “never came to China” is baseless. While such an embassy is not mentioned in the extent Arabic historical sources, these have lacunae as it relates to Sa’d. His activities between 648 and 653 are unrecorded, and it is precisely during this period (i.e. 650) that this embassy likely happened (see below), though obviously not on the instruction of Muhammad who had been dead for several years by then [Pickens, 1942: 203].

Nor is the chronological problem insurmountable. Errors, chronological and otherwise, as it relates to the rise of Islam are certainly found in the dynastic annals and should not surprise us [Wakeman, 1990: 409-411, n. 176]. In addition, the date most commonly offered in the Hui sources for this embassy, 628, is likely wrong on the surface, but it also probably has an accurate date underneath it. Scholars now know that the conversion of Muslim lunar dates to the Chinese luni-solar calendar introduced a twenty-one/two year error into the Chinese retelling of Islamic history. When corrected for this error, the Chinese Muslim date of the embassy, 628, becomes 649-650 and agrees precisely with the date we get from the official annals for such an embassy (Leslie, 1998: 11 and below). Hui tradition and Chinese official records thus agree, suggesting that they “have a foundation in fact” [Pickens, 1942: 208; Drake, 1943: 23; Hongxun, 1985]. Even though the Hui tradition undoubtedly has legendary accretions, the basic claim that Islam first came to China in the seventh century with an Arab embassy (that included Sa’d) has nothing militating against it [Lipman, 1997: 25; Leslie, 1998: 3].

According to Hui tradition, Sa’d and another Arab ambassador, Thabit b. al-Qays, are among the forefathers of the Hui. Their alleged tombs in Guangzhou and Hami, Xinjiang are holy centers to which distressed Believers travel seeking blessings and praying for protection [Garnaut, 2006; Hongxun, 1985; Gladney, 1987: 497-500]. These saints of Chinese Islam are black Arabs. Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās, cousin of the prophet’s mother, Amīa bt. Wahb and uncle of Muhammad, was from the Banū Zuhra and was thus described as black-skinned (ādam), flat-nosed and tall [al-Dhahabī, 1981, I:97; Berry, 2002:71-72]. Thabit b. al-Qays was chieftain of Banū Khazraj, a notoriously black tribe [see Muhammad, 2011: 16-17; idem, 2009: 178-180; Berry, 2002: 68-69]. He was the first of Yathrib to swear allegiance to Muhammad. These two famous black Arabs are considered the forefathers of Islam in China and are among Chinese Islam’s most holy figures, Sa’d certainly the holiest, second only to Muhammad.

4. The Black Arabs in Official Chinese Records

China had contacts with Western Asia as early as the pre-Imperial Period, before the second century B.C.E. Envoys of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.) with caravan reached Arabia ca. 206 B.C.E. As late as the fifth century C.E. during the Liu-Sung dynasty (420-479 C.E.) Chinese trading ships had anchored in the Gulf and traded with Arabs. Formal relations with Arabia, however, began only with the T’ang dynasty (618 -907 C.E.), which was contemporary with the rise and zenith of Arabian/Islamic power [Baojun, 2001: 80; Jun-yan, 1980: 91; Bretschneider, 1929; idem, 1871].

