While Islam has existed originally in the early 7th century CE, this religion was first introduced into Tang Dynasty China and Vietnam in 650. The third caliph Uthman bin Affan sent the very first Islam devotees and merchants to China and Southeast Asian countries. Although it was believed that the Muslim Traders did stop by Champa which is now the central and southern central coast of Vietnam, the first contact recorded shows this happened in later around 10th or 11th century. Only until the 17th century when Champa was annexed to Vietnam, Islamism became prevalent within Cham people. Islamism in Cham culture was modified a lot compared to the original religion.
In general, Islamism in Vietnam is called Cham Islam, which takes up a very small portion of the whole population, only 0,075%.
In the mid-19th century, the dominance of French in Indochina (now is South East Asia) makes Cham Muslims immigrate from Cambodia to the Mekong River Delta and establish the community here, causing the larger group of Muslims in Central Vietnam and Southern Vietnam.
Islam in Central Vietnam is called Cham Bani Islam, which is a non-denominational Islamism and affected mostly by both the local lifestyle and the Brahman religion. The Bani Islam maintained peace with the matriarchy root of indigenous culture and its liturgies were changed to adapt to the new agricultural customs and traditions. This branch almost has no relation to the Islamic world, therefore, the Bani Islam can only be found in Vietnam and among the Cham people.
Islam in Southern Vietnam is named Cham Islam which is quite similar to a Sunni denomination with no influence from local culture and has frequent contact with Islamic communities in Cambodia and Malaysia. The Cham people migrated to the Chenla Kingdom in the south and came in contact with Islam of Java people living here. Chenla was exposed to the Islamic world more than Champa so the religion here wasn’t localized deeply. The Cham people (together with Java people) moved from Chendla to An Giang and Tay Ninh, continued to promote the religion. The Cham often goes to Malaysia to learn Islam’s doctrines through their interpretation.
In Vietnam, there are about 40 masjid and 21 suraos. The Muslims in Vietnam mostly live in Ho Chi Minh City and An Giang Province, therefore, the largest sanctums are all located in these areas.
Here is the list of top 5 Islamic Mosques in Vietnam:
Masjid Al-Noor, Hanoi
Being built in 1890, the Al Noor Mosque (The Mosque of Enlightenment) is the second mosque established in Vietnam as well as the only Islam Mosque you can see in Northern Vietnam. With the age over a hundred years, the mosque is painted in white and decorated with very typical Islamic architecture’s features and symbols. On every Friday, prayer is held for an hour from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, attracting hundreds of believers from all over Hanoi and even other provinces to come here and pray together. There are about 55 Vietnamese believers who are all the embassies’ officials of Islamic countries. A private sanctum for women is one of the most special advantages for those coming here to send their prayers. In Hanoi, Islamic women have a much easier life as they don’t have to cover their faces and doing their business or going out alone are all allowed.
- Location: 12 Hang Luoc, Hang Ma, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi.
- Hours: Monday to Friday: 4 am – 8 pm.
Jamia Al-Musulman, Ho Chi Minh City
Jamia Al-Musulman mosque (1935) – one of 12 mosques in Ho Chi Minh City – attracts the largest number of believers living here. The mosque is placed where most international businesses and hotels gather: behind Caravelle hotel, in front of Saigon hotel, adjacent to the Sheraton hotel. The mosque is usually crowded on Fridays. The corridor is so large that can accommodate hundreds of people. In the main hall, there is also a pool for male believers to purify. Especially, you can find halal food just outside of the mosque. Across the road is a halal restaurant that serves Vietnamese halal food as well.
- Location: 66 Dong Du, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Hours: Monday to Friday: 8 am – 8 pm.
Jamiul Islamiyah, Ho Chi Minh City
Jamiul Islamiyah, or in another name “Nancy Mosque”, was first built in 1950, rebuilt in 1980 and 2003, and then opened in 2004 with the funds of Red Crescent Society from UAE. This is one of the main mosques of Ho Chi Minh City and the heart of a Muslim community nearby. Nancy Mosque is the mosque with the second largest number (653) of believers. You can find a halal restaurant named Pho Muslim just behind the mosque.
- Location: 495B Tran Hung Dao Street, Cau Kho ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Mubarak, An Giang
Mubarak mosque is the heart of Muslim communities in An Giang. The mosque is designed by architect Mohamet Amin with a very typical Cham Islamic architecture. Mubarak is believed to be built first in 1750 with bamboo pillars and cottage styled roof. In 1808, the mosque is renovated with bricks and a tiled roof. There are also special Rapana drums kept inside the mosque which are said to be 500 years old.
- Location: Phu Hiep (rural commune), Phu Tan District, An Giang province.
Jamiul Azhar, An Giang
This is the largest mosque of An Giang, belonged to the Chau Phong ward. Jamiul Azhar was built in 1959, has gone through many renovations to have the appearance as of today. It also gets praised for its beautiful façade and sophisticated architecture. In front, the mosque is an Islamic cemetery for Islamic followers from different parts of Vietnam. Also, Jamiul Azhar is considered as Vietnamese Mecca to Vietnamese Islamic believers where they have to visit at least once in a lifetime.
