Brunei to mark Raya Thursday
By Azaraimy HH & Amin Hosni

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to convey Aidilfitri greetings to his subjects currently working, studying or residing with families and friends in Malaysia.

Malaysia celebrates Hari Raya today, while Brunei begins the celebration marking the end of Ramadhan tomorrow after 30 days of fasting.

Hari Raya is an important and joyous festival in the Islamic calendar signifying the triumph of Muslims over a month of restraint during the month of Ramadhan.

In His Majesty's titah for all Brunei citizens currently residing in Malaysia, the monarch said he and members of his royal family, in this month of blessings, convey happy Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Brunei citizens celebrating Aidilfitri in Malaysia.

"We are fortunate, with the blessings from Allah the Almighty, to have successfully fulfilled the religious obligation of fasting for a month. Hopefully, Allah would accept this act of devotion.

"In this blissful time, I and members of my family, express 'Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri' to all citizens of Negara Brunei Darussalam that are celebrating Hari Raya in Malaysia, either they are working, studying or residing with families and friends.

"Also, I and my family, take this opportunity to convey 'Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri' to all Malaysians," His Majesty said.

Muslims in Brunei will celebrate Hari Raya tomorrow, which will also mark the first day of Syawal 1429, religious officials confirmed. The result of the sighting was broadcast live last night on Radio Televisyen Brunei (RTB).

The new moon, which determines the end of Ramadhan and the start of the Hari Raya celebrations, was not sighted on the horizon during an observation yesterday between 6pm and 7pm at several vantage points at Bukit Shahbandar in Jerudong, Bukit Ambok and Padang Tembak Bukit Agok in Tutong District and Bukit Lumut Belait.

Syarie Judges and officials of the Syariah Court, officials from the State Judiciary Department, Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Survey Department, Ministry of Development made attempts to sight the 'hilal' or new crescent moon but in vain.

In Bukit Shahbandar, among the officials that were present included Ustaz Haji Mohd Lazim bin Haji Matali and Pg Haji Muhammad @ Pg Haji Noor Asmawi bin Pg Haji Hassan, both Syarie Subordinate Judges.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Religious Affairs held a religious ceremony for the sighting of the new moon, yesterday afternoon, at the Dewan Teratai, level 5 of the ministry. (See Page 12)

Present at the ceremony was Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Mohd Zain bin Haji Serudin, the Minister of Religious Affairs.

Also present were invited guests, permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries, senior officers and officers at the ministry.

The religious ceremony began with the recital of holy versus from al-Quran by Awang Abdul Matin bin Haji Abdul Rahim, Champion of the Al-Quran Ayat Memorising and Translating Category A in conjunction with the Nuzul al-Quran National Level Celebration.

This was followed by a selawat performance by officers of the ministry and a maghrib prayer Imam by Awang Mohd Seruji bin Haji Dolah.

To mark Hari Raya, Sunat Aidilfitri prayers will be held at all mosques around the nation at 7.30am on Thursday.

With one more day for Hari Raya, Muslims are expected to make the most of the last day of Ramadhan by doing religious deeds with hopes of getting higher rewards and blessings from Allah SWT.

All roads leading to major shopping centres and department stores are expected to be congested today with people rushing for last minute shopping.

Petrol stations are also likely to see long queues, as will immigration checkpoints with people leaving and entering the country to join their families for Aidilfitri. - Borneo Bulletin (1st Oct 2008)