Sharif Ali

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Sharif ‘Ali /
Barkat ‘Ali ibnu Sharif ‘Ajlan ibni Sharif Rumaithah
3rd Sultan of Brunei
3rd Sultan of Brunei
Reign 1425 CE - 1432 CE[citation needed]
Predecessor Sultan Ahmad
Successor Sultan Sulaiman
Born Ta’if, Sharifate of Mecca, Hijaz, Arabian Peninsula
Died 1432 CE
Burial Near Kota Batu, Brunei-Muara District, Brunei, Borneo
Spouse Puteri Ratna Kesuma (daughter of Sultan Ahmad)
Father Sharif ‘Ajlan ibn Rumaithah ibn Muhammad
Religion Sunni Islam

Sharif ‘Ali ibn ‘Ajlan ibn Rumaithah ibn Muhammad (Arabic: الـشـريـف عـلي ابـن عـجـلان ابـن رمـيـثـة ابـن مـحـمـد‎‎) (also known as Sultan Berkat or The Blessed Sultan) was the third Sultan of Brunei, and son-in-law of the second Sultan Ahmad. He was also a scholar of Arab descent, originating from Ta’if, Hejaz.[1]


Sultan Sharif ‘Ali was a descendant of Muhammad's grandson Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali. In addition, Sharif ‘Ali served as the Emir of Mecca, and was entitled "Al-Amir Sharif ‘Ali bin Sharif ‘Ajlan bin Sharif Rumaithah bin Sharif Muhammad Abu Numa'i Al-Awwal" (Arabic: الأمـيـر الـشـريـف عـلي بـن الـشـريـف عـجـلان بـن الـشـريـف رمـيـثـة بـن الـشـريـف مـحـمـد أبـو نـمـائي الأول‎‎). Sultan Sharif ‘Ali was the ancestor of the Brunei and Sulu royal families.[1]


Ascension to the Sultanate[edit]

He ascended the throne in 1425 CE, after Sultan Ahmad died without leaving any male descendants. However, the inauguration of Sharif ‘Ali did not solely come from the royal family of Sultan Ahmad. Both Brunei citizens and royal counselors agreed that Sharif ‘Ali be the Sultan, because of his deep knowledge in Islam. His merit in spreading Islam was related to his position as a royal ‘alim (Arabic: عَـالِـم‎‎, 'scholar') in Brunei, during the reign 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 ‘alim. He was the first Sultan of Brunei with no relational genealogy to former Sultans of the Kingdom.[1]


Sharif ‘Ali governed Brunei according to Islamic principles, and was therefore considered as a very pious ruler. Due to his popularity, he was nicknamed "Sultan Berkat" ("Blessed Sultan"). He was the first sultan to build a Masjid, and fortified the defense of Brunei by ordering his people to build a stone fortress and town, that is Kota Batu.[2] After his death in 1432, he was succeeded by his son Sulaiman (Brunei)|Sulaiman]].[1]


The tomb of Sultan Sharif ‘Ali, near Kota Batu, Brunei.

Sultan Sharif ‘Ali made several changes closely linked to Islamic Law, including basing the administration's rule on the law, straightening the direction of Qiblah, 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 artifacts continue to be utilized by the current Sultanate.

The mausoleum of Sharif ‘Ali is situated close to the Brunei Museum and the mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah, the 5th Sultan of Brunei Darussalam. Sultan Sharif ‘Ali's mausoleum was built as a tribute and recognition of his contribution to strengthening the Islamic foundations of the Sultanate. In addition to building ‘Ali's mausoleum, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (the 29th Sultan of Brunei) also built a grand mosque named "Masjid Sultan Sharif Ali," as an appreciation for his contributions to Islam. The mosque, which was inaugurated in 1986, is located in Kampong Senkurong; approximately 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Bandar Seri Begawan. Several institutions in Brunei also carry Sultan Sharif ‘Ali's name. These include the Sekolah Menengah Sultan Sharif Ali in Kampong Salambigar, Jalan Muara, and the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali.

The royal symbol's origin came from the World's largest seed, which is called "coco de mer."[citation needed]


The earliest historical record of the Sultans of Brunei is not clearly known due to the poor early documentation of Brunei's history. Many elder members of the House of Bolkiah claim that their ancestors were the BaHassan and BaAlawi Saadah from Tarim and Hadhramawt in Yemen. In addition there has been an effort to Islamise the history, with the "official history" not matching up with verifiable foreign sources.[3] The Batu Tarsilah, the genealogical record of the kings of Brunei, was not started until 1807 CE. Therefore, much of the intepretation on history relied on earlier Chinese sources and legends.[4] It seems that the early Sultanate of Brunei was dependent on Chinese support,[4][5][6] and perhaps early Sultans were of Chinese origin.[4] Furthermore the earliest Sultans may have been practising the Hindu or Buddhist religions, with early names indicating this origin.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Pusat Sejarah Brunei" (in Bahasa Melayu). Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  2. ^ Tsugitaka SATO (12 November 2012). Islamic Urbanism. Routledge. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-136-16959-5. 
  3. ^ a b "Brunei". Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "Malay History: What's Missing in Malaysian History Books". Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "The golden history of Islam in Brunei". The Brunei Times. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 

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