Alexandria’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina showcases some of the oldest, most influential texts of the 11th century
The Manuscript Museum at Alexandria’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina currently has an impressive collection of manuscripts on display.
Among the collection is a famous Islamic jurist (faqih), Abu Bakr Al-Turtusi who lived during perilous times and traveled for knowledge extensively throughout the Arab world before settling in Alexandria where he would claim his fame and a legacy that lives on till this day.
The origin of Turtusi’s name comes from Tortosa, a city in present-day Spain in the northern region of Catalonia
It was under the reign of the Umayyads that al-Andalus first gained importance before slowly disintegrading under the Taifas in the eleventh century.
The Arab castle built during Al- Turtusi’s time still dominates Tortosa’s skyline. It’s also a landmark not too far from the site where Al-Turtusi was born in 1059.
From Tortosa to Alexandria
Al-Turtusi first traveled to Saragossa, Spain where he became a student under Abul-Walid al-Baji, a famous scholar and poet.
Following the same path of al-Baji, he then traveled to Mecca, Basra and Baghdad, before stopping by Damascus and finally reached Alexandria where he taught at a school.
At the time, Egypt was under Fatimid rule and al-Afdal Shahinshah ibn Badr al-Din al-Gamali was the vizier, under whom the Egyptian people were suffering.
Al-Turtusi made note of the people’s suffering and felt his mission as a jurist exceeded that of a teacher. He would travel to Cairo to meet al-Afdal and tell him of his injustices and tyranny.
“Do not let life fool you like it fooled those before you, for whatever bliss it drives your way, it is only because your predecessor had died, and one day it will disappear all of a sudden, just like it appeared all of a sudden.” – al-Turtusi to the Fatimid vizier of Egypt
Al-Turtusi mentioned how al-Afdal was overwhelmed and that he promised to change his ways.
However, as mentioned in al-Dubbi’s ‘Bughyat al-Multames,’ al-Turtusi grew popular and eventually provoked the envy of Alexandria’s judge who was eclipsed by al-Turtusi’s fame.
The judge would report him to al-Afdal after fearing that al-Turtusi would incite a rebellion.
The eager scholar was forced to stay in Fustat, the former capital of Egypt, instead of being allowed to roam free in Alexandria. Only when al-Afdal died could he return to his students and political circle in Alexandria.
His time in Fustat allowed him to reflect on the criteria of a good ruler and formulated his reflection into a masterpiece called Siraj al-Muluk (The Lamp of Kings), which he dedicated to the new Fatimid vizier, al-Bata’ahi, hoping that it would guide him to the good of his people.
The Counselor of the Princes
“A fair king should be to his people what the rain is to the thirsty plants, or even better, for the rain lasts for a while, while the blessings of justice are timeless.” – Al-Turtusi, Siraj al-Muluk
The book was well received not only by the vizier, but also by a number of scholars and intellectuals over the centuries that followed.
In his Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun praised his pioneering work and later gave al-Turtusi a title of ‘Counselor of the Princes’.
Al-Turtusi left many books and epistles such as Kitab al-Fitan and Kitab al-Hawadith, but Siraj al-Muluk is without a doubt his most famous piece of work.
Apart from sharing his own views, he lists hundreds of anecdotes and reflections by other jurists and thinkers that presented countless examples of a good ruler and the bad tyrants.
He also analyzed different regimes not only under the Muslim World, but also the Byzantine and Roman World as well as Asia.
In his text about an Indian king, he wrote: “… he suddenly turned deaf. Not being able to hear the complaints of his subjects, he ordered that only those suffering any injustice in his Kingdom should wear red clothes so that he would ‘see’ them and bring them closer to him. ‘God took away one of my sense (hearing)’ he said, ‘but not my sight, and I intend to put it into good use for the good of my people.”
Now being known as the respected faqih that he was, al-Turtusi’s involvement in the succession of events back home in al-Andalus was an important one, both directly and indirectly.
He supported calls for the Almoravid Emir Yusuf Ibn Tashfin to take over al-Andalus and put an end to the reign of taifas – this would take place in 1090.
It happened that one of al-Turtusi’s students later founded a powerful Berber dynasty that would depose al-Mahdi ibn Tumart, the father of the Almohad dynasty.
Al-Turtusi died in Alexandria in 1026.
While he may not be as famous as some Andalusi saints and scholars such as al-Mursi from Murcia or al-Shatibi from Xativa, his book Siraj al-Muluk would inspire writers and leaders to come, serving as an early manual of rule based on morality unlike Machiavelli’s more famous work, The Prince.
“The modern relevance of Ibn Khaldun’s Economic Philosophy” by David Abramsky
We read in the last issue of this journal that “many economists accept that the modern discipline of economics is not in a healthy state” (Lawson 2010, p. 1), and that there is “widespread dissatisfaction with […] the way economics is taught” (Skidelsky 2010, p. 1). This article seeks to put forward the work of Ibn Khaldun as part of a wider remedy to these shortcomings.
Those thinkers who demonstrated economic thought without even the awareness that they were doing so may have the most unbiased view of what economics is, as well as what it is for. Among these thinkers, there is possibly none more original or perceptive than Ibn Khaldun. Perhaps his greatest innovation was an empiricist approach to the study of economic phenomena. Ibn Khaldun says of his “original science” (Ibn Khaldun 1958, p. 78) of al-umran (roughly, civilization) that “penetrating research has shown the way to it. It does not belong to rhetoric.” (Ibid.) Each assertion on the laws that guide the course of human events is confirmed with reference to an historical example. Lacoste notes that “this is why his work seems so extraordinarily modern.” (Lacoste 1984, p. 160)
This approach sets him apart from earlier philosophers whose work included economic consideration, such as the Indian thinker Kautilya, or Greek philosophers such as Xenophon and Aristotle. Ibn Khaldun was familiar with Aristotle’s work, referring to it specifically in the Muqaddimah (Ibn Khaldun 1958). However, he advanced greatly on it by referring a priori principles to the empirical data of history. In this respect his work can be seen as an alternate branch to the modern school, since both built upon the observations of the Ethics. (Langholm 1979)
There are also undoubtedly similarities between Kautilya and Ibn Khaldun, though the latter was not aware of the former. Kautilya’s decree that “collection of revenue at a season when people were unable to pay is forbidden because it injures the source and causes immense trouble” (Gopal 1935, p. 24), for instance, foreshadows Ibn Khaldun’s discussion of the impact of excessive imposts on cultural enterprise. (Ibn Khaldun 1958) But whereas Kautilya writes in unverified, though often perceptive, axioms such as the one above, Ibn Khaldun follows up his observations with reference to specific examples of over-taxation and its effects on tax revenue in the Abbasid, Ubayyid and Almoravid dynasties. It is this investigative rigor that sets him apart as a new kind of economic observer.
It is in Ibn Khaldun’s empirical methodology that we encounter the clearest way in which his work is relevant to the modern economist. The reason he used it was as a direct response to perceived shortcomings in some of the accounts of contemporary historians, which in turn led to unsound conclusions about the causes of events. Ibn Khaldun identified the rigorous study of historical fact as an essential check on any economic theory.
In the modern field, the limitations of mathematical modeling in explaining and predicting human systems have been widely acknowledged1. Perhaps a greater emphasis on the study of historical events could provide a partial remedy. Lord Skidelsky identifies the prevalence of Chicago School economic principles in undergraduate teaching, and notes that this school rests on assumptions of “perfect information, perfect competition, and complete markets.” (Skidelsky 2010, p. 1) But Friedman, the pioneer of this school, justified and qualified his premises through groundbreaking and extensive empirical research of markets and their history. (Friedman and Schwartz 1993) For instance, in order to understand the conclusions he reached with regards to the causes and likelihood of financial bubbles, one had to be familiar with the history behind them. For example, inclusion in undergraduate courses of Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, detailing such phenomena from the foundation of the ill-fated South Sea Company in 1711, would be an excellent counter-balance to the potential complacency that mathematical modeling or the seemingly intuitive conclusions of the Chicago school can instill.
Methodology aside, some of Ibn Khaldun’s discussion does seem to presage the classical school of Smith and Ricardo. Oweiss goes so far as to argue that his economic observations make him “the father of economics.” (Oweiss 2009, p. 1) This seems a strong claim (perhaps intentionally so) for a thinker who was not widely translated into any European language until the 19th century. (De Slane 1862) In the interests of consistency, it must be acknowledged that just as Ibn Khaldun’s work was a significant advance from that of, for example, Kautilya or Aristotle, because of the added depth and methodological rigor, The Wealth of Nations stands as a far more complete and detailed analysis of markets and commerce. Ibn Khaldun’s definitions of profit, capital and commerce are often cited by those seeking to emphasize his modernity, but on the macroeconomic scale all overarching theories will share basic principles and definitions. However, there are striking parallels on the ‘micro’ scale too. Even in very specific matters, Ibn Khaldun sees to the economic heart of things.
