By Hamed Al-Moatasem
It was around 10:00 a.m. Beijing time, nearly three hours till the Friday prayer, when the young man approached to the mosque.
Jang stood for sometime outside at the mosque’s doorstep hesitant to step in, especially with a “Muslims Only” sign in Chinese, English and Arabic attached to the gate .
He finally defeated a whiff of indecision and walked into the Muslim place of worship.
“Can we help you?” asked the mosque’s leading imam.
“I want to become a Muslim,” answered Jang.
The smiling imam welcomed him and accompanied him to the Islamic Society office, attached to the mosque.
They offered Jang three booklets on Islam to know more about the faith he wants to embrace.
To their surprise, the young man said he not only read the booklets but also many other books on the Muslim faith.
Jang engaged the imams in a discussion that proved to them he knew what he was about to do.
One imam walked him into Islam with the pronouncement of the Shahadah; testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is His Messenger.
It All Started With Pork
Jang, who changed his name to Selim, sat down with IslamOnline.net after the ceremony to talk about his journey to Islam.
“It all started with pork,” he said with a smile.
Islam’s dietary habits, including the prohibition of pork, led a curious Jang to read about the Muslim faith.
“I perused medical journals and devoured books for an answer.”
Islam considers pigs unclean because they are omnivorous, not discerning between meat or vegetation in their natural dietary habits unlike cows and sheep for instance, which eat only plants.
Some scientists say eating pork can cause no less than seventy different types of diseases.
“I found the same conclusion in traditional Chinese medicine, which does not recommend eating pork and designated it as the most harmful and least healthy meat,” said Selim.
A jubilant Selim joined an extended family of more than 30 million Muslims in China, according to official data.
Islam came to China via Muslim businessman during the era of the Tang Dynasty 1300 years ago.
There have also been reports of companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) coming to China.
Hamed Al-Moatasem is IslamOnline.net’s correspondent in China.