Wednesday, May 23, 2007

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

The Moro-Spanish War

Indeed, the defeat of Rajah Sulaiman in Manila represented the first chapter in the long years of Moro-Spanish confrontations in the Philippines. The next and final chapter is what we are now about to start.

After the Brunei expedition, Spanish eyes focused on the Sulu sultanate, which was suspected to be in alliance with Brunei. In fact, the two royal houses were related by a series of intermarriages. In the same year, Spain put up a large expedition under the command of Capt. Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa, who also commanded the

Brunei campaign, to attack Sulu. Sultan Buddiman Pangiran, then the reigning sultan, resisted the invasion and although the attack was partly successful on the part of the Spaniards but its implication was far-reaching. This was the virtual declaration of war by Spain against the Moros of Mindanao and Sulu. As a matter of fact, this was the official beginning of the Moro-Spanish War which was to drag on and remain undecided for 320 long years or until the Spaniards were ejected from the Philippines by the Americans in 1898.

For the Spanish Crown, the war was to subdue a pagan people, to curb "Piracy," to stop the Moros from sealing alliances with other foreign European powers, and to forestall the entry of rivals into the field of the spice trade. Conversion to Catholicism was evidently not in the priority list, knowing too well that the Moros would prefer death to conversion. For the Moros, the war was in defense of Islam, people and homeland. It was a sacred obligation, with an assured place in heaven as a recompense.

The instructions of Gov. Gen. Francisco de Sande to Capt. Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa on the siege of Sulu in June 1578 and Mindanao in April 1596 were the following:

You shall order them Moros] that there be not among them anymore preachers of the doctrines of Mahoma (Muhammad) since it is evil and false and that of the Christian alone is good. And because we have been in these islands so short a time, the lord of Bindanao: [sic] has been deceived by the preachers of Borney, and the people have become Moros. You shall tell that our object is that he be converted to Christianity; and that he must allow us freely to preach the law of the Christian, and the natives must beallowed to go to hear the preaching and be converted, without receiving harm from the chiefs. And you shall try to ascertain who are the preachers of the sect of Mahoma, and shall burn or destroy the house where that accursed doctrine has been preached, and you shall see that it be not rebuilt.

Gov. Gen. Francisco de Sande gave similar instructions to Captain Gabriel de Rivera earlier on January 15, 1579.

Both the Figueroa and Rivera missions 'to Sulu and Maguindanao, respectively, did not accomplish significant successes. Figueroa merely made the Sulu sultan sue for temporary peace, while Rivera failed to establish contact with the chief of the Pulangi (River).

In the meantime, the Spanish government in Manila adopted an official policy to colonize Mindanao. For the purpose, the colonial government and Capt. Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa signed an agreement whereby the latter, in exchange for enormous material benefits and a position to be inherited by a son or heir, would pacify the island of Mindanao and establish a colony in the Pulangi at his own expense.

Accordingly, on April 1, 1596 Figueroa left for Mindanao with fifty war vessels, 214 Spaniards and 1,500 native allies. After three weeks of sea voyage, the fleet reached the mouth of the Pulangi or what the Spaniards called Rio Grande de Mindanao and they started cruising upstream which was tough and exhausting. The river current was swift. They landed at Tampakan, and immediately Figueroa lined up his troops in battle array and delivered a stirring speech:

Soldiers of Felipe! We stand upon the newest soil of Spain. To subdue this dark forest and rid the soil of the infidel Moslem is our aim. They submit as vassals and converts or fall before the Spanish blades. Forward to our duty for King and country."

Few moments later, the jungle shook with the fierce battle that followed. Leading the Maguindanao warriors were the brothers, Rajah Silongan and Datu Ubal. On the Spanish side was Figueroa, aided by Juan de Lara. Clad in body armor, Figueroa sallied forth and barely hat] he taken a few steps when his head was cleft in two by a kampilan, a long and straight-edged Moro cutlass, wielded by Datu Ubal. The loss of their leader demoralized the Spaniards and more so when Juan de Lara, the next in command, hurriedly left for Manila "to report."

The news spread like a prairie fire in Manila. The Spaniards were furious over the death of Figueroa, but the Jesuits were the most aggrieved for they had varied interests in the conquest of Mindanao. They branded the Moros "traitors."

In 1599, the Moros, aware that defensive war was the beginning of defeat, decided to bring the war over into the enemy territory and staged counterattacks. This was what hostile writers fondly called "Moro piracy." The reprisal scheme was to cripple the enemy power base, exact tribute, and to take advantage of the critical situation faced by Spain due to the threat posed by the Dutch.

Quite absurd was the charge of piracy. If there had been incidents of piracy against the natives prior to the start of the Moro-Spanish War in 1578, those were so small in number as to be negligible. However, whatever may have been said on this subject, the truth stands that it was Spain that started the confrontation and it was natural for the Moros to defend themselves and hit back, if and when possible. On the issue of piracy, the Spanish double-standard was bared: If she attacked the Moros she called it "holy war," but if the latter hit back it was "piracy."

