Prince distributes dates for Ramadhan
By Narissa Noor

His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik yesterday stressed the importance of practising moderation - particularly in our spending and food consumption - during a launching ceremony for the distribution of dates for the upcoming holy month of Ramadhan.

The dates are a personal gift from His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to the Muslim population.

A total of 128.5 metric tonnes of dates have been allocated for the Muslim population in Brunei Darussalam.

The ceremony was held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

HRH also reminded the Muslim community that the holy month of Ramadhan would be an opportunity for them to increase their religious duties and at the same time augment their appreciation of the continued blessings by Allah the Almighty.

HRH noted several verses of the Quran, which stressed on the importance of gratitude and appreciation of what has been given.

That, HRH said, is even more meaningful... if those blessings are used properly and beneficially and not on sinful endeavours.

At the same time, during the holy month of Ramadhan, those blessings must also be balanced with moderation and preventing anything from going to waste.

Touching more on moderation, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik said that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) has taught us to practise moderation in our meals and to avoid consuming excessively.

In relation to this, HRH advised the Muslim community to control their desires as it represents the ultimate test from Allah the Almighty to gauge their faith and beliefs.

In his sabda, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik also took the opportunity to express his appreciation to Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, various government agencies as well as the other parties involved in helping to implement the successful distribution of His Majesty's gift.

Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah and the District Offices were reminded to ensure that the relevant parties entrusted to distribute the dates understood their roles in guaranteeing the distribution to the entire Muslim community.

His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik officiated the event by presenting the Ramadhan gift to representatives from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Royal Brunei Police Force as well as Mukim Penghulus and Village Heads.

These representatives will then distribute the fruits - supplied by the Al Madinah Munawarah Dates Company - to the Muslim population in their respective communities.

Dates are traditionally significant during the month of Ramadhan as they are consumed by Muslims to break their fast before indulging in their meals, not only because of its nutritional values but also in following the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

The management of the distribution of the 'Mabroom' dates is an annual initiative undertaken by the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.

The shipment of these dates takes about 25 days. Stored in seven chilled container units, the dates arrived at the Muara Port in July.

During the event, Minister of Communications Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Haji Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, reiterated HRH's sabda, adding that the amount of dates distributed this year had increased by five metric tonnes compared to last year, due to the increase in population.

Each Muslim in the country is to receive 300g of dates. - Borneo Bulletin (14th August 2008)