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The People of Ranao (lake) are called Meranao since they are residing near or within the vicinity of the lake. By implication, they are the people of the lake.

Meranao Muslims believe in the oneness of Allah, the Sustainer and Creator of all the creatures, and the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). Accordingly, they are the most religious among the thirteen Muslim ethnolenguistic groups in the Philippines .”

A persons born around the Ranao ( Lake) and the parents are same Meranao looks upon themselves noble. Their nobility therefore is a great challenge on their part to prove in all walks of life and be reflective in their attitudes, utterances and activities.

As Muslim, he must be noble in the sight of Allah. He should fear Allah by following His commandments as enshrined in the Qur’an (the words of Allah) and the Sunnah (tradition of Prophet Muhammad).

Obviously, some Meranao uphold their nobleness though they are not dignified in the sight of Allah, they are not observing the tenets of Islam. They used to sustain this by inter marriages with the same noble. Some even resort to subsequent marriage mainly to widen their kinship and develop a strong community feeling and attachment.

Cayongcat Atti in his book entitled “Knowing the Meranao” published in 1986

revealed that “the common impression is that the Meranao is a cultural minority and only a second class Filipino. His social stratification is premised on his religious identity and ethnic posture. But the Meranao is seemingly not accepting these limitations. In fact, he thinks highly of himself. He believes he belongs to the high stratum of Philippine society.” The most noble in the Meranao traditional social structure are the parents, sons or daughters of an influential sultan, bae, or datu. Their manners are domineering. Their behavioral patterns are autocratic. These are observable in times of their farming, business transactions and other social activities.

Prof. Ali B. Panda, Ph.D. is former Dean of King Faisal Center for Islamic, Arabic and Asian Studies of the Mindanao State University, Marawi City, Philippines; He is also a renowned local media leader.

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