Rejoice - with a pinch of salt
By M K Anwar

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in his titah in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri 1427 Hijrah, highlighted the importance of Syawal and advised the people not to go overboard with the celebrations.

Earlier in the titah, His Majesty said that the first day of Syawal is an important day that is celebrated with happiness and joy. On this day, we are free to eat and drink. Even before going to the mosque for Hari Raya prayers, we are recommended to taste and enjoy some of the food on offer and furthermore, we are prohibited to fast on this day, His Majesty said.

Hari Raya is a day to celebrate, the day when we put on our new clothes but this does not mean that we go overboard or be wasteful, His Majesty said.

"Do it as appropriately and fittingly with our abilities".

"In our clothing, drinks and food, we must not compete to outdo one another. This competitiveness is prohibited except for competing in doing good deeds," said His Majesty.

The same goes for competing to increase possessions and decorations which in turn may bring one into debt, which His Majesty regards as a wasteful practice that must be avoided.

The risk of falling heavily in debt is burdensome and can lead to hardship and difficulties, he added.

Debts, noted His Majesty, can lead to a myriad of problems, difficulties and hardship both in the current world and also the afterlife.

In this case, find prosperity through a simple way of life, His Majesty pointed out. "Save the money for the future of our families".

The monarch also in his advice said that our paths and our children's paths are still a long way to go and means it entails proper planning.

Though no one can foresee the future, it is our children who are the investment for that future, His Majesty said.

"In relation to this, give priority to proper upbringing and education for them and avoid mistakes that might happen."

Today, we may be able to say that we are safe and peaceful. But on other days, we might not be able to say so except for us to only smile or cry.

"This is the future that is full of questions. Do not ask what will happen in the future but think and plan for it (which) is much better".

If the fasting month can make us realize the starvation and thirst experienced by the unfortunate, then Hari Raya can also bring in such repentance.

His Majesty stressed that we are required to appreciate the luxuries given to us and at the same time not forgetting that around the world, there are still those unable to own new clothes and the unfortunate without enough food.

This phenomenon also reminds us on the secrets of tithe or zakat that is aimed at helping those receiving it to reduce their hardship.

Referring to this, His Majesty hoped that the appropriate authorities responsible in managing the tithe will truly fulfill the responsibilities.

His Majesty expressed his confidence that our tithe collections can overcome any problem. "This is our specialty," His Majesty added.

"The proper distribution of tithe undoubtedly can lead to a better image as well as blessings to the country". Before concluding the titah, His Majesty conveyed "Selamat Hari Raya" greetings from His Majesty and the Royal family to the people of the country wherever they might be. - Borneo Bulletin (24th October 2006)