Ahmadiyya in Zamboanga City, Mindanao Region
The Zamboanga Peninsula is Mindanao’s smallest region. Located in Southwest Philippines. Two bodies of water form a ring around it – the Sulu Sea to the north and west, and the Moro Gulf to the south. About a third of the Peninsula’s population is made up of ethnic communities that give the region its unique culture and color. These include the Tausug, Samal, Yakan, Badjao, Subanen and the Chavacano.
This is a region of beauty, history and culture. It’s been blessed by nature. It is cherished by its people. According to Census 2015, the population of Zamboanga City was more than 861,000 people.
Ahmadiyyat in Zamboanga City
Long before the coming of the Ahmadiyyat in Zamboanga City, misleading information about the true nature of this Movement already reached the soil through some foreign Islamic 'Scholars' and some Native Muslim Scholars who instead of giving the people freedom to asses by themselves decided to sit in between and supplied the people with their own version and understanding about Ahmadiyyat. Books such as “al Qadiyaniah” by Ehsan Ilahi Zaheer were found in remote islands in the region. The 'Ulemas' spent their time in mosques, madrasas sharing their distorted version about Ahmadiyya and incite people to go against and encourage people to make no friends and contact with Ahmadis.
In late 1980’s there were Jamaat in Cagayang de Tawi-Tawi (now Mapun), the eldest Jamaat and Jamaat Simunul. Jamaat Simunul was established at the time of late Hadji Mohammad Ebba. He was a school superintendent. In the occasion he visited the Island, he also preached Ahmadiyyat and converts people of Simunul Island, especially teachers of an Elementary School there. Missionaries coming from Indonesia, before the establishment of Jamaat in Zamboanga City went straight to Simunul Island. It was recorded Mln. Muhyiddin Shah, Mln. Mahmood Ahmad Cheema and Mln. Sayuti Aziz and Mln. Khairuddin Barus were Missionaries from Indonesia who had visited the island. It is recorded that during the time Mln. Muhyiddin Shah there were Ahmadis in Zamboanga City. Mln. Muhyiddin managed to establish Majlis Ansharullah. According to the communication there were twelve (12) member of Anshar and they had gathered and elected their office bearers. The names of those officials were Mr. Arpa Sapal Muallil being the President of Ansharullah; Hji. Mohammad D. Sapal; Hji. Abdul Gapal Suba; Hji. Yunos Ismael and Oyng B. Ismael. Unfortunately, there were no trace of these people anymore when the Jamaat reestablished in Zamboanga during the time of Mln. Dadang Naser Ahmad, A Missionary also from Indonesia.
In 1993 another Indonesia Missionary, Mr. Dadang Nasser was assigned in the Philippines. As usual, he went straight to Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi together with his family. Later on, he managed to rent a house in Porcentro, Tumaga, Zamboanga City and started preaching in this city. One day, with the help of his Filipino friend, Muallim Dadang Naseer met an Imam, who live in Barangay Sinunuc, around 8 kilometers from the City, whose name Imam Abdullah Masillam. He was an Imam of a Sunni traditional mosque in Sinunuc, he has many followers in the area. In the discussion the Imam was satisfied with the explanations he then decided to join the Ahmadiyya Community and offered the same to his followers. Most of the followers of that time were agreed with him and joined the Ahmadiyya. From then on Ahmadiyya Misssionaries started visiting the mosque and arranged Islamic education there. This was intensified when Jamaat Indonesia, with the approval from Huzur, sent Mln. Khairuddin Barus to Philippine to start Muallim class for Filipino Ahmadies.
In 1994, Mln. Khairuddin Barus has set up a training course and tried to find Filipino student. Imam Abdullah was among those who recommended the students. The training was started at a house rented by the Jamaat in barangay Sta. Catalina, Zamboanga City. Mr. Suparman (Coming from Indonesian together with Mln Barus, as Dai Ilallah), Mr. Abdullah Mulsiko (Malaysian), and other Filipinos namely; Mr. Felan Heding, Sajid Satim, Umar Sioga, Ibrahim, Moulvie Amin, and Nafeesur Rahman Suhod (the last 2 were come from Simunul Island). The trainers were Mln. Khairuddin Barus Sahib and Mln. Hidayatullah Sahib (for some time).
On May 1995 fresh graduated Missionaries from Indonesia, Mr. Abdul Mukhlis, MR. Yayan Mulyana and Mr. Zafrullah Rarin came to Philippines to help educating the new Ahmadis. In this year, through the effort of Mln. Khairuddin Barus, the Jamaat was able to buy a lot in Mampang, Zamboanga City and a simple wooden house which then served as mission house. After sometimes the training for local Muallim was conducted in Sinunuc, where our new converts mostly reside.
