Sharing, Preserving, and Transforming the Past: Brunei’s Islamic Model of Cultural Dialogue and Development

Iik Arifin Mansurnoor


ABSTRACT: Brunei Darussalam is a unique political entity in Southeast Asia. It obviously maintains the structure and form of a tradi­tional political system. It also claims affinity and origin in Islam, Malay, and Monarchy. The Sultan has been leader and ruler for the country and Muslims. In Brunei, the ruler is also the head of Islam. The official version of religious practices is derived from the Shāfi`ī school, even though adoption of other opinions is permitted, especially if public welfare requires such an undertak­ing. This paper exposes on Brunei’s experience in upholding Islam and keeping close to its cultural heritage that facilitates its smooth moving forward to take part in globalized world. In Brunei, like the most parts of the Malay world, Islam transforms religion without political dislocation and dynastic change. This could not happen without the quality of the new religion and peace it propagates. The manifestation of Islam in Brunei represents the many important points and sublime values. Propelled this strong foundation and deep cultural embrace, Islam as manifested in Brunei facilitates the outward-looking character the country opted since the beginning of the 20th century.

KEY WORDS: Brunei Darussalam, Islam, Malay, Monarchy, Shāfi`ī school, custom, modern state, and globalization.

About the Author: Prof. Dr. Iik Arifin Mansurnoor is a Senior Lecturer at the History Department, Faculty of Art and Social Sciences UBD (University of Brunei Darussalam), Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. He can be reached at:

How to cite this article? Mansurnoor, Iik Arifin. (2012). “Sharing, Preserving, and Transforming the Past: Brunei’s Islamic Model of Cultural Dialogue and Development” in TAWARIKH: International Journal for Historical Studies, Vol.3(2) April, pp.125-154. Bandung, Indonesia: ASPENSI [Asosiasi Sarjana Pendidikan Sejarah Indonesia] and UVRI [Universitas Veteran Republik Indonesia], ISSN 2085-0980.

Chronicle of the article: Accepted (February 5, 2012); Revised (March 8, 2012); and Published (April 28, 2012).

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