His discussion of labor and its return in different markets is fascinating in this light. Ibn Khaldun identifies the disparity in the preponderance of certain crafts between different markets, observing that “the activities required for the necessities of life […] exist in every city. But activities required for luxury customs and conditions exist only in cities of a highly developed culture.” (Ibn Khaldun 1958, p. 302) Perhaps this seems obvious to modern readers, but it was not so well-understood that Smith felt it could go unsaid some four hundred years later. In fact, Smith describes the same phenomenon when he writes that “There are some sorts of industry, even of the lowest kind, which can be carried on nowhere but in a great town. A porter, for example, can find employment and subsistence in no other place.” (Smith 1776, Bk. 1, Ch. 3, Sec. 1.3.2)
Ibn Khaldun is also aware that identical occupations provide different wages in different places, because prices differ due to the amount of available labor. Again he exemplifies the principle empirically. He cites the difference in judges’ wages between Tlemcen, a small town in Algeria, and Fez, the thriving economic hub of the Maghreb, “the only reason for [which] is the difference in labour available in the different cities,” (Ibn Khaldun 1958, Vol. 2, p. 273) which has a knock-on effect on the cost of living. Having already explained the meaning of terms such as labor, profit, capital and commerce, Ibn Khaldun demonstrates an understanding of the impact of the specific market on any transaction.
Ibn Khaldun similarly understood the significance of transportation to the return on goods. He first observes that merchants limit the goods which they transport to those of “medium quality,” which will have the widest customer base, since “if [a merchant] restricts his [transported] goods to those needed only by a few, it may be impossible for him to sell them, since these few may for some reason find it difficult to buy them. Then, his business would slump, and he would make no profit.” Further, he notes that the most profit is obtained by the most difficult transportations, such as through the dangerous Sudan or across the long route to the East, made at the least possible expense. Smith similarly explores the increase in feasible commerce enabled between London and Calcutta solely by the availability of reliable water-carriage as opposed to land transport.
There are many parallels of the sorts described above, as Ibn Khaldun goes on to discuss commerce, hoarding, taxation, price fluctuation and many of the other questions which also preoccupied Smith. Oweiss gives a more complete account of this overlap, which attests to the universality of many of Smith’s more general maxims. Ibn Khaldun achieved such insight because he possessed something anachronistic for his time: a truly international and impartial understanding of social science. It was in part the wider prevalence of such an understanding which prompted the birth of pure economic thought in the 18th century. There was no perspective he felt bound to; as a matter of fact, he was highly critical of many aspects of Arabic culture and economic practice. This approach was a result of the philosopher’s unusual life; he travelled constantly, exercising his ambition in numerous fields in many different courts, from Muslim Spain, to the Middle East and North Africa. Rosenthal notes that this “gave him a remarkable detachment with respect to the historical events that took place before his eyes. In a sense, it enabled him to view them as an impartial observer.” (Ibn Khaldun 1958, p. xxxvi)
This is the second major reason why his thought is beneficial to an insightful study of economics in this age. The “autism” and premature specialization of economic teaching that was lamented by Lord Skidelsky can undermine the impartiality that Ibn Khaldun applied to his study. Students are encouraged to focus too soon on very particular and vocational approaches to economics, mostly based on work from the past century coming from the Western hemisphere. The conclusions of these schools of thought are then taken for granted. For example, in the widely used first year textbook Economics: A Student’s Guide, it is openly acknowledged that “neoclassical economics […] [has] created the mainstream economics that dominates this and most other textbooks.” (Beardshaw, Brewster, Cormack and Ross 2001, p. 705) It then goes on to briefly outline the primary heterodox approaches. The problem is not that priority is given to this school, which deserves its preeminence, but that insufficient acknowledgement of the existence and potential insight of other schools is instilled. In the textbook, this passage acknowledging this emphasis, and detailing alternatives, comes on page 705 and lasts 7 pages. Over the previous 700 pages all the basic principles of economics have already been laid out as though they were scientific givens. This embodies the flaw in attitude of undergraduate economic study. Reading the Muqaddimah instills some of the importance of approaching economic questions with a detachment from orthodoxy and formalism.
However, despite the overlap between Ibn Khaldun’s work and that of later economists, a sentenceby- sentence comparison can be misleading. The similarities should not be overstated. For every sentence in The Wealth of Nations that appears foreshadowed by one in the Muqaddimah, and there are many, there are many more that would have meant little to Ibn Khaldun. This is largely because a detailed account of how a commercial economy functions was never his intention. The aim of his economic investigations was to improve historiography. The economic and social laws he documented were to be applied as a test to future historical accounts, to establish whether they seemed reasonable and should be trusted. This makes the depth and accuracy of his observations even more impressive; to him, they were only a means to an end.
The real relevance of his work lies not in how much credit is due to him for economics as it is today. The simple answer is that, since the major advances on which the modern field is founded were made in ignorance of his work, little credit is due. Equally, how much he ‘got right’ by modern standards is not the best judge of merit. The most value that can be gleaned from his book lies in the incredibly fresh perspective it grants on the field of economics. The economic philosophy of the Muqaddimah provides an excellent counterweight to many of the weaknesses and blind spots in modern economic thought and methodology. Certain attitudes are incredibly hard to remove, and direct controls such as increased and improved regulation must play a large part in response to the crisis we have recently witnessed. However, to avoid future bubbles, both in the financial system and in economic thought itself, the wider study of such works would also be of great value.
Among these false predictions were the continued rise of property values, and the value of what proved to be wholly toxic financial derivatives. See In Modelling Risk, the Human Factor Was Left Out, published November 4th 2009 in the New York Times for an overview.
Hijrah, no doubt, kindled the light of hope in the hearts of the early Muslims who set a shinning example for all Muslims, in every generation, to emulate.
Hijrah, in essence, is a process of transfer to a better situation. It is not meant to find a comfortable place where one would relax and stop endeavor. Rather, it is a search for an environment more favorable to continuous and constructive effort. Immediately after reaching Madinah, the Prophet undertook an all-embracing process to establish a faithful and strong society. This is a significant aspect and important lesson to learn from Hijrah.
In the Glorious Qur’an, Allah, Most High, says,
(Those who believe, and migrate and strive in Allah’s cause, with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of Allah: they are indeed the successful people. Their Lord does give them glad tidings of a Mercy from Himself, of His good pleasure, and of Gardens where enduring pleasure will be theirs: They will dwell therein forever. Verily in Allah’s presence is a reward, the greatest (of all). ) (Al-Tawbah 9: 20-22)
This are our New Year of Hijrah. Our religious calendar is the Hijri calendar. It is important for us to keep in mind the meaning and significance of Hijrah.
Hijrah was one of the most important events in the history of Islam. It is for this reason `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) adopted Hijrah date to calculate years. Muslims chose Hijrah as the focal point to reckon their chronology. In physical terms, Hijrah was a journey between two cities about 300 miles apart, but in its grand significance it marked the beginning of an era, a civilization, a culture and a history for the whole mankind. Islam progressed not only from the physical Hijrah, but because Muslims took Hijrah seriously in all its aspects and dimensions.
When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made the Hijrah from Makkah to Madinah, he did not just transfer his residence or took shelter in another city, but as soon as he arrived in Madinah he began the transformation of that city in every aspect.
It is important for us to study and reflect on the things that he did in Madinah. There are many lessons for us in that history and we can learn many things for our life.
Masjid (Mosque): The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) first established a Masjid for the worship of Allah. He himself worked in carrying the stones and building that small, humble but most powerful structure. This was the beginning, but soon other Masajid (mosques) were established in Madinah.
Madrasah( Islamic school and educational institution for the community):. The first school under the supervision of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the school of Suffah. Later many other schools were opened. According to Maulana Shibli Numani, there were nine schools opened in Madinah alone in the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Mu’akhah: He established brotherly relations between the Muhajirun (Muslims who migrated from Makkah) and the Ansar (residents of Madinah who helped the Prophet and his Companions). Masjid and Madrasah were not enough; what was also important was to have good relations between Muslims. They should have their brotherhood on the basis of faith, not on the basis of tribes as they used to have prior to Islam.
Intercommunity and Interfaith Relations: Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also established good relations with other communities living in Madinah. There was a large Jewish community as well as some other Arab tribes who had not accepted Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prepared a Mithaq (a covenant or a constitution) for relations between these communities.
Cleaning the City: Yathrib (previous name of Madinah) was a dirty city. When the Sahabah (Prophet’s Companions) came from Makkah to Madinah, many of them got sick and did not like that city. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked them to clean the city and remove its dirt and filth. `Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “We came to Madinah and it was the most polluted land of Allah. The water there was most stinking. (Al-Bukhari, 1756)
Water System in the City: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked the Sahabah to dig wells in different parts of the city. It is mentioned that more than 50 wells were opened in the city of Madinah and there was enough clean water for every one.
Agriculture and Gardening: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged the Sahabah to cultivate the land and make gardens. He told them that any one who would cultivate any dead land, would own it. Many people started working and cultivating and soon there was enough food for every one.
Poverty Eradication: In a short period of time it happened that there were no poor people in Madinah. Every one had enough and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to give gifts to coming delegations.
Safety, Security, Law and Order: Madinah became the safest city in the world. There were very few incidents of theft, rape, drunkenness or murder and they were immediately taken care of.
In short, Hijrah teaches us that wherever Muslims go, they should bring goodness to that land. Muslims should work for both moral and material goodness of the society.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Original: Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi , edited : Hifzan Shafiee
Today is 1st of Muharam 1434H, first day of Hijrah (Islamic New Year).