The year-round raids conducted by the Moros engulfed the natives in the Spanish-held territories with fear, despair and anxiety. The raiders netted tens of thousands of prisoners, jewelry, precious ornaments, cannons, and other valuable materials. By this time, the Spaniards were already beginning to realize the high price of the bloody venture they had indulged in and if ever they thought of backing out, it was already too late. But the losses of the masters were easily dwarfed by those of the subjects, who were caught between oppression from their masters and attacks by their masters' foes. They were simply sandwiched between two evils.

In one of these raids, where a Jesuit priest, Melchor Hurtado, was captured in 1603 by Datu Buisan of Maguindanao, a very interesting dialogue took place between him and the datus of Leyte. Buisan asked the datus whether they and their people as well as. those of Panay, Mindoro, and Batangas, all Spanish subjects, had been protected by the Spaniards. Of course, the Leyte datus did not need to confirm what was obvious. He urged them that if they joined hands with the Maguindanaos, it would be easy to thwart off the Spanish yoke. As a result, Buisan and the datus entered into a blood compact and they became "ritual brothers."

In another raid in 1627, a Sulu fleet of more than thirty boats of various sizes and about 2,000 men personally led by Sultan Bungsu attacked the Spanish shipyard in Camarines. The garrison was overrun and the raiders captured artillery, guns, ammunition, iron and brass pieces, and 300 prisoners, including a Spanish lady named Dona Lucia. 11 The raiders, after divesting the garrison of all valuables, burned the shipyard.


History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

2-The Moro-Spanish Intramural

The town of Manila was ruled by Rajah Sulaiman Mahmud and Rajah Matanda (jointly or assisted by the latter) and Tondo by Rajah Lakandula. All supremos were of Bornean origin and in fact were closely related to the Brunei sultan.

At this juncture, it is necessary to clarify, contrary to popular perception, two important points in history. First, the first group of people whom the Spaniards in 1570 called Moros were those in Manila and environs and not the islamized natives in Mindanao and Sulu; and second, the first Moro-Spanish War was not fought in the soils of Mindanao and Sulu but right in what is now Metropolitan Manila.

For the first time after the fall of Granada in 1492, the Spaniards and the Moros, nay Muslims, came face-to-face, each circling half the earth in opposite directions. Each was already seething with anger for the other. They had a big score to settle. The Spaniards hated the Muslims for they ruled Spain for about 800 years, while the Muslims could not forgive the Spaniards for the massacre of more than three million Muslims when the Christians recaptured Spain.

Now the hour of reckoning was at hand. Commanding the Spanish troops was Captain Martin de Goiti while Rajah Sulaiman was leading the native defenders. In a threatening voice, the fearless Sulaiman made his stand clear:

We wish to be the friends of all nations. But they must understand that we cannot tolerate any abuse. On the contrary, we will repay with death the least thing that touches our honor.

In effect, this represented the first expression of patriotic sentiments by a native chief against an alien power. Bold and piercing, this was a foreign policy declaration.

True to his words, reminiscent of the Islamic slogan of all ages, "Victory or Martyrdom Rajah Sulaiman, the last Muslim ruler of Manila, preferred martyrdom than to submit to the Spaniards. At the famous Battle of Bangkusay, off Tondo's shore, on June 3, 1571, Rajah Sulaiman perished - but his memory and example remained.

After the fall of Manila, all resistance to Spanish rule, except those fought in Mindoro in 1574 and the so-called aborted Magat Salamat Conspiracy in 1587, had died down entirely in Luzon and the Visayas within a brief span of just eleven years. The Spaniards now became the new masters, not just for one barangay or confederation of barangays but for the entire islands of Luzon and Visayas. This was to last for 327 years.

After formally integrating all the conquered islands into the Spanish Empire with Manila as the colony's capital in 1571, now dubbed as "New Spain," the next tasks were to secure the new territory from external threat and to push further the Crown's colonial designs. Spain came to conquer and acquired gold - usually in the name or aid of the Cross. She was prepared to move heaven and earth, so to speak, and to risk everything if only to monopolize the ultra-profitable spice trade. So huge and rewarding was this trade that the survivors of the Mactan and later the Cebu carriages, who barely made their escape home, managed to procure spice along the way, sold the commodity and were still left with considerable gains even after defraying the cost of the four wrecked ships and paying for the 232 dead, including Magellan. And owing to the severe rivalries between the Dutch and the Portuguese for the control of the spice trade, Spain fitted a large expedition in 1578 to attack the Brunei sultanate believing that it was in alliance with the Portuguese, or that it lay within her sphere of influence. Initial good luck was on the side of the Spaniards for they defeated the sultanate, albeit temporarily.

