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Information about Sheik Makhdum Mosque

5 Google reviews
PFMM+5VV, Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines
Distance from center
9.3 km
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Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque

Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque

The Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque, the first and oldest Islamic place of worship in both the country and Southeast Asia, is located in Brgy. Tubig Indangan, Simunul, Tawi-Tawi. Originally constructed in 1380 by an Arab trader named Sheikh Makhdum Karim, the mosque underwent reconstruction in the 1960s following its destruction during World War II in 1941.

There are four wooden pillars carved with intricate designs standing in the mosque today that are protected by steel frames with glass. When you visit the mosque, it is known that you have to make a wish as you touch these wooden pillars. The locals also believe that Simunul Island will sink if these pillars are destroyed. Back in the day, some locals held the belief that they would be healed by breaking off a portion of the pillar's wood and combining it with their drinks. As of today, this is not allowed, and locals and tourists are only allowed to touch it. 

Initially, it was believed that these wooden pillars in the current Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque were the original pillars from its construction in 1380. However, the National Museum of the Philippines conducted research and has established that these pillars actually date back to the 17th century. Despite this, the four pillars of the Sheik Makhdum Mosque are considered sacred and hold significant cultural importance in the Philippines. They are recognized as the oldest Islamic artifacts in the country, with an estimated age of at least 400 years.

The Sheik Makhdum Mosque has been officially recognized as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission and designated as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum.

If you intend to visit Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque, you will be required to dress in the standard Muslim attire upon entering. You may rent a Muslim attire on a donation basis. Additionally, it is strongly recommended that donations be made to the mosque for its upkeep. Visitors are urged to dress modestly and avoid any attire that may be considered revealing.

How to get there

From Manila, book a flight going to Zamboanga City. Upon arrival at the Zamboanga International Airport, take another flight going to Sanga-Sanga Airport. From there, ride a boat going to Simunul Island. Once you reach the port, a big arch will welcome you, and you can walk to the mosque from there.

For a hassle-free trip, you can book a tour to Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi, with included transfers, fees, and a visit to the Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque so that you can also visit other destinations and tourist attractions of Tawi-Tawi.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque can depend on various factors, including weather conditions, local events, and personal preferences. However, generally, the dry season is from December to May and is considered a favorable time for travel in the Philippines, including Tawi-Tawi. During this period, you can expect lower chances of rainfall and more comfortable temperatures.

It's essential to consider local customs and events, such as religious celebrations, when planning your visit. Additionally, checking for any travel advisories or restrictions is advisable.


Frequently asked questions

Is there an entrance fee to Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque?

The mosque operates on a donation basis, and visitors are encouraged to contribute to its maintenance. The entrance fee is not fixed but relies on voluntary donations.

Can I take photographs inside the Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque?

While photography is generally allowed, visitors are advised to ask for permission before taking pictures, especially during prayer times. Respect for the sacredness of the mosque is crucial.

Are there any local customs or practices I should be aware of when visiting Sheik Makhdum Mosque?

Visitors should show respect by maintaining a quiet and reverent demeanor. It's also customary to leave donations inside the mosque for its upkeep. Modesty in behavior and attire is highly appreciated.

Are there specific visiting hours for Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque?

The mosque is typically open to visitors during regular hours, but it's advisable to check in advance for any specific visiting hours or potential closures due to religious events or activities.

Can I explore the surrounding area of Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque?

While the main focus is on the mosque itself, tourists can explore the surrounding area of Simunul Island, Tawi-Tawi, to experience the local culture and natural beauty. It's recommended to be respectful of the local community and customs.

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