Royal call to temporarily close businesses during Friday prayers
Lyna Mohamad

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday called for all business premises to be temporarily closed for the duration of the Friday prayers.

The monarch in his titah to mark Hari Raya Aidiladha highlighted amongst all the need to take urgent action in upholding the nation's Islamic image.

His Majesty also noted that praising Allah the Almighty is not the usual praise like others "as it is our gesture of gratitude towards the blessings that Allah has bestowed on us.

"If we thank Allah the Almighty for what we have been given, Allah promises to give more, and if we do not, Allah the Almighty has the right to inflict punishment on us."

The ruler further said that praising Allah the Almighty is not enough with words alone as it must be also be proven through our actions.

"When we are gifted with wealth, we must say 'Alhamdulillah' and Allah the Almighty also observes how we put such wealth to use. If it is used towards the right path, our words of gratefulness will be accepted, otherwise not only will it be rejected by Allah the Almighty, but misery will await us and this is the justice of our Creator," His Majesty said.

"Every day in our lives, we use gifts provided by Allah the Almighty - the fresh air that we breathe, the earth that we live on and the water that we drink - and without these where and what will be our fate be?" asked His Majesty.

As the nation commemorates 42 years of renaming of Bandar Brunei to Bandar Seri Begawan, "it's the place that we live in, a place where we shop and work and it is also here that we perform our religious obligations and it is here where the grand, magnificent mosque stands".

His Majesty added that everyone must be grateful for this blessing given to us and must be determined to see it last for future generations to enjoy.

"We are required to always preserve the pure values of our country and city from all forms of wrongs and this serves as a trust," said the ruler.

This, added His Majesty, includes providing a good and beautiful image, in other words Islamic image, and more relevant to its characteristics as an MIB or Zikir Nation.

As one of the most urgent examples in the matter of improving the image of the city and thus the country as a whole, it is appropriate that, on Friday, all business premises be closed temporarily until the mass Friday prayer concludes.

On this note, His Majesty pointed out that temporarily closing all business premises during Friday prayers, aside from it being an image, will solve the "loafing syndrome" of some of our youths at shopping centres or walkways while other Muslims are already in or on their way to the mosque.

If this matter is neglected, His Majesty stressed that it will tarnish the nation's image and also its Islamic image.

His Majesty pointed out that such measures are not only appropriate but also meet the Syarak requirements. Syarak urges all to answer the call for the Friday prayer and leave behind all business matters temporarily until after the Friday prayers as stated in the 9th and 10th verses of Surah Al-Jumu'ah.

"From this command of Allah," added His Majesty, "no one will be at loss while on the other hand it will also bring a good image to the country and blessings may well be awaited from Allah the Almighty."

His Majesty hoped that relevant parties, by appropriate means, will tackle this issue without any further delay.

His Majesty, in conclusion, extended His Majesty's and other members of the royal family's Hari Raya Aidiladha Al Mubarak (greetings) to all his subjects and residents wherever they are, including Bruneian Haj pilgrims in the Holy City of Mecca. - Borneo Bulletin (26 October 2012)