Islam is beacon that guides us
By Waleed PD Mahdini

"Praise be to Allah, we are now in the New Year of Hijrah 1431. We pray that it would bring blessings that we yearn for the country and the people," said His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday.

As the supreme religious leader of Islam in Brunei Darussalam, the monarch made the titah that was broadcast live nationwide last night to usher in the New Year Hijrah 1431.

"We also hope that with its coming, it could inject new awareness for the Muslim Ummah towards 'self-development', not just for Brunei Darussalam, but also for the whole world," said His Majesty.

His Majesty pointed out that the Muslim Ummah that numbers 1.5 billion out of the world's population of seven billion continue to be wrought by strife and chaos. They are gripped by the fires of war and other troubles, which include economic crisis and the terrible burden of debt.

"Why do these things have to happen?" asked His Majesty. As humans who worship religion, the monarch pointed out, we cannot run from the fact that these issues are connected with the will of Allah the Almighty.

"Nothing can move or happen, without Allah's will," stated His Majesty.

The monarch went on to say that Allah the Almighty has bequeathed a 'hard copy' to humankind explaining why these unwanted events have happened, as stated in His teachings in Surah Ar-Rum, Verse 41: 'Much damages and natural disasters have happened on land and in the seas as a result of the humankind's work themselves'

The monarch then pointed out the meaning that all these things happened because of us.

"The mistakes originated from us and therefore punishment from Allah also happened to make us all realise," said His Majesty.

His Majesty went on to remind the nation: "Allah is fairest to all His subjects. He does not choose according to favouritism or status. Those that should be punished will be punished by Him and those that should be released will be released by Him from these punishments."

Nevertheless, the teachings of the Prophet most certainly prefer repentance from the faithful. His Majesty listed out that repentance is the basis of the standpoint of people who are honourable, pious and people of faith. "Has Allah the Almighty not promised the people of faith to release them from troubles and instead opened His doors of opportunity wider for them?" asked the monarch, adding: "In my opinion, the main way out for the Muslim Ummah from this strife and multitude of errors, is down this path of repentance."

If divisions are considered a sin, said His Majesty, then the Muslim Ummah, without any doubt, must repent to Allah as one. By the same measure, if the vices that we are aware of are loathed by Allah, then the Muslim Ummah, without a doubt, must quickly repent to leave that which He loathes. "This is the only effective remedy," His Majesty remarked. "Even if there are other solutions, they are only additives or supplements."

His Majesty then focused his titah back to Brunei by explaining the motive why he never tired of emphasising on the gravity of religious issues. "Islam is the beacon that lights our way. Without it, everything will be dark and for naught."

The monarch remarked that no matter how great a society or country looks like from the outside, if it does not have religion for a soul, then that society or country, in reality, is not great but troubled.

"We truly hope that our country will be every bit a land of peace, which is nurtured by Allah and also receives His protection from any crisis or troubles. It is because of this that we must fulfil every obligation, as inheritors and owners, which is to truly become grateful subjects by performing faithful deeds for all time," reminded His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. "By Allah's will, only through this way will rewards be guaranteed and increased manifold by Allah."

Before His Majesty ended his titah, on behalf of the royal family, the monarch conveyed their sincerest best wishes for the New Year Hijrah 1431. "We hope that throughout its course, we will continue to receive happiness and guidance from Allah the Almighty." - Borneo Bulletin (18th December 2009)