Time to be thankful for Allah's blessings
By Azaraimy HH

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday in the Hari Raya Aidilfitri Titah called the rakyat to be thankful for whatever they have, and to fulfil their Zakat obligations. At the same time the monarch called for the improvement of how Zakat is handled in the country.

"We must be thankful to what we have and show our appreciation to Allah the Almighty by doing good deeds," said His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

His Majesty also called for detailed studies by relevant people on Zakat or tithe handling as marked inconsistencies have been shown in the amounts collected.

In the Hari Raya Titah, His Majesty said it is not easy to become a person who is capable of being thankful even though such word 'Syukur' can be said easily. This is why Syukur is highly valued by Allah and being grateful is the reason why a person will gain more.

The Titah was aired over RTB last night in conjunction with the Hari Raya celebration, which begins today.

Expressing our thankfulness would lead to more rewards from Allah and it is an obligation for all stages and sections of people, without the exception of being rich or poor, His Majesty said.

It is a step towards happiness, His Majesty said, adding that rich people who are always thankful are those who are happy. The ways and symbol of being 'bersukur' is to use their riches to do good deeds. Among others that are highly asked for is Zakat or tithe.

For those who give out Zakat are guaranteed by Allah, will be given more and their possessions will be preserved, meaning that the possessions that they give out as Zakat is by no means reduced. Giving means getting.

"Is this not yielding profit and happiness? It's not only that, when one gives, a bigger and eternal happiness awaits in the hereafter," His Majesty said in a Titah.

For those who are not rich, the way to be thankful is to possess an attitude that is being appreciated by Allah. In this way, they will become people that will be most appreciated and most valuable.

Therefore, His Majesty said, the most important thing here is our attitude.

"It is the attitude that will ensure either our happiness or misery," he said.

Recently, there was a statement from relevant sides about the collection of Zakat money. According to the statement, the collection from Property Zakat alone until the period of Aug 31, 2007 had shown a marked decrease.

"Why is there a reduction? Does this refer to a reduction in economy or does this have a relation to a change of our attitude in fulfilling Zakat?" His Majesty asked.

If it has a relation to a change of attitude, then why is there a change? His Majesty further asked.

"In my opinion," His Majesty said, "It must be that there is a factor that has caused this change. Either it is an internal factor from inside the society itself, or from other factors."

If it is an internal factor, it may be due to society's confidence that the Zakat mechanism is not yet stable, which has resulted in an inconsistency in the amount of Zakat collected or with considerable ups and downs.

For example, in the year 2006, the Zakat collection and distribution division collected only $8.8 million, compared to 2005 that collected $18.9 million, a very considerable reduction.

If it was caused by an internal factor it is called confidence and we would be worried that it will continue if it is ignored.

Therefore, it is only proper for the relevant side to not only disclose the facts and data, but most importantly to have detailed studies on why there is a marked fall or reduction on the collection of Zakat.

This will give us useful information, and open ways towards tightening the methods of handling Zakat, and thus handling the problem.

Before concluding the titah, the monarch conveyed His Majesty's and the royal family's Happy Hari Raya Aidlifitri wish to all Muslim citizens and residents.

His Majesty also thanked all those involved in all the ceremonies that took place in conjunction with His Majesty's 40th anniversary of his ascension to the throne and prayed that all these efforts will receive blessing from Allah the Almighty. - Borneo Bulletin (13th Oct 2007)