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

The Flashback

As mentioned earlier, the foothold of Spain in the Philippines is an accident in history. Ferdinand Magellan, leading an expedition of 250 men and five ships, was actually looking for the "Spice Islands, 112 where the highly profitable spice grew in abundance. He thought that these islands were in the Pacific Ocean close to America. Commissioned by King Charles I of Spain, he proceeded with his idea that the East could be reached by sailing West and, on September 20, 1519 from San Lucar, Spain, he and his crew left by cruising around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa and then West around South America through a tortuous passage bearing his name, the Strait of Magellan. For more than four months of incredible hardships, marred sometimes by mutiny and no land in sight, his only orders were: "sail," "sail," and "sail." And at last, on March 17, 1521, they sighted the island of Samar, which they named the "Archipelago of St. Lazarus"; stopped briefly at the islet of Homonhon, and then disembarked at Limasawa, another islet south of Leyte. At Limasawa, Magellan celebrated the first Catholic mass in the Philippines on March 31, 1521. From here, not long after, the conquest or conversion of the various islands was effected, except the island of Mactan under Rajah Lapu-Lapu, who chose fire and blood to abject submission. He flatly refused to give even an inch of his land or to compromise his freedom. The dispute was thus to be settled by force of arms. In the famous Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521 the Spaniards, despite armed with muskets, crossbows, swords and body armor, were utterly routed. With his own hands, Rajah Lapu-Lapu slew Magellan.

Magellan was Portuguese by nationality. Portugal originally assigned him to India as a soldier. Accused of embezzlement during his army stint and later indicted, he left and enlisted in the Spanish navy as a mercenary. Soon enough he won the trust of his new masters and was sent to lead the expedition to locate the Spice Islands.

After the debacle at Mactan, Charles I sent three more expeditions: in 1525, 1526 and 1527, but all ended in dismal failure. Disheartened and bankrupt, Charles 1 agreed to sign the Treaty of Zaragosa on April 22,1529 with Portugal. The treaty provided, among other stipulations, that a demarcation line in the Pacific at 297.5 leagues east of the Moluccas be drawn: All lands west of the line belonged to Portugal and all those east went to Spain. With this definition, the Moluccas, which Spain sold to Portugal, and the Philippines, which Spain also claimed, both belonged to Portugal.

Again, despite this treaty, greed and faithlessness had their day in Charles 1 when, in 1542, he made a last-ditch effort to obtain a foothold in the East. He fitted an expedition under the command of Ruy de Villalobos with the specific order to establish permanent settlement in the Islas del Poniente or "Western Islands" or the Philippines. After a year of sea voyage, Villalobos, in the company of four Augustinian priests, landed on the island of Sarangani, south of Mindanao, and tried to establish a permanent footing. Because of the stiff hostilities of the Moros, in addition to the poverty of the place they were forced "to cat cats, dogs and rats, gray lizards and unknown plants" - the Spaniards hurriedly left. On the way home, Bernardo de Ia Torre, one of the crew, while passing by the islands of Samar-Leyte, gave to these islands the name Filipinas in honor of Philip, then the Spanish crown prince and later, King Philip 11, who succeeded Charles I. The name was later applied to the entire archipelago, hence, its present form Philippines.

In 1556, Philip II ascended the throne and made it an official policy to colonize the Philippines. In November 1564, the expedition under Miguel Lopez de Legazpi left Mexico. Accompanying him as chief adviser and navigator was Fray Andres de Urdaneta, a scholar priest and veteran of the previous Loaysa Expedition. Appraised of the mission, Urdaneta objected because the Zaragosa Treaty was still in effect. But there was nothing he could do: first, they were already in the high seas, and second, Legaspi ignored his advice anyway. The King ordered Legaspi to proceed to the Philippines and to make it a permanent colony of Spain. On April 27,1565 the Spaniards landed in Panay, and from there they wrested all the islands, one after the other, from the various local chieftains. After securing all these areas, Legaspi sent Captain Martin de Goiti to Luzon where a fortified town called Manila was located.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

4-Evolution of Moro Nationalism

All the monickers assigned to the natives, Indio, Moro and Filipino were given by the Spaniards. History should credit them for giving us all these names, either out of hatred or by reasons of similarities, or by force of circumstances, or by all of the above.

As earlier mentioned, the word Moro is not a new name. It was derived from the ancient Mauri or Mauritania and was later on applied on the Berbers of North Africa and those who came and conquered Spain. The name, therefore, did not exclude the Arabs themselves especially the Umayyad princes who founded the Umayyad kingdom of Spain. In a larger context, the name is not confined to refer to a group of people, or a nationality, but applied rather to a religious affiliation, transcending the barriers of geography, race and time.