In 638 Yazdigird III, grandson of Chosroes and Sasānian ruler of Persia, sent an embassy to China appealing to the T’ang emperor, T’ai-tsung, for assistance against the Arabs who had invaded his realm. Yazdigird's son and the last Sasānian ruler, Fīrūz, made a similar appeal in 650. This is not surprising. Chinese-Persian relations were quite intimate before the rise of the Muslim Arabs. Over thirty Persian embassies from 455 to 651 are noted in Chinese sources and trade and diplomacy flourished between the two countries. Persian (Mazdean) temples were established in China and the relatively accurate accounts in official Chinese sources of pre-Islamic Persian customs and religion suggest that real communication was taking place [Leslie, 1998: 3-4]. Fīrūz’s appeal for assistance was made while he, his son, and thousands of his followers were given asylum in China. The T’ang emperor declined to offer military assistance, however, but did send an embassy to the Caliph Uthman to plead the case of his Persian ally. In return, Uthman sent an embassy to China in 650 bearing tribute. This was the beginning of formal relations between the Islamic and the T’ang dynasty. Between 650 and 798 the Muslims will send thirty-nine formal embassies to China [Jun-yan, 1980: 93]. Official Chinese records document these embassies, though the Arabic historical tradition makes little mention of them. This latter circumstance, no doubt a consequence of the above mentioned lacunae which characterizes the Arabic tradition, makes the Chinese sources that much more valuable [Gibb, 1923]. While the Chinese records possess gaps of their own and are prone to the occasional error, some of them are contemporary with the events they record and in general show a good awareness of the major events in the Muslim world through the reign of the ‘Abbāsid caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd (786-809). These sources show Chinese awareness of: the rise of Muhammad (though the account is garbled); the Arab/Muslim conquests and the rise of the caliphate; some caliphal ceremonial; Mu’awīya, the first Umayyad caliph, and his unsuccessful siege of Constantinople; the Quraysh tribe and its political division between the Banū Marwān (i.e. the Umayyads) and the Banū Hāshim (i.e. the ‘Abbāsids), and the latter’s overthrow of the former. These sources also demonstrate accurate Chinese awareness of Arab Muslim ethnicity.

The oldest relevant T’ang source at our disposal is the T’ung Tien, an encyclopedic administrative tract written by the T’ang official Tu yu (d. 812). After 36 years Tu yu completed the work and presented it to the throne in 801. As a high official Tu yu would have had access to governmental archives. He also used as a source the first-hand account of his nephew, Tu Huan. Tu Huan was taken prisoner after Arab and Chinese forces clashed at the Battle of Talas in 751. He was incarcerated in Iraq until 762, when he was allowed to return to China. Tu Huan made a record of his observations of the Muslims during his incarceration, and this record was utilized by Tu yu. One portion of the T’ung Tien is a section dealing with the ‘western barbarians (His jung),’ a history of China’s relations with the peoples on its western frontier: Central Asia, Northern India, Sassānian Iran, Tibet, the Roman Orient, Arabia [Wakeman, 1990]. Arabia, called Ta-shi, is described in the last section, which reads in part:

During the Yung-Hui period (650-651) of the Great T’ang dynasty, the Arabs (Ta-shi) dispatched missions to China. Their country is said to be located to the west of Persia or alternatively, it was said that they were originally Persian Hu who, apparently with [a spirit’s aid], obtained swords and killed…the men of the country have large noses. They are slender in shape and dark brown in color. They have heavy beards and whiskers, like the Indians. Their women are graceful and pretty [trans. Behbehani, 1989: 99, modified with Wakeman, 1990: 892-904].

This is likely the earliest extent reference to the embassy of 650. Some comment on this text is in order. Prior to the rise of the caliphate the Chinese considered Arabia a part of Persia. This is no doubt the context of the “alternative” account that the Arabians were originally Persian (clients), before their rise to independent power and their extinguishing of Sassānian Persia [Broomhall, 1910: 8; Drake, 1943: 23]. But the Chinese sources distinguished between ethnic Arabs, called Ta-shi, and ethnic Persians, called Bosi [Leslie, 1998: 11]. This nomenclature is significant. As is frequently noted, the Chinese double-character term for the Arabs, Ta-shi, doubtlessly derives from the Persian Tā-zī. The latter is the Persianized form of the Syriac tayyāyē, which properly means “Arab of the tribe of Tayyi’”[EI2 s.v. al-Sin; Behbehani, 1989: 93]. The Banū Tayyi’ were a southern Arabian tribe that migrated north and who became one of the most prominent tribes in pre-Islamic Arabian history [EI2s.v. Tayyi’]. It had important relations with Persia and its clients, the Lakhmids of Iraq. They were so prominent in Pre-Islamic Arabia, in fact, that their specific name became the general term for ‘Arab.’ Sogdian Persians regarded the Tayyi’ as representative of the Arabs in general and thus designated the latter Tā-zī. The significance of this point can be fully appreciated only when we consider the following observation by Arabian ethnographer Dana Marniche: “These Yemenite tribes of Tayyi and his brother Madhj were notoriously black and the early Arabic writings make clear that they also held fair-skin in derision or low regard [Marniche, n.d.].” It is thus unsurprising that Ta-shi or Arabs encountered by and known to the Chinese are described as “dark brown in color.”

