Perform your obligations even during celebrations
By Azaraimy HH

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said Islam is a ("Samawi" or sky) religion of heaven, whereby it recognises the Ummah's need to have joyous occasions and for people to have a good time as Islam even places "Hari Raya" celebration as an 'ibadat' (religious obligation), however, at the same time, the joyous occasion must be conducted in a way that it does not make us forget the purpose of the celebration.

His Majesty delivered the titah on the eve of Hari Raya Aidiladha.

His Majesty said, "We seek out for the (crescent-shaped) moon to determine "puasa" (or beginning of performing month-long fasting obligation) which is an 'ibadat'. The same goes to the seeking of "Bulan Syawal" (syawal moon) to determine the beginning of "Hari Raya", which is also an 'ibadat'. Then the seeking of "Bulan Zulhijjah" (Zulhijjah moon) to determine the "the Day for Wuquf in Arafah" and Aidiladha celebration, all of these are 'ibadat'."

His Majesty pointed out that during Hari Raya the "ibadat" is more apparent, with all Muslims encouraged to perform "takbir" and join in the mass Hari Raya prayer, as well as take part in religious sacrifice of certain animals.

His Majesty stated that is what Hari Raya is in having an "ibadat" status.

The monarch said this is the uniqueness of Islam as the religion of "Samawi". It's teachings are based on prayer and welfare, even in times of joy. Joy, not in the sense of (unbridled) enjoyment, but joy whilst praying or whilst (serving) welfare.

"That is how Islam does not neglect human instinctive factors. However, at the same time it does not allow those instinctive factors to take over us," His Majesty stated, adding "that is why, we can have joyful occasions, but without forgetting the objective.

"The objective is submission to Allah the Almighty."

His Majesty reiterated that Aidiladha is a symbol of sacrifice and extraordinary courage. "It is seen as an encouragement for Muslims to continue practising "Istigamah" (perseverance) to better oneself."

One's livelihood, His Majesty said, will not change by itself without any effort. This is "Sunnatullah" or (encouraged deeds as duties towards Allah the Almighty), His Majesty explained.

In this respect, His Majesty urged people not to practise the habit of delaying. "Things that are good must be done immediately, and this is the meaning of 'change'. Even though it is difficult and challenging, it must be done," His Majesty added.

The ruler gave the example of Prophet Ibrahim's (pbuh) sacrifice of his own son, Prophet Ismail (pbuh).

"Isn't that a hard thing to do?" His Majesty asked.

"But to obey the command of Allah the Almighty, it was carried out without delay.

"Why have we not learnt from this meaningful iktibar (lesson)? How long has it been that we are celebrating Aidiladha, but we have never given it much thought or followed its lesson," His Majesty asked.

"There are many challenges that must be overcome and much work must be done. Let us all overcome these challenges and get things done. Don't allow time to overtake us, but make an effort to stay ahead of it. This is the hallmark of strong people," His Majesty said.

The monarch said the main challenge is to fulfil our obligations to Allah the Almighty. The commands from Allah the Almighty are many but are not difficult to do. For example, performing prayers and a month of fasting can be followed easily, but there are still many who continue to disobey these obligations.

His Majesty said it's unfortunate that many people are mistaken and the worldly challenges prioritised against the challenges of "ukhrawi" (or for the thereafter) are taken lightly.

The ruler cited the example of the occurrence of economic challenges. His Majesty said that whenever there is serious economic implosion, all will be racing to find the formula or crafting out action plans to overcome it.

However, when the challenges constitute "ukhrawi" elements, such as one feeling of having many sinful acts against Allah the Almighty, then we are less serious to overcome it.

His Majesty urged that "Ukhrawi" matters must be prioritised above that of worldly matters.

He assured that "Ukhrawi" matters refer to the thereafter and the thereafter is everything, like the Firman of Allah which states "... and Akhirat is better than anything permanent".

His Majesty wished all his Muslim subjects and permanent residents Hari Raya Aidiladha Al-Mubarak, and for those that are on the haj pilgrimage, His Majesty prayed for them to achieve Haj Makbrur, or an 'accepted haj'. - Borneo Bulletin (7th Novempber 2011)