Hijrah mean : (1) migration of prophet from Mecca to Medina; (2)migration. The concept of hijrah been widely by Muslim as revolution, transformation, migration ,new hope, turning point, a new dawn, abandon the bad. The concept that are so great and always being teach every new year.
When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) first started to tell people about the message of Islam, he was talking to people who knew him and his good and honest character.
We might think that knowing the piety of the Prophet (peace be upon him) would urge them to believe in the message and follow him (peace be upon him) but the people were living in an environment of many evils. They were engulfed in idol worship, racism, tribal and family pride and many types of injustice.
It took great faith and courage for the Prophet (peace be upon him) to trust in Allah and proclaim the message, knowing very well the negative response that would likely follow. But this was not the only act of faith that the Prophet (peace be upon him) exemplified; in fact, making Hijrah to Madina took enormous reliance on Allah and fortitude to face fierce enemies while laying the foundation of a solid Muslim community.
The disbelievers of Makkah were angry when the Prophet (peace be upon him) proclaimed that they should not worship idols. These idols were made of stone and all sorts of materials (some were even made of dates).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) told them that they should only worship the One true Lord of all Creation who had sent many prophets and messengers throughout time to guide humankind.
Devotion to the stone gods was one reason why many insisted on disbelieving in the Prophet (peace be upon him), but another important aspect was based on pride, as the Quraysh (the main leading tribe in Makkah at that time) had been, for generations, responsible for providing for the pilgrims who came to Makkah every year at the time of Hajj.
At that time the Kabah was filled with idols and Quraysh thought that if they believed in the Prophet (peace be upon him) and followed him, they would lose respect among the other tribes and this important role that had been given to them by their forefathers would be removed from them.
Moreover, with the pilgrims every year, also came much economic wealth. In following the Prophet (peace be upon him) the people of Quraysh felt they had a lot to lose in worldly terms. Little did they know how much they would lose in the Hereafter if they insisted on their disbelief!
The Beginning of Hijrah
While the Prophet (peace be upon him) was patiently, gently and persistently proclaiming the message of Islam, his followers suffered under the harshness and severity of Quraysh who did their very best to persecute and torture the believers, hoping they could force them to give up their faith and return to the worship of idols and immorality.
But the faith and firmness of the believers were exemplary and they were prepared to face death if they had to in order to remain faithful to Allah Almighty.
After all efforts had been made to change the hearts of the obstinate Quraysh, the time had come for the Muslims to settle elsewhere and the Prophet (peace be upon him) chose Madinah.
Slowly and secretly the Muslims started to travel to Madinah, trying to keep their movement away from the keen eyes of Quraysh. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was waiting for Allah Almighty to order him to leave and travel to Madinah.
It was a sensitive time because Quraysh had reached the peak of anger and frustration at the growing number of Muslims and the fact that Islam was still continuing to spread despite their many efforts to thwart it. Abu Bakr remained behind in Makkah, waiting for the Prophet (peace be upon him) to receive the order from Allah Almighty to leave. He prepared two camels and provisions for the journey and waited patiently.
Unaware of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) plans, the Quraysh had devised a plot to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him) but Allah Almighty is the Best of Planners and He did not allow the disbelievers to succeed in their evil scheme. A group of young men, each one representing a tribe of Makkah, stood outside the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) home, intending to strike him (peace be upon him) one by one when he emerged and kill him.
The Quraysh were proud of their wicked plan, thinking it would rid them of Islam once and for all without them having to answer to the tribe of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who could not retaliate against every tribe! Allah the All-Knowing Knew of their plot and guided the Prophet (peace be upon him) to safety.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) to sleep in his blessed bed that night and then under the protection of Allah Almighty, the Prophet (peace be upon him) left his house and walked past the waiting men. They did not see him!
And when Ali emerged from the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house the next morning they were astonished! They had no idea how that could have happened. Because they were without true faith, they could not comprehend how it is so easy for Allah Almighty to make such a miracle happen.
Abu Bakr, the Faithful Friend
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) left his house, he went to Abu Bakr and told him it was time for them to leave. Abu Bakr was ready! The greatest manhunt was underway!
The Quraysh offered a great reward to anyone who would bring the Prophet (peace be upon him) back, dead or alive. How evil they were, and how great is the mercy, guidance and protection of Allah Almighty.
Quraysh expected the Prophet (peace be upon him) would head to Madinah, but he (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr headed off in the opposite direction at first to mislead their enemies. They camped out in a cave for some time and during this time a great lesson along with an ayat of Quran was revealed.
When first entering the cave Abu Bakr was so concerned about the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) safety and wellbeing that he insisted on entering first to rid it of any dangerous creatures, like scorpions. When he was satisfied that it was safe he and the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered it and stayed quietly there.
Asma, a daughter of Abu Bakr, used to bring them food and news from Makkah. She showed great courage in doing this and she used to hide the food in her clothing and creep out of the city going into the desert. At one time, one of the disbelievers thought she knew where the Prophet (peace be upon him) was and struck her harshly, trying to get her to talk, but she said nothing!
At one point, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr were in the cave a group of men, eager to get the reward money, stepped very close to the entrance of the cave. Abu Bakr could see their feet and was very afraid the Prophet (peace be upon him) would be found. He did not care for his own safety; all his thoughts and concern were with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the great responsibility he felt in accompanying him on this very important journey.
Abu Bakr whispered his fears to the Prophet (peace be upon him) who comforted him saying (what means): “What do you think of two, whose third is Allah?”The Prophet (peace be upon him) was telling his great friend Abu Bakr that they should not fear as Allah was with them.
And Indeed, Allah Almighty protected them because He caused a bird to build a nest and lay eggs at the entrance of the cave and a spider to spin its web across the cave entrance. In this way, the enemies of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were convinced that he could not possible be in the cave.
When the time was right, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr left the cave and continued on their journey to Madinah. If was a long and difficult journey and the Muslims were in Madinah, eagerly awaiting their arrival. Every day men would go to the outskirts of the town, climb tall trees and try to see if the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him) was approaching.
Many days passed and still there was no sign of the Prophet (peace be upon him). There was no way for them to know that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was safe; they just had to trust in Allah and wait. They had left their homes, undergone much difficulty and faced many dangers. Without the Prophet (peace be upon him) to lead them, what would they do? It was a test of their faith and patience.
Prophet Muhammad Arrives to Madinah
At last, the happy day arrived! The men, who were watching the desert every day, looking for signs of the travelers, saw dust rising in the distance! As the figures drew closer, it became clear there were two of them! And then when they drew even closer it was clear that finally the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him) had arrived!
News spread quickly throughout the town. People in their shops, in the market, and in their homes heard the news that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had arrived. Everyone rushed to welcome the Prophet (peace be upon him)!
They sang songs of joy, prayed and followed him (peace be upon him) as he entered the city. The Prophet (peace be upon him) humbly allowed his camel to be guided by Allah Almighty to the place where he would stay.
Everyone wanted the blessing of having the Prophet (peace be upon him) stay with them, so letting the camel stop where it chose showed the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) great mercy and wisdom.
There were many more trials to come but the Muslims, now in Madinah, had the Prophet (peace be upon him) with them. He was teaching them, advising them, and guiding them. Living in his midst was a great blessing and they knew it. They attended to their duties, gathered with him (peace be upon him) and grew in faith. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had left the city he loved so well, seeking the pleasure of Allah. And now, in Madinah, he (peace be upon him) continued to seek His pleasure and proclaim the message of Islam.
Source : OnIslam
The Philippine Muslims was once a dominant group in the country. They have 500 years political history, so far the longest political experience compared to other groups in the whole Philippines. Their culture is a blend of Islam and adat. Adat is the sum of both pre-Islamic culture and the philosophical interpretation of the Muslims on the teachings of Islam. It is itself the lasting contribution of the Philippine Muslims to the country’s national body politic. However, to know the Muslim history, one should understand the role of Islam in bringing about historical development. It is this Islam that actually produced heroic resistance against western colonialism. The Philippine Muslims today became known as cultural communities owing to their culture surviving foreign hegemonism to this day.
The history of the Philippine Muslims is part of the backbone of the historical development of the whole country. Filipino historians like Dr. Renato Constantino asserted that no Philippine history can be complete without a study of Muslim development (1990:29).
The Philippines has two lines of historical development. The first line, which is the older, came to develop in Mindanao and Sulu. And this refers to the Muslim line of historical development . Had not this line of historical development been disturbed by western colonialism, Islam might have charted the entire destiny of the Philippine nationhood. External factors swept into the country and brought the second line. The Hispanized Filipinos were central to the development of this second line. This is the product of the great historical experiences of the Filipino people under western rule.
