Islamic Mindanao

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Islam was introduced in the Philippines in the thirteenth century through an Arab missionary named Shariff Makhdum who arrived in the island of Sulu, in Mindanao and built the first Islamic temple or masjid at Tubig-Indangan, Simunol Island, Tawi-Tawi. The religion grew in the region, and later, Karim ul-Makhdum was followed by other Islamic missionaries by the names of Abu Bakr, Baguinda, Kabungsuan, among many others. This just showed that Makhdum's death did not stop the proliferation of the religion in the islands.

With the appearance of Islam in the Philippines came the many Islamic terms, titles and culture which incorporated the animistic beliefs of the early inhabitants of the country. One of which is the political organization-- the Sultans and their Sultanates.

Sultan is the king or sovereign especially of a Muslim state. This term originally meant power or authority which became prominent in the tenth century after the downfall of the caliphate, office of the Islamic leader, upon the establishment of the Seljuk sultanate.

Sultanate, on the other hand, is the domain-- the dynasty and land --ruled by the sultan. In the Philippines, the first sultanate of Sulu was established in 1450 under the rule of Sayyid Abu Bakr, a prince from Sumatra. From then on, Islam continued to spread throughout Mindanao, and by the end of the fifteenth century, the Sultanate of Maguindanao was established.

The Islamic Mindanao knowledge database showcases our kababayan in the southern islands, specifically their political organization and their role in Philippine history. Listed below are the topics under this database:

(to access the knowledge database on Islamic Mindanao, click Islamic Mindanao link)

Introduction of Islam

Mindanao Sultans

Moro Sultanates



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