During the early and mid-19th century, the territory of today's Wuzhong—as well as much of northern Ningxia—became a stronghold of the JahriyyaSufi order (menhuan), which was headquartered in the town of Jinjipu (a few km south of today's Wuzhong's main urban area). Under the leadership of the order's fourth and fifth shaykhs, Ma Yide (the 1770s-1849) and Ma Hualong (d. 1871), it grew wealthy from the profits of caravan trade across Inner Mongolia, between Baotou, Huhhot and Beijing. Jinjipu became an important commercial and religious center.
During the Muslim Rebellion of 1862-1877, Jinjipu became the headquarters of the rebels in the Ningxia region. The town fell to Zuo Zongtang's troops in January 1871, and over a thousand rebels and residents were massacred; Ma Hualong with his family and Jahriyya officials were executed in March 1871.