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Brunei, independent Islamic Sultanate on the northern coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. It is bounded on the north by the South China Sea and on all other sides by the East Malaysian state of Sarawak, which also divides the state into two disconnected segments of unequal size.


Islam is Brunei's official religion, 67 percent of the population is Muslim, mostly Sunnis of Malay origin who follow the Shafi'ey school of Islamic thought. Most of the other Muslim groups are Kedayans (reverts from indigenous tribal groups) and Chinese reverts.


The state madh'hab of Islam is the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence of Sunni Islam. Most of Brunei's Muslim population subscribe to the Shafi'i school as well, and Shafi'i is a major source of law for the country. However, with the Sultan's permission, lawmakers may also consult the other three Sunni schools of fiqh.


Islam was adopted in the 15th century when a Malay Muslim was installed as sultan. The sultan traditionally was responsible for upholding Islamic traditions, although the responsibility was usually delegated to appointed officials.


Since the 1930s sultans have used rising oil revenues to provide an extensive social welfare system and promote Islam, including subsidizing the Hajj, building mosques, and expanding the Department of Religious Affairs.


Moreover, with the constitution in 1959, Islam became the official religion of the country. On 30 April 2014, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced the implementation and enforcement of the first phase of Sharia law in Brunei starting 1 May 2014.






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