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Sulu Sultanate fought two wars defending Brunei Sultanate


The Brunei Sultanate developed into a sovereign and independent nation in 13th century, while the Sultanate of Sulu also developed into a sovereign Islamic State in 14th century or to be exact, on the 24th day of Jumadil Al-Awwal, 808 A.H. which is equivalent to the 17th day of November, 1405 A.D.

The bloodline relationship of the Brunei Sultans and the Sultans of Sulu can be traced through their intermarriages. According to Brunei Tarsila, the 5th Brunei Sultan Bolkiah Shah Alam (1513-1533) and who was also known as Nakhoda Regam had married  Putri Laila Menjanai, the daughter of Sulu Sultan Alauddin, the third reigning Sultan of Sulu. This marriage was also recorded by Spanish historian, Antonio Pigafetta who was in Brunei in 1521.

Another Spanish record revealed that the ruler of Sulu married the sister of the Brunei Sultan Saif ur-Rijal. This Sulu Sultan was Sultan Muhammad ul-Halim, and who was also known in Brunei as Pangiran Buddiman. Brunei source also mentioned that Sultan Hassan, the 9th Brunei Sultan married the daughter of Sulu Sultan Muhammad ul-Halim and out of the wedlock a son was born in Brunei named Raja Bongsu. He became the Sultan of Sulu Sultanate under the regal title of Sultan Mawallil Wasit.

In 1578, Sulu Sultan Muhammad ul-Halim supported the royal fleet of Brunei during the naval battle against the Spanish Armada at the Brunei bay. However, when the Spanish forces were gaining the battle, Sultan Muhammad ul-Halim evacuated to Sulu sea with his fleet. This event was the direct contributory cause of the 300 years war between the Spanish and the Bangsa Sug people of Sulu archipelago that lasted up to 1898, and the Sultanate of Sulu was not defeated or conquered.

The second war that the Bangsa Sug people of Sulu Sultanate involved in defense of Brunei Sultanate was during the Brunei civil war in 1662. The Sultan of Brunei seeked the help of Sulu Sultan to overthrow their enemies. With the aid of the Bangsa Sug people, the Brunei Sultanate won the civil war. From then on, Brunei Sultanate was able to develop its natural resources which made them now one of the richest nation in Southeast Asia. While the Sulu Sultanate is still fighting for self-determination in accordance with the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions. The Bangsa Sug people are still negotiating to regain the sovereign and independent of their homeland called the Sultanate of Sulu Darul Islam, guided by the principles of equality, truth, justice and freedom.

With these historical record of events showing how the Sultanate of Sulu helped Brunei Sultanate in the past, it is surprisingly to observe that Brunei is silent on the miseries of their brother Muslims in Sulu who are still suffering from the foreign dominion. I do  not mean that they should fight physically as what our forefathers have done in defense of their relatives in Brunei. But with their wealth, they can help the Bangsa Sug people  through economic assistance in accordance with the provisions of U.N. General Assembly Resolutions.   

For the moment, what I can do is to recite the old Tausug saying’ “In buddi na kauna, uway na guna-guna, amo in piaruli in buddi na kahuli” (Good deeds of the past were forgotten what is taken cared is the good deeds of the present). With this saying, the value of Gratitude is at stake.

By Datu Albi Ahmad Julkarnain

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