Introduction / History The Hui are originally from China, where they comprise the largest of China's Muslim nationalities.
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? At one time, the Hui may have been farmers and estate laborers, but today they have begun to work more in commerce, industry, and the service sector. Nearly all Hui live in or around the cities and many work in restaurants, butcheries, industry, mining, and trade.
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? Most Hui are Sunni Muslim, but they are among the least radical Muslims in the world. Malay Muslims are often disgusted with the Hui for their lack of depth as Muslims. Purdah (covering of the woman's entire body and head) has never existed among the Hui.
The Jesus film, Christian radio broadcasts, and the Scriptures are available to the Hui in their language.
What are their needs? Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom are under attack in Malaysia. It is illegal to convert Muslims, but Muslims may proselytize whomever they choose. Therefore, the Hui are hesitant to convert to Christianity, for fear of persecution.
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.
Prayer Points Pray that the Malaysian government will allow the Gospel to be preached without restriction.
Pray that the Gospel message will fill the airwaves of Malaysia via radio.
Pray that God will give the Hui believers boldness to share the love of Jesus with their friends and families.
Pray that Bibles and other Christian materials will be distributed among the Hui.
Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil of Malaysia through worship and intercession.
Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Hui.