Imam Hu Songshan
I believe that not many people are familiar with Muslim Chinese who were involved in Chinese Nationalism in China and Taiwan. I know few of them because they are from Western China provinces. I talked with few friends from Gansu since before I return home from pilgrimage season when I was in lower six around 2005. Some of them were the students of International Islamic University (IIUM). Some are the students of Nilam Puri in Kelantan and they speak Malay too. I respect them because they are committed with Islamic teachings although their province is in a country with non-Muslim majority population.
Why did I put this up? Just a sharing about the history of modern China as many of our brothers and sisters don't know that there are Muslim Chinese in Guomindang movement and I wish that we stop bickering about things that divide us but begin to establish amity among each other. This biography about the imam is only for us to take heed that we should only be a nation, we must treat brothers and sisters equally. Avoid hurting their feelings. We will see how this imam feel when he was in Holy Mecca and why I don't like to talk about difference in negativity but making them as a point for everyone to know each other. Besides, we must also respect our Muslim Chinese brothers and sisters feeling when we talk about assimilation into Malay customs when they revert to the path of prophets and His messengers. Most Chinese elders in Penang Island were actually the followers of Guomindang movement or at least having some sympathy to the movement. They are not Communists. That is why we could see many memorial buildings dedicated to Sun Yat Sen in Penang Island. Nowadays, many of Chinese youths are just like Malay or Indian youth or any other youngsters around the world. They don't care about politics anymore.
For us the Arab descents in Malayan Peninsula, we were also assimilated into Malay mainstream society although we might also have Indian, Siamese or Chinese maternal line. We have no specific identification for our ethnicity like those Huis in China since British in Kedah Sultanate had used their nation-state concept in registration. Some were registered as Malay and identified as Arab descents who had been in the sultanate since few centuries before British came in, some were Arabs since they were new-comers who came from Egypt, Medina, or Mecca, and etc according to flows of migration. In certain part of our community life like marriage, some of us are still practicing endogamy marriage. For my family, endogamy marriage had stopped at my father generation because no more specific elders to enforce the customs. My eldest sister married a Siamese Malay from Perlis, and now my third sister married a Malay from Kedah which is also our beloved state. Most Arab descents in Malayan Peninsula also practiced polygamy but it is very rare now when some of our people are exposed to Egyptian moderate thoughts. Anyway, we would talk about Arabs in Northern Malaysian states separately if He permits it.
This simple biography I would like to share with brothers and sisters in faith is about Imam Hu Songshan 虎嵩山 who was a member of Muslim brotherhood or Ikhwani. I can't recall his Islamic name but if I am not mistaken, it is like Salahuddin. Imam Hu Songshan is a Hui Chinese and his father was an imam from a sub-group of Naqshabandi sufi order in China. However he is not fond of sufism and he himself destroyed the tomb of his father in Tongxin county in Ningxia autonomous region. He performed hajj pilgrimage in holy Mecca around 1925 but he didn't feel any solidarity feeling with other Muslims as he was treated with racism by other Muslims. So, he decided to be a Chinese nationalist when he returned home in China. Arab nations are also racist and if we do not disband this thaghut (idolatry) from our selves, we are not even a complete nation. I would say that we would just dream off about caliphate until He orders Isa a.s to be the qadhi before He destroys this Universe!
Imam Hu didn't promote any Islamic state anymore but he just rallied for a strong China because he saw that both Hui and Han ethnics were treated the same and abused by foreigners. He rallied with the Chinese government at that time which was under the leading of Guomindang nationalist party toward Chinese unity regardless ethnicity. This is how Chinese people around the world were politically and socially united in the early 19th century.
Imam Hu opposed foreign imperialism and when Japan invaded China in 1937 during Sino-Japanese war, he issued a guideline for Chinese flag to be saluted during fajr prayer. We could understand the situation at that time needs him taking these measures.
What I found as interesting in this figure is that he promotes education and independence from foreign power. He encourages the learning of Chinese among Muslim Chinese students. Before that, Muslim Chinese students only learned about Quranic studies and Arabic in their Islamic formal curriculum. He added modern subjects into madrasas system like maths, foreign languages and foreign sciences. Besides they begin to translate Islamic texts into Chinese.
Allah please be in contact with prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and his family and his companion. May Allah bless brothers and sisters in faith. Sealed with prayers for peace, mercy, and love for brothers and sisters in faith.