By a confluence of circumstances, the Spaniards were correct as far as the issue of religious identification is concerned, but on the aspect of nationality they probably had erred for there was no Moro nation to speak of at the time but rather the same racial group of people, the Indo-Malayan race, who happened to inhabit certain parts of the archipelago that they claimed for the King of Spain. The only distinction was that one group was Islamized and the other was still pagan, and had not the Spaniards come at that time there would have been at least three or four kingdoms, one in Manila, two in Mindanao and one in Sulu, and all or most of the inhabitants, like in nearby Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunie, would have become all Muslims.

But destiny had it - and irreversibly - that the Moro had always been so called since he crossed path with the Spaniards in 1578. It was a tag that was chosen for him by his enemy, not by himself. But unlike Filipino which signifies allegiance, nay subservience, to Spain, his name was the result of animosity and warfare - and resistance to foreign pressure. If Filipino was the child of colonialism, Moro was the offspring of anti-colonialism. Moreover, even before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Moro had already perfected the art of governance, a well-set code of laws, songs and poetry, such as the Darangan, Indarapatra, Solaiman and the adat or customary laws. He already had trade and diplomatic relations with the other states of Southeast Asia, Arabia, India, Japan, and China. Sulu and Maguindanaon were already emporia while the United States was still a wilderness.

However, nationalism, per se, was not an end itself among the Moros, but rather a cognition of what the Almighty Allah ordained for mankind in the Holy Qur'an, Chapter 49, Verse 13, such as follows:

0 mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct.

It is very clear in this verse that the Almighty created tribes and nations distinctly to differentiate one from the other and not to boast or, claim superiority over others.

If the Moros fought for anything related to his perceived racial distinctness, it was no doubt a peripheral issue; the main issue always was over the point of religion. In this era of alcoholism, materialism and worldliness, even a drunken Moro will react challengingly, either in deed or in words, once he is accused to be a heathen or an unbeliever. The distaste for unbelief is so internalized in the Moro psyche that even in. his seemingly unconscious state he will react positively for his religion. A Moro has so developed in himself that defense mechanism for Islam that he freely, consciously or unconsciously, resurges forward whenever dared.

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

3-Filipino Nationhood

The definition of a nation given by Jose Aruego and Gloria Aruego-Torres is perhaps the most unrestrained and liberal. Obviously, only the consent of a people, as a "clearly expressed desire of continuing the common life," is enough to constitute a nation. However, in the case of the Filipino political life, the spirit of nationalism came to exist only after the 19th century.` Before this time there was no Filipino nation or a sense of nationalism to speak of. Rather there were only ethnic groups who shared common racial and cultural features. During the Spanish Period, the term Filipino, as applied on someone - more particularly the Spanish insulares - was tantamount to proclaiming oneself or being proclaimed a subject of King Philip of Spain and his progenies.

The term Filipino was originally applied to Spaniards born in the Philippines, but began to include the natives only in 1898 when Gov. Gen. Basilio Agustin sought their aid and loyalty against the United States. Before this time, the natives were derisively referred to as Indios with all the most disparaging and hostile connotations. The Spaniards described the Indio as a "machine that walks, eats, sleeps and exists", "inferior race," a "racial savages," and someone with a "limited intelligence."

Several factors paved the way for the development of Filipino nationalism. The formation was no doubt the consequence of centuries of misrule and exploitation and was hastened by political and economic development in the Philippines and Europe. As noted earlier, the racial prejudices of the Spaniards against the natives had proved to be one of the strongest unifying factors among the geographically separated and linguistically divergent natives. The rise of the middle class among the natives and their subsequent access to the liberal and revolutionary ideas in Europe and America, as well as the secularization controversy that led to the execution of Fathers Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez and Jacinto Zamora were some of the factors that gave birth to Filipino nationalism.

Thus, Filipino nationalism was a belated development. If there had been earlier revolts against Spain they were no more than pocket rebellions against unjust rule, ranging from personal grievances to opposition to excessive imposition, from religious uprisings to agrarian complaints. None, except the 1896 Revolution, was staged in the name and pursuit of a separate nation. And almost all were undertaken by chiefs or religious leaders of the fragmented barangays of Luzon and the Visayas.

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

2-Concept of Nationalism

To repeat, the sense of nationalism is a modern concept and this only came to ascendancy in the last century and a half. It is the product of the chaos and political upheavals of the 18th century and a result of the French Revolution. It spread to other lands by wars and commerce, and by colonialism itself.

In ancient times the state was either a city-state, such as Athens, Sparta, or early Rome, or a far-flung empire like Macedon and Persia. Even in such antiquity, people were already conscious of their racial or cultural differences, and each people sought to view itself as "superior," as the Jews had considered themselves the "chosen people" or the Greeks had regarded non-Creeks as "barbarians."

This sense of belonging to a unified or homogeneous group was the offshoot of many factors, such as the need to defend a common frontier, the development of a common tongue or language, a common belief, a common history and tradition, and even shared conviction to close ranks and to resist a common aggressor. Racial and cultural prejudice directed against a group of people could also provide impetus to the formation of a homogeneous grouping. There may be other reasons.

