Sharif Ali

Sharīf ʿAlī ibn ʿAjlān ibn Rumaithah ibn Muḥammad (Arabic: ٱلشَّرِيْف عَلِي ٱبْن عَجْلَان ٱبْن رُمَيْثَة ٱبْن مُحَمَّد), also known as Barkat Ali or "Blessed Ali", was the third Sultan of Brunei, and son-in-law of the second Sultan of Brunei, Ahmad. He was also a scholar of Arab descent, originating from Ta'if[1] in the Hejaz.[2]

Sharif Ali
Tomb of Sharif Ali in 2009
3rd Sultan of Brunei
Reign1425 C.E. - 1432 C.E.
PredecessorSultan Ahmad
SuccessorSultan Sulaiman
BornAt-Ta'if,[1] Sharifate of Mecca, Hijaz, Arabia
Died1432 CE
SpousePuteri Ratna Kesuma (daughter of Sultan Ahmad
Barkat Ali bin Sharif Ajlan bin Sharif Rumaithah bin Sharif Muhammad Abu-Numayy Al-Awwal
FatherSharif Ajlan ibn Rumaithah ibn Muhammad
ReligionSunni Islam


Sharif Ali was a descendant of Imam Hasan ibn Ali. In addition, he served as the Emir of Mecca, and was entitled Al-Amīr Ash-Sharīf ʿAlī bin Ash-Sharīf ʿAjlān bin Ash-Sharīf Rumaithah bin Ash-Sharīf Muḥammad Abū Numāʾī Al-Awwal (ٱلْأَمِيْر ٱلشَّرِيْف عَلِي بِن ٱلشَّريْف عَجْلَان بِن ٱلشَّرِيْف رُمَيْثَة بِن ٱلشَّرِيْف مُحَمَّد أَبُو نُمَائِي ٱلْأَوَّل). The Sultan was also an ancestor of the Brunei and Sulu royal families.[1]



He ascended the throne in 1425 C.E., 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 ʿālim ('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 scholar. He was the first Sultan of Brunei with no genealogical relation 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. 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.[3] After his death in 1432, he was succeeded by his son Sulaiman.[1]


Sultan Sharif Ali Mosque in 2022

As Sultan,[4] Sharif Ali made several changes closely linked to Islamic Law, including basing the administration's rule on the law, straightening the direction of the 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 Sengkurong; approximately 16 km (9.9 mi) from Bandar Seri Begawan. Several institutions in Brunei also carry Sultan Sharif Ali's name, which include Sultan Sharif Ali Secondary School in Salambigar, Jalan Muara, and Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University. The royal symbol's origin came from the World's largest seed, which is called "coco de mer."

Family tree

Some sources are conflicting on authenticity of lineage as Ali ibn Ajlan had died in 1395.[4]

Abu TalibAbdullah
(Islamic prophet)
Sayyidina Hassan as-Sibti
Sharif Hasan Al-Muthanna
Abdullah al-Muhudh
Musa al-Jaun Abdul Hasan
Sharif Abdullah Ash-Saleh
Sharif Musa Ath-Thani
Sharif Muhammad at-Thaer
Sharif Abdullah al-Akbar
Sharif Abu Ja'afar Muhammad
Sharif Abdullah
Sharif 'Ali
Sharif Sulaiman
Sharif al-Hussein
Sharif Isa
Sharif Abdul Karim
Sharif Muta'in
Sharif Idris
Sharif Qitadah
Sharif 'Ali al-Akbar
Sharif Abu Sa'ad al-Hassan
Sharif Muhammad Abu Nu'may
Sharif Rumaithah
Sharif Ajlan
Sharif 'Ali

See also


  1. "Pusat Sejarah Brunei" (in Malay). Archived from the original on April 15, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  2. "Brief about Ta'if City". Ta'if City (in Arabic). Taif Municipality. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  3. Tsugitaka Sato (12 November 2012). Islamic Urbanism. Routledge. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-136-16959-5.
  4. Muzaffar Mohamad (2001). Ahlul-Bait (Keluarga) Rasulullah SAW dan Raja-Raja Melayu [Ahl al-Bayt (Family) of Rasulullah PBUH and Malay Kings] (in Malay). Al-Wasilah Enterprise. p. 136. ISBN 983-40566-2-1.
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