Ampun Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram was born on 28th of August 1966 in Jolo, Sulu. He is the eldest son of Ampun. Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram, 34th Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo (1974-1986). Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram was the last recognized Sultan by the Philippine Government and was given special honours by president Ferdinand Marcos, installing him with a public coronatin in May 24th. 1974 under Memo Order 427. In the same event Datu Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram was crowned as Raja Muda (Crown Prince) beside his father.
Ampun Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram is the grandson of the 33rd Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, Ampun Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Esmail E. Kiram I (1950-1973) who granted authority to Philippine government under the administration of President Diosdado Macapagal in on 12th of September 1962 and of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1969.
Ampun Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Jamalul Kiram II (1893-1936) was his great grand uncle. He was recognized worldwide and he signed several treaties with different nations during his long reigm. Having no offspring of his own, he passed on his authority and power to his youngest brother Ampun Al-marhum Sultan Mawallil Wasit Kiram (1936), who was Ampun Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram’s great grandfather.
Ampun Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram’s mother Dayang-Dayang Farida Tan-Kiram, half tausug and half Chinese was the first wife of his father. She was commonly known as the “Princess of Sulu”
Dayang-Dayang Merriam Tanglao-Kiram was the second wife of his father. She is commonly known as the “Princess of the South”.
All together Ampun Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram, 34th Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo had seven children:
1. Dayang-Dayang Zuharra T.Kiram
2. Dayang-Dayang Dinwasa T. Kiram Delos Santos
3. Raja Muda Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram
4. Datu Yldon Tan Kiram
5. Dayang-Dayang Nur Mahal T. Kiram
6. Dayang-Dayang Ayesha T. Kiram
7. Dayang-Dayang Tanya Rowena T. Kiram -Tahil
Ampun Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram is married with H.M. Dayang-Dayang Mellany S. Kiram and they have seven children.
1. Raja Muda Moh. Ehsn S. Kiram
2. Datu Nizamuddin S. Kiram
3. Dayang-Dayang Rahela S. Kiram
4. Datu Jihad S. Kiram
5. Datu Mujahid S. Kiram
6. Dayang-Dayang Redha S. Kiram
7. Datu Mahakuttah S. Kiram
Ampun has got a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from AE College, Zamboanga City. He also has reached higher studies in Islam in Lahore, Pakistan in 1995-1996. HRH has served the local community as a government official. At present he is involved as a civil society leader in the Province of Sulu which opposes the US-RP Balikatan Exercises of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
Ampun’s birthplace – Jolo was once the capital of a maritime empire that traded with the great Empire of China and with other kingdoms in Southeast Asia. As Raja Muda of Sulu, the Sultanate is his birthright. There is a sacred bond between the Sultan and his people, the Rayaat, that is handed down from generation to generation between the royal family and trusted people who live in Sabah and in the Sulu Archipelago.
The Sulu Archipelago includes Palawan, Sabah, Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, the Sprately islands and the Balambagan group of islands. Historically it was part of Nusantara. According to oral history and traditions, Sulu has been independent and sovereign centuries before the birth of the Republic of Philippines. Ampun ancestors contracted treaties with powerful nations and defended Sulu rights to freedom in traditional way of life against invaders.
But from the start of the Philippine Republic which lumped Sulu with the rest of the islands under the name Philippine Archipelago, Sulu has experienced devastation, death and downfall.
The Macaski Judgment over the Sabah issue in 1939 was a blow to the Sulu Sultanate. Ampun’s grandfather, Sultan Moh. Esmail E. Kiram I was one of the recipients of that unfair judgment. The Macaski settlement was a ploy of Britain and Malaysia that brought about division among the Sulu royals. Sabah became a private property and the heirs of the Sultan were divided among themselves: one group wanted Sabah for sale while another group wanted to take it back. People of Sulu stand now is to claim it back because it belongs to Sulu. It has to be returned to the dominion of the Sulu Sultanate whose Raayat live in Sabah. British government had no authority to make a judgment over the Sabah issue such as the Macaski decision since the British had never colonized Sulu and since Sabah belongs to the dominion of the Sulu Sultanate and its Raayat.
The situation of the Sulu Sultanate became more problematic with the failure of the Philippine government to understand and be of help to their Muslim brothers. When Ampun’s grandfather, Sultan Moh. Esmail E. Kiram I, granted authority to the Philippine government through Pres. Diosdado Macapagal and Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, it was with the hope that the Philippine government would become a caretaker of the domain of the Sulu Sultanate to help the Muslims in this archipelago. This transfer of sovereign authority carried with it obligations and agreements which the Philippine government did not fulfill. People have seen how a proudly western- educated nation envided us, underestimated us, dominated us and cheated us of our basic rights to our ancestral domain.
People of Sulu lost the hope because of the destruction brought by war. No one stood for the defense of their human rights. For all those who witnessed the ravages of war, it was like hell and a terrifying nightmare! No people suffered more than the people of the Sulu Sultanate. It seemed like endless suffering until one day a glimmer of light shine when Ampun’s father was installed as the Sultan of Sulu in 1974. He was both Sultan and father to all the victims and survivors of the “moro-moro” war. Ampun’s father’s installation and reign started the slow but steady recovery of Sulu people and until now his contribution to peace-building is still felt.
Yet at present there is confusion caused by political leaders and by the usurpation of powers of the Sultan of Sulu by pretenders, in total disregard of Sharia law and the tradition of the law of succession. During the twelve year reign of Ampun’s father, Sultan Mahakuttah A. Kiram, there were no pretenders to the title of Sultan who claimed ascendancy. After his death in Feb. 16,1986, however, several claimants- royals and non-royals – rushed for their self-proclamation.
Last twenty-two years Ampun has waited for the official recognition to succeed his father. Becoming Sultan of Sulu is his birthright as the genuine Raja Muda of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu.
When the Sulu Sultanate begins to rise again, Ampun hopes that all those under Sulu domain can at last taste lasting peace, freedom and well-being, in exchange for their suffering in the past.
Ampun hopes that all the unpleasant and tragic events in the chapters of the history of NUSANTARA is just a preparation for the second rising of a small but powerful empire. It shall rise, not because of brute and ruthless force, but because people of Sulu shall bravely stand and fight for their Rights, for Goodness, and for Truth.