“The etymology of the term ‘Sultan’ is used for a King, an Emperor, a Sovereign, a Datu, Panglima, a Raja or Maharaja. Unlike the Hindu titles “Raja” or “Maharaja’ or Proto Malay titles ‘Datu’ or ‘Panglima’ which had been used before the time of Islam, the term of ‘Sultan’ came with the Quran itself. For there has never before any title of Sultan used in history prior to Islam.” (Justice Jainal D. Rasaul, Sr., “Still Chasing the Rainbow, 1999).
The word ‘Sultan’ refers to “authority,” might, jurisdiction, or simply sovereign authority.” Justice Rasul wrote: “The collection of Sulu Salsilas (Tarsilas) called genealogy by Dr. Najeeb Saleeby narrates how a certain Sayeed Abubakar arrived in Buansa, married Paramisuli (a princess and daughter of Raja Baguindo) and subsequently established the Sulu Sultanate, with the title of Paduka Mahasari Maulana Al-Sultan Shariful Hasim. Since the list of Sulu Sultan did not give any dates of the reign of different Sultans, whenever dates appear, nobody can be sure of the accuracy of it. Was it 808-823 A.H or 1405-1420 a.d. OR 1407-1436 or 1450-1480? Nobody really knows the exact date.
Sultan Shariful Hashim ruled as the 1st Sultan of Sulu for about 30 years at Buana which is “5 Kilometers from the present capital of Jolo.” Per Justice Rasul, “the Sultan is assisted by a council of elders known as ‘Thuma Bechara’ composing of leading datus in different places in Sulu archipelago.” Sultan Hashim died in 1480 and his eldest son became the 2nd Sultan of Sulu with the title of Sultan Muhammad Kamaluddin who ruled for 25 years.
Sultan Kamaludden died in 1505 and his son Datu Aluddin became the 3rd Sultan with the title of Sultan Amirul I. Umbra. He reigned from 1505-1527. It was during his reign when Magellan landed in Cebu and killed by Lapu-Lapu. Later, Sultan Umbra’s son became the 4th Sultan of Sulu with the title of Sultan Muizul Mutawaddin (Muhammad Upo) who ruled for 21 years from 1527-1548. Sultan Mutawaddin died in 1548 and Sultan Nasiruddin became the 5th Sultan of Sulu from 1548-1570.
Per Justice Rasul, “it was during The Nasiruddin’s reign that the Sulu Sultanate was expanded beyond the original size by Sultan Shariful Hashim. This time, Sulu Sultanate was enlarged and divided into five districts, namely: 1) Jolo 2) Borneo 3) Palawan; 4) Tawi-Tawi and 5) Basilan, each one being governed by a datu appointed by the Sultan. It was also during the reign of Sultan Nasiruddin who died in 1570 and was succeeded by his eldest son as the 6th Sultan of Sulu with the titled of Sultan Muhammad Halim Pangiran Buddiman who died in 15760. His eldest son Batarasa Shah Tang’a became the 7th Sultan of Sulu. When he died in 1600 and was succeeded by Raja Bongo who became the 8th Sultan of Sulu with the titled of Sultan Malawi Waist I.
Justice Rahul commented: The reign of Sultan Magalia Waist marks the beginning of the bloodiest war in the Philippines. In fact, the Sulu Sultanate reached the zenith of its power. At this time, Sultanate of Sulu was further expanded to include Celebes (The present Sulawesi, Indonesia) with Makassar as the capital; Kalimantan Utara, Indonesian, Borneo with Bolikpopau and Tarakan as the capital; Sabah, with Sandakan and Marudu as its seats of government, Palawan to oversee Visayas and Luzon; and Basilan to oversee Mindanao.”
More from Justice Rasul’s book: “The Spanish aggression led by Captain Figueroa and Ronquillo could be considered the first organized European aggression in Philippine history. Although Portugene and Dutch ships had made attempts before Miguel. Lopez de Legaspi, the first Spanish Adelantado, these were only isolated cases. In 16-2, the expeditions led by Juan Gallanate – after three months of fighting – was forced to return to Panay without success.
“It was only in 1616 when Sultan Mawallit Wasit sent Muslim fleet to counter attack the Visayas, especially Katbalogan, Samar and Pantao, Camarines and Cavite from where allied Indious of the Spaniards hailed.” The Spaniard retaliated – after that said with much destruction on the Sultanate.
Sultan Wasit died in 1639 and succeeded by his son with the titled of Sultan Nasiruddin, the 9th Sultan of Sulu, who ruled from 1639 to 1652. He died in 1652. His son became the 10th Sultan of Sulu with the titled of Sultan Salabuddin Karamat and reigned from 1657 – 1658 as the 10th Sultan of Sulu. The war between Spain and the Sultanate continued. Sultan Karam died in 1668 his son came into power as the 11th Sultan of Sulu with the title of Shakabuddin. He died in 1680 and his son became the 12th Sultan of Sulu with the title of Sultan Mustafa Safuddin.
When Sultan Safuddin died in 1720 (?), he was succeeded by Sultan Badaruddin as the 13th Sultan of Sulu. When he died in 1720 (?), his son succeeded as the 14th Sultan of Sulu with the titled of Sultan Nasiruddin. In 1746, Nasiruddin died and his brother took over as the 15th Sultan of Sulu with the title of Alimuddin I. His cousin Datu Bantilan trusted a spear upon Sultan Alimuddin assumed as the 16th Sultan of Sulu with the title of Sultan Muizuddin II. However, Spanish Governor General Marquis Francisco Jose de Obando reinstated Alimuddin I. In 1773, old and weak Sultan Alimuddin I resigned as Sultan in favor of his son as the 17th Sultan of Sulu with the titled of Muhammad Israel. Due to some conflict with Sulu royal datus and prominent Panglimas, per Justice Rasul, “Sultan Israel was poisoned in 1776.” Thus, Sultan Alimuddin II became the 18th Sultan of Sulu. He died in 1787 rumored to have been poisoned also by the brother of Sultan Israel who came into power as Sultan Sarapuddin, the 19th Sultan of Sulu.
After Sultan Sarapuddin came Sultan Azimuddin Salik as the 20th Sultan of Sulu, then Sultan Alimuddin II as the 21st Sultan of Sulu, then Sultan Israel II as the 22nd Sultan of Sulu and then Sultan Alinddin as the 23rd Sultan of Sulu, then Sultan Sanrullah as the 24th Sultan of Sulu and then in 1823 Sultan Jamalul Kiram I came into power as the 25th Sultan of Sulu.