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

1-Nation Define

The concept of "nation" is something recent in the history of mankind. Before the last century people were not aware of this chauvinistic term, as it is felt and understood today. Therefore, as a first step, let us endeavor to understand and define what a "nation" is before we can move on to ascertain whether the Moro constitutes a nation.

The Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines a nation as, among other related meanings:

(1) a community of people composed of one or more nationalities and possessing a more or less defined territory and government; and

(2) a territorial division containing a body of people of one or more nationalities and usually characterized by a relatively large size and independent status.

Another authority has opined that a nation has several basic ingredients such as a common or related blood, common language, common religion, common historical tradition, and, above all, common customs and habits.' And in its perfect form, it is a group of people having a common racial origin, speaking the same language, having a common civilization, common customs and traits of character, a common literature. and common traditions. There is, however, a very pragmatic view on this subject. Two noted Filipino authors, Jose Aruego and Gloria Aruego-Torres, father and daughter, said that a nation exists where its component atoms believe it to be a nation.3 They concluded that despite the lack of a common religion or a common language a nation can exist.

With these definitions at our disposal, we may be able to conceptualize and hope to settle this issue once and for all.

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

Islam Moves North

In many instances, global politics affected directly or indirectly the turn of events even in faraway places. Had not the Moors been defeated by the Spaniards in 1492. the Spaniards could not have come in 1521 and conquered the Philippines. Or had the Spaniards delayed their coming to the Philippines for just half a century there would be no such thing as the "only Christian country" in Asia. There could have been an entirely different story to tell regarding the spread of Islam in Luzon and the Visayas.

There is evidence that as early as the last years of the fifteenth century, Islam was already gaining headway in many places in the Philippines. It was carried directly from or via Sulu or Mindanao by preachers, traders or voyagers from Borneo who settled among the inhabitants of the islands. In the words of one popular writer:

... It is hard to believe that Manila was once firmly under Muslim heel, Muslims controlled the seat of government, the wealth and the trade up and down the Pasig and around Bai lake and Batangas as well as the sea lanes to Mindanao and Borneo.

The Muslims were the ruling class in Luzon, the rich traders, cultural leaders and missionaries, the ones with the knowhow and the right connections, the literacy and what's more, the right religion.

Aside from Manila, then known as Selurong, Islam had already gained ground in Batangas, Pampanga, Cagayan, Mindoro, Palawan, Catanduanes, Bonbon, Cebu, Oton, Laguna and other districts. Preachers of Islam, all reportedly coming from Borneo, came to teach the natives the rudiments of the new religion. Such Islamic practices as circumcision, reading the Qur'an, avoidance of pork, and the use of Muslim names were already noted among the natives of these districts.

What is Metropolitan Manila today was formerly the bastion of Islam. Manila was ruled by Rajah Sulaiman Mahmud, jointly or assisted by Rajah Matanda, his uncle and Tondo under the rule of Rajah Lakandula. Manila was not only the commercial center but a powerful fort (cotta) was built near the mouth of the Pasig River in defense of the realm.

It was to the islamized natives of Manila that the word Moro was first applied by the Spaniards in 1570 to denote those who professed Islam. Indio first denoted the pagan natives, but was later to include even the christianized. It was only in later years, more specifically in 1578 and after, that the name Moro was generally applied to the Muslims of Mindanao and Sulu.

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

Arrival of Islam

How Islam came to Mindanao and Sulu is a complex question that cannot be addressed by a single and simple answer. However, it is a fact of history that after the death of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in 623 AC6 , a general expansion of Islam ensued. Either through missionary efforts or from military victories, the Islamic world expanded to dominate the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. The spread continued towards the Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia and then to Mindanao and Sulu.

That Islam came to the Philippine islands with trade route in a roundabout way is generally accepted by historians. It followed the route that originated from Arabia overland through Central Asia and then overseas to India, China and thence to Southeast Asia and Africa.

However, as to which single group - traders, missionaries, crusaders, etc. - was responsible for introducing Islam in Mindanao and Sulu, the issue is still debatable. Presumably, no single operational factor is to be attributed the distinction of having spread the religion to this faraway place from the cradle of Islam. Nonetheless, after considering all the various aspects of the issue, historians seem to have agreed 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. The participation of some Muslims from the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent is also admitted.

Be that as it may, there is yet no sufficient evidence to support the contention that Islam was introduced in Mindanao and Sulu much earlier than the closing years of the fourteenth century. But there is one piece of archaeological information that may support the theory that Islam may have arrived much earlier and that was the discovery of a tombstone on the slope of Bud Datu bearing, among other entries, the year of the death of the deceased: 710 AH7, which corresponds to 1310 AC in the Gregorian calendar. The deceased was someone bearing the name of Tuhan Muqbalu or Maqbalu. The title Tuhan, said the noted Muslim scholar Cesar Adib Majul of the University of the Philippines, implied that the dead was a chief or person of high authority.'

