Wednesday, February 9, 2011


On the basis of historical documents and written Sulu Tarsilas [genealogical narrations], it can be asserted that in the early part of 13th century there were already few Muslim “Ummah” living independently and working separately from each other. An “Ummah” is a small ancient Muslim village in “Lupah Sug” where the natives together and cooperate among themselves due to their affiliation in Islam faith with the guidance of their chieftains. They owned their early conversions to Islam due to the efforts of the members of the household of Prophet Muhammand s.a.w., known the “Ahlul Bait” in Arabic.

The approach of the Wali Songo Influenced the

Tausug Way of Life.

Historical records show that Tuhan (Tuan) Maqbalu was the first known Arab scholar that introduced Islam in Lupah Sug in 710 A.H. or 1310 A.D., however, Tuan Shyeik Maska‘ika was the first Ahlul Bait missionary who established the Muslim “Ummah” among the “Buranon” tribe of Maimbung, Sulu. Soon after, another Muslim Ummah was established among the Baklaya tribe of Patikul, Sulu.

About the middle of 13th century, another Ahlul Bait missionary arrived at Bwansa “Banua” or village of Lupah Sug who was popularly known as Tuan Karimul Makhdum, whose real name was Sayyid Ibrahim Zainul Al-Akbar. He had successfully conveyed the messages and the teaching of Islam, in which the Tagimaha tribe of Bwansa village accepted and embraced Islam peacefully. During his stay at Bwansa village, he built a house locally called “Langgal” for religious worship of the Muslim Ummah of Bwansa.

The lack of basic knowledge on Islam religion among the natives of Lupah Sug [Sulu mainland] demand for more Muslim preachers. Sulu Tarsila recorded of the coming of other Ahlul Bait missionaries like the persons of Makhdum Aminullah or Sayyid Un-Nikab, Syed Alawi Balpaki, Syed Mohadum and many others. In the early part of 14th century more Ahlul Bait missionaries coming from the school of Sufism came to Sulu that strengthen the teaching of Islam. They adjusted themselves with the natives’ customs and traditions, who learned to speak the native tongue. They also intermarriages with the natives that enable Islam go beyond the limits of foreign missionaries and they became parts of the Muslim Ummah of Lupah Sug. They have taught the natives that as a religion, Islam is centered in the supremacy by one God-Allah. Islam to Muslims, is more than a religion, it is a way of life. Literally, Islam means PEACE.

part II

The issues brought in the study of Sulu Sultanate is to understand its historical existence that may offer new perspective to resolve the continuous struggle of the adherence to fight the aggression of their homeland, economic resources, political legal rights, cultural heritage, religion, and freedom for self-determination. As Dr.Jose Rizal said: ...“In order to read the destiny of a people, it is necessary to open the book of its past”.

The Sulu Muslim “Ummah” political theory did not start with the idea of having a state political government, but with the option that the “Ummah” or community of the faithful must possess leadership to make possible the creation of proper condition of “Ibadat” or worship and strict adherent to the “Shariah” or Islamic Laws. The leadership should always strong enough to completely safeguard the internal order of the “Ummah” against disharmony or disloyalty. Under the principle of Islam, the purpose of the individual and the “Ummah” or community is the same – the execution and enforcement of the will of ALLAH [God]. For Islam is a religion that defines a unified way of life; hence, there is no distinction between the religious and the secular.

The Sulu genealogy accounts that after the “Ahlul Bait” Missionaries established few Muslim Ummah or communities among inhabitants of Lupah Sug [Sulu mainland] living along the seashores, rivers and verdant hills and valley, another personage arrived at Bwansa, Lupah Sug, whose name was Rajah Baginda. He was the son of King Pagar and belongs to the royal family of Pagar Ruyung of Menangkabaw, Sumatra, Indonesia. Rajah Baginda was not a religious scholar but in all probability could have included a number Islamic Malay scholars as part of his entourage to Sulu. The arrival of Rajah Baginda at Bwnasa Ummah strengthen the Islamic polity of the Tagimaha tribe of Bwansa Ummah and nearby villages of Lupah Sug due to his advance knowledge in Islamic governance. Rajah Baginda was accepted as the ruler of Bwansa Ummah, although Sulu genealogy did not mention that he establish a central government in the mainland of Sulu. He got married to the daughter of a Tagimaha Chieftain, and was able to effect the implementation of the “Shariah” or Islamic laws at Bwansa village.

In a related Sulu royal Tarsila narrates the arrival of another Arab scholar by the name of Sayyid Abu Bakr Hashim. His arrival to Bwansa village was welcomed by Rajah Baginda, and because of his expertise in the Islamic jurisprudence, Sayyid Abu Bakr (pronounce as Abubakar) was accepted member of the royal court of Rajah Baginda. He got married to the daughter of Rajah Baginda.

When Rajah Baginda reached the old age, he entrusted the administration of the government affairs of Bwansa Ummah to his son-in-law, Sayyid Abu Bakr, and he remained in complete retirement at Bud Datu until his death. His grave yard is still found to the present day on the top of Bud Datu, Indanan, Sulu.

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