Mindanao and Sulu are the original homeland of the Philippine Muslims. These areas are now the third political subdivision of the Philippines. They are located at the southern part of the country, and lie around hundred miles north of equator. The areas occupy a strategic position at the center of shipping line between the Far East and the Malayan world. They are situated north of Sulawise and to the west is the state of Sabah. Mindanao and Sulu has a total land area of 102,000 square kilometers. It is a fertile region and known to be rich in agricultural plantation, marine and mineral resources. As reported, more than half of the country’s rain forest are found in Mindanao. While its agricultural crops include rice, corn, root crops, vegetables, cassava and fruits. Marine products like seaweed production, fish as well as gas and oil are dominant in the Sulu sea. Fifty nine percent of tuna and sardines are largely taken from the Sulu sea. Mainland Mindanao has substantial mineral deposits. Zamboanga del Sur has gold, silver, lead, zinc deposit; Davao oriental has chromite reserves; marble deposits for Davao del Norte and oil deposit in South Cotabato. These huge resources of the southern islands have made Mindanao the land of promise.
However, the main concentration of the Philippine Muslim population is confined largely to the western side of Mindanao down to the Sulu Archipelago. In mainland Mindanao, the Muslims are dominant only in Lanao and Maguindanao provinces. While the rest of the Muslim populations are scattered in nearby provinces such as Zamboanga peninsula, North Cotabato, Sultan Qudarat, South Cotabato, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur and Sarangani island. In the Sulu Archipelago, the Muslims are all dominant in three island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
The Muslim Etnic Groups
Ethnic is an Italian term for nation. An ethnic community may be defined as tribal group which has its own language, hold in common a set of tradition different from others whom they are in contact. It has its own territory from which its ethnic identity is derived, and thus becomes a uniting factor for group cohesion. The Muslim ethnic groups in Mindanao and Sulu are linked by both ideological and geographical factors.
The Muslims in the south are also culturally linked to Muslim countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Patani of southern Thailand. They are composed of eleven ethnic groups. Each group has its own language but only a few controls a political unit like a province or municipalities. Some groups speak one language with three variations like the Maranao, Iranun and Maguindanaon. The Sama people have one language with many variation such as the dialect of the Jama Mapun, and the Bangingi.
1. The Maranao. Literally, Maranao means people of the lake. Their homeland is called Lanao which means lake. Their oldest settlement started around here, and up to this day, highly populated communities still dot the lake. Their language is similar to Maguindanaon and Iranun. One shall be confused as to which of them owns the mother tongue since the Maranao and Iranun can understand 60% of the Maguindanaon language. At any rate , these groups live in proximity. Continuous contact allows them to develop or share a common practice including language.
The Maranao are concentrated in Lanao area. They occupy the most strategic place in Mindanao owing to their access to Iligan bay in the north and Illana bay in the south. During the colonial period, they fought against the Spaniards, usually under the flag of the Maguindanao sultanate. Like other Muslim ethnic tribes, the Maranao are brave and have offered sacrifice in defense of their homeland and Islam. Throughout the colonial period, Lanao was united as one province of the Maguindanao sultanate. Seeing the importance of Lanao, the American colonial government in Manila encouraged landless Filipinos to migrate to Mindanao. Most settlers targeted Lanao as their final destination. After about 50 years, the Filipino settlers became established in the area north of Lanao. This eventually led to the division of Lanao into Del Norte and Del Sur beginning 1960s.
Lanao is a land rich in literature. Darangan is an example of this. The existence of darangan attests to the level of civilization that the Maranao have achieved at one point.
Potential resources like lake and agricultural land are more than enough to support to make the goal of darangan into reality. The lake in the heart of Lanao Del Sur is the biggest lake in the Philippines. It is so far the current source of energy supply – at least supplying around 80% power grid of the whole Mindanao.
The Mindanao State University is located at Lanao’s capital, Marawi City. Most leaders in Mindanao are in fact products of the MSU. Sixty percent of its best professors are Christians Filipinos.
Maranao society is a closed society. The entire municipalities of Lanao Del Sur, particularly at the vicinity of the lake are off limits to outsiders. The lifestyle of the people are in their traditional attire, the malong and the abaya. This is the only place in the Philippines whose lifestyle is not affected with the western trend. The Maranao contact to the outside comes through Iligan City and Malabang. Iligan City is 40 minutes ride from Marawi City. Malabang a coastal town of Lanao Del Sur requires more than one hour to reach. Under a long range plan of Christian movement in Mindanao, the Christians would penetrate the heart of Lanao from three areas – from Iligan in the north, Malabang in the south and Wao from the east. They in fact controlled these areas for long time already.
2. The Maguindanao. Originally, Maguindanaon is the name of the family or dynasty which came to rule almost the whole island of Mindanao, particularly the former Cotabato. It later refers to the Muslim people who live in the Pulangi valley which sprawls the Southwestern part of Mindanao. It is for this reason, the Maguindanaon are called people of the plain. They accepted Islam at the last quarter of 15th century. Total Islamization of the whole Pulangi area succeeded only with the arrival of Sharif Kabungsuan a prince from Johore who came to Mindanao after the fall of Malacca and nearby areas to Dutch colonialists in 1511.
The greatest contribution of the Maguindanao to civilization in Southeast Asia were the sultanates of Maguindanao and Buayan. These sultanates rose almost simultaneously after the arrival of Sharif kabungsuan who founded the first sultanate in Mindanao. During its heyday, the sultanate of Maguindanao did bring the whole mainland of Mindanao under its control. It became the instrument of the Muslims in Mindanao in thwarting the western colonialism.
The Cotabato had been the seat of the Maguindanao sultanate. This is the ancestral land of the Maguindanao including the hill tribes such as the Tiruray, Tasaday and Subanun. Because of its wide valley, Cotabato area has ever since the rice ganary of the country. The colonialists had ever since been attracted to the fertile land of Cotabato. Many times, the Spaniards made Cotabato as capital of Mindanao during their military occupation. This colonial plan, however succeeded only during the American period. It was able to organize the first Filipino settlement in 1912.
The Maguindanao are the hardest hit of the Filipino settlement. Their political power diminished after long period of fighting and resisting colonialism and Christianization, particularly at the beginning of the 20th century. The Maguindanao fought alone without foreign support during this period. However, by 1970s, three-fourth of their homeland were lost to Filipino settlers, mostly Ilongo and Cebuano. The Manila government created in the area the five provinces of Maguindanao, Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Qudarat and Sarangani.
3. The Iranun. These people have inhabited the area bordering between Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao province. They claimed to be the origin of these two ethnic groups. The language of the Maranao and Maguindanao is strongly rooted in the Iranun tongue. The Iranun may perhaps be the mother language and the rest are just a mere dialects. For several centuries, the Iranun formed part of the Maguindanao sultanate. Their culture received much influence from the Maguindanao rather than the Maranao. There was a case in the past the seat of the Maguindanao sultanate was situated at Lamitan and Malabang that were the strongholds of the Iranun society. They fought the western invaders under the flag of the Maguindanao sultanate. The Iranun were excellent in maritime activity. They used to ply the route connecting the Sulu sea, Moro gulf to Celebes sea, and raided the Spanish held territories along the way.
The Iranun have also attained a degree of social organization comparable to the Maguindanao or the Tausug. This is evidenced by the datu system of leadership where a single leadership is recognized. An Iranun datu, like a sultan, wielded central power over his people. On account of their small population, the Iranuns have been overpowered by their neighbor and prevented them from having their own sultanate. Yet ethnic consciousness has been strong as the Iranun continued to preserve their own ways of life and even to chart their own political destiny. Like other Muslim groups, the Iranuns are also advanced in the field of education. They actively participate in local development; their professionals have managed to occupy key positions in the government, run their own business entities and Islamic institutions like masjid and madrasa.
4. The Tausug. Prof. Muhammad Nasser Matli argued that the term Tausug is a slang word and originated from two words: tau (people) and ma-isug (brave). Therefore, Tausug means brave people.
Before the coming of Islam, the Tausug had already established a central government. When Islam came, Tausug leaders accepted Islam. They did not resist. As soon as they became Muslims they made themselves models by infusing Islamic values and politics to the government. The result was the spread of justice in the land. Seeing the beauty of Muslim leadership, the entire natives finally accepted Islam. The peaceful triumph of Islam in Sulu in the middle of the 13th century led to the Islamization of local politics. This was the process that brought about the establishment of the Sulu sultanate in 1450. Many Tausug leaders were sent outside Sulu to further strengthen the Sulu sultanate influence. This was the origin of the growth of Tausug communities in Tawi-Tawi, Palawan, Basilan, Zamboanga, and Sabah. Up to this period, these places are still the favorite destination of Tausug migrants who have been displaced by the wars and conflicts between the Muslims and the Philippine government.
5. The Yakan. The term Yakan is a mispronunciation of the word yakal by the Spaniards. While the term Basilan has originated from two words basi (iron) and balani (magnate). In the ancient time Basilan was thickly covered by the yakal trees. Foreign people often mistook the name of the yakal trees as the native identity. During colonial period the Spaniards branded the inhabitants of Basilan as Yakan, and became carried up to the present.
Like other Muslim provinces, Basilan has been the target of Christian penetration since the Spanish era. Her rich resources like timber and fertile agricultural land as well as her geographical proximity to Zamboanga City has made her vulnerable to present capitalist exploitation and Christian domination. There have been already a number of municipalities where the Filipino settlers have the upper hand. Isabela, Maluso, Lamitan and other communities have an overwhelming Christian population. And their population growth and community expansion are kept on continuing. Vast tract of lands which are strategic are mostly owned by the Filipino settlers. There are many areas where the Yakans become minoritized, and further displaced from their own lands. In the areas where they are already minoritized the Yakans are exposed to marginalization. In politics, there are many instances in the past, top leadership fell into the hands of the outside people.
