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Islam in the Philippines

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Title: Islam in the Philippines  
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Subject: Islam by country, Masjid Al-Dahab, Arab settlement in the Philippines, Mindanao, Islam in Iran
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Islam in the Philippines

Mosque in Marawi City in the Philippines.

Islam is the oldest recorded monotheistic religion in the Philippines. Islam reached the Philippines in the 14th century with the arrival of Muslim traders from the Persian Gulf, Southern India, and their followers from several sultanate governments in the Malay Archipelago. According to The National Commission of Muslim Filipinos, the Muslim population of the Philippines is about 11% of the total population.[1] While the majority of the population are Roman Catholic, some ethnic groups are Protestant, non-religious, Aglipayan, Iglesia ni Cristo, Buddhist and Animist.


  • History 1
    • Spanish encounter 1.1
  • Islam Population in Regional Area as of 2014 2
  • Muslim Mindanao 3
  • Islamic art from the Philippines 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Mosque in Isabela City.

In 1380 Karim ul' Makhdum the first Arabian trader reached the Sulu Archipelago and Jolo in the Philippines and through trade throughout the island established Islam in the country. In 1390 the Minangkabau's Prince Rajah Baguinda and his followers preached Islam on the islands.[2] The Sheik Karimal Makdum Mosque was the first mosque established in the Philippines on Simunul in Mindanao in the 14th century. Subsequent settlements by Arab missionaries traveling to Malaysia and Indonesia helped strengthen Islam in the Philippines and each settlement was governed by a Datu, Rajah and a Sultan. Islam was introduced by Chinese Muslims, Indian Muslims, and Persians. Islamic provinces founded in the Philippines included the Sultanate of Maguindanao, Sultanate of Sulu, Sultanate of Lanao and other parts of the southern Philippines.

When the Spanish fleet led by Miguel López de Legazpi arrived in the Kingdom of Maynila, they were met by Rajah Sulaiman III.

By the next century conquests had reached the Sulu islands in the southern tip of the Philippines where the population was animistic and they took up the task of converting the animistic population to Islam with renewed zeal. By the 15th century, half of Luzon (Northern Philippines) and the islands of Mindanao in the south had become subject to the various Muslim sultanates of Borneo and much of the population in the South were converted to Islam. However, the Visayas was largely dominated by Hindu-Buddhist societies led by rajahs and datus who strongly resisted Islam. One reason could be due to the economic and political disasters prehispanic Muslim pirates from the Mindanao region bring during raids. These frequent attacks gave way to naming present-day Cebu as then-Sugbo or scorched earth which was a defensive technique implemented by the Visayans so the pirates have nothing much to loot.[3][4]

During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah from 1485 to 1521, the Bruneian Empire having seen the feature of Manila as a natural port, the Brunei Sultan tried to have a part of Tondo's the incoming China trade by attacking its environs and establishing its own Sultanate of Kota Seludong, now Manila ruling under and giving yearly tribute to the Sultanate of Brunei as its satellite state.[5] A new dynasty under the a local Lumad leader who accepted Islam and became Rajah Salalila or Rajah Sulayman I. He also started to established a trading challenge the already rich House of Rajah Lakandula in Tondo. Islam was further strengthened by the arrival of Muslim traders and from Jolo, Mindanao, Malaysia and Indonesia.[6]

Spanish encounter

Rajah Sulayman was the Muslim Rajah of Maynila, a kingdom at the mouth of the Pasig River where it meets Manila Bay, at the time the Spanish forces first came to Luzon.[7][8][9]

Sulayman resisted the Spanish forces, and thus, along with Rajah Matanda and Lakan Dula, was one of three Rajahs who played significant roles in what was the Spanish conquest of their kingdoms of the Pasig River delta in the early 1570s.[10]

Moro (derived from the Spanish word meaning Moors) is the appellation inherited from the Spaniards, for Filipino Muslims and tribal groups of Mindanao. The Moros seek to establish an independent Islamic province in Mindanao to be named Bangsamoro. The term Bangsamoro is a combination of an Old Malay word meaning nation or state with the Spanish word Moro. A significant Moro Rebellion occurred during the Philippine–American War. Conflicts and rebellion have continued in the Philippines from the pre-colonial period up to the present. Other related issue with the Moro secession is the territorial dispute of eastern Sabah in Malaysia which claimed by the Sultanate of Sulu as their territory.

The Moros have a history of resistance against Spanish, American, and Japanese rule for over 400 years. The violent armed struggle against the Japanese, Filipinos, Spanish, and Americans is considered by current Moro Muslim leaders as part of the four centuries long "national liberation movement" of the Bangsamoro (Moro Nation).[11] The 400-year-long resistance against the Japanese, Americans, and Spanish by the Moro Muslims persisted and morphed into their current war for independence against the Philippine state.[12]

Islam Population in Regional Area as of 2014

Islam Population in Regional Area as of 2014
Region Total Muslim Population Percent to Regional Population
National Capital Region 1,166,345 10.90
Cordillera Administrative Region 70,258 4.10
Ilocos Region 62,871 1.30
Cagayan Valley 58,293 1.90
Central Luzon 359,929 3.60
CALABARZON 589,607 4.50
MIMAROPA 354,416 19.50
Bicol Region 113,902 12.10
Western Visayas 154,231 2.10
Central Visayas 268,921 4.30
Eastern Visayas 112,969 2.70
Zamboanga Peninsula 1,162,153 38.20
Northern Mindanao 692,124 15.60
Davao Region 470,319 10.80
SOCCSKSARGEN 2,100,000(estimate) 57.30
Caraga 194,549 6.80
ARMM 3,000,000 (estimate) 95.20
Total Muslims 5,000,000 - 11,000,000 (estimate number) 5-11%[13]

Muslim Mindanao

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is the region of the Philippines that is composed of all the Philippines' predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan (except Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the Islamic City of Marawi. It is the only region that has its own government. The regional capital is at Cotabato City, although this city is outside of its jurisdiction.

Islamic art from the Philippines

See also


  1. ^ National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Report published in 2012
  2. ^ "Kerinduan orang-orang moro". TEMPO- Majalah Berita Mingguan. Retrieved June 23, 1990. 
  3. ^ "A Rapid Journal Article Volume 10, No. 2". Celestino C. Macachor. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Aginid". Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Pusat Sejarah Brunei" (in Malay). Government of Brunei Darussalam. Retrieved 04-03-10. 
  6. ^ Agoncillo, Teodoro A. (1990). History of the Filipino People (8th ed.). Garotech Publishing. p. 22.  
  7. ^  
  8. ^  
  9. ^ Dery, Luis Camara (2001). A History of the Inarticulate. Quezon City: New Day Publishers.  
  10. ^ 222. "Rajah Soliman". National Heroes. Retrieved February 5, 2008. 
  11. ^ Banlaoi 2012, p. 24.
  12. ^ Banlaoi 2005, p. 68.
  13. ^ Philippines. 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom (Report) (United States Department of State). July 28, 2014. SECTION I. RELIGIOUS DEMOGRAPHY. 

External links

  • Fil-Mus Foundation
  • Islam and Muslims in the Philippines
  • Pinoymuslim - The first Filipino language translation of the meaning of the Qur'an by Ustad Badie Saliao, Ustad Amin Rodríguez and other Filipino Muslim teachers and scholars in Saudi Arabia.
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