His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam (3rdL), HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office (2ndL), HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik (L)and HRH Prince 'Abdul Wakeel (4thL) during the mass Maulidur Rasul procession at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien, in the capital. Picture: BT/Md Asdeny Yakub
BY HARNY ABU KHAIR
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - THOUSANDS of people filled the streets of the capital yesterday as they marched and recited praises for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), in commemoration of the anniversary of his birth.
Wearing Cara Melayu – the Malay traditional dress – and uniforms for some of the 143 contingents participating in this year’s procession, people trickled into the Taman Sir Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien as early as 6.30am.
Under an overcast sky, they formed a colourful array of congregants as they readied themselves in position for the start of the more than four kilometre walk at 9am. Soon after the arrival of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the celebrations began with the reading of Surah Al-Fatihah led by State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Abdul Aziz Juned.
The monarch was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.
Religious Affairs Minister Yang Berhormat Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Pg Hj Abdul Rahman in his welcoming speech said it was with the blessing of Allah SWT that Bruneians were able to continue celebrating Maulidur Rasul through the traditional procession.
“Alhamdulillah, we can still continue celebrating our Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday in our unique, traditional way by having the processions simultaneously in all three districts, Dikir Marhaban events and special talks at all institutions.
“It shows that the Muslim community is active in spreading the true teachings of Islam and showing our love towards our Prophet,” he said.
The minister added that this year’s theme, Rasulullah Pembawa Rahmat Sejagat (loosely translated as “Rasulullah as the conveyor of universal blessings”) was relevant because Islam as the true religion taught by the Prophet, brought the people out from the darkness.
After the speech, His Majesty met with the contingent participants of the procession.
There were five categories this year: primary, religious, Arabic preparatory schools and private schools forming 20 contingents; secondary mainstream and Arabic schools, and higher learning institutions (36 contingents); ministries and government departments (17); Mukim, villages, village consultative councils and mosque committees (34); and associations and private sector (23).
State broadcaster Radio Televisyen Brunei reported more than 17,000 people took part in this year’s procession, a figure similar to that reported last year.
The event also featured a Dikir Marhaban performance by a group from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), followed by the customary 21-gun salute that shook the capital for 10 minutes.
His Majesty and the Royal Family members led the procession and set off at a brisk pace.
A drizzle soon developed not long after the march began, with some of the congregants seen holding umbrellas or wearing plastic raincoats to keep dry, but most just braved the rain.
They recited the various dikir associated with the Maulidur Rasul celebrations, with the lead of contingents holding banners.
The walk lasted about an hour.
Similar celebrations were concurrently held in the other districts.
-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times