Islam in the Philippines: Beliefs, Practices, and Community

The Philippines is a country with a rich and diverse history, characterized by many religious beliefs and practices. One of the most important religions in the country is Islam, which has been present since the 15th century and today comprises at least 5% of the population.

Islam in the Philippines is the second-largest religion, shaped by a blend of indigenous culture and Islamic teachings. The community’s history is rich, and its institutions and education are prevalent. The Islamic community plays a crucial role in the country’s social and political landscape, and there are both challenges and opportunities for the future of Islam in the Philippines.

This article will explore the various facets of Islam in the Philippines. Including beliefs, practices, and community, as well as its history, education, and societal influences. By understanding the unique experiences of Philippine Muslims in this part of the world, we can gain insight into how religion plays an important role in this nation’s culture.

Islam in the Philippines Beliefs, Practices, and Community


Beliefs of Islam in the Philippines

Islam is the second largest religion in the Philippines, with a significant presence in Mindanao, the southern region of the country. It was introduced to the Philippines in the 14th century by Arab and Malay traders and later spread through the efforts of Islamic scholars and religious leaders.

Here are some of the core beliefs of Islam in the Philippines.

Beliefs of Islam in the Philippines
Beliefs of Islam in the Philippines



One of the core beliefs of Islam is the oneness of God or monotheism. Muslims believe in one God who is merciful, all-knowing, and all-powerful. They worship and pray only to Him, and believe that He created everything in the universe.


Five Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam are the foundation of the religion and serve as a guide for Muslims. They include:


Shahada (declaration of faith)

The Shahada is the Islamic declaration of faith, which states “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” The shahada represents a belief in the oneness of God and that Muhammad was his last prophet. It serves as an affirmation of faith and a commitment to live according to Islamic principles.


Salah (prayer)

Salah is an obligatory ritual prayer that is performed five times a day. Muslims believe that this form of worship will bring them closer to God and provide spiritual guidance and protection from harm. During salah, Muslims face the direction of Mecca, recite passages from the Qur’an, and engage in prostration.

This ritual reinforces faith, self-control, and humility. It also serves as an expression of gratitude to Allah for all His blessings. As such, salah is an important part of a Muslim’s daily life in the Philippines.


Zakat (charity)

Zakat is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and it is a mandatory charity tax. Muslims are required to give 2.5% of their wealth annually to those in need, such as the poor or orphans. Zakat is intended to promote social justice and equality by providing financial assistance for those in poverty.

It also serves as a reminder of the importance of generosity and selflessness. Zakat is used to help build schools, hospitals, and other services in impoverished parts of the Philippines. This practice has become increasingly popular among Muslims in recent years, as it serves as a way of helping the community while also earning spiritual rewards from Allah.


Sawm (fasting)

Sawm is a practice of fasting during the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this time, Muslims abstain from food, drink and sexual activity from dawn to dusk. This act of self-discipline serves as a reminder to Muslims that they should rely on God alone for sustenance.

It also allows them to cultivate empathy for those in need, as well as to strengthen their commitment to Allah. Fasting is seen as an important part of a Muslim’s spiritual journey, and it is beneficial for the community at large by promoting charity and solidarity.


Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and a required pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims must make at least once in their lifetime. During this journey, pilgrims wear the same white clothes to symbolize unity and visit seven sacred spots around the holy city.

The Hajj serves as an act of devotion to Allah, and pilgrims are encouraged to perform various rituals such as stoning the devil and circumambulating the Kaaba. The Hajj is an important part of being a Muslim in the Philippines, as it reinforces faith and strengthens communal ties. It is also seen as a way to gain forgiveness from Allah for one’s past sins.



The Quran is the holy book of Islam and is considered the literal word of God. It contains guidance and teachings for Muslims to follow and is believed to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel.



Muslims believe that God sent prophets to guide humanity throughout history, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Muhammad is considered the final and most significant prophet. Who brought Islam to the world and established its teachings and practices through the Quran and Hadith (sayings and practices of the Prophet).


Day of Judgment

Muslims believe in a final judgment day when all souls will be judged according to their deeds in life. Those who lived righteous lives will enter paradise, while those who committed evil deeds will be punished in hell.

Beliefs of Islam in the Philippines


Practices of Islam in the Philippines

The practices of Islam in the Philippines are largely similar to that observed in many other countries. Muslims are expected to pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan, and give zakat (almsgiving) as charity.

In addition, they must also abstain from alcohol and pork, and dress modestly according to Islamic standards. Philippine Muslims may also choose to engage in the Hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Social practices among Filipino Muslims generally follow Islamic teachings. For example, Muslim men and women often remain separate at social events, and there are usually no mixed-gender activities.

Additionally, marriages between Muslim couples must be officiated under Sharia Law. Finally, certain foods and drinks are forbidden, such as alcohol and pork. These practices help to preserve Islamic traditions in the Philippines.

Practices of Islam in the Philippines


The Islamic Community in the Philippines

The Islamic community in the Philippines is comprised of both native-born and foreign-born Muslims. There are several large mosques and Islamic centers across the country, as well as smaller communities and organizations devoted to preserving Islamic culture. Many Philippine Muslims come from a variety of backgrounds, including Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other countries.

