Sultan Tengah, The First Sultan Of Sarawak Darul Hana

ABOUT 200 years before the Brookes became the White Rajah of Sarawak, Sarawak  was under the control of the Brunei Sultanate. Not much has been known how  Sarawak was governed by the Brunei Sultanate but presumably there was an  equivalent of a governor then.

Not many know that around 1598, Sarawak had its first and only Sultan. How did  this come about?

When Sultan Muhammad Hassan, Brunei’s ninth Sultan who reigned from 1582 to  1598 died, the throne was ascended by his eldest son, Sultan Abdul Jalilul Akbar.

Sultan Abdul Jalilul Akbar had a younger sibling named Pengiran Muda Tengah  Ibrahim Ali Omar Shah or was better known as Raja Tengah.

According to oral tradition, Pengiran Muda Tengah wanted to become the Sultan of Brunei as well. He argued that his elder brother was born when his father was not yet the Crown Prince whereas he was born when Sultan Muhammad Hassan was anointed as the Crown Prince. This, argued Pengiran Muda Tengah, made him more suited to be the Sultan than his elder brother.

Sultan Abdul Jalilul Akbar was a wise man. He understood his younger sibling’s intention and he tried to accommodate his brother’s wishes. One way out for Sultan Abdul Jalilul Akbar was to appoint Pengiran Muda Tengah as a Sultan somewhere else. And so Pengiran Muda Tengah was appointed as the Sultan of Sarawak, since Sarawak was then owned and governed by Brunei.

According to the Salsilah Raja-Raja Brunei, Pengiran Muda Tengah accepted the appointment and he made preparation to go to Sarawak. When he went to Sarawak, more than 1,000 warriors of Sakai, Kedayan and Pulau Bunut origins accompanied him. A few nobilities went along with him to help him administer the new country. Many of these are the forefathers of some of today’s Malay community in Sarawak.

In Sarawak, the new Sultan and his men built a palace and a fort to surround the palace. Sultan Tengah began to appoint his senior officials. Among them was Datu Petinggi Seri Setia, Datu Shahbandar Indera Wangsa, Datu Amar Setia Diraja and Datu Temenggong Laila Wangsa. After everything was done, Sultan Tengah coronated himself as Sultan Ibrahim Ali Omar Shah, the first Sultan of Sarawak. According to Sambas History, Sultan Tengah was also known as Sultan Abdul Jalil.

Around 1599, Sultan Tengah visited Pahang which was then part of the Johor Empire to visit Raja Bonda who was Sultan Tengah’s aunty who had married Sultan Abdul Ghafur Muhyiddin Shah ibnu Sultan Abdul Kadir Alauddin Shah.

During his stay, Sultan Tengah was asked to a dance but during that dance, the handkerchief of his dance partner nearly hit Sultan Tengah’s face. He became so angry that he slapped his partner. That caused Sultan Johor to be so upset that Sultan Tengah was advised to leave Johor as soon as possible.

According to the Sambas History version, Sultan Tengah was forced to leave Johor because he refused Raja Bonda’s offer for him to marry Sultan Johor’s princess known as Encik Zohra.

On his return to Sarawak, Sultan Tengah’s ship ran into a hurricane which caused the ship to lose its main sail. The ship ran aground in Sukadana in today’s Kalimantan, Indonesia. Then Sukadana was governed by Penambahan Giri Mustika, Sultan Muhammad Saifuddin who had just converted to Islam helped by Sheikh Shamsuddin from Makkah. Sultan Tengah also studied under Sheikh Shamsuddin during his stay there.

In Sukadana, Sultan Tengah married one of the princesses, Puteri Surya Kesuma, the younger sister to Sultan Muhammad Saifuddin. Sultan Tengah stayed on in Sukadana and asked to be allowed to help spread Islam around the area. It was decided that he should do it around the Sambas River. And so around 1600, Sultan Tengah left Sukadana via the Sambas River with about 40 boats all equipped with weapons.

At the Sambas River, they landed at Kuala Bangun and by then Puteri Surya Kesuma gave birth to a prince named Radin Sulaiman. Two other princes were also born later. The second prince was known as Pengiran Badaruddin who later became Pengiran Bendahara Seri Maharaja and a third prince, Pengiran Abdul Wahab who later became Pengiran Temenggong Jaya Kesuma.

Sultan Tengah eventually arrived at Kota Lama. There, he was welcomed by Ratu Kota Lama, Ratu Sepudak who greeted him with all the royal protocol. Sultan Tengah found that Ratu Sepudak allowed him to spread Islam around the area even though he was not a Muslim. Later on during his stay, Sultan Tengah’s eldest son, Radin Sulaiman was married to the daughter of Ratu Sepudak, Puteri Mas Ayu Bongsu. The couple had a son named Radin Bima who later became Sultan Muhammad Tajuddin.

When Ratu Sepudak died, he was replaced by Pengiran Prabu Kenchana who appointed Radin Sulaiman as one of his viziers. It was also said that Ratu Sepudak wanted the throne to be given to Sultan Tengah as he had the experience of running a country but that was opposed by the royal family.

Around 1630, Sultan Tengah went to Matan. In Matan, he married one of the Matan Princesses who later gave birth to Pengiran Mangku Negara. Pengiran Mangku Negara eventually became the Sultan of Matan.

