Muslim Governance and Salafi Orthodoxy

Adiong, N.M. (2020) “Muslim Governance and Salafi Orthodoxy.” In: R.J.G. Ong, ed., Security Sector Reform and Governance in the Philippines. National Defense College of the Philippines and Security Reform Initiative, Inc., pp. 131-153.


The spread of Salafi orthodoxy (also known as the Wahabi-Salafi-Jihadist creed or sometimes shortened, Salafism) changed the dynamics of present-day believing Muslims. Using petro-dollars to build mosques, disseminate unscholarly translations of Qur’an and hadiths, and provide bursaries to Muslim Filipinos to learn Salafi orthodoxy in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, lead to the disturbance of pre-1960s polyphony of Islamicate cultures in the region. From forbidding Christmas greetings, wearing Saudi/Arab-styled clothing, banning certain music, disenfranchising women to treating non-Muslims (even Muslims that do not subscribe to Salafi orthodoxy) as enemies of the religion. It raises the pertinent question of how, in just over a half century, Salafi orthodoxy penetrated Moro’s multicultural traditions. The article started addressing Muslim perspectives on authority and territoriality as imperative components of an ideal Muslim governance. Despite these ideal notions in Muslim history, the last section presented an aberrant ideology that had supplanted historical views on authority and territoriality. Salafi orthodoxy became the dominant political theology which had affected the security of contemporary Muslim Filipinos.

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Nassef Manabilang Adiong

Nassef is the founder of Co-IRIS (International Relations and Islamic Studies Research Cohort), PHISO (Philippine International Studies Organization), and DSRN (Decolonial Studies Research Network). He works on interdisciplinary research between Islam and International Relations and explores the Bangsamoro society as he heads the Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS) of the Bangsamoro Parliament. Visit https://nassef.info/ for more details.