With some minor differences or variations, the Maguindanao tarsilas narrate how the Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuwan arrived on the shores of Mindanao with a sea-fariing people, after a long voyage from Johore. It is claimed that he was a son of the Sharif Ali Zein ul-Abidin, an Arab from Mecca (or Hadhramaut) who settled in Johore where he married a daughter (or sister, in other accounts) of the Sultan Iskandar Julkarnain. Clearly what is meant here is that the Sharif married a princess of the royal family of Johore that was descended from the dynasty founded by Iskandar Julkarnain, the first Malacca sultan. In the list of Malacca sultans, only one, the first bears his name; while in the list of the early Johore sultans, none bears it. For good chronological reasons, Muhammad Kabungsuwan could not have been a grandson of the first sultan of Malacca whose rule began around 1400. Consequently, it would have been more accurate to have stated that the Sharif Ali Zein ul-Abidin married into the Johore family that descended from Sultan Iskandar Julkarnain.
It is interesting to note that there are supplementary sections in the tarsilas regarding the genealogy of the Sharif Ali Zein ul-Abidin from the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him. This is unlike the Sulu genealogy that does not contain a genealogy of the Sharif ul-Hashim but merely asserts that he was a descendant of the Prophet, may peace be upon him.
But the Maguindanao royal line is not entirely of “foreign” descent for, as the tarsilas assert, Muhammad Kabungsuwan married a few daughters of local chieftains, thus giving his descendants a claim to hold land, over and above a right to rule over Muslims. His daughters, too, later on, married local chiefs. In this light, it is evident why the rulers of Buayan, the Iranun datus, and minor sultans among the Maranaos have all claimed descent from Muhammad Kabungsuwan.
Since the kingdom of Johore was not established before 1511, the year of Malacca’s fall to the Portuguese, the coming of Muhammad Kabungsuwan must have taken place after this event.
The Maguindanao Rulers and Sultans;
1. Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuwan:
According to the Maguindanao tarsilas, his father was Sharif Ali Zein ul-Abidin from Arabia, and his mother belonged to the royal family of Johore. It may be speculated that he arrived on the shores of Mindanao around 1515. He first settled in what is now Malabang.
2. Sharif Maka-alang:
He was a son of Muhammad Kabungsuwan and surnamed “saripada.” His mother Angintabu was a daughter of an Iranon chief from the area now known as Malabang.
In 1543, when the Villalobos expedition, some Spaniards were able to go to the mouth of a big river (Pulangi) where they were informed by the inhabitants that their chief was called “Sarriparra.” This being a variation of “Salipada” or “Saripada”, it can be surmised that the chief was Sharief Maka-alang; especially if it is considered that not only does a tarsila explicitly state that the Sharif had such a title but that such a title was not found among his immediate successors.
3. Datu Bangkaya:
He was a son of Sharif Maka-alang. In 1574, Guido de Lavezaris wrote to the Spanish King that the chief of the Mindanao River wanted to become a friend of the Spaniards. In another Spanish report, dated 1579, this chief is referred to as “Asulutan” (Arabic, Assultan) with the information that he was a father of Dimasangkay and that he had already died. This refers probably to Datu Bangkaya who by 1574 must have been reigning for some time, since in 1579, his son, Dimasangkay, was considered by the Spaniards to have been “an old man.” Datu Bangkaya could also have been the ruler in the Pulangi who was reported to have died in 1578.
4. Datu Dimasangkay:
He was a son of Bangkaya. Spanish reports say that he was ruling in 1579 and that he was an old man. The leading datus of the Iranuns and Maranaos all claim descent from him.
5. Datu Salikula:
He was a half brother of Dimasangkay and also known as Gugu Salikula. Up to early 1597, he appeared to be a leading chief of Maguindanao, Dimasangkay being dead at that time. According to tarsilas, he married a Sulu princess, and therefore he must have been the Maguindanao chief seen in Jolo in 1597 where he was supposed to have been vanished for being “restless and rebellious” and who was further described as a brother-in –law of the Sulu ruler and an uncle of the Maguindanao rajah muda (erroneously called “king”) by the Spaniards. He was chief around 1585-1597.
