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Thứ Năm, 10 tháng 2, 2011

RELIGION of Champa kingdom

The first religion of the Champa was a form of Shaivite Hinduism, brought over the sea from India. But as Arab merchants stopped along the Vietnamese coast enroute to China, Islam began to infiltrate the civilization, and Hinduism became associated with the upper-classes.

The Vietnamese Chams live mainly in coastal and Mekong Delta provinces. They have two distinct religious
communities, Hindu or Balamon, which constitutes about 15-20% of the Cham, and Muslim or Cham Bani,
constitute about 80-85% of the Cham, and, while they share a common language and history, intermarriage
between the two is taboo. A small number of the Cham also follow Mahayana Buddhism. In Cambodia, the Chams
are virtually Muslims and so are the Utsuls.

Today, about 77,000 Chams still live in Vietnam, mainly in coastal and Mekong Delta provinces. They
have two distinct religious communities, Hindu and Muslim or Cham Bani, and, while they share a common
language and history, intermarriage between the two is taboo.

Differences between groups actually being part of a symbolic dualism:
(re. the present aspect of the Cham society in the South-central part of Vietnam)

Today, there is approximately 87.000 Cham are living in this part. In conventional studies, Cham in this area has been explained that they ware divided into two groups based on their religion. One, called Balamon, are worshipers of indigenized Hinduism, the other, called Bani, are worshipers of indigenized Islam. In recent years, several articles
have insisted that Bani and Baramon were not two different religious groups but two different categories which
belong together under the same religious system. Those insistences have been explained by the indigenous notion of Awar Ahier, what we called symbolic dualism. According to some articles, the concept of Awar Ahier is explained in many context of Cham society from gods to human body.

More on cham muslim groups in viet nam, distinguishing bani cham, & a mention of hindu:

Mosques serving the country's small Muslim population, estimated at 65,000 persons, operate in western An
Giang province, HCMC, Hanoi, and provinces in the southern coastal part of the country. The Muslim
community mainly is composed of ethnic Cham, although in HCMC and An Giang province it includes some
ethnic Vietnamese and migrants originally from Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. About half of the Muslims in
the country practice Sunni Islam. Sunni Muslims are concentrated in five locations around the country. Approximately 15,000 live in Tan Chau district of western An Giang province which borders Cambodia. Nearly 3,000 live in western Tay Ninh province, which also borders Cambodia. More than 5,000 Muslims reside in HCMC, with 2,000 residing in neighboring Dong Nai province. Another 5,000 live in the south central coastal provinces of Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.

Approximately 50 percent of Muslims practice Bani Islam, a type of Islam unique to the ethnic Cham who live on the central coast of the country. Bani clerics fast during Ramadan; ordinary Bani followers do not. The Bani Koran is an abridged version of only about 20 pages, written in the Cham language. The Bani also continue to participate in certain traditional Cham festivals, which include prayers to Hindu gods and to traditional Cham "mother goddesses." Both groups of Muslims appear to be on cordial terms with the Government and are able to practice their faith freely. They have limited contact with foreign Muslim countries.

There are a variety of smaller religious communities not recognized by the Government, the largest of which
is the Hindu community. Approximately 50,000 ethnic Cham in the south-central coastal area practice a devotional form of Hinduism. Another 4,000 Hindus live in HCMC; some are ethnic Cham, but most are Indian or of mixed Indian-Vietnamese descent.

Cham hindu - balamon:

20,000 are Hindus still (they are called Balamon, corruption of brahmin).,26&Number=33474&page=5&view=collapsed&sb=9&o=&fpart=1

note:: you notice in one place it says 20,000 hindu are in viet nam & another place it says 50,000, so it is difficult to determine what percentage of cham in vietnam are not muslim.
Islam appears in Champa

The mid-tenth century is also when we find the first concrete historical evidence that Muslims were in Champa. Chinese texts speak of several men with Muslim names: Pu Ho San (a Chinese transliteration of Abu al Hasan), who served as the ambassador of the Cham king in 951 AC and again in 960 AC when he wanted to present tribute or conduct some diplomacy with the Chinese emperor, Pu Lo E (Chinese transliteration of Abu Ah), who is said to have led approximately 100 foreigners from Champa (it is not known if these were Muslims or not) at a time of internal trouble; and Hu Xuan (Chinese transliteration of Hussain), who led 300 more northwards the following year.

However, it is believed that contact between the Cham and the Muslim world began at an earlier date. According to Simkin, a student of early trade relations, after the Arab Muslims conquered the Byzantine and Persian empires in the mid-seventh century AD, they became active participants in the international Asian trade networks. In 671, a Chinese text states that the Chinese pilgrim I-Ching went to Sumatra on a Persian ship. By 727, large Muslim ships
were a common site in the Chinese port ciiy of Kwangchou (Canton). When this city was sacked and burned by the Arabs and Persians in 748, the center of this trade moved to Haiphong, now located in northern Vietnam.