In the closing of 1997, Mln. Khairuddin Barus was transfered to Papua New Guinea and replaced by Mr. Sibthe Hasan (Indonesian Misionary) who then resided in Mampang.
In 2003 the Jamaat also bought a plot in Pitogo and built another mosque. Later on in 2008 the Jamaat bought one hectare lot near the present mosques which has direct access to main road. Under the administration of Sibthe Hasan the Jamaat was able to construct mosque in Jamaat’s lot in Mampang, Zamboanga City, bought in 1995. The Jamaat also bought some vehicles and a house and lot in Paranaque City Metro Manila which serve as Mission House up to present time.
In May 2005 The Philippines Jamaat held its first Jalsa Salana The first Jalsa Salana of Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Philippines was successfully held on 6th May to 8th May 2005 in a 1,085 sq meters Jama`at compound at Pitogo village, Barangay Sinunuc Zamboanga City.
The Jalsa was inaugurated at 1.30 p.m. after the Friday prayers with flag hoisting ceremony. The Amir of Jama`at Ahmadiyya Indonesia hoisted the flag of Jama`at and the country’s flag was hoisted by the President and Missionary In Charge, Sibthe Ahmad Hasan. It was followed by silent prayer led by the Amir Jama`at Ahmadiyya Indonesia. This Jalsa was attended by 145 participants from various branches including non-Ahmadis and 5 representatives of local government headed by the Barangay Chairman, Mario O. Roca. This was for the first time, the flag of Jama`at Ahmadiyya flew alongside the Philippines flag. It was a simple start of Jalsa Salana Jamaat Philippines, the jalsa gah was constructed using bamboo. The construction took some week to finish, because the number of volunteer was very small. Anyway it was a very successful Jalsa Salana and the people in Sinunuc Barangay (Village) started to know about Jamaat Ahmadiyya and its activity. Later on the Annual Jalsa Salana and the Celebration of Ahmadiyya Centenary in 1889 were held in Mampang, Zamboanga City.
In March 2009 Mr. Sibthe Ahmad Hasan was replaced by Mr. Masum Ahmad as National President and Missionary In Charge.
In the following years, the Jalsa were held in Mampang, and attended by members of Jamaat coming from Simunul, Cagayan, Siganggang, Sulu and Zamboanga itself until year 2012. In 2013 the Jalsa venue was transferred to new location in Jamaat’s wider lot in Pitogo, Sinunuc, Zamboanga City.
In 2011, year Jamaat also started building new mission house in Pitogo, Sinunuc Village, Zamboanga City. This project was finished in the end of the year and become the centre of the activity in Sinunuc, Zamboanga City.
On February 2012, The Philippines Jamaat was visited by Huzur’s representative, Maulana Azhar Haneef from USA. In his visit, the Jamaat in Zamboanga was able to arrange a meeting with a Professor from Western Mindanao State University, Professor Eddie Ladja, Dean of Islamic and Asian Studies. The meeting was held in a hotel in Zamboanga City, also present some members of the Jamaat in Zamboanga City. Maulana Azhar Haneef met most of Ahmadis in Mindanao Region. In that occasion the Jamaat presented to the Professor a small book ‘Unu Baha’ in Ahmadiyah’ (What is Ahmadiyyat?) in Tausug language.
On 19 October 2014, Dr. Iftikhar Ayaz from UK sent by the Head of the Community to visit Philippines. In this occasion Philippines Jamaat through untiring effort of Mr. Abdul Alim, a devout Ahmadi who was working for UNICEF, held the first seminar in Makati Shangri La Hotel, Manila, attended by 30 participants. The theme of the Seminar was Democracy, Human Rights and Islam: Pathway to Peace for the Philippines. The response from the participants was very positive. The Jamaat were able to distribute 22 copies of Huzur’s book ‘World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace’ to the participants and 30 copies of The Review of Religions, and also offered free subscription, there are 8 people accepted the offer from among the non-Ahmadis participants of the seminar.
Taking advantage from the blessed visit of Dr. Iftikhar Ayaz, on 23 October 2014 Jamaat Zamboanga also held a seminar in Garden Orchid Hotel which was attended by around 50 participants from various walks of life. The Seminar tackle the them "Peace and Unity in the Context of Islam." read more...
The next day, 24 October 2014, Dr. Iftikhar delivered Friday Sermon in Jamaat Mosque, Pitogo,Sinunuc Village, Zamboanga City. Dr. Ayyaz also visited the lot proposed for mosque and led an earnest prayer on the location for the progress of Ahmadiyyat in the Philippines.