The culture of the Yakans is similar to the Tausugs. Its inner foundation lies on the spirit of martabat. For the outer side, religious institution like masjid and madrasa, artifacts and the vast number of Yakan professionals, ulema, politicians and fighters reinforced further the strength of the Yakan culture. These two foundations are firmly planted in the heart of the Yakans. This is their real strength. The challenge of the Yakans today is to steer their young generation to assert their rights and develop confidence in their both material and non-material culture.
6. The Sama. The Sama identity derived from the term sama-sama which means togetherness or collective effort. The Sama people are highly dispersed and scattered in the Sulu Archipelago. They are geographically diversified owing to their exposure to maritime activities and fishing. There are five sub-clusters that make up the Sama people. Helping each other is recognized as norm of the Sama people. Included in the Sama group are the Badjao known as the sea-gypsies of Sulu Archipelago and Celebes sea. The Badjao people call themselves Sama Laut. In Malaysia, they are called Orang Laut. All these descriptions point to them as being boat people. They always move from one island to another, living in their small boat for weeks or even months without mooring or coming to town to buy their needs. The Badjao do not establish a permanent community like the Arab and the Cossacks in central Asia. They have not able to develop a political institution that can advance their collective interest of their society. Their social organization do not approach even the level of a clan, in a sense, because they have no recognized community leader. Their social structure is leveled. Rich people or elitism is completely absent in Badjao society. All of them belong to the poor strata. Family structure is the only factor that makes the Badjao society possible. Roles and duties are allocated to every member from the parents down to their children, from the adult to the young ones. The father acts as leader; the mother is responsible for cooking; children collect fire woods in the coastal areas, and helps gather sea food and fetch water. As observed, the whole Badjao family constitutes also the economic unit, which means, all of them have to work together (sama-sama) for their survival.
Poverty and backwardness are the two basic factors that keeps every Badjao family from sending their children to school. Children are needed at home or must accompany their parents in search of their daily sustenance. This is the reason the Badjao society suffers a high illiteracy rate. Less than one percent can read the Qur’an or Roman alphabet. Their present condition has deteriorated. They are highly exposed to the oppression of Tausug warlords. They are often exploited in some economic activities. Minimal reward or compensation are given for their labor, and low price for their commodities, like lobsters and fish.
The Sama people who inhabited Tawi-Tawi are called by their place of residence. Thus, there is the Sama Balimbing, Sama Simunul or Sama Sibutu. These groups claim to be the origin of all Sama sub-groups scattered throughout the Sulu Archipelago. They inhabited most major islands of Tawi-Tawi. While in the mainland the Sama concentration is confined to Balimbing and Sapa-Sapa. These people have a high level of literacy rate compared to other Sama sub-group. Almost every Sama barangay in the mainland has a public school. Higher institutional learning is also available such as the MSU-Tawi-Tawi and the Tawi-Tawi Regional Agricultural College (TRAC). Most top government positions are held by Sama. Like the Tausugs, the Sama are exposed to almost all fields of discipline and it is common to find them in national agencies occupying key positions.
The Sama Bangingi are also considered major group within the Sama tribe. Their dialect is just a variation of the Sama language. Geographical distance being separated from other Sama groups by seas has caused the variation of their dialect from their mother tongue. But, generally all Sama people understand each other. The Bangingi have a well-developed social organization comparable to the Tausugs. Back to the sultanate period each Bangingi community had its own panglima and maharajah as the highest and influential people in their society. The tip of Zamboanga peninsula, Pilas and Tungkil island were once dominated and ruled by the Bangingi leaders. They had four strong Kuta at Zamboanga before the Spaniards occupied it. The latter took several weeks before they were able to dislodge the Bangingi from their strongholds. The Bangingi were good sailors. They were the first group in this country to reach Bengal bay and explore the Indian ocean. They discovered the connection of Sulu sea , the straits of Malacca and the Indian ocean. Most of the sultanate expeditions to Visayas and Luzon were commanded by the Bangingi warriors.
The Bangingi unlike the Badjao are highly exposed to the Filipino society and its institution. Majority of them has studied in the Filipino school, and managed to occupy key positions in the government. Unfortunately, they failed to build their own institutions like school, political parties and businesses that are capable of effecting social changes in the society. There are only individual initiatives. The Bangingi remain far from collective social progress.
Jama Mapun are another Sama sub-group. They call their dialect as pullun mapun which is part of the Sama language. The term mapun stands for west. They call themselves as Jama Mapun because they are situated at the distant west of Sulu. They are concentrated largely at the Turtle island, Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi an island municipality located at the border adjacent to Sabah. They are also found in southern Palawan. Like the Bangingi, the Jama Mapun adopted permanent settlement, hence they have a clear-cut social organization where the panglima is recognized as top community leader. During the Sulu sultanate period, Jama Mapun used to be of a military strategic importance to the sultanate. It used to be the sultanate’s launching base to secure the unquestioning loyalty of the panglima of Sabah and Palawan.
The whole Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi is recognized as local government unit, a municipality under the province of Tawi-Tawi. With this the Jama Mapun have been subjected to central control from Manila since the days of the Philippine Commonwealth government in 1936. Government school and agencies were put up there and placed under the control of the local people. The island is seen as strategic place for the AFP forward force, because it is situated in the middle of the Sulu sea and South China sea, and adjacent to Sabah. The government built airports, which the military can use for advance troop movements in the Sulu sea.
7. The Sangil. The Sangil came from Sangihe an archipelago sprawling the Celebes sea just south of the Mindanao sea. Their migration to Sarangani province and to the coastal areas of Davao del Sur and South Cotabato was ahead of the coming of Islam to Southeast Asia. They embraced Islam later as a result of their continuous contact with their motherland, which became Islamized, as well as with the emerging Muslim communities in Maguindanao and Sulu in the 14th century.
The Sangil speak a language similar to Bahasa, and in the Philippines, to Tausug. They also evolved their own social organization associated with central leadership, which enabled them to wage battle against the Dutch and Spanish colonialism. There were many instances the Sangil allied themselves to the Maguindanao sultanate. They used to contribute war paraws, fighters and arms in major expeditions to Spanish held-territories. The Sangil have also high political and Islamic consciousness. They are active in their struggle for self-determination as part of their strategy to have their culture and social institutions preserved and developed further. They succeeded at last. In 1992, the Sarangani province was born intended to contain the clamor of the Sangil.
8. The Kaagan. The Kaagan inhabited mostly Davao areas. They became Muslims as a result of contact with the Maguindanao sultanate, and later strengthened with the arrival of some Tausug groups who helped to organize the Kaagan society. No wonder the Kaagan language has many bahasa sug root words. With the departure of the Tausug and Maguindanao influences at the height of the Filipinization process. Most of them have been marginalized and were helpless to improve their society because their social organization did not improve as those in Lanao and Sulu.
9. The Kolibugan. The term kolibugan is a Sama word which means “half-breed”. Originally, they are part of the Subanun tribe, an indigenous people inhabiting the interior of the Zamboanga peninsula. Their neighbors, particularly the Sama Bangingi and the Tausugs called these Islamized Subanun as Kolibugan because their culture has been altered by their Muslim neighbors and for years there has been intermarriage with other groups that produced new generations, hence they are called Kolibugan. These people still speak the Subanun language and retain the Subanun type of social organization, which is limited to clan orientation with less political inclination. Today, the term Kolibugan is applied to all Subanun who moved to coastal areas and intermarried with the Muslims, and finally embraced Islam.
10. The Palawan. The early Muslim inhabitants in mainland Palawan were the Panimusan. These people became Muslims as a result of close contact with the Sulu Sultanate. Many Tausug during the sultanate period came to Palawan in order to introduce Islam to the local people. The Muslim concentration is mostly in the southern part of Palawan such as Batarasa, Rizal, Quezon, Brooke’s Point and Espanola. In these municipalities the Muslims are likely dominant and hold political power. Isolated Muslim communities are also found in Narra, Roxas, Taytay and Aborlan.
Since the collapse of the Sulu sultanate, contact between the Palawani and the Tausugs was almost lost. They have been isolated to each other as there is no direct trade or cultural link between the two people.
11. The Molbog. The Molbog are mainly confined in the Balabac islands located at the southern tip of Palawan. They received Islamic influence and later embraced Islam from Brunei Muslim missionaries. The propagation of Islam was active during the 15th century when Muslim principalities rose from the eastern side of the Malay peninsula and Borneo. At this period, the Brunei sultanate was expanding its influence to the Philippines and Palawan is not far from Brunei. The Sulu sultanate also helped to strengthen Islam among the Molbog.
Historical gap is a period between two or more events keeping the new generation detached from the old ones. The new generation can no longer determine the culture of the past, and eventually may chart its own course different from their predecessors. This is the case with the two periods of the Bangsamoro history: the sultanate era, the US colonial period up to the present. The US era in the Philippines brought historical gap distancing the sultanate era from the present. The culture of the people underwent transformation in 50 years time under US rule. 50 years thereafter, the people developed a new culture which is no longer the same orientation as what was then. The conventional approach to this problem of historical gap is the reliance of the historians on the study of artifacts, the root of civilization, and the life of the leaders in order to move their mind centuries back.
