His Majesty honours new Islamic year
By Azim Karim

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam last night consented to grace the national celebration of the new Islamic year 1433 Hijrah at the Jame' 'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah in Kiarong.

Upon arriving at the ceremony His Majesty, along with other members of the royal family, was greeted by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad bin Pengiran Hj Abdul Rahman as Chairman of the Executive Committee for major events in the Islamic calendar for 1433 Hijrah.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Hj 'Abdul 'Azim, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik and HRH Prince 'Abdul Wakeel.

The ceremony commenced with a doa recital for the end of year 1432 Hijrah, read by Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awang Yahya bin Hj Awg Ibrahim.

His Majesty then joined thousands of his subjects in performing mass Maghrib prayers followed by the recital of a new year doa for 1433 Hijrah, led by Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awang Salim bin Hj Besar.

Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Suhaili bin Hj Mohiddin then proceeded to lead the Sunnat Hajat prayer where blessings were seeked from Allah the Almighty on behalf of the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam so that nation will continue to prosper spiritually and economically as well as stay safe from disasters.

The Minister of Religious Affairs in his welcoming speech expressed his gratitude to Allah the Almighty for His Majesty's leadership and wisdom as he continues his role as a benevolent ruler who has thus far succeeded in safeguarding and developing the religion of Islam in the Sultanate.

Revolving around the theme of 'Piety: the basis of excellence for the Ummah', the minister further reiterated the glory days of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and companions in disseminating the teachings of Islam.

"Brunei Darussalam must continue to preserve and nourish Islam to achieve excellence for the Ummah in order for us to maintain living under the gratification of Islamic teachings".

The highlight of the celebration - the conferment of the 'Exemplary Religious Figure Award' (Anugerah Tokoh Ugama) and the 'Meritorious Service Award' (Anugerah Bakti Hijrah) for 1433 Hijrah which were read by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Awg Hj Abdul Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Hj Mohd Yusof, and the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the ministry, Awg Hj Harun bin Hj Junid, respectively.

The conferment of these awards was based on the recipients' contributions towards the development of the community and Islamic teachings in the country, as well as their having in their possession much-lauded personal attributes that include character, wisdom and leadership.

To further bless the ceremony, a doa selamat was read by the State Mufti, Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz bin Juned, followed by mass Isyak prayers led by Pehin Datu Imam Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Abdul Hamid bin Bakal. - Borneo Bulletin (27th Novempber 2011)