- Location: 656 Chau Giang, Chau Phong, Tan Chau town, An Giang Province.
- Hours: Monday to Friday: Open 24 hours.
Other Masjids and Suraos may near you:
1. Tan Chau District, An Giang Province:
- Mahmudiah and Nekma (Masjids): Phum Xoai Hamlet, Chau Phong Commune.
- No. 1; Maskinar Rahmah; Dares Salam; Shariful Islamiah; Noor Al Islam; Hayat Al Islam; Zumadul Islam; and Al Wusta (Suraos): Phum Xoai Hamlet, Chau Phong Commune.
2. Chau Phu District, An Giang Province:
- Al-Aman (Katambong) (Masjid): Khanh An Hamlet, Khanh Hoa Commune.
- No. 1; No.5 (Suraos): Khanh Hoa Commune.
3. An Phu District, An Giang Province:
- Al-Ehsan and Jamiaus Sunna (Masjids): Da Phuoc Commune.
- Ar-Rohmah (Masjid): La Ma Hamlet, Vinh Truong commune.
- Al-Muslimin (Masjid): Quoc Thai Commune.
- Khoyri Yahx (Masjid): III Cham Hamlet, Khanh Binh commune.
- Noor Din (Surao): Koh Koi village, Nhon Hoi commune.
4. Phu Tan District, An Giang:
- Al-Mubarak and Jamiul Azhar (Masjids): Chau Giang Hamlet, Phu Hiep commune.
- Al-Azhar and Al-Mubarak ( Suraos): Chau Giang Hamlet, Phu Hiep commune.
5. Chau Thanh District, An Giang:
- Jamia Al Mukminin (Masjid): Vinh Hanh Village.
6. Long Xuyen District, An Giang:
- Al Muslimin (Surao): Long Xuyen City.
7. Ho Chi Minh City:
- Ar-Rahim (Masjid): 45 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1.
- Musulman (Masjid): 66 Dong Du Street (near Sheraton hotel), District 1.
- Jamiul Islamiah (Nancy mosque) (Masjid): 459B Tran Hung Dao Street (near Police City), District 1.
- Niamatul Islamiyah (Masjid): 360 Cach Mang Thang 8 Street, District 3.
- Noor Al- Islam (Surao): 39 Tran Quang Dieu Street, District 3.
- Khairiyah (Surao): 26/13 Ton That Thuyet Street, District 4.
- Al-Jamia (Cho Lon Jamial Mosque) (Masjid): 641 Nguyen Trai Street, District 5.
- Alsa Adah (Masjid): 45/67 Binh Tien, Ward 15, District 6.
- Jamia Al-Anwar (Masjid): 157B/09 Duong Ba Trac Street, District 8.
- Mubarak (Surao): 85/16 Pham The Hien Street, District 8.
- Jamia Al- Muwahidin (Masjid): District 9.
- Haiyat Al-Islam (Masjid): 317/75 Cach Mang Thang 8 Street, District 10.
- Jamia Al-Muslimin (Masjid): 52 Nguyen Van Troi Street Phu Nhuan District.
- Noor Al-Ehsan (Surao): 111/24 Huynh Van Banh Street, Phu Nhuan District.
- Noor Al-Islam (Surao): 4th floor, Phan Van Han Building, Ward 17, Binh Thanh District.
8. Tien Giang Province:
- Jamia Musulmane (Masjid): 59 Trinh Hoai Duc, My Tho city; 70 km Southwest of HCMC.
9. Tra Vinh Province:
- Al-Muslamin (Masjid): 133 Tran Quoc Tuan, Tra Vinh city; 137 km Southwest of HCMC.
10. Long An Province:
- Al-Muslimin (Masjid): Tau Buu village, Ben Luc district; 20km South of HCMC.
11. Tay Ninh Province:
- Al-Muslimin (Masjid): Tay Ninh; 100 km North of HCMC.
- Noor Al-Iman (Masjid): Tan Hung Village.
- Baitul Huda (Masjid): Tan Phu Village, Tan Chau District.
- Niamah (Masjid): Suoi Day Village, Tan Chau District.
- Mubarak (Masjid): Thanh Binh Village, Tan Bien District.
12. Binh Phuoc Province:
- Hayat Al-Islam (Masjid): Phu Rieng Village; 140 km Northeast of HCMC.
13. Binh Duong Province:
- Al-Muttaqin (Masjid): Minh Hoa Village; Dau Tieng District (Long Ho); 120 km Northeast of HCMC.
14. Dong Nai Province:
- Al-Islam (Masjid): Binh Son Village; Long Thanh District; 60 km Northeast of HCMC.
- Noor Al-Ehsan (Masjid): Xuan Hung Village, Long Khanh District; 120 km from HCMC.
- Noor Al-Yakin and Noor Al-Hidayah (Suraos): Xuan Hung Village, Long Khanh District.
15. Ninh Thuan:
- Al-Muslimin 101 and Niamah 104 (Masjid): Phuoc Nam Village, Ninh Phuoc District.
- Al-Mubarak 102 and An-Noor 103 (Masjid): Xuan Hai Village, Ninh Hai District.