Royalty at religious ceremony
Nazirul Hakeem A

A total of 7, 460 students and youths from all four districts across the nation yesterday participated in the recitation and completion of the 66-time Khatam al-Quran, which was held in conjunction with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 66th birthday celebration.

The 66-time Khatam Al-Quran for Students and Youths was organised by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

In the Brunei-Muara District, two venues were used to host the event. For the male participants, the ceremony was held at Jame' 'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah in Kiarong, drawing the participation of 4,000 students and youths from the district. Of the figure, 754 individuals were involved in the Khatam al-Quran, while the remainder took part in the Quran recitation.

Present to grace the ceremony at the Jame' 'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah was HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik.

One of the participants in the Khatam Al-Quran at Jame' 'Asr was the grandson of His Majesty, YAM Pengiran Anak Abdul Raqib bin YAM Pengiran Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Sahiul Irshad Pg Anak Hj Abdul Rahim.

Accompanying HRH were the Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong; the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah; the Deputy Minister of Education, Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Yusoff bin Hj Ismail; and the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi bin Hj Mohd Yussof.

Meanwhile, a similar ceremony for female participants was held at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Mosque, drawing a total of 1,500 participants. That ceremony was graced by HRH Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah.

Meanwhile, in the Belait District, 660 students and youths participated in the Khatam Al-Quran held at the RKN Kampong Pandan Mosque. Present as guest of honour at that event was the Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Mohd Yusof.

The Tutong District saw a total of 650 students and youths involved in the 66-time Khatam Al-Quran. The Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman was the guest of honour for that event.

In the Temburong District, 650 participants were involved in the religious ceremony that played out at the Mohammad Salleh Main Mosque. present as guest of honour at the event was the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad bin Pg Hj Abdul Rahman.

The 66-time Khatam Al-Quran for Students and Youths, which commenced on June 28, is an initiative of the Ministry of Education which saw the participation of students from both public and private schools, technical institutions, vocational institutions as well as higher learning institutions.

The event was organised to instil the culture of reading, learning and embracing al-Quran among all parties involved, as well as to allow for the practice of the teachings of al-Quran by Brunei youths.

Speaking to the Bulletin yesterday, Abd Hakim bin Ali of UBD said, "This ceremony is a way of showing our care as a nation towards His Majesty and to appreciate what he has done for the nation. This is also a good opportunity to work towards the monarch's wish of turning Brunei into a Zikir Nation".

Meanwhile, Md Saufi bin Hj Jamahat of Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB) said, "This event is a good way of gathering youths together (from primary level up to the higher institution), and allowing us to use our time wisely to read al-Quran, especially so during the month of Ramadhan where we can get more 'barakah'."

Pg Hj Hamzah bin Pg Hj Mohd, the secretary of the organising committee for the ceremony, said, "This is actually Pehin Hj Awg Abu Bakar's wish to show how the students can contribute to His Majesty. It first started on June 28 and today is the last day."

Held during the month of Ramadhan, the ceremony allows Muslims to take advantage of seeking more blessings out of the holy month, and to pray to Allah the Almighty for the longevity and good health of His Majesty to rule Brunei Darussalam with guidance and direction from Allah. The ceremony also aimed to show the nations' gratitude towards Allah the Almighty for making Brunei an abode of peace under the wise leadership of His Majesty. - Borneo Bulletin (7 August 2012)