Sultan Kudarat: the Sultan who resisted conversion to Catholicism

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On this day (January 13). A Filipino Muslim hindered and resisted conversion to Catholicism hailed as our national hero. Better known as Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat. Born in 1581 as an Iranun nobleman, Dipatuan (translates to Master) in Malay, and Kudarat/Qudarat (translates to Power) in Arabic. A direct descendant of Shariff Kabungsuwan, and the 7th Sultan of Maguindanao from 1619 to 1671. A skilled swordsman. A shrewd strategist and politician.

He spent most of his life as a seafarer and reached many shores throughout the Philippine Islands. He led many attacks that are occupied by the Spaniards and considered as a threat. After taking the town of Leyte in November 1603, he witnessed the collaboration between his father Sultan Laut Buisan, and the Waray chiefs. Buisan opened their minds to the Waray chiefs if they'll be promised to be protected by the Spaniards including other tribes around with their area. So with this, both leaders entered into a blood compact.

Muhammad rose to the ranks and in 1619, he earned the royal title Kachil (translates to young prince), then succeeded his father as Sultan of Maguindanao. With his first two years (1619 - 1621) there was a war between him and Rajah Buayan, but both sides asked help from the Dutch East Indies to stay neutral but warned them that the war was only to the advantage of the conquistadors.

He began his conquest to liberate the islands against Spanish rule, including Manila from 1633 to 1636 with only two objectives: destroy Spanish influence, and liberate the people of Luzon & Visayas under Spanish imperialism. With his successful campaigns, Captain-General Corcuera was tasked to led an expedition with combined elements of Spanish, Peruvians, and Christianized natives against Muhammad. On March 13, 1637, Lamitan was fallen. The expedition burned mosques, cottas, plantations, and captured treasures of the city. Muhammad re-positions near the outskirts of Lamitan, but he was wounded and retreated along with his men, and brought to an Iranun settlement to recover. The Siege of Lamitan was the first defeat of Sultan Kudarat. Aside from burning and ransacking the city of Lamitan, another aim given by General Corcuera was to convert all Muslims including the Lumads to Catholicism. He even tried to persuade Rajah Maputi to turn against the Sultan.

After hearing the news that some Datus aided the Spaniards to capture Lamitan, the Sultan rallied all the Maranaw leaders and went furious by presenting them the consequences of their betrayal during his speech of October 1639.

“What have you done? Do you realize the subjection would reduce you to? A toilsome slavery under the Spaniards! Turn your eyes to the subject nations and look at the misery to which such glorious nations had been reduced to. Look at the Tagalogs and Visayans! Are you better than they? Do you think the Spaniards consider you of better stuff? Have you not seen how the Spaniards trample them under their feet? Do you not see every day how they are obliged to work at the oars and the factories with all their rigors? Can you tolerate anyone with a little Spanish blood to beat you up and grasp the fruit of your labor? Allow yourselves to be subjects today and tomorrow you will be at the oars; I at least will be a pilot, the biggest favor they will allow a chief. Do not let their sweet words deceive you: their promises facilitate their deceits, which little by little, enable them to control everything. Reflect on however the minor promises to the chiefs of other nations were not honored until they became masters of them all. See now what is being done to these chiefs and how they are led by a rod. Don’t we have a right to regain back our Independence?”

With his speech, they were re-awakened and didn't realize the consequences of their actions. All leaders present at that meeting heeded and apologized for what they have done. Following his speech, they refused to aid the Spaniards. In 1642, another expeditionary force challenges the Sultan to invade Simuay. He was more prepared, and he almost massacred the expedition.

The Sultan declared war against the Spaniards in 1656. He wrote to the Sultans of Sulu, Ternate, Brunei, and Makassar to forge alliances to defend their beliefs and coordinated attacks on various strongholds in Visayas. Following the attack of Muhammad's forces, peace was restored between the Spaniards and the Muslims.

Commemorative Post Stamp of Sultan Kudarat

The Sultan was laid to rest in 1671 after ruling his kingdom for 52 years. His grandchildren referred to him as Nasir ud-Din. In September 1973, former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos issued a commemorative post stamp following the Letter of Instruction 126 to honor the Sultan and his contributions to our nation against Spanish domination for over 400 years.

Up to this day, Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat is still remembered by the people of Mindanao, and by the Filipino people.

Sources:

Lead Image from https://www.bayaniart.com/articles/sultan-kudarat-biography/

https://kahimyang.com/kauswagan/articles/875/today-in-philippine-history-january-13-1975-sultan-kudarat-was-hailed-as-national-hero-of-the-filipino-people

https://www.esquiremag.ph/long-reads/features/sultan-kudarat-the-philippines-most-powerful-sultan-a00293-20190703-lfrm

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Hello po. Thank you sir sa upvote mo saking article 😅

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Your welcome!

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