The Mongol dynasty's relation to Islam, in particular, had
tremendous impact on China's relations with the outside world.
The Mongols recruited
a number of Muslims to help in the rule of China, especially
in the field of financial administration Muslims often
served as tax collectors and administrators. They were accorded
extraordinary opportunities during the Mongol period because
Khubilai Khan and the other Mongol rulers of China could not
rely exclusively upon the subjugated Chinese to help in ruling
China. They needed outsiders, and the Muslims were among those
who assisted Khubilai.
The Mongols in China also recognized that Islamic scholars
had made great leaps in the studies of astronomy and medicine,
and they invited many specialists in those fields to come
to China. Among those to make the trip was the Persian astronomer
Al-din, who helped the Chinese set up an observatory.
Bringing with him many diagrams and advanced astronomical
instruments from Persia, Jamal Al-din assisted the Chinese
in developing a new, more accurate calendar.
The Mongols were also impressed by the Persians' advances
in medicine. They recruited a number of Persian doctors to
China to establish an Office for Muslim Medicine, and the
result was even greater contact between West Asia and East