His Majesty pins it on Imams and Bilals
By Aziz Idris

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday called on Imams and Bilals across the country to practise perfection in their interpretation whilst performing 'Ibadah' (worship) to enact their devotion to Allah the Almighty.

The beloved ruler also lauded the rectification of this year's celebration format by introducing the 'Anugerah Imam Cemerlang' and 'Anugerah Bilal Cemerlang'.

His Majesty was delivering this during his titah at the National Israk Mikraj celebration for the year 1431 Hijrah held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas yesterday.

His Majesty stated that the newly-introduced awards are "exceptional" because this will prevent any kind of shameful transgression as stated in Surah Al-'Anakabuut, Verse 45.

The monarch added that this was a wise move because "what is important is our 'Ibadah' then followed by where we performed our 'Ibadah'."

In light of this, His Majesty highlighted the responsibility of Imams. "They (Imams) determine the devotion of Muslims behind them (congregation). If they are correct, then the congregation will also be correct. But otherwise if they are wrong or flawed in their reading, then the congregation will also accept the risk."

His Majesty asserted that the awards scheme should be regarded as an important motivation for producing quality Imams and Bilals.

"I hope that with the scheme, mosques, suraus and prayer halls will flourish and Imams and Bilals will be more prominent and respected," added His Majesty.

Despite that, His Majesty alsoencouraged other relevant agencies to be proactive in development programmes such as conducting refresher courses and recital classes or seminars related with the management and prosperity of mosques.

His Majesty believes that with this effort, it would further increase the knowledge and skills of Imams and other mosque officials.

"(The) Mosque is a place of tarbiah (education) and dakwah (preaching). It must be robust and effective. The term 'Takmir Masjid' is to focus on the community to perform 'Ibadah' at mosques, and also a counselling hub for religious guidance.

"As a result, a mosque must not be subdued and weak," said His Majesty adding that if it (mosques) failed then it would pull away from society.

The monarch also urged his subjects, to ensure continuous prosperity of mosques with the knowledge and Ibadah, and in particular, the functions of the mimbar (pulpit), should always materialise.

On other matters relating to the National Israk Mikraj celebration, His Majesty in his titah also highlighted the importance of remembering the events witnessed by the apostles on the night of Israk and regard it as an important lesson to be used in the way we live our lives.

"Humans are negligent while the devil will always try to seduce and deceive neglected people," His Majesty added, and urged his subjects to refrain from performing maksiat (sins) that is against the Islamic guidance.

His Majesty gave praise to Allah the Almighty for "He has provided us with Islamic guidance and the al-Quran for us to distinguish which is good if it is from Allah, while the bad will surely be the followers of Satan," His Majesty stated. - Borneo Bulletin (11th July 2010)