6. Kapitan Laut Buisan:
He was a younger half-brother of both Dimasangkay and Salikula; he was sometimes called by the title “Katchil.” His rule began around 1597 when he displaced Salikula; he controlled his nephew, the rajah muda, a son of Dimasangkay. He must have been chief at least up to 1619, since Dutch sources mention relations with the immediate predecessor of Qudarat at this date.
7. Sultan Qudarat:
A son of Buisan, he was known to the Spaniards as Corralat and to some Dutch writers as Guserat. In 1619-1621, there was war between Buayan and Maguindanao, probably dynastic or a contest for primacy in the Pulangi. Qudarat must have been involved in this war for not long after a temporary reversal he appears as exercising some political power over Buayan. Furthermore, he must have consolidated his power well enough after this to enable him to attack Sarangani in 1625. He died about the end of 1671 after having ruled for about half a century. His rule, with varying fortunes and at different capitals, can, therefore, be fairly estimated to have taken place from 1619 to 1671. By 1645, he was already using the title of “sultan”. As a young man he was entitled “Katchil.” His regal name was Qudratullah, which denoted that the bearer’s power came from God. His great grandchildren referred to him as Nasir ud-Din.
8. Sultan Dundang Tidulay:
He was a son of Qudarat and there is a report that he died before his father. If he ruled at all, it must have been for a very short time. He was referred to as Saif ud-Din by his grandchildren.
9. Sultan Barahaman (Arabic, Abd ur-Rahman):
He was a son of Sultan Tidulay. He was also known as Minulu-sa-Rahmatullah. His sons referred to him as Muhammad Shah. He was the Almo Sobat (Arabic, Al Muthabbat) to William Dampier or the Almo al Lasab Brahaman to the Spaniards. The name of his grandfather Qudarat was also used by him. He was heard of as sultan as early as 1678. Information given to Dutch officials at Ternate was that he died on July 6, 1699.
10. Sultan Kahar ud-Din Kuda:
He was a younger brother of Barahaman and was sometimes known as Jamal ul-Azam. He also assumed the title of Amir ul-Umara as well as that of Maulana. His reign was contested by two of his nephews, the sons of Barahaman. To make more secure his authority, he asked the aid of the Sulu Sultan Shahab ud-Din who came over to Simuay where Kuda held court. A misunderstanding as well as bitterness due to a long standing feud brought about a pitched battle between the Sulus and Maguindanaons. In the struggle, the Sulu Sultan personally slew Kuda. This event took place on August 10, 1702.
11. Sultan Bayan ul-Anwar:
His legal name was Jalal ud-Din. Entitled “Dipatuan” during lifetime, he was known after his death as Mupat Batua. He was a son of Sultan Barahaman. In 1701, he was already intriguing against his uncle the sultan. He succeeded to the throne in 1702 and held court in Slangan but was often in Sibugay. His younger bother Jafar Sadiq, the rajah muda, revolted against him but he managed to keep the throne. In 1736, Anwar “abdicated” in favor of his son Tahir ud-Din Malinug (No. 13). He died around 1745.
12. Sultan Muhammad Jafar Sadiq Manamir:
He was a younger brother of Sultan Buyan ul-Anwar. He was sometimes referred to as Amir ud-Din. Referred to as Maulana while alive, he was known after his death as Shahid Mupat. He contested the reign of his older brother but he was forced to flee to Tamontaka in 1710. Dutch officials referred to him as “the young king” to distinguish him from sultan Bayan ul-Anwar. By 1725, he had assumed the title of Paduka Sri Sultan. In March 1733, his brother and nephew Malinug attacked his forces in Tamontaka. The latter caused his death in the ensuing struggle. While his brother had power along the coast, Manamir held sway over the interior. His power was recognized in Tamontaka from about 1710 to his death in March 1733.