This embassy of dark brown Arabs that visited the Chinese court in 650 likely included Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās, the dark-brown or black-skinned uncle of the prophet Muhammad [Pickens, 1942: 210-211]. Note also that this description of the Arab as dark brown in color with an high nose and whiskers agrees with the description of Muhammad himself as recorded in Chinese Muslim tradition [above].

The second Chinese source treating the Arabs as encountered during the T’ang is the official T’ang History (T’ang Shu). In 941 the Chin emperor Kao-tsu ordered the production of a full-scale dynastic history of the T’ang. This work, the Chiu T’ang shu (Old T’ang History), was completed by the chief minister and director of National History, Liu Hsü, in 945 and presented to the new emperor Shao-ti. A century later an imperial decree went out for a revised version: the Hsin T’ang shu (New T’ang History) was presented to the throne in 1060. The description of Ta-shi (Arabia) and its inhabitants is not much different from what we encounter in the T’ung Tien. The Hsin T’ang shu records:

Ta-shi was originally part of Persia. The men have high noses, are black, and bearded. The woman are very fair and when they go out they veil the face. Five times daily they worship God. They wear silver girdles, with silver knives suspended. They do not drink wine, nor use music [trans. Mason, 1929: 68-69; cf. Behbehani, 1989: 93].

Here again we find the Arabs described as black-skinned with high noses. The note that the Arab women were considerably lighter than the men [Behbehani, 1989: 93] is consistent with the near universal observation that women in any given homogenous society tended to be lighter than the men [Frost, 1990].

This consistent presentation in official Chinese sources of ethnic Arabs as black-skinned is not unexpected, as Chinese contact with black Arabs continued after the beginning of the Aryanization of the Islamic world, including Arab ethnicity [on which see Muhammad, 2010: 22-27]. After the misnomered ‘Abbasid revolution of 749-750 ended Islam’s ‘Black Dynasty,’ the Umayyad dynasty [see Muhammad, 2009: 202-204], and catalyzed the Aryanization process which would result in the establishment of the de-Arabized ‘Abbasid caliphate, some surviving Umayyad’s (the Umayyads were slaughtered after the success of the revolution) showed up in 760 at the court of the Chinese emperor Su Zong, who entertained them [Jun-yan, 1980: 93]. There is also a report that earlier some descendents of Ali (ahl al-bayt) had fled Umayyad persecution to China [Broomhall, 1910: 20]. Ahl al-Bayt, the descendents of Ali, were in the main black-skinned [Berry, 2002: 62-65; Muhammad, 2011: 11-14]. A Qurayshi Arab and descendant of Muhammad, Ibn Wahhab, reportedly travelled to China in 870 and sought an audience with the emperor. He let it be known at the Chinese court that he was ahl al-bayt, ‘family of the [Prophet’s] house’. Only after the emperor ordered an inquiry into Ibn Wahhab’s familial claims and these were confirmed did he meet with the Arab visitor [Israeli, 2000: 317-318; Mason, 1929: 70-75].

6. Conclusion

The pre-modern Chinese records on the Arab Muslims as well as the religious traditions and memory of China’s peculiar Sino-Muslim community confirm what scholars like myself, Marniche, Berry and a few others have been documenting: the Arabs who spread Islam from the East to the West were black-skinned Arabs. The Prophet Muhammad was no exception. This black-skinned Arab Muhammad all but disappears in the Arabic/Persian Muslim literature, replaced there with a ruddy-white Persian Muhammad. Not only do hostile Christian sources preserve the black Muhammad, however [see Muhammad, 2011: 1-2; idem, 2010:1-6]; the Chinese Muslims sources do as well. These pre-modern Chinese sources therefore make an immeasurable contribution to our efforts to reconstruct the ‘Old’ Arab Islam, the Islam of the ummah prior to the Aryanization processes that resulted in the very racist, misogynist, white supremacist Islam of most of the modern Muslim world.


