Friday, September 25, 2015


C. The arrival of Christianity imposed by the Spaniards

       On September 20, 1519 Ferdinand Magellan commissioned by King Charles I of Spain leading an expedition of 250 men in five ships looking for the “Spice Island”. On March 31, 1521, they disembarked at the islet of Limasawa south of leyte, and there Magellan celebrated the first Catholic mass in the Philippines. From here the conquest or conversion of Christianity of the various island was effected, except the Mactan islan under Rajah Lapulapu who chose fire and blood to abject submission. In the famous Battle of Mactan on April 21, 1521 the Spaniards, despite superiority of their weapon were utterly routed. With his own hand, Raja Lapulapu slew Magellan. After the debacle of Mactan, Charles I sent three more expeditions in 1525, 1526, and 1527 but all ended in dismal failure. In 1542, Charles I fitted an expedition under the command of Ruy de Villaobos with the specific order to establish permanent settlement in the Philippines. Villalobos in the company of four Augustinian priests disembarked on Sarangani south of Mindanao. Because of the stiff hostility of the Moros the Spaniards hurriedly left. On their way home, Bernardo de laTorre, one of the crew, while passing by the islands of Samar-Leyte, gave to these islands the name Filipinas in honour of Philip, the then Spanish crown prince. The name was later applied to the entire archipelago and was Anglisized by the Americans to its present from Philippines. In 1556 Philip II ascended the throne and made it an official policy to colonize the Philippines. On April 27, 1565 the Spaniards under the command of Miguel Lopezde L to colonize the Philippines. On April 27, 1565 the Spaniards under the command of Miguel Lopezde Ligazpi landed in Panay and from there wrested the Visayan island, one after the other. After securing these areas, Ligazpi sent Captain Martin de Goiti to Lozun.

       Commanding the Spanish troops was Captain Martin de Goiti, while Rajah Sulaiman was leading the native defenders. True to his words, reminiscent of the Islamic slogan “Victory or Martyrdom” Rajah Sulaiman prepared martyrdom than to submit to the Spaniards. At the Battle of Tondo shore, on June 3, 1571 Rajah Sulaiman perished. After the fall of Manila the Spaniards then became the new master over Luzon and Visayas.

       In the year 1578 the Spaniards focused their eyes to Mindanao and Sulu. General Francisco de Sande instructed Captain Rodrigues de Figueroa the siege of Sulu in June 1578 and Mindanao in April 1596. This marked the virtual declaration of war by Spain against the Moro of Mindanao and Sulu which was to drag on and remain undecided for more than three hundred years. Series of bloody encounters took place in this period. The Christianized natives of Luzon and Visayas were used by the Spaniards to fight against the Moros. The created a deep feeling of animostyfeeling of animosity between the Endioity between the Endios now the Filipimnow the Filipino people in one hand, and the Bangsamoro people in the other hand. Sultan Buddiman Pangiran of Sulu and the reigning Sultans after him and Sultan Dipatuan Muhammad Qudrat of Mindanao and his successors after him were the heroes of such Jihad in keeping the World of Allah Supreme, until the Spaniards were ejected from the Philippines by the Americans in 1898.

       Despite the more than three hundred years of Spanish invasion of the Philippines, the Moros of Mindanao and Sulu remained intact in defending their faith and never subdued to the enemy. This is substantiated by the fact of their survival as Muslims (the Bangsamoro) distinct from the Christianized Filipinos of Luzon and Visayas.

Monday, September 14, 2015


By : Ustaz Abu Hurairah Abdul Rahman
       Mufti Besar Mindanao.

A.      The Bangsamoro before the arrival of Islam

The pre-Islamic Moro social structure had three classes: the datus or chiefs, the commoners or citizens, and the slaves. The title datu embodies both political function and social status. Generally, the right to rule hinged on direct descent from the ruling class. However, by exceptional bravery or victory in war, a commoner could become a datu, in case of slave he could buy his liberty by paying a stipulated amount. Generally, the datus were of equal status or footing. However, one could emerge superior to the other by force of arms, or bravery in war. The real of the datu was more or less equal to that of a contemporary village of the Spanish-type barrio. However, there was no common term for this political unit, knowing that the Moros speak at least thirteen languages or dialects, most of which were mutually unintelligible.

The economy was based on agriculture, weaving, pottery-making, blacksmithing and fishing. In commerce, barter system was in use, for money was not yet invented.

The then people of Mindanao and Sulu wereu were a animists.

B.      Arrival of Islam

How Islam came to Mindanao and Sulu is a complex question that cannot e addressed by a simple answer. However, it is historical fact that after the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about 623 AC, a general expansion of Islam ensued. Either through missionary effort or military victories, the Islamic world extended to West across the continent of Africa up to Spain, and to the East it encompassed the Indian continent up to Southeast Asia and then to Mindanao and Sulu. Many historians seem agree that the coming of Islam to Mindanao and Sulu was the result of the missionary activities of Arab traders and teachers or Sufis who came along the trade routes.

As regards the date of the arrival of Islam in Mindanao and Sulu, some historians say that it was earlier than the closing years of the fourteenth century. This is in the light of the discovery of a tombstone on the slope of Bad Datu, Sulu, in the year 710 AH, with corresponds 1310 AC, bearing the name of the deceased Maqbalu. Also in Sulu, an Arab known locally as Tuan Mashaika was credited with having founded the fisrt Muslim community. Later , in 1380 AC another Arab, Makhdum Karim reverently called Sharif Awliya Islamized a large number of inhabitatans. Makhdum founded the fist mosque in the Philippines a Tubig-Indangan in Simunul Island.

In 1390 AC, Rajah Baguinda arrived and continued the work of Makhdum Karim. By this times, a flourishing Muslim community in Sulu evolved and by the middle of the following century the Sulu Sultanate  was established. The fisrt crowned Sultan was Syed Abu Bakar, an Arab from South Arabia. Upon his ascension to the thron, Abu Bakar used the regal name Sharif Hashim.

In Mindanao, around the year 1460 AC, local genealogies speak of a certain Sharif Awliya from Johore came to the Island. On the hill of Tantawan now in Cotabatu City, he married a maiden. They begot a daughter by the name Paramisuli. Another Arab, Sharif Maraja, also from Johore came and got marrief with Paramisuli.

Around the year 1475 AC, Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuan also claimed to be Hashimite descendant is credited as the most instrumental in the propagation of Islam in Mindanao. Out of  his marital union with the local maidens, the Maguindanao Sultanate came to existence. The Sulu Sultanate realm had extended to embrace Palawan and some part of Borneo. While the Sultanate of Maguindanao had embraced the main island of Mindanao and some parts of Visayan island.

       At the last years of the fifteen century Islam has already headway in many parts of the Philippines. It was carried directly from of via Sulu and Mindanao by preachers, trades or voyagers from Borneo who settled among the inhabitants in the North (now Manila and surrounding provinces). What is metropolitan Manila today was formerly the bastion of Islam. Manila was ruled by Rajah Sulaiman jointly or assisted by his uncle Rajah Matanda, and Tondo was under the rule of Rajah Lakandula. And so were Cebu and Mactan of Rajah Humbon and Raja Lapulapu.

       The then political institution called Sultanates were of centralized government patterned after the Arabian model. The realm was headed by the Sultan. Below the Sultan was the heir-apparent crown prince, and in the lower tier of the hierarchy were the administrative officers or the ministers, the judge or Qadi as head of the Judiciary or agama court. In brief, the then political institution of the Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu was Islamic.