By Hakim Hayat
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam challenged today's youths to overcome the negative connotation associated with youths as carrier of social 'virus' into a more positive perception that of curators of social ills.
In a titah at the conclusion of the 5th Southeast Asian Youth Al-Quran Reading Competition 2011 last night, the monarch raised his concern that whenever the word youth is being spoken, it is more often than not carries with it a negative connotation, relating them to moral problems and social issues.
"It is as if the youths are likened to a virus in the community, in comparison to the generation of youths or young people in the past who were considered champions of the community," His Majesty said.
"Based on this, does our youth or the younger generation not compelled to remove the label 'virus' and replace it with 'champions of the community'?" His Majesty asked.
Also present last night were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik.
The competition, which began Tuesday, was held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.
Bruneian Ak Md Amirul Aiman bin Pg Hj Marjuki emerged as champion in the Qari category with a score of 90.48 per cent.
His fellow countryman Awg Hj Nasrul Fakhri bin Hj Yahya was named first runner-up with a score of 89.07 per cent, while Thailand's Jirayut Nimnuan earned himself the second runner-up spot with 86.6 per cent.
In the Qariah category, Malaysian participant Siti Husnaa binti Hassan came on top with a score of 89.49 per cent while Brunei's Dk Fauziah Nadhirah binti Pg Hj Jofri and Dyg Maizatun Nadzeerah binti Hj Md Daud came in second and third places with scores of 87.32 per cent and 85.9 per cent, respectively.
In the titah, His Majesty viewed the congregation of youths cutting across the Asean region symbolising the solidarity among the 'Ummah' and regional cooperation. "Such congregation also represents a platform to promote understanding and mutual respect on Islam to the international community that Islam is a religion that brings about continuous peace and harmony."
His Majesty urged Muslim youths in Asean to carry their role for providing the right image of Islam, because there are certain people in this world that have inherent animosity towards Islam.
In fact, according to His Majesty, Islam is a light, in its legacy it has brought about the betterment of the world away from its dark beginnings.
The youths also hold a pivotal role in realising the heavy obligation to elevate the good name of Islam and shielding it from irresponsible elements. "Such role has long been carried by faithful Muslims among the youths of the ancient past. For example, the Prophet himself from his youth had struggled and fought for Islam followed by the close companions of the Prophet such as Sayyidina Ali, Sayyidina Mu'az bin Jabal, Sayyidatina Asmaa' binti Abu Bakar and many more to name but a few.
"Such curators of youth have long been missed especially in the Islamic world to bring it out from the darkness of modern 'jahiliah'," His Majesty said.
Towards this, His Majesty urged all, government as well as non-government personnel, to put in place efforts to make today's youths as community agents that are able to overcome problems and not create one.
"How to produce such youths? Is it the same way as we produce merchandise?" His Majesty asked and said that's not the way.
"Generating such youths need special mechanisms that are sourced out from the teachings of al-Quran, that is to make them loyal and pious. Only through this, the youth can be regarded as ideal," His Majesty said.
That is why His Majesty said the youths must stay close to al-Quran, always reciting the Holy Quran to get blessings and all the promised benefits.
"Don't stray away from the Quran, bring it wherever you go, such as during travel as a companion and during lonesome and quiet times," His Majesty said.
"Reciting the Quran is like speaking to Allah the Almighty because the Quran is a 'kalamullah'.
"By God's Will, in this way, many problems associated with the youths and teenagers can be overcome effectively."
- Borneo Bulletin
(7th Octopber 2011)