The Sulu Sharif

In previous days I often ask myself and colleagues about the Sharif in Sulu. Yet clouds of ignorance still the number one hurdle that drives me to pause thinking of it for a while.  What has with the Sharif? Why I should care about it? That’s the questions always flash in my brain.

One of the Makhdum arrived in Sulu
As blogging become today’s bandwagon, I frequently encountered about the Sharif issue. On and off the net, most issues related to Sulu always have the presence of Sharif. The popular on the net is the first Sultan of Sulu – Sultan Shariful Hashim Sayyid Abubakar and the Makhdum. While off the net, there were many Tausug bearing this noble title in spite of difficulties in tracing their roots down to the two grandsons of Prophet Muhammad SAW.  Unlike the Sayyed and Sharif from Malaysia and Indonesia do have clear understanding of their lineage. In fact, in tracing the genuineness of lineage the Habaib from those countries put several test before to confirm whether a person belongs to ahlul bait of Rasulullah or not according to Dzul Asree Hajad when he visited to a group of Habaib in Indonesia sometimes last year.

In Sulu, the process of knowing Sharif lineage has two ways: firstly, based from the existing family bearing the Sharif title, secondly, through a foresight of a sufi master or a Tausug mukali’. Despite of this process still few from among the Sulu Sharif could able to trace their lineage? Even there are perhaps only them who really possessed the family trees that have good understanding of their backgrounds. In most cases, the problem which connected to this is the failure of most Sharif to write their family trees in the past.   

Sulu, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Patani were the favorite landing grounds of the Ahlul bait missionaries in the past and at present.  In Sulu the popular among them were the Makhdum, Sayyid Abubakar, Shari Alawi, Sharif Balpaki, Sharif Ali Barakat, and others. The Makhdum according to the articles found in Wikipedia, were descended from Hazrat Abbas (RA), the uncle of Prophet Muhammad SAW. It is believe the descendants of this Sharif and Sayyid were scattered around Sulu and in the world. In Indonesia and Malaysia, the popular ahlul bait is the Alawiyyin which known in their cognomen, Ba’alawi.

The Makhdum Mosque in Tubig Indangan Sulu
Nowadays, the service of the progenies of the prophet from outside Sulu still badly needed. Be it in Sultanate of Sulu and other parts of the Muslim world. Though in Indonesia and Malaysia the present of the Habaib is vividly seen, in Sulu most Tausug seldom hear about them. Hopefully as the Sharif in Sulu slowly to realize the value of preserving their lineage, a habaib from Yemen, Indonesia and other part of the world will revisit the land of Sulu as what their ancestors did in sowing the seed of Islam in the “garden of the east”.

Currently, the title Sharif is slowly emerging in Sulu. Hopefully, thorough research needs to be done for this matter enable to make all fuzzy clearer.

Should you have any additional info or comment just leave on the comment box below.

- Sharif Aliazer Sharif Abdurajim -


  1. The Tausug shariffs are said to be descendants of the holy prophet Muhammad(saw), through his great-grandson Ali Ibn al-Husayn also known as Zain al-Abidin. In the Tausug oral traditions, Zain al-Abidin reached the islands of Sulu where he settled in Tapul for sometime and left offsprings to become the first generation of Tausug shariffs. This however could not be verified as a matter of fact there are no records of Zain al-Abidin's travel reaching south east Asia. I personally view this story as sufi narrations of mystical journeys of awliya.
    Can we now put to rest by resoundingly debunking the claim of the Tausugs that a segment of their population descended from the holy prophet(saw)?
    Not just yet! It is an undeniable fact that the first sultan of Sulu, Sayed Abubakar as shariff al-Hashim, an arab, was a direct descendant of prophet Muhammad(saw) through his father sayed Zain al-Abidin of Hadramawt who belonged to the 14th generation of imam Husayn, the grandson of prophet Muhammad(saw). So there was in fact a historical Zain al-Abidin in Sulu. Although more research should be done at this point to shed light into the Adam of Tausug shariffs, historical accounts clearly establishes the connection. Did the sultan assumed the name of his father Zain al-Abidin early on in his days in Sulu or perhaps his father reached the islands as well? These are just a couple of questions begging for answers. Nevertheless what is crystal clear is the fact that both were progenies of the holy prophet Muhammad(saw), thereby affirming the bloodline of the Tausug shariffs. -San Tindick

  2. Sultan muhammad pulalun...
    hold the Title Sharif...
    the pulalun family hold the Title sharif...
    We descended that title through our family lineage...
    and that our most Grandfather Sultan Muhammad Pulalun..,,