HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 53 no. 1 (2007)

The Shari’ah in Muslim Filipino History

Calbi A. Asain

Discipline: Cultural and Ethnic Studies, Philippine History



The Shari’ah or Islamic Law is a crucial contribution of Muslim Filipinos to the history of Filipino law and jurisprudence. It is as old as Islam itself in the Philippines, for being Muslim means adherence to the Islamic Law. Hence, tracing the history of the Shari’ah is like tracing the history of Islam in the Philippines.

Despite the coming of foreign colonizers to our country, particularly the Spaniards who attempted to proselytize the natives and to destroy Islam, the Shari’ah has remained intact –governing the lives of the Muslim Filipinos upon their conversion to Islam and serving as a major unifying force for them in their struggle for recognition and identity in a predominantly Christian country.

This paper expounds the beginnings of the Shari’ah in the country, its codification process, and its gradual integration into the law of the land, which is now cognizant of the mixed or multi-ethnic nature of the Filipino society in response to our continuing efforts for national reconciliation and solidarity.