Safar ud-Din (Enrique Safaruddin) سافارو الدين الكاسيم
Sultan of Manila
Provincial Governor of Manila
Reign 1640-1680, 1670-1690
Coronation 1640
Full name Safar ud-Din al-Qasim
(Later: Enrique de Safaruddín y Alkázim)
Baptism 1667
Born 1620
Birthplace Manila, Philippines
Died 1698
Place of death Manila, Philippines
Predecessor Qasim Abdullah bin Sulaiman
Successor Don Carlos
Wife Maryam of Sulu
Royal House House of Manila
House of Tondo
Dynasty Sulayman Dynasty
Religious beliefs Islam
(briefly Roman Catholicism)

Safar ud-Din al-Qasim bin Sulaiman (Arabic: صفر الدين القاسم بن سليمان) or Safaruddin Alkaseem Anak Sulayman (Jawi: سافارو الدين الكاسيم انق سوليم) and later Don Enrique de Safaruddín y Alkázim (Enrique Safaruddin in short) was the Sixth Sultan of Maynila from 1640-1680 and the Provincial Governor of Manila from 1670-1690, the longest reigning sultan of Manila.

Unlike the other sultans, Safaruddin embraced the Spanish colonial people and even gave three of his daughters to be wed to Spanish provincial governors. In 1660, he converted to Christianity under the name Enrique, though conflicting evidence suggests he reverted to Islam shortly before abdicating as his children were recorded as being Muslims.

He was also the first native to ever become a provincial governor, an extremely high rank not available to the other members of the native nobility.


Safar ud-Din al-Qasim was born of the Rajah Sulayman dynasty, to Datu Qasim Abdullah bin Sulaiman, the fifth sultan of Manila in 1620. Although most of Sulayman's descendants used the terms "rajah" and "datu" almost extensively (referred to as "Indian sultans" by Spanish colonists), Qasim was the first to officially adopt the title sultan and more often brought Sunni and Orthodox Islamic practices into Manila, using Arabic personal names rather than Tagalog or Malay names and including Arabic as an official state religion.

His dad's name "Qasim" means "protector" in Arabic, he restricted Catholic bishops from preaching Roman Catholicism in the Muslim settlements of the Pasig River and Manila Bay.

Safaruddin received an education in Malaysia, where he learned prolific Malay and Arabic alongside his native Tagalog tongue and mastery of the Qu'ran.


In 1640, Sultan Qasim passed away of old age, and Safaruddin was enthroned as the Sixth Sultan of Manila. His grand vizier, Datu Unto sent a letter and a 100 silver pesos to the Spanish Viceroyalty in Mexico City to get Safaruddin's coronation recognized by the Spanish Crown.

Safaruddin also made Arabic and Spanish official state languages along with Tagalog and Malay.

King Philip III of Spain approved of his coronation and sent the Spanish provincial governor of Manila notice of Safaruddin's coronation. Alfonso decreed, "Let them coronate the new Indian sultan. Much as we despite their religion, they have paid us necessary tribute and choose to co-operate with us, so let them practice their tradition." During the coronation, his father's royal salakót (traditional Tagalog headdress) was placed on his head and he also received Qasim's kris sword that he used to fight Spanish forces.

Despite being a Muslim, Safar ud-Din allowed his kris to be blessed at a local archdiocese. The Spaniards had felt really uncomfortable, due to the sword's history of being used to slay Spaniards and Christian Filipinos. It was a tradition to bless the kris at a church, to "lift"the sword's past curses and the sins it was used to commit.

In 1644, Safaruddin married a Sulu princess by the name of Maryam. They had four daughters and two sons, Safaruddin made his youngest son, Esmael bin Safar ud-Din to the heir to the throne.

Silver enlaid salakot

The Royal Salakot, inlaid with silver worn by Safaruddin and the other sultans of Manila

1650, he strengthened the alliance between Spain and the Sultanate (then Rajahnate) of Manila and Tondo. He allowed three of his daughters to be married to the sons of Spanish provincial governors. They were baptized as Isabela, Consuelo Legazpi y Safaruddín and Penélope Goiti y Safaruddín during Eastern Sunday, Spanish authorities invited the sultan to attend the wedding.

