via Arab News, 11 August 2023: The Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque in Tawi-Tawi, Philippines, is the country’s first mosque, built in 1380, and its unbreakable pillars have become a symbol of Islamic heritage, surviving various destruction attempts and connecting the Philippines to the broader Islamic world.
The first mosque to be established in the Philippines, it was, according to local folklore, built by Arab trader and missionary Makhdum Karim in 1380, which makes it also one of the oldest in Southeast Asia.
“The establishment of the Sheikh Makhdum Mosque in the 14th century ushered the beginning of Islamization in the Philippines,” said Prof. Julkipli Wadi, dean of the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines.
“That was 200 years before the advent of Spanish colonialism and the entrenchment of the Westernized version of Christianity in this part of Southeast Asia.”
The pillars of the small white mosque in the municipality of Simunul in the southernmost island province of the Philippines, are believed to come from the original mosque and are considered sacred.