Sharif Ali

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Sharif Ali / Barkat Ali ibnu Sharif Ajlan ibni Sharif Rumaithah
4th Sultan of Brunei
4th Sultan of Brunei
Reign 1425 CE - 1432 CE[citation needed]
Predecessor Ahmad
Successor Sulaiman
Spouse Puteri Ratna Kesuma (daughter of Ahmad, 3rd Sultan)
Died 1432 CE
Burial Bandar Seri Begawan

Sharif Ali (also known as Barkat Ali ibnu Sharif Ajlan ibni Sharif Rumaithah) was the fourth Sultan of Brunei. He was the son-in-law of the third Sultan Ahmad. He was a scholar of Arabic descent originating from Taif, Saudi Arabia.

Ascension to Sultanate[edit]

He ascended the throne in 1425 CE after Sultan Ahmad died without leaving any male descendants. However, the inauguration of Sultan Sharif Ali did not solely come from the royal family of Sultan Ahmad. Both Brunei citizens and Brunei royal counselors agreed Sultan Sharif Ali to be the Sultan of Brunei because of his deep knowledge in Islam. His merit in spreading Islam cannot be separated from his position as royal ulama in Brunei Kingdom during the role of Sultan Ahmad. For that reason, his marriage to Puteri Ratna Kesuma, the daughter of Sultan Ahmad, was aimed at strengthening his position as a Sultan and an ulama. He was the first sultan of Brunei having no relational genealogy with former sultans of Brunei Kingdom.


Sharif Ali was a very pious ruler and was therefore nicknamed "Sultan Berkat" (Blessed Sultan). He was the first sultan to build a mosque, and fortified the defence of Brunei by ordering his people to build a stone fortress and town (Kota Batu). Sharif Ali governed Brunei according to Islamic principles and his reign was popular and highly respected. After his death in 1432, His Royal Highness Sultan Sharif Ali was succeeded by his son Sulaiman.


Sultan Sharif Ali was also the direct descendant of Muhammad through Hasan ibn Ali Saidina Hassan, the grandchild of Muhammad. In addition, Sharif Ali has also served as the Emir of Mecca entitled Al-Amir Sharif 'Ali bin Sharif 'Ajlan bin Sharif Rumaithah bin Sharif Muhammad Abu Numaie Al-Awwal. Sultan Sharif Ali was also the ancestor of the Brunei & Sulu royal families.

The royal symbol origin came from the world largest seed called "Coco de Mer".

The tomb of Sultan Sharif Ali, near Kota Batu.


Sultan Sharif Ali made several changes closely linked to Islamic law including basing administration rule on Islamic law, straightening the direction of Qibla and creating a law prohibiting people from eating pork. The penalty for violating this law was death.

Besides religious affairs, Ali's administration was responsible for a number of legacies including creating an emblem and banner- the "Tunggul Alam Bernaga"- which symbolised the dignity of Brunei and the Crown of the Sultan. These artefacts continue to be utilised by the current Sultanate.

The mausoleum of Sharif Ali is situated close to the Brunei Museum and the mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah, the 6th Sultan of Brunei Darussalam. Ali's mausoleum was built as a tribute and recognition of his contribution to strengthening the Islamic foundations of the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam. In addition to building Ali's mausoleum, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (the 29th Sultan of Brunei) also built a grand mosque named Sultan Sharif Ali Mosque as an appreciation for his contributions to Islam. The mosque, which was inaugurated in 1986, is located in Kampong Senkurong; approximately 16 km from Bandar Seri Begawan. Several institutions in Brunei also carry Sultan Sharif Ali's name. These include the Masjid Sultan Sharif Ali in Kampong Sengkurong, the Sekolah Menengah Sultan Sharif Ali in Kampong Salambigar, Jalan Muara and the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali.


The earliest historical record of the Sultans of Brunei is not clearly known due to the poor early documentation of Brunei history. In addition there has been an effort to Islamise the history, with the "official history" not matching up with verifiable foreign sources [1] The Batu Tarsilah - the genealogical record of the kings of Brunei - was not started until 1807. Therefore, much of the intepretation on history relied on earlier Chinese sources and legends.[2] It seems that the early Sultanate of Brunei was dependent on Chinese support,[2][3][4] and perhaps early Sultans were of Chinese origin.[2] Furthermore the earliest Sultans may have been practising the Hindu or Buddhist religions, with early names indicating this origin.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Brunei". Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Elisseeff, Vadime (January 2000). "Chapter 8: A Brunei Sultan of the Early Fourteenth Century - A Study of an Arabic Gravestone". The Silk Roads: Highways of Culture and Commerce. Berghahn Books. pp. 145–157. ISBN 978-1-57181-222-3. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Malay History: What's Missing in Malaysian History Books". Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "The golden history of Islam in Brunei". The Brunei Times. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 

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