The Chinese Emperor’s Poem about the Prophet Muhammad
Hong-Wu (also known by his given name Zhū Yuánzhāng) was the Emperor of China between 1368 – 1398 CE. He was the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, leading an Army that conquered the country and defeated away the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty.
Despite being a non-Muslim, Hong-Wu ordered the construction of several mosques in Nanjing, Yunnan, Guangdong and Fujian. He rebuilt the Jinjue Mosque in Nanjing and large numbers of Hui (Muslim Chinese) people moved to the city during his rule.
He had around 10 Muslim generals in his army, including Chang Yuchun, Lan Yu, Ding Dexing, Mu Ying, Feng Sheng and Hu Dahai. In addition, Hong-Wu’s spouse, Empress Ma, descended from a Muslim family while he was originally a member of a Muslim rebel group led by Guo Zhixin.
Emperor Hong-Wu wrote a 100 word eulogy praising Islam, Allah and the Prophet Muhammad which he had placed in the mosques which he ordered to be built.
The eulogy is in the form of a poem, each verse containing 4 words (characters) and 4 syllables. In the translation below I have strayed away from trying to keep the 4 word per verse translation in favour of a more literal translation which conveys the full meaning in flowing English.
It was recorded that “His Majesty ordered to have mosques built in Xijing and Nanjing [the capital cities], and in southern Yunnan, Fujian and Guangdong. His Majesty also personally wrote baizizan [a eulogy] in praise of the Prophet’s virtues
至聖百字讃 乾坤初始 天籍注名 傳教大聖 降生西域 授受天經 三十部册 普化衆生 億兆君師 萬聖領袖 協助天運 保庇國民 五時祈祐 默祝太平 存心真主 加志窮民 拯救患難 洞徶幽冥 超拔靈魂 脱離罪業 仁覆天下 道冠古今 降邪歸一 教名清真 穆罕默德 至聖貴人 穆罕默德 清真北寺
Chinese (with punctuation in paragraph form)
The One-Hundred Word Eulogy: Since the creation of the Universe, God had decreed to appoint, This great faith-preaching man, From the West he was born, He received the Holy Scripture, A Book of thirty parts, To guide all creation, Master of all Rulers, Leader of Holy Ones, With Support from Above, To Protect His Nation, With five daily prayers, Silently hoping for peace, His heart towards Allah, Empowering the poor, Saving them from calamity, Seeing through the darkness, Pulling souls and spirits, Away from all wrongdoings, A Mercy to the Worlds, Traversing the ancient majestic path, Vanquishing away all evil, His Religion Pure and True, Muhammad,
Alternate Translations # 2
The universe began with the heavenly tablet recording his name. The religion-delivering great sage, born in the western realm. Conferring and receiving heavenly scripture in thirty parts, universally transforming all created beings. Master of the trillion rulers, leader of the ten thousand sages. Assisted by destiny, protector of the community. In each of the five prayers, he silently supplicates for their total well-being. His intention is that Allah should remember the needy. Deliver them from tribulations to safety, Knower of the unseen. Exalted above every soul and spirit, free from any blameworthy deeds. A mercy to all of the worlds, whose path is preeminent for all time. Renounce spiritual ignorance; return to The One – that is the religion called Islam. Muhammad is the most noble sage.
Alternate translation #3
Since the creation of the universe God had already appointed his great faith-preaching man, From the West he was born, And received the holy scripture And book made of 30 parts (Juz) To guide all creations, Master of all rulers, Leader of the holy ones, With support from the Heavens, To protect his nation, With five daily prayers, Silently praying for peace, His heart directed towards Allah, Giving power to the poor, Saving them from calamity, Seeing through the Unseen, Pulling the souls and the spirits away from all wrongdoings, Mercy to the world, Transversing the ancient, Majestic path, vanquishing away all evil, His religion, Qing Zhen (the name for islam in chinese (especially at that time), which literally means Pure and True),
منذ أن خُلق الكون، قد قرر الرب أن يعيّن، هذا الرجل العظيم الداعي للإيمان، من الغرب قد ولد، ليتلقى الكتاب المقدس (القرآن( كتابًا يحتوي على ثلاثون جزءا ليهدي جميع الخلائق، ملك كل الملوك، زعيم كل القديسين، بدعم إلهي، ليحمي أمته، بخمسة صلوات يومية، بصمت يأمل حصول السلام، قلبه متجه نحو الله، يقوي الضعفاء، ينقذهم من الكارثة، يرى من خلال الظلمة، يسحب النفوس والأرواح، بعيدًا عن جميع الذنوب/الاخطاء، رحمة للعالمين، سائرًا على طريق العظماء القديم، طاردًا لكل الشرور، دينه نقي وصادق، محمد، الشريف والعظيم.