  1. In one version of the Huihui yuan lai it is explicitly stated: “…the T’ang Emperor was greatly pleased to see the portrait of Muhammad, who was the very man he had seen in his dream. He said, ‘This is the very person I saw in my dream…” [Li and Luckert, 1994: 247]. In the Dungan version, it says also: “The Great Sovereign of the Middle Kingdon (i.e. the T’ang Emperor) saw in his dream his worst enemy, the monster, and his friend, the turban-wearer, who is the Prophet of the West, the Ma hui-hui [Muhammad].” [Dyer, 1981-1983: 555].

Abbreviations and References

Al-Asyūtī, Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Minhājī. (1992) Jawāhir al-‘uqud wa-mu’īn al-qudāt wal-muwaqqi’īn wal-shuhūd, 2 vols. (Cairo).

Badawī, ‘Abduh. (1971) al-Shu’arā’ al-Sūd wa Khasā’isuhum fī l-Shi’r al-‘Arabī (Cairo).

Baojun, Haji Yusuf Liu. (2001) “The Arrival of Islam in China,” Hamdard Islamicaus 24: 80-81.

Behbehani, Hashim H. (1989) “Arab-Chinese Military Encounters: Two Case Studies 715-751 A.D.,”ARAM 1: 65-112.

Benite, Zvi Ben-Dor. (2004) “From ‘Literati’ to ‘Ulama’: The Origins of Chinese Muslim Nationalist Historiography,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 9: 83-109.

Berry, Tariq. (2002) The Unknown Arabs: Clear, Definitive Proof of the Dark Complexion of the Original Arabs and the Arab Origin of the So-Called African Americans (n.p., n.p.).

Borg, Alexander. (1999) “Linguistic and ethnographic observations on the color categories of the Negev Bedouin,” The Language of Color in the Mediterranean, ed. Alexander Borg (Stockholm, Almgvist and Wiksell International): 121-147.

Bretschneider, E. (1929) “Chinese Mediaeval Notices of Islam,” Muslim World 19: 53-61.

idem. (1871) On the Knowledge Possessed by the Ancient Chinese of the Arabs and Arabian Colonies and Other Western Countries (London, Trübner and Co.).

Broomhall, Marshall. (1966[1910]) Islam in China: A Neglected Problem (New York, Paragon Book Reprint).

Chuah, Osman. (2004) “Muslims in China: The Social and Economic Situation of the Hui Chinese,”Journal of Muslim Affairs 24: 155-162.

Al-Dimashqī. (1923) Nukhbat al-dahr fī ‘ajā’ib al-barr wa’l-bahr, ed. A. Mehren (Leipzig).

Al-Dhahabī. (1981) Siyar a’lām al-nubalā’, edd. Shu’ayb al-Arna’ūt and Husayn al-Asad (Beirut, Mu’assasat al-Risālah).

Drake, F.S. (1943) “Mohammedism in the T’ang Dynasty,” Monumenta Serica 8: 1-40.

Dyer, Svetlana Rimsky-Korsakoff. (1981-1983) “T’ang T’ai-Tung’s Dream: A Soviet Dungan Version of a Legend on the Origin of the Chinese Muslims,” Monumenta Serica 35:545-70.

EI2= The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, ed. J. H. Kramers, H. A. R. Gibb and E. Levi-Provençal (Leiden: Brill, 1954-)

idem. V.2: 698-707 s.v. Lawn by A. Morabia.

idem. XIII: 696-697 s.v. Sa’d b. Abī Wakkās by G.R. Hawting.

idem. IX: 616-625 s.v. Al-Sīn by C. E. Bosworth, M. Hartmann –[C. E. Bosworth], and R. Israeli.

idem. X: 402-403 s.v. Tayyi’ by Irfan Shahid.

Frost, Peter. (1990) “Fair Women, Dark Men: The Forgotten Roots of Colour Prejudice,” History of European Ideas 12: 669-679.

Garnaut, Anthony. (2006) “Hui Legends of the Companions of the Prophet,” China Heritage Newsletter 5 (March).

Gibb, H.A.R. (1923) “Chinese Records of the Arabs in Central Asia,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies 4: 613-622.