As in the Malayan peninsula, Indonesia and Borneo, the first to become Muslims in Mindanao and Sulu were those living in or near trading posts or along the trade routes. This is why most historians, if not all, believe that the early missionaries of Islam were traders. The more likely possibility, however, is that the introduction of Islam in this part of the globe, as pointed out earlier, may have resulted from the combined efforts of traders, teachers or sufis, although the appearance of a conscious and systematic plan of carrying out that task was evidently lacking.

In Sulu, an Arab known locally as Tuan Mashaika was credited with having founded the first Muslim community. He married a local maiden and raised his children as Muslims. Later, in 1380, another Arab, Karimul Makhdum, reverently called Sharif Awliya, arrived and converted a large number of inhabitants to Islam. Makhdum was responsible for the founding of the first mosque in the Philippines at Tubig-Indangan on Simunul Island.

In 1390, Rajah Baguinda arrived and continued the works of Makhdum. By this time, a flourishing Muslim community in Sulu evolved and by the middle of the following century the Sulu sultanate was established. The first crowned sultan was Syed Abubakar, an Arab from South Arabia, who was said to be a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Upon his ascension to the throne, Abubakar used the regnal name Sharif Hashim.

In Mindanao, Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuan, also claiming to be of Hashimite descent, is credited as being mostly instrumental in the propagation of the new faith in the island. He landed first at Malabang (now in Lanao del Sur) in the year 1515 and subsequently proceeded to Cotabato, where he firmly planted the seed of the new creed. Out of his marital union with the local maidens, the Maguindanao sultanate and Buayan sultanate came into existence. Later on, succeeding sultanates, though of lesser status and power, claimed lineage from him.

But before the coming of Sharif Kabungsuan, local genealogies or tarsilas of Maguindanao speak of a certain Sharif Awliya, also from Johore, who is said to have introduced Islam to the people of Mindanao around 1460. Some writers identify him as the same Karimul Makhdum who set foot in Jolo earlier. His story, though appearing mythical, is quite consequential when related to the question of who first came to plant the seed of Islam in Mindanao. He was averred to have come to Mindanao in the air in search of "Paradise" on the hill of Tantawan (now PC Hill or Colina Hill in Cotabato City). There on the hill he met an houri (celestial maiden), married her and they begot a daughter by the name of Paramisuli, a name reserved to the royalty. Sharif Awliya, not long after, quitted the place, leaving behind his wife and daughter. The Maguindanao genealogies continue to narrate that, soon after, another Arab, Sharif Maraja, also from Johore, arrived. He landed and stayed at a settlement called Slangan or what is now in the vicinity of the Post Office in Cotabato City and, soon afterward, married Paramisuli, the daughter of Sharif Awliya.

Another tradition, this time from Lanao, speaks of another Sharif Alawi who came possibly by way of Maguindanao to Lanao and up to the mouth of Tagoloan River in the present-day Misamis Oriental and proceeded afterwards to Bukidnon. There is scanty evidence to prove this journey especially his missionary activities in Bukidnon, where there are pockets of Muslim communities found today.

Before the advent of Islam, the people of Mindanao and Sulu were animists. There was no community ever reported orally or in writing to be monotheist. They worshipped stones, stars, moons and other inanimate objects. Diwata and anito were essential features of their belief system. Conversion to Islam was generally regarded as easy and unconstrained except in some isolated cases where clashes preceded it. With a vastly superior knowledge, usually associated with "magical powers," the newcomers easily got past the local opposition. Rendering the task much easier was the Arabian blood. running in their veins which hastened rather than hindered acceptance not only by the masses of the people but even by the old ruling classes. And with Islam came the new world outlook, power structure and the cleansing force in weeding out pagan rituals and ceremonies. It gave way to the uncompromising belief in one single Supreme Being called Allah, on the equality and brotherhood of the faithfuls, on the establishment of goodwill and prosperity to all. and revolutionized the lifestyles of the faithfuls in all spheres of existence. As proof of its persuasiveness, Islam gained new adherents who proved to be among its ablest and bravest defenders as shown in the succeeding three centuries of continuous warfare with the colonizers.

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

Pre-Islamic Society

As mentioned earlier, the Moros belonged to the third wave of migrants in Beyer's Wave Migration Theory and second or last in the other theory. In either case, they were estimated to have arrived about two centuries before the birth of Prophet Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) and they already exhibited a higher stage of development, especially in the art of warfare. They inhabited the plains, valleys, coastal lands, and riverside areas. They formed settlements or communities with political organizations along family or blood lines.