By nature, jihad requires collective action or sufficient participation from the Muslims preferably to be led by the government under a righteous imam. This is the meaning of jihad to be known as fardhu kifaya. There must be a group of Muslims if not the entire masses who shall carry out the jihad fi sabilillah. Failure to carry jihad will make the whole community or state in a state of sin. But if there is a section of Muslim population that rises up for jihad, the entire Muslims become free from sin. Jihad becomes fardhu ‘ayn or individual obligation when the enemy sets a camp for about 300 kilometers from the population center of the Muslims. This is the opinion of Imam Shafie. Clearly, jihad is the main factor that kept the Bangsamoro society in the face of western onslaught. Jihad as fardhu ‘ayn sustains the continuity of the jihad up to the present.
Islam in the Philippines
The rise of Islamic political institutions in Southeast Asia in the early 15th century is viewed as the culmination of Islamization after about 200 years when the Arabs introduced Islam direct to the masses. This political development was a turning point in the history of the people because it revealed two important things: the formation of the Muslim nationalism and the birth of the first Muslim society in this country. Islam for this matter changed the political course of Mindanao and Sulu from the feudalistic as well as from colonialistic. The survival of Islam as ideological force in the south is an indication that their political course remained in the Islamic orbit.
Sulu was the first Muslim community in the south to establish a centralized government, the Sultanate of Sulu in 1450. The introduction of this sultanate implies that the indigenous institution became Islamized. This sultanate was a superstructure imposed without destroying the old foundation. This was one of the reasons that made the Sulu Sultanate strong. Hashim Abubakar was the founder and the first sultan of the Sulu sultanate. His father was an Arab from Hadramaut; his mother was a princess from Johore. According to the Tausug salsila, Abubakar belongs to a sharif lineage, which is one of the descendants of Nabi Muhammad (S,.A.W.). The term sharif is a title of nobility. When Abubakar rose to power, he assumed five titles affixed to his name, thus his official name runs as follows: paduka, mawlana, mahasiri, sharif sultan Hashim Abubakar.
The Sulu sultanate is multi-ethnic. At the height of its power in the early part of the 18th century, its territory encompassed the whole Zamboanga peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Palawan and Sabah. On the same period, the sultanate began to intensify its foreign relations with neighboring Muslim principalities in Brunei, Makassar, Manila, Cebu (before Spanish era), Maguindanao, Buayan and Batavia including China. This foreign relations of the Sulu sultanate involved trade, mutual friendship and military alliance. The sultanate had in fact dispatched ambassadors to different places and also received ambassadors from other countries.
Dr. Majul describes the history of the Sulu sultanate as had been one of war. Since 1578 up to the 1927, the Sulu sultanate was at the forefront of the struggle for freedom and national liberation. It was able to survive two major colonial waves: the Spanish and the US colonialism. Despite its political decline in the beginning of the 19th century, the Sulu sultanate maintained her status as independent sultanate from 1450 to 1936.
The spread of Islam to Mindanao between 1450 and 1500 was part of the political goal of the Sulu sultanate. A Maranao oral report revealed that the first Tausug preachers reached the Lanao lake before the arrival of foreign Muslim missionaries, possibly the Malay preachers. This report is sufficient to establish the fact the Muslim settlements had gradually thrived in the Illana bay up to the lake area and the Pulangi valley. People from these areas were already used to come to Jolo for trade as well as for Islamic learning. It is for this account that Sulu became known in history as the center of Islamic learning in this country.
The full Islamization of the west coast of Mindanao was accelerated with the arrival of Muhammad Sharif Kabungsuwan. Like Abubakar, the first sultan of Sulu, Sharif Kabungsuwan is also an Arab and a descendant of Nabi Muhammad (S.A.W.). His Malay sounding name attests his forefathers had settled long time in Johore. Kabungsuwan and his followers arrived Malabang in 1515. He was accompanied by large group of Sama people who according to Dr. Kurais, a Sama scholar Kabungsuwan had passed by Tawi-Tawi and picked up some Sama people to accompany him in his journey to Mindanao. This means that the coming of Kabungsuwan to Mindanao was not accidental. It was the Sama people who guided him to Mindanao. During this period, inter-island contact was already in place. Both the Sama and the Iranun had already explored the many sea routes in the Sulu archipelago.
It was not long after his arrival that Sharif kabungsuwan established the Sultanate of Maguindanao, possibly in 1516. The rise of this sultanate is almost similar to that of Sulu, should be viewed as the culmination of Islamization in Mindanao. It was actually a political necessity. Clearly, the sultanate was adopted as an instrument to consolidate the emerging Muslim communities.
The first seat of the political power of Maguindanao was Slangan and Maguindanao. Originally, these areas were the bastions of Iranun political activities. When the sultanate passed into the Maguindanao family and dynasty, the seat of power was moved to Pulangi valley. The term Maguindanao actually referred to a family. It was the royal family with which Sharif Kabungsuwan was linked through affinity. Since Maguindanao family became a symbol of Muslim power in Mindanao, their name became the official designation of Muslims throughout the Pulangi valley.
In the upper Pulangi valley the ruling datus were the Buayan family. Because of their influence, the whole areas were called Buayan. The political institution of the Buayans became Islamized as a result of the marriage of the Buayan prince to the daughter of Sultan Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuwan. After the death of Kabungsuwan, the Buayan family founded the Sultanate of Buayan as independent entity from the Maguindanao sultanate. The existence of two sultanates in mainland Mindanao strengthened Islam but often the source of friction between the Buayan group and the Maguindanao. In lull times, these sultanates fought each other for political supremacy over Mindanao. They also fought together against their common enemy in the face of foreign aggression.
One of the best Maguindanao rulers was Rajah Buisan who was the leading commander during the third stage of the Moro wars. He was remembered for his famous speech at Dulag, Leyte where he delivered his message inspiring the datus of Leyte to rise against the Spaniards. In his battle against the Spaniards, he aligned himself with Rajah Sirungan the ruler of the Buayan sultanate. Both leaders had for several times joined forces in their expedition to the north. The Buayan leaders managed to gain supremacy in the Pulangi valley only after the death of Rajah Buisan. The latter was succeeded by his son Sultan Qudarat. During his ascension to power, Qudarat was too young. It was for this reason the Maguindanao sultanate became overwhelmed. It took more than ten years for Sultan Qudarat to build his political power over the whole of Mindanao. He is remembered for his political prowess in uniting the two sultanates and the rest of the people in Mindanao under his strong leadership. Sultan Qudarat is also remembered for his famous speech challenging the Maranao datus to oppose the Spanish encroachment in Lanao lake.
The political hold of the Maguindanao sultanate over Mindanao however did not last long. Dynastic quarrels often broke out among the Muslim leaders. In the later part of the 18th century, the Maguindanao sultanate loosened its hold upon the Buayan (Majul, 1997:31). Its steady decline continued up to the arrival of the American colonialists in 1900. This decline created a vacuum of leadership and finally led to the rise of small principalities in Mindanao, while others proclaimed their own sultanates as in the case of the 18 royal houses in Lanao area. The rise of Lanao royal houses in the face of the decline of the Maguindanao sultanate signaled the disintegration and break-up of asabiyah (tribal solidarity) among the Muslims in mainland Mindanao.
The current continued political assertion of the Maranao people should beviewed from the political development on the part of their society, which began to evolve as a political institution towards the later part of the 18th century. This development did not move further.The struggle of Amai Pakpak, a great Maranao fighter, was short-lived. While building his own political clout, he suffered defeat in the hands of the Spanish invading forces in March 10, 1895. His dream of a strong political organization was not realized and was further arrested with the introduction of US imperialism in 1900. Although the Lanao royal houses still exist, they are no longer viewed as political force of the society.
Muslims’ Contribution to National Struggle
The Muslim resistance in the Philippines is viewed as an extension of the crusade, only the fight was no longer between the Europeans and the Arabs but between the Spaniards and the Moros. Dr. Cesar Adib Majul described this resistance as the Moro wars. In his analysis Majul divided the Moro wars into six stages. The first phase of this war began with the arrival of Legaspi who led the invasion of Muslim settlement in Manila under Rajah Sulayman in 1571. It ended with the invasion of Brunei in order to destroy its sphere of influence in the northern part of the Philippines, and also to isolate the Sulu sultanate in the south. Before the hostilities began, the Spanish general Francisco de Sande sent a letter first to the Brunei sultan. The important part of the letter was that the Brunei sultanate has to stop the sending of Muslim missionaries to any place in the Philippines. This letter could be a concrete evidence revealing the bottom line of the Spanish colonialism – Christianization and imperial conquest of the whole Southeast Asia.
