It's time to celebrate victory over desire
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam called intense desire the strongest and crafty enemy and urged Muslims to mind their intake of food and drinks and not to consume non-Halal or anything of dubious origin.

In the ruler's Hari Raya titah last night broadcast nationwide over radio and television, the monarch said, "The first of Syawal is here again and we are grateful for being able to celebrate it. We express thanks beginning with 'Takbir' and 'Tahmid', a sign of glorifying Allah the Almighty."

The monarch said Hari Raya is a big reward from Allah the Almighty and the day of victory is much awaited and celebrated once a year. It is not an ordinary victory like winning competitions or wars but is far greater than any other victories.

"The most crafty and strongest enemy is intense desire, which we face every second and moment especially in the blessed and holy month of Ramadhan. In the month of Ramadhan, satans are chained by Allah the Almighty but not our strong desire. Hence, the sole enemy during Ramadhan is our desire.

"We fight with the desire regardless of where we are, whether we are seated, standing, going around or at work. It not only follows us but also encourages and pushes us to do all the wrong things that are prohibited by Allah the Almighty.

"That is the role of desire. In the month of Ramadhan, desire likely drags and deviates Muslims away from the rightful track and from being loyal to Allah the Almighty. This could be detected when a person is unhappy with the arrival of Ramadhan, uneasy with fasting, sees it as a punishment and consequently skips fasting.

"There is also an unwillingness to do good deeds like giving alms, to always read al-Quran and be determined to perform the highly-recommended Terawikh prayers.

"If all these happen, be cautious!" His Majesty advised. "It is the sign that we are defeated by desire 'lawwamah'. In the month of Ramadhan, if big sins are committed that indicates that our desire has truly enslaved us.

"Hence, let us be thankful if today we are not among those who were easily defeated by desire but among those who clinched victory, victory because of Allah the Almighty and in upholding Allah's order.

"Let us strive to gain victory not only during Ramadhan but also in all other months, especially in the month of Syawal," said His Majesty.

"During Syawal, too, we should continue to contain our desire, which could be far stronger to lead us to waste money and to spend lavishly without thinking of the risks.

"It is unfortunate if there are people who are forgetful about the days of the hereafter as such persons are overcome with joy to the extent of missing the obligation to Allah the Almighty like performing prayers five times daily.

"If this happens, Hari Raya is meaningless as Syawal is still a month to do pious acts. There is no reason for the month to be tainted with vice acts," the monarch said.

"In the month of Syawal, we are also urged to fast. The only difference is that fasting in the month of Ramadhan is obligatory while in the month of Syawal is 'Sunat' or highly recommended and it is only for six days. But both are pious duties.

"Hence, to be Ummah who truly appreciates blessings from Allah the Almighty in the form of Hari Raya, let us fulfil it with loyalty as what we have carried out in the month of Ramadhan.

"We filled Syawal with 'Takbir' and 'Tahmid' (glorifying Allah) with Sunat Hari Raya prayers, exchanging greetings to seek forgiveness and fostering ties, as well as carrying out the obligations to Allah the Almighty.

"One of the loyalty factors is to take care of the food and drinks that we take, so as not to exceed and not eat non-Halal food to save our pious acts and to safeguard us from dire punishments in hell in the days of the hereafter.

"Hari Raya is not a ticket to take for granted in the aspect of food and drinks. By taking into consideration all these matters, by Allah's Will, Hari Raya would become a platform to gain rewards," His Majesty said.

In conclusion, His Majesty joined other members of the royal family to wish all citizens and residents Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri Al-Mubarak, happiness for all and safety under the protection and guidance of Allah the Almighty. - Borneo Bulletin (31st August 2011)