Muslim Chinese trade had become so large scale by the ninth century, and so many ships were making frequent
voyages between the two nations, that the Persian Gulf, according to Simkin, began to be referred as the "Sea of China". Large Muslim colonies were flourishing in Southern China, and small Muslim settlements were spring up along the route, just as those of the Indians had done earlier. As ties between the countries involved in this trade network increased, so did the number of Muslims in the port cities and as the years passed, Islam began to spread inland. And Champa had one product which these merchants wanted: aloewood, considered by many Muslim geographers of the time to be the best in the world.

There are other artifacts which prove that Muslims were in Champa during these years. One of these consist of rubbings taken by a French naval officer of two Arabic engravings in the Kufic script (unfortunately, he could not find them again after he left the area). The first one is a tombstone of one Abu Kamil which has the date of 29 Safar 431 / 20-21 November 1039 inscribed upon it, while the second one is an announcement to the local Muslim community on the need to pay taxes (done in a hybrid Kufic-Nashi script). It is unknown what percentage of the Cham had become Muslim by this time, but it is probably quite small.

Scholars who have dealt with the introduction of Islam into Champa are of the opinion that the Muslims which initially brought Islam to Champa were mainly Persian Shi'is, citing such events as the above mentioned Persian ship, the persecution of Shi'i Muslims, the existence of a large Persian community on an island near the Chinese capital (in 748), salutations upon the Prophet and his house (as opposed to his companions, who are not mentioned) on the
abovementioned tombstone, and a remark by al Dimashqi (1325) that "the country of inhabited by
Muslims, Christians and idolaters. The Muslim religion came there during the time of Uthman...and the Alids,
expelled by the Umayyads and by Hajiaj, fled there." There is also some evidence from the Cham rituals themselves, which place special emphasis upon the names of Ali and Fatimah in wedding ceremonies and cosmology, and on Hassan and Hussein (in cosmology).

Regardless of who first introduced Islam into Champa, most scholars believe that Islam never made any significant progress until after the disastrous defeat of Champa by the Vietnamese in 1471. This was the time of the Islamization of the Malay world, when vast areas stretching from modern-day Malaysia to the Philippines were coming into the fold of Islam, and when their Muslim rulers were leading large and profitable trading kingdoms whose ships regularly plied the waters to China and the Middle East. Muslim traders, scholars, mystics and others traveled far and wide from the last years of the thirteenth century until the establishment of European domination over the area in the seventeenth century. The Cham, an acknowledged racial, cultural and linguistic part of the Malay world, were not left out.

Over the years, more and more Cham became Muslim, and it appears that during the late sixteenth century and all during the seventh century the upper classes, including the royalty, eventually converted to Islam. But, they now had no country to rule over. Many chose to move to Cambodia, while others stayed behind. It should be noted that of those who went to Cambodia, eventually a full one hundred percent of them became orthodox Sunni Muslims under the supervision of Malay communities in Cambodia. Those who remained behind in Vietnam, however were not so fortunate. They were intentionally isolated from the larger world by the Vietnamese authorities and, cut off from the Islamic ummah, their religion gradually deteriorated. As only half of them converted, the influence of the traditional religion and customs remained strong and were gradually reincorporated into Muslim rituals and beliefs. What resulted would not be considered Islamic by many orthodox Muslims, and when the Cham of Cambodia tried to bring them to a more orthodox version of Islam, they ran up against stiff resistance.

Comparisons to malaysia:

There are quite a few similarities between the Chams of Vietnam and Kampuchea and Malaysians-Indonesians.
Both are Sunni Muslims, following the Shafi'i madh-hab (school of thought). Their culture is similar. For example, both live in villages called kampongs. Muslim men wear batik lungi (shuka in Kiswahili) tied in a knot at the waist, whether in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam or in Jakarta, Indonesia, but while the black cap is popular in Indonesia, the Chams of Vietnam and Kampuchea wear white caps like Muslims in other places and these are called kapea (recollection: kofea in Swahili). And the elders among the Chams wear white robes and turbans as is the sunnah. Finally, mixed marriages of Chams to Khmers, Vietnamese or Chinese non-Muslims almost always result in the non-Muslim partner's conversion to Islam (as among the Guyanese for example). The seal of iman (faith) is set; "kis jagaa aur kahan tera kabza naheen", mused Imam Ahmad Raza Khan.
(Note: This article was first published in Iqra The Islamic Journal of Memon Jamat Nairobi, No. 30, Jamadil Aakhir 1415, November 1994).

Only one reference to buddhism:

Cham religion was pretty much home grown to include worshipping the died ancestors, worshipping multiple gods of the surroundings like river god, thunder god, mountain god - polytheism. The Chams were only briefly Bhuddists. There is only one one historical site DongDuong in DaNang that bears traits of Buddhism. The Hindu religion probably effect the most in the Cham culture and religion with similarities in outfits ( especially in women dresses

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