After a few years’ stay in Matan, Sultan Tengah went back to Sarawak. On his return to Sarawak, he stopped at a place called Batu Buaya in Santubong. It was there he was killed by one of his followers.

When news of his death reached Sarawak, Datu Petinggi, Datu Shahbandar, Datu  Amar and Datu Temenggong came to Santubong to complete the funeral rites  according to royal Brunei tradition. It was said that he died in 1641 around 10 years  after Radin Sulaiman became Sultan Muhammad Saifuddin I in Sambas. Sultan  Muhammad Saifuddin I was replaced by Sultan Muhammad Tajuddin I, then  followed by a long lineage of the Sambas Sultanate until the modern times.

Meanwhile, Sultan Tengah was buried in Santubong in today’s Kampong Batu Buaya.  The grave stone marking the grave was fit for a Sultan. With Sultan Tengah’s death,  came the end of the Sarawak Sultanate made up of the one and only Sultan. But the  titles given to the nobilities of Sarawak carried on until today.

During his visit to Sarawak, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam visited the mausoleum of Sultan Tengah in Santubong in August earlier this year.

“Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik”

Source : The Brunei Times

18 Responses to Sultan Tengah, The First Sultan Of Sarawak Darul Hana

  1. Hisyam says:

    Panjang sungguh sejarah kesultanan sarawak ni. usia hampir sama dengan kesultanan melaka.

    [Reply]

  2. Ismail N says:

    Good info ehhh.. All long when we talk about Srwk, we only remember Raja Brooke and his family. Nice to know that Bumi Kenyalang actually had a REAL Raja and not just the Brooke from UK. :D

    [Reply]

    MDHAFiZ.NET Reply:

    The untold history…it should be in our Secondary School History Text Book!
    The real Raja of Sarawak Darul Hana is Sultan Tengah..and not the James Brooke and his family!! When comes to Sarawak, the peoples of Malaysia always remember about the Rajah Brooke and the family. But not the Sultan Tengah, real Sultan of Sarawak Darul Hana :)

    [Reply]

  3. akubiomed says:

    I never knew Sarawak got Sultan. What I learn from history book, Sarawak was ruled by White Rajah. Thanks for info

    [Reply]

    MDHAFiZ.NET Reply:

    Now you know the untold history…..
    the real Sultan of Sarawak Darul Hana :)

    [Reply]

  4. bEe says:

    Errrkk??? Sultan???
    I never heard before this about Sarawak got Sultan U!!!!!
    Anyway, thanx for sharing here. Especially about history in Malaysia ;)

    [Reply]

  5. Kenapa mdhafiz punya komen ni dah kurang? Ada masalah dengan hosting ke?
    Rasanya saya dah komen dalam ni hari tu.

    [Reply]

    MDHAFiZ.NET Reply:

    ya..ada masalah sedikit.. 2 hari lalu blog ini x dpt diakses..
    gara2 adsense punya pasal. Saya terpaksa reinstall wp.
    hilang banyak traffik. aduh..mcm mana nak cari balik traffik tu..

    [Reply]

    Sabahan Bloggers Club Reply:

    Patutlah saya nak masuk blog ni tak dapat.
    Cuba mdhafiz buat post pasal masalah yang berlaku. Mungkin rakan-rakan lain boleh bantu.
    Takde buat back-up? Kalau ada install balik backup tu. tapi takkan install adsense sampai semua post terlibat?

    [Reply]

    MDHAFiZ.NET Reply:

    Masalah berpunca daripada salah satu adsense plugin yg saya guna itu…lg pun sy terlupa untuk export post lama. Tapi tidak apalah. Itu pengajaran buat saya. Lain kali kalau nak ubah sesuatu kena back up file dulu. Masalahnya bila ada visitor yg baca post lama di blog ini, iklan google nya tak muncul-muncul. cuma post baru yang saya post menggunakan platform wp yg muncul. Pelbagai cara sudah dicuba. Deactive plugin, hingga lah delete kesemua plugin adsense itu. Harap lepas ini tidak timbul lagi masalah itu.

  6. suri says:

    begitu panjang sekali…nak baca slow..aduh…

    [Reply]

  7. so what happened to the killer bro?

    [Reply]

    MDHAFiZ.NET Reply:

    the killer of our first Sultan? Hard to answer that question :)

    [Reply]

  8. History is written by the winners. That’s why our history has a lot of untold truths…making the one that we learnt in school soooooo dry.

    [Reply]

    MDHAFiZ.NET Reply:

    you are right :)
    Malangnya ada juga bangsa sendiri yang ingin memadam kisah sejarah bangsa mereka sendiri. Lalu mengagungkan sejarah bangsa lain yg pernah menjajah nenek moyang kita.

    [Reply]

  9. yusri says:

    sebelum kedatangan si brooke tu..di pesissiran pantai sarawak di perintah oleh kesultanan brunei…..sabah pulak di perintah juga oleh kesultanan brunei dan juga Sulu..

    [Reply]

    MDHAFiZ.NET Reply:

    You are right. and the descendants of Malay peoples in Sarawak mostly origins from the Brunei Malay Sultanate when they comes to Sarawak. And some of them comes to Sarawak from Johore when one the prince from Brunei Sultanate married with one of the princess from Johore Sultanate, and some of them origin comes from Sumatera :)

    [Reply]

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