Al-Quran as guiding light
By Danial Norjidi

"We must recognise that the current global growth will continue to challenge and test our beliefs. Therefore, we need a generation that is knowledgeable, has great syaksiah, and a true Muslim identity, which will enable us to deal with the challenges and tests successfully, and contribute to global harmony."

His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, said in a sabda as he officiated the National Level Al-Quran Reading Competition Adult Division Finals 2010 last night.

The event, which took place at the International Convention Centre in Berakas, saw His Royal Highness greeted on arrival by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Haji Mohd Zain bin Haji Serudin.

Accompanying HRH the Crown Prince was HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik.

"It is an obligation for everyone to continuously improve their capabilities of reading the Quran, to create a generation which is proficient in reading the holy book, while also appreciating the Quran as a universal guide to life.

"Brunei's younger generation has been exposed to the ways of reading through al-Quran education in schools as well as through parents' own initiatives.

"This continuous exposure that begins at a young age has, without a doubt, planting the seeds of pure values in the citizens and residents of the country," said HRH.

"We truly uphold my father's wishes, which pays great attention to the importance of religious education, by making Islamic Religious Knowledge a core subject in SPN21.

"We are also grateful for my father's titah, which stressed that efforts be made to make religious schooling compulsory for all Muslim children in this country to ensure a generation that is religiously adept and holds firmly onto the teachings which are contained within, while always practising noble values.

"In my opinion, my father's vision is very relevant towards making this country continuously blessed by Allah, safe and peaceful and free from any disasters.

"Sustaining spiritual values and Islamic brotherhood among the citizens and residents of this country is in line with Wawasan Brunei 2035, that is to ensure the balance of physical and spiritual development of the citizens and residents," the Crown Prince said.

"We are grateful for the many blessings from Allah for us and our country, including the country's peace and prosperity, as well as for having one of the best living standards in the region.

"As a sign of that gratefulness, we must put in more efforts by reading and appreciating the teachings of al-Quran.

"The younger generation should be nurtured continuously, educated and guided until they are ready to become the generation that can be expected to achieve progress and balanced national development.

"It must be remembered that any disobedience will bring only ruin to society and the nation, as well as suffering in the afterlife," said HRH.

The Minister of Religious gave welcoming remarks, in which he said, "61 participants, 49 Qari and 12 Qariah, took part in the last quarter of the competition.

"From the total, 26 participants were chosen, based on the marks of at least 80 per cent and above to the final round, which was held on April 26," he said. "Now there are eight participants, four Qari and four Qariah, including a Qari participant who is the defending champion, who will be competing tonight."

The competition began with the recital of the verses by four of the finalists, which was followed by a Nasyid performance by students from Institut Tahfiz Al-Quran Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. The competition resumed as the other four finalists continued with the recital of the verses.

The Qari participants are defending champion Haji Mujammad Fahmie bin Haji Metussin, Mohammad Zul Hafiz bin Awang Tengah, Awangku Muhammad Adibul Amin bin Pengiran Haji Marjuki and Awangku Muhammad Amirul Aiman bin Pengiran Haji Marjuki.

The Qairi participants are Nurezah binti Haji Md Deli, Nurfaezah binti Haji Emran, Siti Huzzaimah Yadey binti Haji Rosli and Hajah Siti Noor Dzuhairah binti Haji Damit.

The announcement of the champion Qari and Qariah will be made tonight at the same venue. - Borneo Bulletin (27th May 2010)