The Muslim community in the Philippines is largely decentralized and self-governed, with a variety of organizations catering to different needs. These include the National Ulama Council of the Philippines (NUCP), which is an informal group of prominent Islamic leaders. The Philippine Mufti Council (PMC), an authoritative body that issues religious opinions and rulings; and the Darul Ifta of the Philippines (DIP), which is responsible for issuing fatwas.

Additionally, there are several Islamic organizations devoted to advocating for Muslim rights in the country. These entities, along with local mosques, help keep the Islamic faith alive in the Philippines.

The Islamic Community in the Philippines


History of Islam in the Philippines

The history of Islam in the Philippines dates back to the 15th century when Muslim traders and missionaries first arrived on the islands. These early Muslims intermarried with local Filipinos, helping to spread their faith throughout the region.

Over time, these communities began to coalesce into an organized religious minority known as Moros. In modern times, the Moros have become a distinct ethnic group with many of their own communities, traditions, and institutions.

Islam in the Philippines experienced a major revival during the Spanish colonial period from 1565 to 1898. This era saw the introduction of religious schools and madrasas (Islamic seminaries) which helped to spread knowledge about Islamic beliefs and practices.

Additionally, several prominent Muslim leaders emerged during this time who helped to unify the Islamic community in the Philippines and promote its growth. These figures include Sheikh Makdum, Sultan Kudarat, and Datu Bambarra.

History of Islam in the Philippines


Islamic Education and Institutions in the Philippines

Islam has had a presence in the Philippines for over 700 years, with the arrival of Arab and Malaysian traders. Today, the country is home to a significant Muslim population, mostly concentrated in the southern regions of Mindanao and Sulu. Islamic education and institutions play a crucial role in the lives of Muslim Filipinos, providing opportunities for learning and spiritual growth.

Islamic Education and Institutions in the Philippines
Islamic Education and Institutions in the Philippines


The Role of Madrasahs

Madrasahs, or Islamic schools, are an essential component of Islamic education in the Philippines. According to the Department of Education, there are over 7,000 registered madrasahs in the country, offering education to more than 500,000 students. Madrasahs provide a curriculum that emphasizes Islamic studies and the Arabic language, along with general education subjects like math, science, and English.

Islamic Universities

In addition to madrasahs, there are also several Islamic universities in the Philippines. Such as the International Islamic College in Marawi City, which offers degrees in Islamic studies, education, and business administration. These universities provide higher education opportunities for Muslim Filipinos who want to pursue careers in various fields while also strengthening their knowledge and practice of Islamic teachings.


Mosques and Islamic Centers

Mosques and Islamic centers serve as important community institutions for Muslim Filipinos, providing a space for worship, education, and social gatherings. The Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila, is one of the most prominent mosques in the country. Aside from providing a space for prayer, the mosque also conducts classes and seminars on Islamic teachings, history, and culture.


Integrating Islamic Education with Mainstream Education

The government has taken steps to integrate Islamic education with mainstream education. To provide Muslim Filipinos with equal opportunities for advancement. The establishment of the Madrasah Education Program in 2002 aimed to improve the quality of Madrasah education and align it with the national education system. Through this initiative, madrasah students can avail themselves of government scholarships and enroll in mainstream schools or universities.


Islam and Philippine Society

Islam has had a significant impact on Philippine society throughout its history. Muslims have been instrumental in various aspects of the nation’s development, from business and politics to culture and education. The Muslim community is active in social movements and advocacy initiatives related to women’s rights, economic development, environmental protection, and peacebuilding.

Muslims also play a role in inter-religious dialogue and understanding between different faiths. The National Ulama Conference of the Philippines, for example, holds regular interfaith dialogues to promote peace and harmony among various religious groups in the country.

Additionally, Islamic organizations like Al-Bayan Foundation and Madrasah Development Alliance have been engaged in relief and development work in disadvantaged areas. Through these initiatives and others, Muslims are helping to shape Philippine society for the better.

Islamic Education and Institutions in the Philippines


Challenges and Opportunities for Islam in the Philippines

Islam in the Philippines faces unique challenges and opportunities in a diverse and predominantly Christian country. With a rich history and vibrant culture, the Muslim minority in the Philippines struggles with issues of poverty, violence, and marginalization. However, there are also opportunities for growth and development within the Muslim community.

Here is a table highlighting some of the key challenges and opportunities facing Islam in the Philippines:


Challenge Opportunity
Marginalization and discrimination Building bridges and promoting dialogue with other faith communities
Poverty and lack of education Investing in education and economic development
Conflict and violence in Muslim-majority areas Promoting peace and reconciliation through community engagement and dialogue
Political marginalization Advocating for representation and political participation
Misunderstandings and Stereotypes about Islam Promoting interfaith dialogue and engaging in outreach and education

Islamic Education and Institutions in the Philippines


In conclusion

Islam plays a major role in the Philippines and continues to be an important part of the nation’s history, culture, and society. It is a faith that is deeply rooted in Philippine history. With beliefs and practices shaped by indigenous culture and Islamic teachings.

Muslims continue to make significant contributions to Philippine society in many areas, from politics and business to education and advocacy. As the country faces many challenges, opportunities for Islam in the Philippines will also arise. Allowing Muslims to have a greater voice in their nation’s future.

It is important to recognize the unique experiences of Philippine Muslims and ensure they are given equal opportunities to succeed in a multicultural society. With continued dialogue and understanding among different faiths, the Islamic community in the Philippines has a bright future ahead.