Sultan graces Israk Mikraj celebration
By Azim Karim

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to grace the National Israk Mikraj celebration for 1432 Hijrah at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas, where the monarch also presented the Excellent, Meritorious and Special Religious Teachers awards for 1432 Hijrah.

Greeting His Majesty and other members of the royal family upon arrival were Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad bin Pengiran Hj Abdul Rahman, the Minister of Religious Affairs in his capacity as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Islamic Major Events for 1432 Hijrah and other committee members.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik.

Themed 'Prayer, Key to Happiness', the National Israk Mikraj celebration for 1432 commenced with a recital of verses from the Quran by Awang Hazwan bin Hj Salim, the runner-up in the Southeast Asian Musabaqah Tilawah Al-Quran competition and a participant of the Kuwait International Prize for Memorising, Recitation and Tajweed of the Holy Quran for the year 2011, whilst the meaning of the verses was interpreted by Awang Hj Shamsol bin Hj Omar, Deputy Principal (Academic) of the Mahaad Islam Brunei.

It was followed by a speech from the Minister of Religious Affairs. He highlighted that the awards are a recognition for the excellent contribution by religious teachers in teaching in Religious schools, Arabic institutions, Institut Tahfiz Al-Quran Sultan Hj Hassanal Bolkiah, and the Islamic Religious Knowledge subject in secondary schools, technical, vocational, primary and other institutions.

These awards have been introduced this year to replace the 'Religious School Award', intended to be an inducement for leaders and teachers to further improve the quality of leadership and teaching in their profession, he added.

The ceremony was further enlivened by a special lecture delivered by Awang Hj Harun bin Hj Juned, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which was followed by a performance of Nasyid based on the theme by a group of religious teachers from the Islamic Studies Department of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

His Majesty then consented to present the Excellent, Meritorious and Special awards for 1432 Hijrah to nine recipients.

The recipient of Excellent Religious Teacher in School Leadership award was Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Kassim bin Hj Lamat, whilst the Excellent Religious Teacher in Al-Quran, Arabic Language, Syariah, Usuluddin and Islamic Religious Knowledge subjects went to Dayang Hajah Saripah binti Haji Abas, Dayang Nurfazilah binti Haji Jumat, Dayang Saripah binti Syed Haji Md Ali, Dayang Hajah Suriani binti Haji Bungsu and Dayang Hajah Safiah binti Haji Omarali respectively.

The Meritorious Religious Teacher award went to Awang Haji Johari bin Haji Khamis and the Special Religious Teacher in Religious/Arabic subject was awarded to Ali Mohamed Moustafa Ali Elsaghir. The recipient of the Special Religious Teacher award in general subject was Haji Kanan Mohamed Abdullah Md Ali.

A 'doa selamat' was recited by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti of Brunei Darussalam, to bless and conclude the National Israk Mikraj celebration for 1432 Hijrah. - Borneo Bulletin (30th June 2011)