IN PHOTO: BARMM Interim Chief Minister Hon. Ahod Balawag Ebrahim delivers message during the 639th Founding Anniversary of Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque at Tubig Indangan, Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi on November 7, 2019 . On the presidential table are BTA Parliament members, and LGU officials

Simunul celebrates 639th Founding Anniversary of Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque

BONGAO TAWI-TAWI- Proud of its significant contribution in both historical and religious landmarks in the Philippines, the people of Tawi-Tawi particularly Simunul inhabitants commemorated the 639th Founding anniversary of Sheikh Karimul Makdum Mosque in Simunul Island Municipality in Tawi-Tawi on November 7. 

“Simunul Ku, Pamanis Ku” that means (My simunul, I make you beautiful) is the theme of this year event and was highlighted with cultural parades, and other activities prepared by the Local Government Units and its agencies. 

The commemoration of the historic coming of Sheikh Karimul Makhdum who brought Islam in Tawi-Tawi and neighboring islands, and the putting-up of the first mosque (masjid) was held in the covered court of Tubig (Boheh) Indangan, Simunul, Tawi-Tawi on November 7, 2019.

The grand commemoration of Islam’s first mosque in the Philippines was graced by BARMM Interim Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim, ministers of the region along with members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament who brought with brought with them livelihood package, medical kits, school supplies through “TABANG,” a social services delivery operation of BARMM Regional Government. 

 Tawi-Tawi Provincial Governor Hon. Yshmael “Mang” Sali, and Prof.  Abdulla A. Ahang, Parliament Member representing Tawi-Tawi in the BTA were in attendance.

In her welcome message, Simunul Municipal Mayor Hon. Wasilah T. Abdurahman thanked all guests and visitors for gracing the celebration, and briefly narrated the limelight of the municipality which is not only inscribed in the chapter of Philippines history but also to the Muslim Ummah in the Philippines when Islam was first introduced in Simunul Island, and erected a place of Worship (Mosque) by Arab Muslim Trader and Missionary Sheikh Karimul Makhdum in 1380. 

IN PHOTO- The Sheikh Karimul Makdum Mosque located at Boheh Indangan, Simunul Tawi-Tawi. built in 1380 made of local materials like nipa, wood, etc following the native architectural design. Today, the relics of its four pillars still stand in non-decayed condition in the newly-renovated mosque in its original site 

Mayor Aburahman also narrated their attachment during the reign of the Sultanate of Sulu, and the recruitment of some young Sama who were to undergo training at the Island of Corrigidor, eand later massacred 1968, now known as the infamous “Jabidah Massacre.” 

The young Sama were indiscriminately killed after refusing to invade Sabah, Malaysia. The bloody slaughter of Sama trainees triggered the Bangsamoro Revolution in Mindanao. 

Tawi-Tawi Governor Yshmael “Mang” I. Sali said in his remarks that if not the advent of Islam to Simunul there would have been no BARMM today. He also made an appeal to BARMM Regional Government to intensify programs and services for Tawi-Tawi particularly to Simunul Municipality.          

Minister Mohagher Iqbal of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) also shared the history on the advent of Islam in the Philippines. Minister Iqbal narrated a common perception that when Simunul is mentioned, there are three things that occur to people’s mind, first the advent of Islam in the Philippines, second the 1968 Jabidah Massacre, and third, Simunul is known for Beautiful Women. 

Minister Iqbal also said that through the abled, competent and enlightened leadership of Chief Minister Ebrahim change is coming in the BARMM, yet we still need time, patience and assertion of what is due to us.           

For his part, Interim Chief Minister Ebrahim expressed his gratitude to Simunul LGU for the invitation. He said that they have long wanted to visit the place where the cradle of Islam in Philippines first erected. 

He told the audience that there is a program called ‘Tabang”, a converging effort of all BARMM Ministries that are delivering social services to the needy Bangsamoro. 

MP Ahang said in his closing remarks that, the significant event in Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Anniversary does not limit only to historical heritage or for tourist attraction but it has a divine importance and implication for every Muslim in this country, as it reminded us of the beginning of Islamic propagation in the Philippines

The advent of Islam to Simunul paved the way for the spread of Islamic Faith not only to the Moros of Tawi-Tawi, and its neighboring islands but also to Luzon and Visayas, most notably in Manila far ahead than Ferdinand Magellan who arrived, and landed in Limasawa in 1521. Magellan brought with him the Sword and the Cross, and converted the natives into Christianity.

Many years later, Datu Lapu-Lapu slew Magellan in the Battle of Mactan, and was not able to return to Spain, except for some of his companions.