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JAWI MATERIALS OF THE MUSLIM SOUTH
 
     
 

“Precious records of the history, society and culture of Mindanao and its diverse Muslim communities.” “Crucial to the reconstruction of a more balanced and more realistic history of the Muslim South.”

This is how Dr. Samuel K. Tan describes the value of the jawi documents that have been located, compiled, translated and transliterated under a pioneering research project of the U.P. Mindanao Studies Program which he had served as director-convenor.

 
 


The initial results of the project are presented in the Jawi Documentary Series of three booklets authored by Dr. Tan and published by the University of the Philippines - Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP-CIDS) in Diliman, Quezon City (1996, 2002).

Jawi is folk Islamic writing that used the Arabic script to convey messages in the indigenous Muslim tongue. Jawi documents have been found in the Tausug and Maguindanao languages. These documents are also locally called surat.

Jawi documents cover correspondence and other forms of discourses, which express personal opinions and sentiments or official policies and recommendations, directly written by or scribed in behalf of Maguindanao and Tausug royalty, and texts of 19th century treaties. Others are letters and statements written or issued by religious leaders, local officials or customary leaders.

Additional jawi documents are miscellaneous materials that represent a cross-section of communication generated by the population at large under the Sulu Sultanate.

The Jawi Documentary Series consists of three volumes: No. 1-Annotated Bibliography of Jawi Materials of the Muslim South; No. 2 –The Surat Maguindanaon; and No. 3-An Annotation of the Marsada Kitabs. It covers some 300 documents related to the affairs of the Sultanate in the late 19th century and up to the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935.

The third volume annotates nine small and old books, locally called kitab, which are written in jawi and cover a variety of notes, commentaries, interpretations, formulas and guidelines on the practice of Islam. The books were collected from Barangay Marsada of the municipality of Panglima Estuno, province of Sulu.

“To date, these jawi materials are the only extant records documenting Maguindanaon and Tausug reactions to Spanish and American colonial regimes that can be analyzed to countercheck colonial records and literature on Muslim Filipinos,” says Dr. Tan.

He concludes, “It is hoped that other than generating general interest, the Maguindanaon and Tausug surats would inspire all Filipinos—indigenous peoples, Muslims and Christians alike—to take pride in the Islamic facet of the complex cultural heritage of the Philippines.”

A retired professor of history at U.P. Diliman, Dr. Tan was born in Siasi, Sulu of Chinese-Tausug-Sama parentage. He earned his Ph.D. in Social Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, New York.

 
     
     
 
 
MUSLIM CULTURE & ARTS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
     
 
  Copyright 2011 Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication