The Hui of Malaysia
The Hui trace their ancestry back to Muslim traders, soldiers, and officials who came to China during the seventh through the fourteenth centuries. The Muslims settled and married local Han Chinese women.
There were two later major Hui immigrations, the first during the mid-seventeenth century and the second during the Communist takeover of China in 1949. Many Hui, however, may have moved to Malaysia with the hope of establishing overseas branches of Chinese businesses.
Today, the Chinese in Malaysia number as the largest immigrant group. Many are Buddhists who have had difficulty fitting into Malay society; the Hui have been more easily accepted because the Malay and the Hui share the Muslim faith.
What are their lives like?
The life of the Hui generally revolves around the mosque and its activities. Malay law defines a Malay as "a person belonging to any Malay race who habitually speaks the Malay language and professes the Muslim religion." Even the bonds of common religion cannot stretch beyond certain limitations. In the case of the Chinese Muslims, their differences of origin persist. These differences are reinforced through their position in the economic structure and by the formal institution of the Chinese Muslim Association.
The ethnic-Chinese of Malaysia, including the Hui, maintain their own schools and social, economic, and political organizations. As of 1995, sixty Chinese secondary schools existed in the country. These schools use Mandarin and English as the medium of instruction. They do not qualify for government grants and must exist through donations from the Chinese community.
Most Malaysian jobs are generated by the government. Applicants for these jobs must demonstrate competence in speaking the Malay language, Bahasa Malay. The Hui are considerably impacted through this requirement because, although they may know the language of the Malay, they do not speak it except under extreme circumstances.
In general, the Hui are energetic, aggressive, self-confident, and very business-minded. They have certain customs which distinguish them from other Chinese populations in Malaysia. For example, they are forbidden to eat pork or the meat of horses, donkeys, mules, or any wild animal. Also, according to Muslim custom, Hui women are forbidden to marry non-Hui men; yet Hui men may marry non-Hui women who are willing to convert to Islamic practices. Family descent is traced through the father's line and families also are structured according the father's lineage.
What are their beliefs?
The Jesus film, Christian radio broadcasts, and the Scriptures are available to the Hui in their language; however, currently there are no known Christians among them.
What are their needs?
The Muslims have militant missions organizations, or dakwah, in Malaysia, which symbolize Islamic unity but permit the exclusion of "undesirable ones, such as the Chinese Muslims." The Hui need to find their identity in Christ who will never reject them.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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