Incorporate prayers into family institution
Siti Hajar

As Bruneians joined millions of other Muslims around the world in observing one of the most significant events in the Islamic calendar, Israk Mikraj, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam emphasised on the importance of the second pillar of Islam and how it should be incorporated into the family institution.

In a titah to mark Israk Mikraj at the International Convention Centre in Berakas, His Majesty, who is also the leader of the nation's Islamic faith, encouraged each member of every Muslim household to perform the obligations to pray and to ensure that no one is left behind.

"Parents should pray. Husbands and wives should pray. Children, as well as domestic helpers, should pray too ... Do not let it be that one member of a family does not pray," said His Majesty.

Referring to the inaugural National Family Day celebration last month, His Majesty noted that events lined up for the festivities lacked the essence of Islamic practices for the purposes of family bonding such as performing prayers as one at home or mosques. Instead, the National Family Day celebration seemed to be focussed more on entertainment, observed His Majesty.

"Has this become the norm for every family in Brunei?

"I do not feel that this is so.

"But it is our weakness that we are perhaps less aware of the bigger picture and are instead accustomed to choose the easy way.

"Thus, I would like to pose a reminder that we should be more serious in all matters that are related to religion, country and family," underscored His Majesty.

In the titah that revolved around this year's theme, 'Prayers Repel Illicitness' (Sembahyang Menolak Kemungkaran), His Majesty explained that the daily ritual "is not outdated in its role", as it "not only guarantees providence in the afterlife but also as a tool to adorn lives with favourable and commendable characters, contend against vile and evil."

In quoting verse 45 of Surah Al-'Ankabut, His Majesty stated: "Read and follow (oh, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) what has been revealed to you from the al-Quran and perform prayers, that verily prayers prevent vile and evil.

"If over the past 1,400 years, prayers have been referenced as a deterrent, therefore at present until the Day of Judgement, prayers will remain with such a function (that are) consistent with our needs."

Noting that numerous phenomena have taken shape over time, including moral crises, "as if the world has no more room for dignity and integrity", His Majesty asked: "Isn't it that prayers are even more so needed to cure such vile and evil?"

Muslims, who pray, His Majesty said, will be the ones to contribute to such a cause.

"Imagine if all 2.1 billion Muslims consistently carry out this 'Ibadat'. Without doubt, they will become the insurmountable 'contributor to welfare' as the prayers will prevent and diminish vile and evil," His Majesty said, adding that this would also at the same time, reduce the chance of such ills from "spreading and overtaking the world".

"There is no doubt in the Islamic faith that the best means (comes from) prayers as (they are a form of) therapy," expressed His Majesty.

After quoting a Hadith and stating that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) "steadfastly stressed that only prayer has the capability to cure", His Majesty encouraged the people to be "devoted to prayers and to not neglect them", as the abandonment of such a practice would mean "declining blessings", which are already a challenge to obtain to the extent that "blessings cannot be quantified". - Borneo Bulletin (18 June 2012)