13. Sultan Muhammad Tahir ud-Din:
A son of Sultan Bayan ul-Anwar (No. 11), he was commonly known to the Spaniards as Dipatuan Malinug. He was also known as Muhammad Shah Amir ud-Din. In a battle in 1733, he killed his uncle Jaafar Sadiq Manamir. In 1736, his father started sharing with him the responsibilities of government. His authority was however contested by two of his cousins, sons of Manamir, forcing him to retire to the interior where he died in Buayan around 1748.
14. Sultan Muhammad Khair ud-Din:
He was a son of Sultan Jafar Sadiq and was better known to Europeans as Pakir Maulana Kamsa (Arabic, Farqir Maulana Hamzah) or Amir ud-Din Hamza. He also used the name Azim ud-Din and assume the title Amir ul-Mu’minin. In 1733, after his father was slain, he began to consider himself heir to the throne and thereupon called himself “rajah muda.” The next year, he was formally invested with the duties of a sultan in the presence of Spanish officials from Zamboanga. With some Spanish aid, he was able to consolidate his position in Tamontaka and contest the rule of his uncle Bayan ul-Anwar and later that of his cousin Malinug. But upon the latter’s death around 1748, the struggle for the sultanate ceased. Pakir Maulana Kamsa emerged as paramount chief of Maguindanao. Around 1755, he started to relinquish some of his powers to his younger brother with the condition that his son, Kibad Sahriyal, would be the raja muda.
15. Sultan Pahar ud-Din:
He was a younger brother of Pakir Maulana Kamsa and was known as Datu Pongloc or Panglu. He began to exercise the powers of Sultan around 1755 and was in the sultan’s seat in that same year when Captain Thomas Forrest paid a visit to Maguindanao. After his death he was known as Mupat Hidayat.
16. Sultan Kibad Sahriyal:
His more legal title was Muhammad Azim ud-Din Amir ul-Umara. He was ason of Pakir Maulana Kamsa (No. 14). Even before the death of his uncle the Sultan, he was already being addressed as “sultan.” He was friendly towards the Spaniards and at least twice entered into peaceful negotiations with them, namely, in 1789 and 1794. He probably governed from 1780 to 1805.
17. Sulatn Kawasa Anwar ud-Din:
He was a son of Kibad Sahriyal and like his father was also entitled Amir ul-Umara. He entered into a peaceful treaty with the Spaniards in 1805. One of his seals carried the title Iskandar Julkarnain. He possibly reigned from 1805 to 1830.
18. Sultan Iskandar Qudratullah Muhammad Jamal ul-Azam:
He was more popularly known as Sultan Untong. He was a great grandson of Kibad Sahriyal (No. 16) and a nephew of Sultan Kawasa (No. 17). Some Spanish documents carry his name as Iskandar Qudarat Pahar ud-Din. In 1837 and 1845, he entered into friendly treaties with the Spaniards. He died either in 1853 or 1854.
19. Sultan Muhammad Makakwa:
He was a grandson of Sultan Kawasa Anwar ud-Din (No. 17). His rule can be estimated to have lasted from 1854 to 1884. He died in Nuling (in the site of the old settlement of Maguindanao)
20. Sultan Muhammad Jalal ud-Din Pablu:
Also known as Sulatn Wata, he was a son of Sultan Makakwa. His capital was at Banubu, just opposite the town of Cotabato across the Pulangi. His death took place in 1888.
21. Sultan Mangigin:
He was a grandson of the famous Datu Dakula of Sibugay, who, in turn, was a grandson of Kibad Sahriyal (No. 16). He began his rule in 1896. From 1888 to 1896, the sultanate was vacant. This was probably due to the fact that Datu Utto (Sultan Anwar ud-Din of Buayan wanted his brother-in-law Datu Mamaku (a son of Qudratullah Untung) to become the Sultan. The Spaniards, however, wanted the sultanate to go to one of the Sibugay datus. Around the end of 1900, Sultan Mangigin transferred his residence from Cotabato to Sibugay. In 1906, he married Rajah Putri, the widow of Datu Utto and sister of Datu Mamaku.