Gladney, Dru C. (1987) “Muslim Holy Tombs and Ethnic Folklore: Charters for Hui Identity,” Journal of Asian Studies 46:495-532.

Hongxun, Yang. (1985) “A Preliminary Discussion on the Building Year of Quanzhou Moslem Holy Tomb and the Authenticity of its Legend,” The Islamic Historic Relics in Quanzhou, ed. Committee for Protecting Islamic Historical Relics in Quanzhou and the Research Center for the Historical Relics of Chinese Culture (Quazhou, Fujian People’s Publishing House) 16-42.

Ibn al-Faqīh al-Hamadānī. (1996) Kitāb al-buldān (Beirut, ‘Ālam al-Kutub).

Ibn Manzūr. (1955-1956) Lisān al-‘arab (Beirut: Dār al-Sādir - Dār al-Bayrūt).

Israeli, Raphael. (2002) Islam in China: Religion, Ethnicity, Culture and Politics (Lanham, Lexington Books).

idem. (2001) “Myth as Memory: Muslims in China Between Myth and History,” The Muslim World 91: 185-208.

idem.(1979) “Islamicization and Sinicization in Chinese Islam,” Conversion to Islam, ed. Nehemia Levtzion (New York and London, Holmes and Meier) 159-176.
Jun-yan, Zhang. (1980) “Relations Between China and the Arabs in Early Times,” Journal of Oman Studies 6: 91-109.

Leslie, Donald Daniel. (1981) Islamic Literature in Chinese, Late Ming and Early Chi’ing: Books, Authors and Associates (Canberra, Canberra College of Advanced Education).

idem. (1987) “Living with the Chinese: the Muslim Experience in China, T’ang to Ming,” Chinese Ideas about Nature and Society: Studies in Honor of Derk Bodde ed. Charles Le Blanc and Susan Blader (Honk Kong, Hong Kong University Press) 175-193.

Leslie, Donald Daniel, Daye, Yang and Ahmed Youssef. (2006) Islam in Traditional China: A Bibliographic Guide (Sankt Augustin, Monumenta Serica Institute).

idem. (1998) “The Integration of Religious Minorities in China: The Case of Chinese Muslims,” The Fifty-ninth George Ernest Morrison Lecture in Ethnology 1998 (Canberra, The Australian National University) 1-42.

Li, Shujiang and Karl W. Luckert. (1994) Mythology and Folklore of the Hui, A Muslim Chinese People (Albany, State University of New York).

Lipman, Jonathan N. (1997) Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China(Seattle and London, University of Washington Press).

Lunde, Paul. (1985) “Muslims in China,” Saudi Aramco World 36, July/August: 12-19.

Ma, Haiyun. (2006) “The Mythology of the Prophet’s Ambassadors in China: Histories of Sa’d Waqqas and Gess in Chinese Sources,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 26: 445-452.

Marniche, Dana. n.d. “Afro-Arabian Origin of the Early Yemenites and Their Conquest and Settlement of Spain."

Mason, Isaac. (1929) “The Mohammedans of China,” Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 60: 42-78.

idem.. (1922) The Mohammedans of China (London, China Society).

Muhammad, Wesley. (2011) “ ‘Anyone who says that the Prophet is black should be killed’: The De-Arabization of Islam and the Transfiguration of Muhammad in Islamic Tradition.”

idem.. (2010) God’s Black Prophet’s: Deconstructing the Myth of the White Muhammad of Arabia and Jesus of Jerusalem (Atlanta, A-Team Publishing).

idem. (2009) Black Arabia and the African Origin of Islam (Atlanta, A-Team Publishing).

Parker, E.H. (1907) “Islam in China,” Asiatic Quarterly Review 24: 64-83.

Petersen, Kristian. (2006) “Reconstructing Islam: Muslim Education and Literature in Ming-Qing China,”American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 23: 25-53.

Pickens, Claude L. (1942) “China and Arabia Prior to the T’ang Dynasty (618 A.D.),” Muslim World32: 195-211.

Reynolds, Dana. (1992) “The African Heritage & Ethnohistory of the Moors: Background to the emergence of the early Berber and Arab peoples, from prehistory to the Islamic Dynasties,” Golden Age of the Moor, ed. Ivan Van Sertima (New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers) 93-150.

