New Phase & Discovering New World
Zheng He was appointed as port commander in Nanking and received orders to disband his army. Zheng He chose with the support of Xuande, who had succeeded Hongxi, to bring life again to his expeditions.
On his 7th and last travel in 1433 (when he became 60 years old) , Zheng He revisited the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and Africa and died in India on his way back.
It is also proven that Zheng He discovered America and Australia in one of his trips before Columbus did. And he also reached the east coast of Africa and sailed from the Cape of Good Hope to the Cape Verde Islands before Marco Polo did.
Every time Zheng He reached a country, he sailed back to China with exotic products such as ivory, camels, gold and other goods.
All those expeditions sent one message to the world: China is an economic and political superpower. But Zheng He added another important thing in his travels: calling people to Islam. With his muslim advisors, Zheng He invited the local people to embrace islam wherever they traveled to.
Spread of Islamic Message
In the Indonesian islands of Java, Sumatra, Borneo and others, small Muslim communities were already installed before they met Zheng He.
The spread of the Islamic message in Southeast Asia began a few 100 years earlier thanks to the Arab and Indian merchants. Zheng He actively supported the continuous growth of Islam in these areas.
To facilitate the spread of Islam quickly in Southeast Asia, Zheng He established Chinese Muslim communities in Palembang, Java, the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines. Their task was to spread islam around the area to build mosques and to provide other social services the local Muslim community would need.
After his death, the Chinese Muslims in Southeast Asia continued Zheng He’s work in different ways. This brought more people to Islam in Southeast Asia and strengthened the growing Muslim community in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and this complete Southeastern Asian area.
Conclusion: Zheng He, China’s greatest maritime explorer, isn’t only the pride of the Chinese history, but also a very unique hero in the history of our Islamic civilization.
We must not forget our heroes!