In my quest for the Truth, I read articles, pamphlets and anything my hands could get a hold on to regarding Islam. Though limited to what may be available at the time, and with my difficulty with reading and understanding texts on my own language, I still occupied myself in learning what I can about this religion that I was never taught of.
Just like reading a new pocket book or an article in the newspaper, I read on and on about The True Religion, “Sino Ang Dapat Samabahin” (Who Must Be Worshipped), Mohammad (SAWS) etc.. Not like any fan of a romantic love story or a favorite pastime book though, I took more effort on what I was reading because I found something very interesting. I found excerpts of Philippine History which was never taught in school, in books, in newspapers, magazines and everything else that I had grabbed as a wide reader. Islam was never mentioned. So I took down notes on my readings about my country’s Islamic history.
First, there were the animists. These were the the people who worshiped every piece of creation before all those religions were introduced to them.. They worshiped the sun, the sky, the trees, the stars, fire, etc. But when Islam came to the islands, their beliefs changed and so did their lives. Islam became the established religion until Spanish conquerors came and imposed Christianity on the natives.
According to what I read, Islam was first introduced in 1380 by an Arab, Sharif Maktuom. He built the first Masjid in the South of the Philippines in Tabig Indangan, Sumunul, Tawitawi. But according to a comment on an article I just read, Islam already exists in the Philippines as early as 900CE.
After Sharif Maktuom’s death, Rajah Bajinda came to the islands in 1450 and continued on the former’s quest. Another muslim Abu Bakr set foot on Jolo and married the daughter of Rajah Bajinda, Princess Parmisuli. With a growing strong Muslim family, he established the Sultanate in Sulu becoming the first Sultan and his wife the first Sultana. After successfully ordaining in Sulu, Muslims moved on towards mindanao under Sharif Kabungsuwan. They landed in Maguindanao (now Cotabato) on 1475. Soon he married Princess Tunina. They built the Sultanate in Maguindanao.
Years followed and various Datus from Borneo came toe the islands when they learned the warm reception of the natives. Ten Borneo Datus set foot in Panay. They were Datu Puti, Datu Sumakwel, Bangkaya, Sumangsol, Paiburong, Paduhinog, Ubay, Dumangsil, Dumalugdog, and Balensula (now Valenzuela). Datu Puti who was an expert at rural travel led this troop. They landed in Sirawagan (now San Joaquin, Iloilo). He bought the lowlands of Iloilo from Marikudo, the leader of Itas (pygmies) and were the victors of Islam in the area. Moving on, Datu Puti’s troop’s next stop was Batangas. Datu Puti and Datu Dumangsil established the Islamic community in Batangas. Thereafter, Datu Puti sailed back to Borneos to bring the news of the Islamic spread. This inspired the influx of Borneos to the islands.
The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan at exactly 491 years ago from today found the archipelago as a Muslim country for already 144 years at least. When Miguel Lopez de Legaspi came after the death of Magellan, more muslim communities were established at the South of Luzon: Batangas, Pampanga, Mindanao, Panay, Catanduanes, Cabu, Samar, Manila, Palawan, Mindoro, and Sulu. The first Muslim to defend the Islam faith was Gat Lapulapu. (He was the only well known Muslim Filipino accounted for. And I don’t even remember learning about him as a Muslim but more of a Filipino hero.)
On June 3, 1571, the Spaniards mobilized a war against Muslims led by Raja Soliman. Raja Soliman mightily defended Manila and Islam at Bangkusay at Tondo. After the capture of the Raja, young and old Muslims who only had bolos and sibat then were slain while defending Islam against tyrants equipped with more superior canons and guns. Muslim survivors retreated to now called Morong, Rizal. Muslims who fled to the riverbanks were called Tagalog (Cavite, Laguna, etc); while fighting continued in a nearby town now known as Binangonan, Rizal. This time, the Spaniards established headquarters in Manila and continued conquering the Visayas. Some Muslims chose to die fighting off the Spaniards while others were forced to embrace Christianity by the threat of the sword.
The Spaniards thought they could win the whole archipelago inestablishing Christianism. But Muslims down South mightily defended the Islam faith and their freedom. Hence up to this day we find Manaraos, Maguindanaos, Yahans, Sanal, and Sangril enjoying the Islamic Faith.
My notes on several sheets from our physician’s prescription pad missed accounting for the exact authors and title of the literature where from I gathered all these information. I just had in mind that I wanted to share these to my daughters who like me are deprived of learning the real score on Philippine Islamic History.
Reading about the war history of my country as a Roman Catholic then, I felt sorry that these stories were never intended to be popularized, or so I thought. I asked myself why were these historical accounts played down? Thus, the highlight of my spiritual sense was falsely led to believe in the dogma of colonial Christianity. It is not for Muslims to downplay Christians on their faith. Bismillah, it is never the intention of this blog because the Prophet Esau or Jesus (SAS) is a very special Prophet of Allah (SWT) and the Prophet’s (SAS) teachings on their proper context were also from Allah (SWT). But as a former Catholic, I wished that I was taught these information long ago.
Masha’allah, the information I saved and shared here was originally for the intention of telling my daughters about Islamic history which I was never taught. And these may not even be propagated by any media as easily as anyone else would have access to Justin Bieber’s videos.
Inshallah, there will be more literature printed and circulated about the Islamic history of the Philippines so that more people will find the Truth. Salamu’alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh!