Death Anniversary of Sultan Iskandar of Johor Date in the current year: August 12, 2024

Death Anniversary of Sultan Iskandar of Johor In all Malaysian states the actual or official birthday of the ruler (sultan, raja or governor) is a public holiday, but Johor is the only state where the death anniversary of the previous ruler is a public holiday, too. The death anniversary (Hari Hol) of Sultan Iskandar of Johor is observed on the sixth day of the month of Safar in the Islamic calendar.

The death anniversary of the sultan of Johor was first observed in 1896. It was the first death anniversary of Sultan Abu Bakar, the founder of the House of Temenggong and the first sultan of modern Johor. Since then, whenever a new sultan ascends the throne, the death anniversary of his predecessor is declared an official remembrance day.

Since 2010, the death anniversary of Sultan of Johor has been observed on the 6th of Safar to honor the memory of the fourth sultan of modern Johor, who ruled the sultanate from 1891 to 2010. Mahmood Iskandar was born on April 8, 1932 to Tunku Ismail, the heir apparent of Johor. He graduated from Trinity Grammar School in Australia and then studied in the United Kingdom for several years before returning to Malaysia and taking up a post in the civil service.

In 1959, Mahmood’s father became Sultan of Johor and officially appointed his son as the Tunku Mahkota (heir apparent). However, in 1961, Mahmood was stripped of the titled due to “inappropriate behavior”, and his younger brother Abdul Rahman was appointed as the crown prince instead.

Twenty years later, the dying sultan re-appointed Mahmood as the Tunku Mahkota. Sultan Ismail died on May 10, 1981, and the next day Mahmood ascended the throne of Johor as Sultan Iskandar. Unlike previous sultans, Iskandar chose not to have an official coronation ceremony. Three years after his ascension to the throne of Johor, Iskandar was elected as the Yang-di Pertuan Agong (supreme ruler) of Malaysia. He ruled the country for five years from 1984 to 1989.

In the early 2000s, Sultan Iskandar’s health began to decline, and he had to step down from some of his duties and entrust them to the crown prince. The sultan passed away from an illness on January 22, 2010. His death anniversary was declared a remembrance day.

Unlike Sultan of Johor’s birthday, which is celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar, the death anniversary of the previous sultan is observed according to the Islamic calendar. Because of the difference between the two calendars, it falls on a new date in the Gregorian calendar every year. For example, Sultan Iskandar of Johor died on the 6th of Safar. It fell on January 22 at the time of his death (2010), but in 2020, his death anniversary was observed on September 24.

Sultan of Johor’s remembrance day is marked with a religious ceremony held in the Mahmoodiah Royal Mausoleum, where all modern sultans of Johor, their closest family members and certain renowned politicians are buried. The ceremony is attended by the incumbent Sultan of Johor, his family, and muftis. During the ceremony, it is customary to read prayers, lay flowers on the grave of the deceased sultan and sprinkle it with rose water.

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