The Pre-Islamic Moro social structure had three classes: the datus or chiefs, the commoners or citizens and the slaves. The word datu was both a political function and social status and extended to the incumbent ruler and all members of the ruling elite. Generally, the right to rule hinged on direct descent from the ruling class. In some instances, like exceptional bravery or victory in war, a commoner could become a datu, or in the case of the slave, could buy off his liberty by paying a stipulated amount. The system was not as rigid as that of the caste system of India where no one was allowed to leave the caste into which he was born.

The realm of the datu was more or less equal to that of a village or the Spanish barrio today. However, there was no common term for this political unit for the Moros spoke at least thirteen languages or dialects, most of which were mutually unintelligible. Some say this political unit was called banua4. But this term is clearly Visayan, and therefore, leaves the claim in doubt. Among the Moro dialects and languages, only the Tausog exhibited a commonality with Visayan. Both belong to the central branch of the Australoid language being spoken in this country. In its political connotation, banua means natural environment or a country, a homeland. The banua covered island to island, including the seas thereat, as well as the vegetation. Sometimes one datu allied himself with another to form a confederation of settlements for purposes of constituting a more formidable alliance against a rival datu or datus or for commercial purposes. Generally, datus were of equal status or footing. However, one could emerge superior to the other by force of arms, bravery in war or by physical prowess.

In the beginning, the prevalent method of settling conflicts was by use of force, but later on a code of laws evolved to provide for a more practical way of resolving disputes since warfare was a costly and losing enterprise, especially to the vanquished.

The economy was based primarily on agriculture, although weaving, pottery-making, blacksmithing and fishing were also prevalent. Lands were fertile and vast. However, cultivation was mainly along, the rivers, lakes, coastal areas, plains and valleys. The use of irrigation ditches was extensive. "Slash-and-burn" or swidden farming was popular in the uplands, especially in the dry season.. In commerce, the barter system was in use for money was not yet invented.

The foregoing sketch should be regarded only as an area of the bigger picture. Part of it has basis in history; the rest results from hypothesis about the complex process whereby our ancestors were subjected to or interacted, involving various components such as individuals, goods, ideas, and other factors.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Contrary View

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

2- The Contrary View

Up to 1953, Beyer's Wave Migration Theory remained unquestioned. Subsequently, however, most prehistorians surmised that there were only two movements of peoples into the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific to explain the present populations. The first, occuring more than 6,000 years ago, was that of the Australoids, that included the Australian aborigines, the Ainus, the Dravidians - the population of the Vedda of Sri Lanka - and, debatably, the Melanesians, Negritos and Papuans. Generally, this group is characterized by dark skin pigmentation. The second wave, presumably from five or six thousand years ago, composed the Southern Mongoloids or what are commonly known as the "brown race." They are also called Austronesians, because their descendants speak languages belonging to that group. The Austronesian language family, also known as Malayo-Polynesian, has a variety of more than six hundred languages that spread from Madagascar in the coast of Africa to Easter Island near South America.

Additional research on the subject in the last forty years casts doubt on the Beyer's assumption. Geologists, archaeologists, linguists, and prehistorians, in their respective fields, all disagree in one or some of his theory. The main objection to his work is that it was flawed by inadequate evidence, dubious methodology and pure speculation.

One of those who dissented was Dr. Fritjof Voss, a German scientist, who studied the geology of the Philippines. He said the Philippines was never a part of mainland Asia as proven in 1964-67 when a scientific study was made on the thickness of the earth's crust. It was discovered that the 35-kilometer thick crust below China does not stretch to the Philippines. On the contrary, the Philippines sits along a great earth fault line reaching downward to deep trenches underneath.

In 1975, a young Filipino anthropologist, F. Landa Jocano, also criticized Beyer's theory, particularly on the issue of the Negritos as the first inhabitants of the Philippines. He argued that the fossil remains of ancient men whom Beyer tagged Negritos could in no way be conclusively identified as such. He even charged Western colonizers of deliberately fragmenting the population into ethnic groups to advance their colonial interests.'

Newer theories may arise in the future in the attempt to explain this Philippine phenomenon, but seen in the practical side of the lives of the people their value is negligible. For theories, in essence, are largely speculations, or at best, analyses of relation of facts to one another and, therefore, are yet to be proven or confirmed by further studies. What may be heretical today may be revered tomorrow, or vice versa.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Crossing the Bridge

History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair

1- Crossing the Bridge

It was widely believed forty years ago that people came to the Philippines in several migratory waves through land bridges that once linked the present islands of this country with mainland Asia. They walked dry-shod into this archipelago with their beasts of burden over these land bridges at a time, which pre-historians referred to as the Pleistocene or Great Ice Age. During this period, the waters of the ocean stood 156 feet below the present levels, thereby allowing many necks of land to protrude above the surface and form land masses or bridges which enabled the first man to cross into what would later be called the Philippines.

Centuries after this period the great flood took place. The polar ice thaw increased the volume of ocean waters, causing them to rise to the present levels. Subsequently, all the land bridges were inundated and disappeared from view, and all succeeding migrations were made possible only by the use of boats.

