Fasting begins tomorrow
By Syafiq Affendy & Hj Minor Absah

By consent of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam it has been announced that Brunei will begin fasting for the month of Ramadhan from Tuesday. Muslims will perform the nightly 'terawikh' prayers tonight marking the start of the holy month.

At dusk yesterday, several religious officials converged at a few vantage points to sight the newmoon of Ramadhan and later confirmed that it was not sighted.

It took place simultaneously at several strategic locations in the country including Bukit Shahbandar in Jerudong, Bukit Agok Firing Range and Bukit Ambok in the Tutong District and Bukit Lumut in the Belait District.

Twenty staff from the Survey Department aided the religious officials in operating the telescope and computers, which were used to find the location of the new moon.

Among the officials who were present at Bukit Shahbandar were Haji Mat Lazim Hj Matali and Pengiran Hj Mohammad Pengiran Hj Ahmad @ Pg Asmawi - both Syarie Judges - as well as the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Development, Awg Haji Mohd Rozan.

Meanwhile, a religious ceremony was held by the Ministry of Religious Affairs while awaiting the announcement of sightings from the locations throughout the Sultanate.

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

Also present were Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah; Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin; Head of Syarie Judge Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Yahya; Deputy Minister of Education Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad; Deputy State Mufti Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Suhaili; and former Head of Syarie Judge, Pehin Datu Imam Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Hamid.

The ceremony began with the recital of al-Quran verses by Ustaz Hj Armawi bin Abdul Rahman, a teacher from Institut Tahfiz al-Quran Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, followed by a recital of surah yassin and tahlil led by Awg Hj Abdul Aziz bin Hj Akop, Acting Secretary of Islamic Religious Council. Later a doa selamat was recited.

A mass maghrib prayer also took place, led by Ustaz Mohammad Hashim bin Haji Abdullah from Institut Tahfiz al-Quran Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. - Borneo Bulletin (1st Sept 2008)