Prince officiates Al-Quran competition finals
By Hj Ahmed Shaheeb

The opening ceremony for the finals of the National Adult Al-Quran Reading Competition 1429H/2008M organised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs was held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas yesterday.

Present to grace the event was His Royal Highness Prince Sufri Bolkiah.

His Royal Highness also made an officiating Sabda, in which he expressed his support for the competition, which aimed to raise the level of proficiency of Al-Quran reading among youth.

Another objective of such competition was to mould a generation that knowledgeable with indepth understanding of the Al-Quran.

He also said that the Al-Quran should be read in a clear and correct manner wherewith the nation will benefit, with the blessing of Allah.

Minister of Religious Affairs, Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Mohd Zain Haji Serudin, was on hand to greet His Highness upon arrival.

The ceremony began with the customary recital of the surah Al-Fatihah by Pehin Datu Imam Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Hamid Bakal, followed by welcoming remarks by Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Mohd Zain Haji Serudin, as chairman of the organising committee of the competition.

He said Al-Quran reading competition started at the mosque and prayer hall level to choose the Qari and Qariah at the zone stages. The ones who obtained the 75 per cent prerequisite would proceed to the quarterfinals.

"This year, 97 participants were selected to compete in the quarterfinals, 23 made it to the semi-finals, comprising 17 Qari and six Qariah.

At the semi-finals, three Qari and Qariah each were selected to compete at the final stage.

The competition began with the recital of the Al-Quran by four participants, followed by a Tausyeh Selawat by students from Sekolah Menengah Arab Laki-Laki Hassanal Bolkiah and Institut Tahfiz Al-Quran Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.

Winners of the competition will be announced tonight at the Dewan Plenary, ICC, and will go on to represent Brunei Darussalam at the Musabaqah Tilawah Al-Quran in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. - Borneo Bulletin (29th May 2008)