Kingship and Monarchy In The Brunei Sultanate

  • Md Rozan bin Dato Hj Md Yunos Universiti Brunei Darussalam
  • Awang Asbol bin Haji Mail Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Keywords: God-king, Theatre State, Malay Traditional Government, Brunei Sultanate


This article delves into the intricate components that define the institution of kingship and monarchy in Brunei Darussalam. The focal points of this discussion revolve around the concepts of God-king (dewaraja), sovereign (daulat), and treachery (derhaka), which was influenced during the Indianisation period. These foundational principles were subsequently influenced by the advent of Islam in the region. To comprehensively analyse the concept of kingship, we will explore Geertz’s Negara System and Milner’s Kerajaan System of Government. Furthermore, another key aspect to consider is the formation of the army, comprising soldiers who pledged their loyalty to various leaders rather than exclusively to the Sultan. These intriguing dynamic highlights the existence of distinct power structures and allegiances within the governance framework. Consequently, the army's allegiance, though not solely tied to the Sultan, played a crucial role in shaping the institution of kingship during the 16th to 19th centuries in the Brunei Malay Sultanate. By examining these interconnected components—God-king, sovereign, treachery, the Negara System, the System of Malay Sultanate Government, and the army—we gain a deeper understanding of the institution of kingship and the governance of the Brunei Malay Sultanate during its historical zenith. These elements collectively underpinned the socio-political fabric of the Brunei Malay Sultanate, reflecting the complex interplay of religious, cultural, and power dynamics within the kingdom


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