With the Spanish victory in Luzon and also in the Brunei expedition, the Spaniards moved to the second phase of their colonial ambition – the need to make vassals of the chiefs of Sulu and Maguindanao. In June 1578, the Spaniards explored the Sulu Archipelago and even threatened to attack Sulu. They did not however stay for long, and withdrew after a compromise negotiation was reached with the Sulu leaders. From here, the Spaniards proceeded to Maguindanao but failed to establish contact with the Muslim leaders. The following year the Spaniards under Capt. Gabriel de Rivera conducted another military mission to the Cotabato area. Their main intentions were to make the Muslims pay tribute; induce them not to allow foreign missionaries; inform the Maguindanao about the Spanish victory in Brunei, gather information about the Muslims and their strength and to know the relationship between the Maguindanao and the Ternatans and other people in Indonesia.
Since this second expedition, the Spaniards had been focusing their goal on the conquest of Mindanao and Sulu. After eleven years, in 1591 the Spaniards went through with their military expedition to Maguindanao the seat of Muslim power in Mindanao. They assumed that once Mindanao is toppled it would be easier to extend their influence to Sulu and Brunei. The Spaniards, however, found a fierce armed Muslim resistance. It took them five years to finally establish military garrison at Tampakan in 1596. But this too was short-lived. The Maguindanao applied more armed pressure by carrying out a series of offensives against the Spanish fort at Tampakan. Seeing the Muslims had the political power to oppose, the Spaniards abandoned Tampakan in 1597 and repositioned themselves at La Caldera in Zamboanga peninsula.
In the third stage of the Moro war, the Muslims changed their military strategy from defensive to offensive. They now brought the war to the enemy’s territory. In 1599, Datu Salikula and Datu Sirungan the chiefs of Maguindanao and Buayan respectively launched a joint force attacking a major Spanish base in central Visayas. They were able to mobilize 3,000 warriors with 50 paraws. In 1602, another offensive was carried out by the Muslims and this was so far the biggest offensive ever organized. The Muslims gathered 145 paraws – 50 vessels manned by the Ternatans, Sangil and Tagolanda; 60 by the Maguindanao and 35 by the Yakans of Basilan. These forces were commanded by Datu Buisan, the successor of Datu Salikula, and Datu Sirungan. Because the Spaniards were too weak to attack Maguindanao, they instead attacked the Sulu sultanate. They thought that Sulu was easy to defeat. They laid siege to Jolo for three months but the sultanate forces were able to repulse them.
When the news reached the Maguindanao on October 29, 1603, Rajah Buisan together with his allies from Sangil and Ternate led another invasion of Central Visayas. They invaded Dulag, Leyte a place where Rajah Buisan delivered his historic speech calling the Leyte Datus to fight the Spaniards. Aware of the political implication of Buisan’s speech as well as the continuous surge of Muslim raids in Visayas, the Spaniards opted for good relationship. They sent a special envoy for peace negotiations. This peaceful overture of the Spaniards led to the signing of peace treaty on September 8, 1605. This treaty, however, did not hold for long because of the Spanish invasion of Ternate in April 1608. The Maguindanao chief construed this action as violation of the treaty. He ordered, therefore, the resumption of military raid of Spanish garrison in Central Visayas. This in turn forced the Spaniards to sign another peace treaty in March 1609. This treaty put the war to rest for at least 25 years.
The war resumed between the Spaniards and the Muslims in 1627 but by this time the war was now with the Sulu sultanate. This was triggered by a maltreatment suffered by Sulu envoy, Datu Ache. On his way home from Manila, his ships were intercepted by the Spaniards, and all of them were brought back to Manila and humiliated. This incident angered the sultanate leadership. Rajah Bungsu the sultan of Sulu led 2,000 warriors, and attacked the Spanish base and ship yard in Camarines Sur and Central Visayas.
In 1628, the Spaniards retaliated against this Sulu attack. They organized an expedition composed of 200 Spanish officers and 1,600 native allies. They were able to defeat the Sulu forces, but withdrew immediately for fear of a counter-attack. Despite this setback, the Sulu sultanate still managed to send another expedition in 1629. By this time the Sulu forces were now commanded by Datu Ache. They attacked the Spanish settlements in Camarines, Samar, Leyte and Bohol. The Spaniards, likewise, invaded Sulu again in March 17, 1630. They almost doubled their forces from 1,600 to 2,500. But at the time they landed in Sulu, the sultanate forces were slready highly prepared for battle. In the ensuing war, the Spanish commander Lorenzo de Olaso was wounded, which prompted his forces to withdraw. The following year 1631, the Sulu warriors launched another invasion aimed at Leyte, the seat of Spanish power in Visayas.
In Maguindanao, Sultan Qudarat continued to consolidate his power throughout Mindanao in preparation for new invasions. The Buayan and the Sangil leaders were brought under his control. He also established contact with the Sulu sultante. In order to concretize this contact, Sultan Qudarat made a marriage alliance by marrying the daughter of Rajah Bungsu, the sultan of Sulu in 1632. This paved the political alliance between the two sultanates of Mindanao and Sulu. These two sultanates mustered a coordinated military attack and joint invasion of Central Visayas. Their first joint invasion was in 1634 when they mobilized 1,500 warriors who landed at Dapitan, Leyte and Bohol.
The challenge now before the Spanish colonial regime in Manila was how to stop the Muslim invasion of its held-territories. After drawing lessons on the military behavior of the Muslims, the Spaniards changed their approach by establishing a forward force at the enemy’s territory so that the war’s trend could be reversed. This was the focus of the fourth stage of the Moro wars. The Spaniards captured Zamboanga and established a military base on April 6, 1635. This lasted for 29 years until the Sulu warriors drove them out of their stronghold. This was so far one of the greatest achievements of Rajah Bungsu, the sultan of Sulu at this period.
This Spanish base at Zamboanga became the lunching pad for attacking Muslim settlements as well as the sultanate’s capital of Jolo and Lamitan in the Maguindanao area. Lamitan the seat of the Maguindanao sultanate was captured by the Spaniards on March 13, 1637. Qudarat’s forces of about 2,000 suffered defeat and was forced to move to the interior. Seventy-two Muslims were decapitated and the Spaniards put their heads on spikes for display (Majul, 1996:135). The Spaniards did this to instill fear. But two years later, in 1639, Sultan Qudarat re-established his forces and held his court at Pulangi. In Sulu, the Spanish attack continued until Jolo, the sultanate capital fell after a three-month battle in January 1, 1638. This was the period when the Spaniards occupied Jolo and the sultanate court was moved to Dungun, Tawi-Tawi. The sultanate reorganized its forces and even secured the support of the Dutch in Batavia, Indonesia. On March 25, 1644, Rajah Bungsu dispatched his son, Pangiran Salikala for this purpose. Having prepared the logistics, the sultanate ordered a final offensive against the Spaniards with the Dutch navy which bombarded the Spanish garrison at Jolo. After about a year of military confrontation, the Spaniards opted to stop the war and signed a peace treaty and evacuated all their forces from Zamboanga to Manila because of an impending Chinese attack of Manila.
The 5th stage of the Moro war commenced in 1718 when the Spaniards reoccupied Zamboanga. A huge military base known as Fort Pillar was built, and thus provoked the Sultanate of Sulu. Immediate reprisal was made but this failed to dislodge the Spaniards. The Sulu sultanate under Sultan Badar-uddin asked the support of Maguindanao sultanate and the Dutch at Batavia. Sultan Badar-uddin sent his Datu Bandahara and the Nakhuda to Batavia in order to appeal for military assistance as well as to strengthen the relationship which was established in 1644. Finally, the Sulu sultanate and the Maguindanao sultanate agreed to field 104 paraws with combined force of 3,000 warriors who made a new offensive on Zamboanga at the end of December 1720. This offensive however did not succeed. But, the Sulu sultanate was still firm in its struggle to push out the Spaniards from Zamboanga. Both powers adopted a mixed policy of diplomacy and military. This showed that neither of them can be easily extinguished. It was through exchanges of envoys, despite the existence of war, that a peace treaty was signed in December 11, 1726 between the Sulu sultanate and the Spanish colonial government in Manila.
Duringt this period, the Sulu sultanate expanded its foreign relations to China. Sultan Badar-uddin sent ambassador to China in 1717; and again in 1733. The objective of China policy is to inform the Chinese leaders about the long war between Sulu and Manila. The sultanate wanted to enlist the military support of the Chinese government. It probably secured some help. The peace treaty deteriorated when Sultan Badar-uddin attempted to capture Zamboanga in December 6, 1734 while some Sulu warriors attacked Taytay in northern Palawan. In response, the Spaniards invaded Jolo in 1735 and drove out the sultanate court for second time, which then transferred to Dungun, Tawi-Tawi. The war came to stop when the two powers signed another peace treaty in February 1, 1737.
While the power of the Sulu sultanate and Maguindanao approached a steady decline, the military power of the Spaniards grew faster when the steam boat was introduced to the Spanish naval force. The Muslim fleets were no longer a match with the Spanish modern fleets. The Spaniards had already foreseen a major invasion when the right time comes.They assured themselves that the final conquest of Mindanao and Sulu is just a matter of time.
