Al-Quran Memorising winners awarded
By Hakim Hayat

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam last night consented to attend the National Nuzul Al-Quran Celebration 1432 Hijrah, one of the most significant events on the Islamic calendar. The event was held last night at the Plenary Hall of the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas.

His Majesty was welcomed on arrival at the ICC by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad bin Pg Hj Abdul Rahman, who is also the Chairman of the Executive Committee for Important Islamic Events for 1432 Hijrah, as well as members of the executive committee and other committee members.

Also present at the celebration were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik and HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen.

His Majesty consented to deliver a titah in which His Majesty focused on the importance of the "halalness" of imported products into Brunei and called for more prevalent and stringent checks on such products before they reach the people, and for the people to avoid any food products that might even have the slightest doubt as to their "halalness".

The evening began with the reading of surah al-Fatihah, led by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr.) Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti. This was followed by a welcoming speech from the Minister of Religious Affairs, in which he elaborated on the theme of this year's Nuzul Al-Quran celebration, "Al-Quran, the Source of Civilisation".

"This theme is a reality in the Muslim world, whereby non-Muslim communities also benefit from the Muslim civilisation itself," he said "For Brunei Darussalam, such a civilisation, which is based on the al-Quran, has been evident since five centuries ago, when the light of Islam was first brought into the country, bringing blessings, peace and prosperity upon the nation and its people, culminating in the aspiration for the country to be a 'Nation of Zikir'."

The Minister also spoke of the changes and improvements that have been made to the annual Al-Quran competition, while thanking the contributors. "Alhamdulillah, in each of the contested categories, it has shown improvement from time to time, not just in memorisation, but also in the understanding of the content of the al-Quran itself. It is also remarkable that one of our local participants is participating in the MABIMS Member Countries category in this competition."

The event was enlivened with a special talk, entitled "Al-Quran, the Source of Civilisation", which was presented by Dr Hjh Masnon binti Hj Ibrahim, the Rector of the the Seri Begawan Religious Teachers' University College (KUPUSB).

The highlight of the celebration last night was the announcement of the winners of the finals of the Al-Quran Memorising and Understanding Competition held in conjunction with the Nuzul Al-Quran Celebration, in the National categories as well as the MABIMS Member Countries categories. Awg Md Hashim bin Hj Abdullah, the Chairman of the Panel of Judges made the announcement.

The winner for Category 'A', for children 10 years of age and below, was Muhammad Hazim bin Hazilan, 9, who received a cash prize B$1,500, a trophy and a certificate. Hazim said it was the first time he competed in the event, adding that he was very delighted with the result.

In Category 'B', for participants below the age of 15, the winner was Haziqah binti Hj Hazilan who received a cash prize of $2,000, a prize trophy and a certificate.

In Category 'C', memorising 15 Juz of al-Quran and the understanding of Juz 5 open for all age categories, Muhammad Najib bin Hj Aliakbar took first place the first place earning him the prize of $2,800, prize trophy and a certificate. Najib also took the 2nd place in one of the MABIMS categories.

As for Category 'D', memorising 30 Juz of al-Quran and the understanding of Juz 16, which was also an open-age category, the winner was Ak Khairul Ikhwan bin Pg Alit who received $4,500, a prize trophy and a certificate.

For the MABIMS member countries category for memorising 30 Juz of the Al-Quran as well as the understanding of Juz 18 for ages 30 years and below, the winner was Mohammad Fikri bin Hj Sharbini of Brunei, who took home a cash prize of $7,000 and a certificate.

In the last MABIMS member country category for memorising 10 Juz of al-Quran, as well as the understanding of Juz 5 for ages 20 years and below, Lufti Lutfiah of Indonesia emerged champion, taking home a cash prize of $4,000 and a certificate.

After the announcement of the winners, all first-place winners in the National and MABIMS categories performed in the presence of His Majesty and before the audience, reciting their memorising and understanding of al-Quran. His Majesty then consented to present the winners with their prizes.

The evening was further enlivened with a nasyid performance by members of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. To bless the event, a doa selamat was read by the State Mufti. His Majesty then consented to meet and greet the winners.

The celebration this year was jointly organised and managed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. - Borneo Bulletin (18th August 2011)