Sultan leads Maulud march
By Danial Norjidi

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday led around 18,000 people in a procession to mark Maulidur Rasul yesterday at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien in the capital.

The monarch, along with the royal entourage of His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Sufri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim, His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Wakeel were greeted upon arrival by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman.

The celebrations began with the mass recital of surah al-fatihah led by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.

This was followed by welcoming remarks from the Minister of Religious Affairs, who said, "This assembly is increased in its radiance with the presence of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, and it has prompted the participants of this gathering in particular and Muslims all over the country generally to be more motivated and committed to fully appreciate and practise the teachings brought by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

"This gathering is evidence of a deep love in our hearts for Prophet Muhammad, which directly nourishes the feeling of reverence, understanding, brotherhood and collaboration as manifested in the assembly, according to the theme of 'Ukhuwah dan Muafakat, Negara Berkat'," he added.

In accordance with Maulud Nabi celebrations of previous years, the monarch received 'junjung ziarah' from the heads of the groups and organisations participating in the procession.

A Dikir Marhaban then took place and was presented by the Dikir group of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources. Upon reaching 'Ya Habibi', 21 shots of the cannon were fired to mark the occasion.

The State Mufti read a doa selamat to bless the ceremony, and was followed by the recital of selawat three times, led by Pehin Datu Imam Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Hamid bin Bakal.

The Maulud walk of 4.3km around the capital then took place, led by His Majesty, followed by members of the royal family, state dignitaries and the participating groups.

Around 133 groups, including uniformed personnel, members of government ministries and departments, mukim and village consultative councils, institutions of higher education, schools, associations and private companies participated in the walk.

The Maulud gathering and walk conducted in line with the celebrations were held simultaneously in all four districts, taking place at the Padang Bandaran in the Belait District, at the field in front of the Community Hall in Tutong and at the Belalong Community Hall field in Temburong. - Borneo Bulletin (6th February 2012)