Islam in the Philippines

Islam reached the Philippines islands in the 14th century with the arrival of Indian, Malay and Javanese (Indonesian) merchants, and Arab missionaries from various sultanates in the Malay Archipelago, as well as preachers from Muslim India. Muslims form 5% of the Philippine population. In 1380, Karim ul Makhdum, the first Islamic missionary to reach the Sulu Archipelago and Jolo, brought Islam to what is now the Philippines. The Sheik Karimal Makdum Musjid was the first Musjid established in the Philippines. Subsequent visits by Arab Muslim missionaries from Muslim Malaysia and Indonesia, helped strengthen Islam mostly in the south but as far north as Manila. Vast Muslim sultanates were established.

Muslim traders spread Islam in much of Southeast Asia including Philippines. Two century before the coming of Western colonizers Muslim enjoyed full independence and had a well-organized government: the sultanate. The Spaniards and Americans gradually incorporated the independent Muslim state into the Philippines, reducing the power of the sultan, especially during US rule. Muslims courageously fought the Spanish invaders and rebelled against the Americans.
Since the 1970s, Islam has strengthened with Islamic institutions and Musjids being built. Muslim armed groups have been fighting for an independent Muslim state in the south called Bangsamoro since the 1970’s. In 1990 the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was established, giving Muslims control over some aspects of government. The fight for liberation still continues.

Most Filipinos (even non-Muslim) still follow the Islamic custom of circumcision introduced by Muslims.