Narrating Islamic Origins in the Philippines: From Princess Urduja to Alexander the Great

In: International Journal of Islam in Asia
Isaac Donoso Professor, University of Alicante Alicante Spain

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Different disconnected stories have been associated with the origins of Islam in the Philippines, enforcing historical narratives that have avoid placing the lens on other facts. The story of Princess Urduja that Ibn Baṭṭūṭa included in his Riḥla, dominated the ethos of an Edenic past with Arabic connections. The Spanish concept of Reconquista and the articulation of the so-called ‘Moro Wars’ pervaded ad nauseam the Moro condition and the Philippine national construction. The presence of Alexander the Great in Philippine silsilas have certainly received unequal attention, without going further than folklore. This paper aims to clarify myth and history in narrating the origins of Islam in the Philippines. In doing so recent historiographical trends and insights on Islamic mission in early modern Philippines are examined.

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