Research Paper (postgraduate), 2007
12 Pages, Grade: A+
A Brief Balik-Islam Introductory Situation in the Philippines
A Concise Look in the History of Islam in the Philippines
What are you investigating? Why?
What have others done within the subject area?
Discussions to Answer the Posited Research Problem
Which part of that body of knowledge your paper will be added to?
Work Cited and Sources
The researcher had difficulties in conceptualizing the empirical paper due to the anthropological identity that it must attained. There are various revisions and changes encountered, however, along the way (specifically during a discussion on anthropological methodologies on themes across narratives) the researcher have fully decided what is appropriate and of course passionate about in creating a research paper. Henceforth, the researcher is specializing in Islamic studies and Middle East affairs in the helm of International Studies. So in light of all the discussions, we have come to a determined empirical paper:
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BALIK-ISLAM (MUSLIM REVERTS)
AND FULL-FLEDGED MUSLIMS UNDER THE AUSPICES
OF ISLAMIC TEACHINGS IN PHILIPPINE SETTING
This study will be composed of two presentations; the first one is a personal narratives difference between two prominent personalities in the league of ulamas about perceptions on Islamic theology and contemporary plight of Muslims in the Philippines. One is a full-fledged Muslim in the person of Uztadz Muhammad H. Cana, while the other one is a balik-Islam in the person of Hajji Abdul Salam. The framework used is Sakili’s model of Muslim space, each of their views and insights will be examined by determinants extracted by the researcher from his book. The second one is a material presentation of getting a sample of 10 respondents from the group of Muslims and Balik-Islam. They will be given a questionnaire and answer it with yes or no responses. Thus, this will be attest to the relationship that the researcher would like to posit in his hypothesis.
There is an estimated 200,000 members of the Balik Islam movement in the Philippines. Where before, Muslims were concentrated in the southern part of the Philippines and represented various ethnic minority groups, Muslims now include a large number of converts, called Balik Islam who come from the traditionally Catholic provinces of the Philippines. Many of them converted to Islam when they were overseas contract workers in Middle Eastern countries, especially others converted upon their return to the Philippines and still others converted after learning about Islam in the Philippines.
Among the new converts are women who were introduced to Islam by their husbands who converted while in the Middle East. They not only adopt Islamic beliefs but also the clothing prescribed by their leaders and gender roles that they believe come with the new religion. The major assertions of the paper are: First, Islam provides the women converts with a new sense of identity and spiritual fulfillment that were not satisfied by their previous religion, Roman Catholicism. Second, conversion brought about new perceptions of women’s roles as they learned and delved into the teachings of Islam. Third, this new perception led to a new form of relationship between the women converts, their families and the rest of Philippine society.
Convert to Islam Society in the Philippines (CONVISLAM), is an organization established by Lauhi De Leon in 1968 for Muslim reverts. Ironically, its office was built in the vicinity of the Quiapo Church in Manila. Since its founding, CONVISLAM conducted missionary activities, Islamic propagation and published Islamic materials. Membership to the organization was mainly confined to converts and other concerned Muslims.
In Metro Manila, the Balik-Islam have successfully initiated and founded many Islamic centers. There are at least four major centers operating in Metro Manila namely, the Islamic Information Center, Discover Islam, Islamic Wisdom Worldwide, and Fisabilillah. Unfortunately, some of these centers were closed as they were implicated with terrorism by the Philippine Government; an accusation strongly denounced by the Muslim reverts. This development affected the activities of Muslim reverts in the country.
There are numerous theories about how Islam came to Southeast Asia and the Philippines. One theory is that Muslim traders established trading centers in Southeast Asia as commercial stopovers to China and intermarried daughters of village chiefs. There was a need for Muslim education in these trade centers, which brought about Muslim teachers and missionaries coming from Arabic regions. Another theory is conversion leaders of communities came to local superiors and forced the population to become Muslim. Another theory is that local people were automatically attracted to Islam, belonging to a larger community as a group of equal people in Muslim brotherhood, and the religion had respect for local culture and religion.
Islam spread in the Philippines from the 13th century through the 1500's. The people combined Islam with their own practices and beliefs. Muslims founded communities (called sultanates) with the chief of each community (sultans). Muslim sultans in the Southern Philippines went with a fleet to northern islands for slaves to bring back to Sulu province. Once the slaves were integrated into the community, they were encouraged to marry Muslim Moros of the south so children could acquire freedom.
During Spanish colonization for over 300 years, the Spanish took over the economy, politics, and brought their culture and religion (Catholicism) to the people. They wanted to make people Christian instead of native religions and Muslim. The Spanish sent fleets and armies of converted Christian Filipinos to sultanates to fight the Moros. The Spaniards wanted to annex sultanates to their Spanish colonies. Moro people weakened delivery of resistance due to a lack of modern equipment. Increased recognition of the Spanish as rulers lead to Christian settlers.
The United States colonization period imposed beliefs through education of the Muslim people. The United States encouraged Christian people from Northern Philippines to integrate to Sulu and Mindanao. They gave Southern people the chance to study in Manilla to be taught modern Western ways, which allowed the United States to get a grip over the Southern Philippines and Islamic people.
After the Second World War (post-1941) the Philippines became independent, and now, the predominant religion is Christianity. The Muslims, congregating in the south, are politically inferior to the predominantly Christian north. From the 1950’s onward, Muslims from all over the world have tried to make the Islamic community stronger in the Southern Philippines and they have supported them through money and other aids. Now, Moro nationalism is encouraged from other Muslim countries, and so has the idea of the Moros separating from the Republic of the Philippines. In recent years, various news sources have described the Southern Philippines as a site for violent terrorist groups.
 A study done by Vivienne Angeles in her work on “From Catholic to Muslim: Changing Perceptions of Gender Roles in a Balik Islam Movement in the Philippines.”
 Also, in the study done by Vivienne Angeles, her major source of information is the women’s conversion narratives which came out of interviews conducted with women who belong to the Islamic Studies Call and Guidance, a Balik Islam group.
 Abdel-Azeem A. Moh. Siddique on his thesis about Balik-Islam.
 Taken from the monograph of History of Islam in the Philippines with an URL source at <http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~aefrazie/world%20politics116/history_islam/history_islam.htm>
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