The 6th stage of the Moro war is the Spaniards’ dream of Mindanao conquest. It commenced with the 1851 Spanish invasion of Sulu and ended towards the end of the Spanish rule in the Philippines. As a matter of strategy the Sulu sultanate under Sultan Pulalun upon realizing the invulnerability of the Spanish forces, negotiated a peace treaty with the enemy. The treaty was signed in April 30, 1851. But just like other treaties in the past, this treaty failed to hold peace for long. The Spaniards had already calculated that the sultanates of Mindanao and Sulu were weak to resist the Spanish conquest. In Manila, the Catholic hierarchy intensified its propaganda to win the support of the people about the possible war in the south. Roman Martinez Vigil a Spanish priest wrote the theory of a just war. He exhorted the war against Jolo as a just war, a holy war in the name of Christianity. Rich people and Chinese capitalists in Manila responded enthusiastically to this call. They were able to raise P 20 million for the Spaniards.
Anchored on a just war principle, the Spaniards organized 9,000 troops led by Governor-General Jose Malcampo. These troops were sent to Sulu accompanied with hundreds of priests and sisters. They secured 11 transports, 11 gunboats, and 10 steamboats. They landed at Jolo in February 21, 1876. Aware of the Spaniards grand design, the Sulu Sultan Jamalul Azam assembled his military leaders for discussion on how to contain if not frustrate the Spanish invasion. The sultan proclaimed the jihad and ordered the use of the concept of parrang sabil as last recourse. The wise plan of the sultan was proven correct and effective. The sultanate managed to negotiate another treaty in July 22, 1878, thus saved his people from further destruction.
At the Mindanao front, the Spaniards were already successful in destroying the power of the Maguindanao sultanate. The Maranao, Iranun and other ethnic groups began to wield their respective powers independently. These people launched their own wars separately. They parted from each other to the extent that the Maranao put up their own sultanate since the Maguindanao sultanate could no longer exercise a central rule over Mindanao. For centuries these Maranao people were overshadowed by the Maguindanao. They fought wars against Spain under the flag of Maguindanao sultanate or sometime under Sulu sultanate as in the case of the Iranun. One of the best wars led by the Maranao was the heroic stand of Datu Amai Pakpak in defense of Marawi in 1891 and 1895. Generally, all Muslim ethnic groups in Mindanao and Sulu supported the war against colonialism. They were the people behind the survival of the two sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao in the face of foreign aggression.
The Moro war actually did not end with the destruction of the Spanish colonialism in the Philippines. The Spaniards left but the American colonial forces came in and continued the same colonial goals under the pretext of civilizing the natives. Since the orientation of the Moro war is the same as that of the Spanish time, the Moro-American war should be viewed as the 7th stage of the Moro war. In Sulu despite the declining power of the Sulu sultanate, the Tausug warriors who opposed the continued presence of another white colonialists, waged a series of battles against the Americans. Panglima Imam Hassan who held the post of district commander from Luuk, Sulu under the Sulu sultanate was the first Tausug leader to defy the sultan’s order to work with the Americans for common good. He could not be convinced with the overall mission of the US colonialism in the country. As an Imam, Panglima Hassan looked at the presence of the US forces a threat to Islam and the Muslim society. He instead proceeded with his military plan leading his 3,000 warriors who fought the American forces in Jolo in early November 1903. Armed only with kris and some rifles, these Tausug warriors attacked the enemy’s garrison which was equipped with modern weapons. After a week of siege, the enemy were finally able to break their lines and forced the panglima’s followers to withdraw.
Despite his defeat, Hassan’s military action won wider sympathy from the masses. He toured the island of Sulu promoting his cause inspiring the local leaders to resist the US colonialism. Within a short period Hassan’s propaganda bore a positive effect upon the Muslim masses. The Americans were portrayed as the enemy of Islam; that they came to the Muslim land in order to continue the unfinished goal of the Spanish colonialism. More so, the Muslims became apprehensive when the US forces hoisted their flag in major centers and further required the Muslims to fly the US flag in their ships. At the same time, they introduced a new land system in order to facilitate the collection of land taxes from the Muslims. These policies invited antagonism from the people.
In January 1906, three prominent Tausug leaders took a bold opposition to the American policies and their occupation of the Muslim land. These were Imam Sahirun, Ma’as Abdullatif, and Panglima Sawadjaan. These leaders assembled their 1,000 followers and put up their camp at Bud Dahu about six kilometers from Jolo, the capital of Sulu. From here a small group was organized and sent to raid military outposts and villages that tended to support the enemy. The Americans became apprehensive that the growing opposition of the Tausug might go out of hand. At first, they sent civilian negotiators to convince the defiant leaders to surrender to the US colonial government. The negotiators attempted several time to convey the message of the Americans officials but the defying leaders stood firmly with their stand of non-recognition of the US colonial government. The Americans therefore decided to take Bud Dahu by force.
On March 6, 1906, Gen. Leonard Wood the governor of the Moro province, ordered the assault of Bud Dahu. His forces were composed of 790 men and divided into three groups; each group was charged to attack from only three narrow passages leading to the camp of the Muslims. Using high powered guns, the US army stormed the Muslim strongholds with mortar throughout the afternoon and gradually took a closer move in the evening. The Muslims armed only with kris used an indigenous approach of warfare by using logs rolled off from the top intended to hit the advancing US troops who tried to approach the narrow passage from the slopes of the mountain. From the Muslim accounts, a great number of US forces were killed as the logs fell down one after the other from the mountain tops. The US army, however, succeeded in getting to the mountain top. In the early morning of March 7, 1906, the US army fired upon the Muslim camps at close range. The Muslims rushed in and fought decisively in the open field. Only six survived who managed to retreat and report the news of what transpired in the so called battle of Bud Dahu.
The cause of the Bud Dahu heroes did not end, however with their martyrdom. Just months from the Bud Dahu battle, Ma’as Jikiri led a small group in attacking the American military outposts. He fought for about three years until his martyrdom during the fight against the US army in 1909. Ma’as Jikiri’s heroic stand inspired his countrymen up to the present. He was the only Tausug leader who in the course of war never retreated or ran away before the enemy even when outnumbered or overwhelmed. Even the American army commended his valor. Ma’as Jikiri is the only foreign enemy of the Americans whose statue now stands at the Washington museum.
The spirit of the war never subsided. It continued to unleash nationalistic fervor until another major battle erupted – the battle of Bud Bagsak in 1913. Bud Bagsak is a medium sized mountain and located about 50 kilometers east of Jolo. This battle was led by Panglima Amil the leader of the 500 forces that holed up at Bud Bagsak. The war began in June 9 and ended in June 14, 1913. All Muslim warriors met their martyrdom in the five day battle against the well-equipped US army. Their defeat marked the end of organized Muslim resistance during the first 10 years of the US colonialism in the Philippines. The so called episode of “kris versus krag” came virtually to an end. There were a few more minor battles, but never again did the Moros place a formidable force in the field against the Americans. The Muslims fought a grand fight at Bud Bagsak against superior weapons (Hurley,1985:30). This decline paved the way for the signing of the Kiram-Carpenter Agreement in August 20, 1915 where the sovereignty of the Sulu sultanate was taken over by the US colonial government. The collapse of the Sulu sultanate, in turn, led to the integration of Mindanao and Sulu into the colonial politics. Since then, the opposition of the Muslims in Mindanao and Sulu shifted from armed confrontation to peaceful movement in the form of protest and demonstration. It took about 14 years for the Tausug fighters led by Laksamana Usab to carry out armed fighting when they fought the US army at the Bud Langkuwasan adjacent to Bud Bagsak in 1927. Usab was appointed laksamana (runner) by the Sulu sultan. He parted ways with the sultan because he did not want the US policy in the Muslim land. He took the leadership for fighting the US colonialism. He called a summit meeting of Tausug leaders at Likup, Indanan, Sulu in early 1927. In the meeting, all leaders agreed to contribute fighters who come from different parts of Sulu and its islands. Usab’s struggle culminated with the battle of Bud Langkuwasan where most of his forces including himself embraced martyrdom.
Just like other Muslim nations in Southeast Asia, national identity of the Philippine Muslims was shaped by Islam and further developed in the course of their heroic struggle against western colonialism. Right after the first encounter with foreign aggressors in 1570 at Manila, the Philippine Muslims won a distinct honor as “Moro”, an identity put forward by the aggressors after the Moors of Spain. They were called Moros only on account of their Islamic ideology and their culture being similar to the Moors who conquered Spain for 785 years. To the Spaniards, the term Moro would also mean Muslim. Since then, the Muslims in this country have been identified in Southeast Asia and across the Muslim world as the Bangsamoro people. This identity is officially recognized by the Organization of Islamic Countries. This is the reference by which the historians and government legislators recognized the official designation of the Muslims in the country and is now enshrined in the Muslim Organic Act of 1989.
The history of the Bangsamoro people is no doubt ranked as the first line of historical development of the Philippines. The Muslims’ sultanate institution, the religious legacy of Islam and the Muslim adat have nurtured the doctrine of Bangsamoro nationalism. The cohesiveness of the 11 Muslim groups under the spirit of Islamic brotherhood is a living reality of Bangsamoro nationalism. This should form part of the Philippines’ political foundation. It is within this context by which the struggle of the Bangsamoro people finds a just treatment in Philippine history.
Author : Hannbal Bara is an Associate Professor V at the Mindanao State University-Sulu where he also serves as Dean of its Graduate School. He is an ExeCom member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Philippines.
Source : National Commission for Culture and The Arts, Philippines