Funan and Oc EO
Much of the early history of the southern a part of Vietnam is intently related to India. In the course of the first century AD, Indian retailers voyaging to China established Hindu outposts en route, one in every of which was on the southern coast of Vietnam, close to the present-day city of Rach Gia. Then often called Funan, it grew into a city state primarily based upon the port of Oc Eo. The History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City has an excellent collection of artifacts and relicts from the site.
By the third century, Funan was the most important trading centre in Indochina with hyperlinks so far as Europe, but steadily declined as new and extra accessible ports developed. By the sixth century, it had roughly disappeared.
The Cham Kingdom
At about the same time, the Hindu Kingdom of Champa was spreading into the centre of Vietnam from the west. At its height, the Cham dominated over most of the southern half of Vietnam, with its base around what is now Da Nang. The UNESCO World Heritage web site of My Son, a big advanced of richly adorned sacred brick towers and temples was the religious coronary heart of all the Cham Empire. Related towers can nonetheless be seen all over the south of the country.
Ruled by divine kings, the Cham worshipped Shiva and other Hindu deities. They have been extremely skilled sculptors – glorious examples of their work might be seen on the Cham museum in Da Nang, the History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, and on the My Son site. Later they converted to Buddhism.
In the 16th century after the collapse of the Kingdom, most of the Cham remaining in Vietnam became Muslims and stay as an ethnic minority within the south, practicing a highly modified version of Islam.
There is a small Hindu temple in Ho Chi Minh City, near the well-known the Ben Thanh market.
There are about forty thousand Muslims in Vietnam, principally members of the southern Kh’mer and Cham ethnic groups.
There’s a sizeable Cham Muslim population in Chau Doc, very near the Cambodian border, and a large mosque. Its non secular leaders wear a fez with a golden tassel, or a white prayer cap. Elsewhere, they put on a white gown and a crimson turban. There’s another large mosque in Ho Chi Minh City, and a much smaller one in Hanoi.
The institution of Islam in Vietnam
Like Hinduism, Islam first entered Vietnam along buying and selling routes, however didn’t take root in Vietnam till the Cham and Kh’mer transformed from Hinduism. Nevertheless, Vietnamese Islam bears little resemblance to that practiced in additional religious Muslim countries.
The observe of Islam in Vietnam
The Cham people pray as soon as every week as a substitute of five times every day and as an alternative of fasting for forty days at Ramadan, they abstain just for three days. Each ritual cleansing and circumcision is conducted symbolically, and alcohol is allowed. The burka is nearly unknown – on our last visit to Chau Doc, the only woman carrying one was married to a Muslim from Saudi Arabia.
Islam in Vietnam follows the sample of different religions – though referring to themselves as Muslims; additionally they worship Hindu deities and apply animism.
These Vietnamese Muslims who have heard of Islamic fundamentalism look upon it in complete bewilderment!