Shivtiel, Avihai. (1991) “The Semantic Field of Colours in Arabic,” The Arabist 3-4: 335-339.

Stewart, Devin J. (1999) “Color Terms in Egyptian Arabic,” The Language of Color in the Mediterranean, ed. Alexander Borg (Stockholm, Almgvist and Wiksell International): 105-120.

Stratanovich, G. (1954) “Vopros o proiskhozhdenü dungan v russkoĭ sovetshoĭ literature [The question of the origin of the Dungans in Russian and Soviet Literature],” Sovetskaia èthnografiia (Moscow) 1: 52-56, as cited in Svetlana Rimsky-Korsakoff Dyer, “T’ang T’ai-Tung’s Dream: A Soviet Dungan Version of a Legend on the Origin of the Chinese Muslims,” Monumenta Serica 35 (1981-1983):545-70.

Sushalo, M. (1971) Dungane (istoriko-èthnograficheskiĭ ocherk) [The Dungans, an historical-graphic sketch] (Frunze: Izdatil’stvo “Ilim”) as cited in Svetlana Rimsky-Korsakoff Dyer, “T’ang T’ai-Tung’s Dream: A Soviet Dungan Version of a Legend on the Origin of the Chinese Muslims,”Monumenta Serica 35 (1981-1983):545-70.

al-Tha‘labī. (2006) Fiqh al-lugha (Beirut and London, Dār al-Kitāb al-Arabī).

Vollers, K. (1910) “Über Rassenfarben in der arabischen Literatur,” Centenario della nascita di Michele Amari 1: 84-95.

Wakeman, Charles Bunnel. (1990) “Hsi Jung (the Western Barbarians): an Annotated Translation of the five chapters of the T’ung Tien on the Peoples and Countries of Pre-Islamic Central Asia,” PhD. Thesis, University of California; Los Angeles, 1990.

al-Zabīdī, Muhammad Murtadā al-Husaynī. (1965) Tāj al-ʻarūs min jawāhir al-qāmūs. 40 vols. ed. ʻAbd al-Sattār Ahmad Farrāj (Kuwait, Wizārat al-Irshād wa-al-Anbā’).


going above and beyond
Jun 18, 2004
north philly ghetto
retired computer geek
let us accept all you say as true. how does this knowledge change the fact that those who hold the banner of arab today are semites?
late comer, usurper, whatever, they dominate africans today. the modern day "arab" is the enemy of the black man.
does this knowledge change that fact? no.


Clyde C Coger Jr

going above and beyond
Nov 17, 2006
let us accept all you say as true. how does this knowledge change the fact that those who hold the banner of arab today are semites?
late comer, usurper, whatever, they dominate africans today. the modern day arab is the enemy of the black man.
does this knowledge change that fact? no.

In the Spirit of Sankofa,


Knowledge is power and applied knowledge even more powerful, and will certainly change the current landscape. Its good to know, and when we accept the facts of our full reach as a people, our originality, our peopling this earth; then we teach those facts, rather than debate them ... and go about our business of restoring our greatness and rightful place on the earth.

The truth will set you free, and our people will perish for lack of knowledge.

Peace In,
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Aug 9, 2003
In the Spirit of Sankofa,

.......Brother, knowledge is power and applied knowledge even more powerful, and will certainly change the current landscape. Its good to know, and when we accept the facts of our full reach as a people, our originality, our peopling this earth; then we teach those facts, rather than debate them, lol...and go about our business of restoring our greatness and rightful place on the earth.

The truth will set you free, and our people will perish for lack of knowledge.

Peace In,
Another bunch of reasons we should ask Obama to quit meddling in the internal affairs of other the nations/help to bring real change and progress to those places/spaces/for the sake of our other distant relations etc.

Clyde C Coger Jr

going above and beyond
Nov 17, 2006
Another bunch of reasons we should ask Obama to quit meddling in the internal affairs of other the nations/help to bring real change and progress to those places/spaces/for the sake of our other distant relations etc.

In the Spirit of Sankofa,

... Well said chuck, well said indeed (and my apologies for just now responding).

Peace In,


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