The wave migration theory was first advanced by Spanish friars who speculated on the origins of the Filipinos and the Moros. However, in some of their writings they were inclined to consider the latter as a separate race. In 1882, Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austrian Filipinist, also subscribed to this theory that there were three waves of Malay migrants who came to our islands. But it was Prof. H. Otley Beyer, at one time head of the Anthropology Department at the University of the Philippines, who made this theory very popular and accepted for several decades. Beyer's long years of archaeological research dwelt on retrieving facts of past cultures in the islands mainly from artefacts, bones and other remains. His findings shed light on the cultural, political, economic existence and even the beliefs of peoples.

It was admitted, therefore, as a scholarly theory that there were three waves of migration of peoples towards the archipelago, including Mindanao and Sulu, each wave comprising several or scattered minor movements. The theory held that the first to arrive via the land bridges were the aborigines or first inhabitants. Estimated to have come as early as 21,000 or 22,000 years ago, they were dark-skinned, kinky-haired, short-statured, and primitive in styles. Among this group was the "Java Man," who came first, and was followed by the "little people": Negritos or ''Aetas,'' Australoid Sakai, and Proto-Malays.

Among the next group, after the Great Ice Age, from 3,000 BC onward, were people of the Indonesian stock, who came in two migratory waves by sea from South Asia and settled in the country. They came by dugout canoes or plank-built boats. These Indonesians, taller in height and lighter in skin, introduced bronze and the rice terraces.

The third migrants, who came centuries after the Indonesians, were the brown-skinned, medium-height Malays. They were expert navigators, potters, weavers, blacksmiths and bold adventurers. Most of the Filipinos and Moros today are descended from this group. However, in the case of the latter, it is believed that they first came to Mindanao and Sulu not later than the first century before Prophet Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


History of the Muslims in the Philippines
2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair


A nation is reborn in the Moro. Though centuries older than the Filipino nation in the North, it is long-lost in the debris and fame of the past. It last reasserted its identity decades after the entry of America. But it was not to claim past glory, rather, it was to unshackle the gory image put on it by colonialism.

Alas! This was a monumental error; for the name Moro symbolizes national identity, power and belief in one true God.

Today this error is being set right. Under the banner of Islam the Moro nation or what the MILF calls Bangsamoro is trying to make history repeat its laurels and feats for its honor - and even more, to reconstruct and build a vibrant, dynamic and progressive homeland for everyone to live happily ever after.

This book on the Moros is not presumed to be exhaustive and scholarly. It is not history either. The following pages constitute an attempt to explain the hows and whys the Moros became strangers to the land they had nurtured for centuries - and which they are now trying to liberate - with their "blood, seat and tears."

Much has been written about this nation, but invariably all those, with due respect to where respect is due, are little lacking in vision necessary in order to feel and grasp the totality of the situation in our homeland. it is this author's firm conviction that only someone involved body and spirit in the present struggle could really portray our people's sentiments and aspirations. Outsiders may indulge in endless speculations from their respective postures or conduct tiresome researches but in all likelihood will perforce fail to paint a complete perspectives of this nation and its struggle. Paradoxically enough, the extent and intensity of a revolution, nay a jihad, can be felt and described much vividly by none save those who are in the thick of it or perchance those inspired by it.

This book is written with the earnest hope to inform the unprejudiced readers about the crisis that had overtaken our people and our homeland. Without sustained efforts to expose the crimes of the Manila government against our people and, no doubt, also against humanity, the world might only connive at its tyranny, embolden its inhuman policies and perpetuate its brutality.

That the Moro is a nation under endless tyranny is a premise that his book tries to narrate and explain - and hopefully will prove.

The original title of this book in the first edition is Bangsamoro: A Nation Under Endless Tyranny. In this edition, I dropped the word for brevity and more importantly to do away with the technical confusion arising out of it. Bangsamoro is literally translated into "Moro nation" and therefore to retain it is redundant. The readers may notice in the course of reading this book that the author uses only he word Bangsamoro as it was used by the MILF, MNLF or any group.

This work would not have been made possible without the valuable assistance of Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, Ondel Meling, Dr. Esmael Disoma, Malik A. Mantawil, Manda Kalim, Esmael Abdula, Alfaro Alilaya, Yusuf Abdullah, Abdulwahab Guialal, Boy Alano, Al Mukhlis and other persons, whose identities right now cannot be disclosed for some guarded reasons. To them, I owe my special indebtedness.

To Atty. Lanang Ali for reviewing the manuscipt and offering some advice, especially on legal matters.

I am obliged to render my personal thanks to Dr. Alunan C. Glang for his warm support and moral encouragement.

I would like to express my unending gratitude to Abu Maarouph for all his professional, moral and material support in the making of this book. I will never forget.

In conclusion, I say "thank you" to all of them.