His Majesty attends Islamic New Year 1434H celebration
Nazirul Hakeem A & Aziz Idris

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday evening consented to grace the national celebration of the new Islamic year 1434 Hijrah at the Jame' 'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah in Kiarong.

Upon arriving, His Majesty, along with other members of the royal family, was greeted by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad bin Pg Hj Abdul Rahman in his capacity as Chairman of the Executive Committee for Major Events in the Islamic Calendar for 1434 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, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik and HRH Prince 'Abdul Wakeel.

The ceremony commenced with the end-of-year 1433 Hijrah Doa (prayer recitation), read three times by Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awg Yahya bin Hj Awg Ibrahim.

His Majesty then joined thousands of His Majesty's subjects in performing mass Maghrib prayer led by Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Hj Awg Salim bin Hj Besar. This was followed by the recitation of the doa for New Year 1434 Hijrah by the Imam.

Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Hj Awg Suhaili bin Hj Mohiddin then proceeded to lead the Sunnat Hajat prayer to seek blessings from Allah the Almighty on behalf of the Sultanate so that nation will continue to prosper spiritually and economically, as well as stay safe from disaster.

The Minister of Religious Affairs, in his welcoming speech, expressed his gratitude upon His Majesty's arrival, together with other members of the royal family, to grace the ceremony.

The minister in his speech also introduced the New Year 1434 Hijrah theme, 'Umat Bertaqwa Negara Berkat' (Pious Ummah, Blessed Nation).

"This theme brings a meaning as well as an understanding for all Muslims in this nation to always fulfil their duties as a Muslim to Allah the Almighty. When the people are filled with piety, it will construct a nation that is safe and prosperous, both in the spiritual and physical aspects," he said.

"With piety towards Allah the Almighty, it will also bring solutions to everything that happens to each individual, family, community, nation and even the world at large," the minister added.

The highlight of the celebration was the conferment of the 'Exemplary Religious Figure Awards' (Anugerah Tokoh Ugama) and the 'Meritorious Service Award' (Anugerah Bakti Hijrah) for 1434 Hijrah, which was read by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Awg Hj Abdul Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Yussof and the Acting Director of the Islamic Dakwah Centre, Awg Hj Abdul Aziz bin Hj Akop, 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 possession of much-lauded personal attributes that include character, wisdom and leadership.

To further bless the ceremony, a Doa Kesyukuran was read by the State Mufti, Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz bin Juned.

The mass Isyak prayer was then led by Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Hj Awg Suhaili bin Hj Mohiddin. The conclusion of the new Islamic year 1434 Hijrah celebration saw His Majesty and other members of the royal family being greeted by well-wishers. - Borneo Bulletin (15 November 2012)