October 22, 2013

A Persian in China (Y chromosome of Sayyid Ajjal)

Quite remarkable that a Persian (Sayyid Ajjal) would leave many descendants in faraway China, and one of this descendants (Zheng He) would one day set out to explore the West (from the perspective of China). A nice reminder of how far a Y-chromosome lineage might travel, even in the span of a couple of centuries.

arXiv:1310.5466 [q-bio.PE]

Present Y chromosomes support the Persian ancestry of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar and Eminent Navigator Zheng He

Chuan-Chao Wang et al.

Sayyid Ajjal is the ancestor of many Muslims in areas all across China. And one of his descendants is the famous Navigator of Ming Dynasty, Zheng He, who led the largest armada in the world of 15th century. The origin of Sayyid Ajjal's family remains unclear although many studies have been done on this topic of Muslim history. In this paper, we studied the Y chromosomes of his present descendants, and found they all have haplogroup L1a-M76, proving a southern Persian origin.



Nathan Paul said...

May be they will find in some O3 in Europe also in future.

LivoniaG said...

"The conquests of Chinghiz and his successors had opened a highway of communication between the east and the west of Asia; and western people began to frequent the far east, and even to fettle there. The Mongol emperors patronized the colonization of China by foreigners; and with respect to the Mohammedans, it seems, that since Hulagu khan the brother of Mangu khan, ruled over western Asia, emigration from Persia to China had considerably increased. I think it not unlikely, that the Mohammedans now scattered over the whole of China proper, and forming large communities especially in the provinces of Kansu, Shansi and Chili, are for the greater part descendants of those Saracens mentioned by M. Polo in the same provinces. Kashid-eddin states, in his description of China (Yule's Cathay, p. 269), that in his time all the inhabitants of Karadjang (or Yunnan) were Mohammendans" _ Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. North-China Branch (1876). Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 10.

dux.ie said...

Wikipedia claimed that "Sayyid Ajall was a 26th generation descendant of the Prophet Muhammad"


Sayyid Ajall submitted to the Mongol and followed them to China. He and his son were governors in South China and thus easy to establish large family.

I had seen a documentary about his descendants in Fujian China and they look very much like Chinese, yet many people in his village have bushy beards much like Iranians.

Nathan Paul said...

claiming descendency(??) from Prophet Muhammad is common practice in Muslim religion from Somalia to China. Not al of them are true.
There is some Chengiz Khan factor due to Muslim invasions though. But majority is converts by force or choice outside middle east.

dux.ie said...


The mongol adopted the practice of using other ethnics to govern the conquered people so that they were dependent on them and unlikely to rebel. There was supposed to have a Chinese general and his descendent at Baku but off hand I could not find the reference.


"The Mongols under Chinese general Guo Kan laid siege to the city (Baghdad)"

Jorge said...

I once had the fortune to visit a tiny temple in the mountaians surrounding Jiniang (Fujian) in China. We arrived after nightfall on a humid and foggy June evening. The temple was dedicated to the Persian prophet Mani- who the ethnic Min monks venerated for centuries.