Islam in Brunei
Brunei has been an independent nation since 1984. It is one of Southeast Asia's oldest sovereign nations with a long and colourful history. Its recorded history spans 600 years.
Prior historical references have been found Chinese and Hindu chronicles of the sixth and seventh centuries referring to Brunei as "Polo", "Puni" and "Poli". Early writers have also called it "Brunei" and "Brune".
Brunei rose to prominence in the 15th and 16th centuries when the country extended throughout Borneo and the whole of the present day Philippines.
The first sultan to embrace Islam in Brunei was Sultan Muhammad I who reigned for 39 years in the 14th century. About the year 1478, the sultans in the region were strong enough to free themselves from the influence of Hindu rulers.
The stability of the sultans that followed this period firmly rooted Islam in Brunei. In the pre Islamic Brunei the first capital Puni was established in the district of Temburong. Later the capital was moved to Kota Batu where the Brunei Museum now stands.
Finally it was established in Bandar Seri Begawan during the reign of Sultan Muhyiddin I in the 17th century. In the past Brunei's wealth was founded on the export of camphor, pepper and gold.
Brunei's golden age centred round two remarkable rulers Sultan Bolkiah and Sultan Hassan. Under their rule the Royal Court developed a splendour and ritual on par with that of anywhere in the world and the territorial and religious influence of the country reached its peak.
However, the thrust of European influence within the region in the 17th and 18th century saw a marked decline in the power and territory of Brunei a process which was hastened in the 19th century.
The British influence was predominant and Brunei lost much of its territory to Sarawak under its white raja, James Brooke. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate and in 1906, the British Residential system was introduced in Brunei. In 1959, Brunei resumed full internal sovereignty. Yet Britain remained responsible for defence and foreign affairs.
In 1918, Sultan Muhammad Jamulul Alam, the 20th ruler and the great grandfather of the present sultan, was installed as the Yang Di Pertuan.
The year 1929 marked the historic discovery of oil in Seria during the rule of the 27th Sultan of Brunei, Ahmad Tajuddin, who ruled for 26 years from 1924-1950. Brunei History - 2 remained under the Residency Agreement until 1959, when domestic and internal rule was granted by the Constitutional Amendment of the year.
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien, the father of the present sultan became the 28th Sultan of Brunei in 1959. His rule lasted from 1950 to 1967 during which period his vision and prudence propelled Brunei towards prosperity and modernity.
It was a period of transition but the Sultan was keen to maintain a separate Bruneian identity and opposed all attempts made to merge Brunei with Sarawak and North Borneo.
He fought many obstacles but fought to restore Brunei to its former glory.
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien abdicated in 1967, paving the way for his eldest son , the current sultan to ascend the throne as the 29th Sultan of Brunei
After an alliance of 96 years with Britain, His Majesty the Sultan Hj Hassanal Bolkiah, proclaimed Brunei Darussalam a sovereign , independent , democratic Muslim monarchy on January 1st, 1984.
Total Land Area: 5,270 km
Land boundaries: 381 km
Coastline: 161 km
Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan
Other Large Cities: Seria, Kuala Belait
Official Language: Malay
National Currency Unit: Brunei Dollar
National Day: February 23
Location and Geography
Brunei is located on the southwest of the island of Borneo. It faces the South China Sea along the northwest coast of the Island of Borneo and is bordered with Malaysia with the exception of the north coastline. Brunei has an exclusive fishing zone of 200 nautical miles in its territorial sea of 12 nautical miles.
The majority of the country (about three-quarters) is covered with tropical rainforests. Brunei's terrain is made up of flat coastal plain rising to the mountains in the east. Hilly lowland lies to the west. Brunei has a very small area of arable land. There are a few permanent crops, meadows and pastures. The country has an equatorial climate characterized by high temperature, high humidity and heavy rainfall. There is no distinct wet season.
Population: 0.32 million (1999)
Crude Birth Rate: 23 per thousand people (1998)
Crude Death Rate: 3 per thousand people (1998)
Infant Morality Rate: 6 per thousand (1999)
Life Expectancy: Male: 72 years, Female: 77 years (1998)
Urban Population: 66.6 percent (1998)
Adult Literacy: 89.00 percent (1998)
Brunei is the third largest oil producer in South Asia and the fourth largest producer of liquefied natural gas in the world. The country depends on revenues from crude oil and natural gas to finance its development programs. Oil and natural gas being the economic backbone of the country, also constitutes major exports. In addition, forestry is playing an increasing role in the economy. The Government is also encouraging agricultural development to reduce the dependency on imported foodstuffs.
GDP at Current Market Prices: 4828 million US$ (1998)
Per Capita GDP: 15574 US$ (1998)
Share of Sectors in GDP: 2.0% Agriculture, 32.5% Industry, 34.1% Services, (1998)
Total Exports: 2552 million US$ (1999)
Total Imports: 1328 million US$ (1999)
Major Exports: Crude oil, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas
Major Imports: Machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, foodstuffs
Major Trading Partners: Japan, US, UK, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan
1841 Brunei ceded Sarawak to James Brooke
1846 Brunei ceded Labuan to Britain
1847 Brunei signed Trade Relations Treaty with Britain
1888 Brunei became a British-protected State
1906 British Resident appointed
1906-41 A new form of government emerged which included a State Council
1931 Exploration for oil commenced
1929 Oil was struck at Seria
1941-45 Japanese occupation during World War II
1950-67 Reign of Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien
1962 Armed rebellion put down
1967 Brunei issued its own currency
1967 The voluntary abdication of the 28th Sultan, His Highness Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien (Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien)
1968 Coronation of His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan
1970 The State capital, Brunei Town, was renamed Bandar Seri Begawan
1971 The 1959 Agreement was amended and brought up-to-date
1972 LNG plant began operation
1973 Deep Water Port opened in Muara
1973 Official opening of the world's largest LNG plant
1974 Brunei International Airport opened
1975 The launch of Royal Brunei Airlines
1979 Brunei and Britain signed the Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation
1984 Brunei resumed full political sovereignty
1984 Brunei joined ASEAN, OIC and the United Nations
1984 Brunei celebrated its first National Day
1985 University of Brunei Darussalam was formed
1986 The demise of Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, His Majesty's father, the 28th Sultan.
1987 University of Brunei Darussalam opened
1988 Opening of the Malay Technology Museum
1989 The first convocation of University Brunei Darussalam
1990 The first Al-Hafiz of Brunei Darussalam
1991 The setting up of the Brunei Islamic Trust Fund (TAIB).
1992 Brunei joined Non Aligned Movements (NAM)
1992 Silver Jubilee of the reign of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam
1998 Proclamation of His Royal Highess Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah as the Crown Prince