Royalty grace Nuzul Al-Quran ceremony
By Za'im Zaini

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam last night consented to attend the Nuzul Al-Quran at the ICC. His Majesty was greeted upon arrival by the Minister of Religious Affairs.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Prince Abdul Mateen.

The ceremony began with a reading of versus from al-Quran by Dk Fauziah Nadhirah Pg Hj Jufri, the female champion of the National Level Al-Quran Reading Competition for Religious and Arab preparatory schools this year.

Meanwhile, reciting the translations was Hjh Siti Azizah Hj Musa, a Senior Religious Officer from the Islamic Dakwah Centre.

The opening remarks were delivered by Pehin Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Hj Mohd Zain Hj Serudin, Minister of Religious Affairs and Executive Committee Chairman for Celebrations of Major Events in the Islamic Calendar Year 1427 Hijrah.

The minister said that in this year's competition, there was a change of format, which aimed to test the participants' quality of achievement in understanding the Quran verses that were memorised.

It is also similar to the criteria of other such contests held outside the Sultanate - for example in Mecca, Egypt and Jordan. This change was applied to Category C, where not only participants were asked to memorise 10 verses, but they were also expected to understand its first five verses.

He also revealed that this year's event was organised with the cooperation of the Royal Customs and Excise as well as the Ministry of Finance.

The theme for this year's Nuzul Al-Quran celebration is "Menghayati Islam Dalam Mempertingkatkan Daya Saing Bangsa" or "Appreciating Islam in Improving the Nation's Competitiveness."

The opening remarks were then followed by His Majesty's titah and later by a special religious talk presented by Dato Seri Setia Hj Kassim Hj Lamat.

Winners for the Memorisation of Al-Quran Verses and Selected Surahs Competition, which took place September 20, were then announced at the Ministry of Finance's Lecture Room by Pg Hj Haslin Pg Hj Mohd Ali, a Religious Officer from the Mosque Affairs Department, in his capacity as Chairman of the Jury Panel.

Syafiqah Hj Ayop won Category 'A' for participants aged 10 years and below, followed by Amirul Nabilollah Hj Akhbar and Muhd Syazwan Sahdun in second and third places respectively.

Category 'B' for participants aged between 10 to 15 years was won by Siti Nurul Hafizah Mohd Zin, followed by Hazirah Hazilan and Muhd Ilham Syakirin Hj Muhd Salleh in second and third positions respectively.

Category 'C' for participants aged 30 years and below was won by Dyg Nor Hafizah Hj Jahari, followed by Muhd Mahathir Hj Adi and Muhd Saiful Wafi Hj Adis@ Aman in second and third positions respectively.

Category 'D' for participants of all ages memorising 22 verses of the Quran was won by Mohd Yaasir Hj Ibrahim, followed by Muhd Shah Abd Afandi Muhd Sahari and Khairul Anwar Hj Muhammad in second and third positions respectively.

His Majesty consented to present prizes and souvenirs to the winners. A doa selamat was read by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Abd Aziz Juned, the State Mufti. - Borneo Bulletin (10th October 2006)