In 1655, the sultan finally permitted Christian missionaries into the Muslim villages of the southern Pasig River which the Spanish Crown appreciated, sending him a gift of 400 silver pesos. The missionaries worked diligently to convert the rest of Manila's people to Roman Catholicism, which met sporadic resistance from some Muslim groups. The sultan's army and Spanish soldiers alike helped put down the rebellion, Sultan Safaruddin received even more awards. By 1660, about one-third of Manila's people were converted to Roman Catholicism and by 1667, about half of Manila's people were converted to Roman Catholicism.

Brief Conversion to Christianity

In 1670, Safar ud-Din visited an archdiocese in Manila during the Sunday starting Holy Week in the Catholic calendar and requested to be baptized and introduced into the Roman Catholic faith along with his wife Maryam of Sulu.

The priest who converted Safar ud-Din was astonished at his timing saying, "The sultan now begins a journey as a Christian, starting in the Holy Week."

Safar ud-Din was converted to Roman Catholicism along with his grand-vizier and his wife but the Spanish missionaries wanted the sultan to prove his faith by observing all of the holidays of the Holy Week before being officially baptized and confirmed as a Catholic. The sultan and his wife celebrated Palm Sunday that day, attended an Ash Wednesday service at a church and mourned on Good Friday. On Eastern Sunday, he was officially baptized as a Roman Catholic, under the name Enrique, and his full name and addressed title became Don Enrique de Safaruddín y Alkázim, his wife was baptized as María, and took the title Doña María Safaruddín de Manila and occasionally was noted by her Tausug royal bloodline as Doña María de Sulu. They became part of the Principalía, the colonial nobility that consisted of native Filipino chiefs that converted to Roman Catholicism.

His son, Esmael bin Safar ud-Din was also converted that day under the name Carlos de Enrique y Safaruddín  and his unmarried daughter, Zainab bint Safar ud-Din was baptized as Alonsa. She was wed to a Spanish soldier and her name was changed to Alonsa López y Enrique. His children were given free Spanish education and got to join the special privileges with the other Principalía members. Later that year, the provincial governor of Manila was assassinated by a Moro militant groups, and they targeted the sultan next for what they believed to be apostasy. Enrique sent Spanish and native armies and successfully pursued them as more Christian missionaries entered the Pasig River to convert the Muslim settlements.

The Spanish Crown granted  Enrique Safaruddin the honor to become the new provincial governor of Manila, an extremely high rank that was not available to other Principalía members.

In a letter from the Spanish Viceroyalty it read, "The sultan has become a favorite of God, it is our honor to present him with the right to control all of Manila." Enrique Safaruddin worked to bring an end to hostilities between the Christians and the remaining Muslim regions of the Pasig River.

Return to Islam

Enrique Safaruddin did not remain a Roman Catholic, and returned to Islam at some point before his abdication. Despite the written evidence of his conversation to Catholicism, his name was not found in the Libro de los Conversos, a book written by various Spanish clergy recording all of the Philippine inhabitants that converted to Catholicism and their former faiths.

In addition, a letter was found between two Muslim chiefs, written in Jawi which when translated into English, read, "The sultan of Manila has returned to Allah, from the faith of the pagan heathens (Catholicism). Long live Sultan Safar Uddin, son of Kasim."

However, a conflicting account written by Dominican friar and close friend of Enrique stated, "The man was born worshipping the blasphemous ways of the Moors, but he grew old and died as a righteous follower of Christ."

In 2016, an Arabic-language document sealed the evidence for his reversion to Islam, with his signature.


He controlled Manila from his palace and his throne while he gave the provincial administration to his son Carlos Safaruddin. In 1690, Enrique grew of old age and believed tha he was too old to govern. At that point, he altogether abdicated the throne to his son Carlos Safaruddin, who was coronated as Don Carlos on his birthday. Occasionally, Carlos still used the title "sultan", presumably becoming the last one of Manila. In addition, he was recorded as being Muslim by many prominents as Enrique did not keep his Roman Catholic faith and returned to Islam.

A Spanish-Filipino mestizo author from the area, who claimed to have met Carlos stated, "The man, who addressed himself as Carlos, was the Muslim king of Manila at the time. He succeeded his father, Enrique, as the King of Manila."

Some Spanish friars referred to Carlos as "El Sultán Indio Nuevo" which means "The New Indian Sultan" in Spanish. Carlos spoke some broken Malay and Arabic, but fluent Tagalog and Spanish, he likely discontinued the tradition of having Malay and Arabic as Manila's languages and adopted Spanish culture.

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