By Za'im Zaini & Azaraimy HH
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday joined thousands of worshippers in ushering in the Islamic new year of Hijrah 1428 at the Jame Asr Hassanal Bolkiah in Kg Kiarong.
Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, His Royal Highness Prince Abd Malik
and His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Mateen.
His Majesty was greeted by Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Mohd Zain bin Haji Serudin, Minister of Religious Affairs, who is chairman of the executive committee on important events in Islamic new year of Hijrah 1428, and other committee members.
The Hijrah ceremony began with a recitation of the end of year doa for Hijrah 1427 led by Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs.
To usher in Hijrah 1428, a prayer was led by Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Awg Hj Yahya bin Haji Ibrahim. It was followed by the reading of the Holy Quran by Awang Abdul Azim bin Haji Abdul Halim and a welcome speech by the Minister of Religious Affairs who said the "Anugerah Tokoh Ugama/Jasawan Ugama" or religious figure award and "Bakti Hijrah" award are part of the efforts to remember, appreciate and respect the recipients' contributions to the nation, especially in religion.
The highlight of the ceremony was the announcement that the 'Bakti Hijrah' was to be presented to three recipients and the "Jasawan Ugama" to be presented to a recipient.
Each of the three "Bakti Hijrah" recipients received $10,000, a certificate of acknowledgement, a souvenir and free medical care in a first-class ward in any government hospital.
Receiving the "Bakti Hijrah" award were Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Salia Haji Awang Mohd Tarif bin Pehin Orang Kaya Perdana Wangsa Haji Mohammad, Begawan Pehin Khatib Dato Paduka Awang Haji Zainal bin Kahar and Awang Abd Rahman bin Abdullah Sambang.
The "Jasawan Ugama" went to Dato Paduka Awang Hj Saman bin Kahar who received $15,000, a certificate of acknowledgement, a souvenir and free medical care in a first-class ward in any government hospital.
Among the major contributions of the first recipient of the 'Bakti Hijrah', Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Salia Haji Awang Mohd Tarif, were safeguarding the purity of Islamic Aqidah and fighting against deviant teachings. He was also among those that have worked tirelessly in making religious activities successful.
The second "Bakti Hijrah" recipient, Begawan Pehin Khatib Dato Paduka Awang Haji Zainal was the first religious teacher sent to the United Kingdom to teach Bruneian students there from September 8, 1979 to 1981. The pious scholar was a qualified and experienced teacher and Imam, who possessed an effective way of teaching the religion.
The third "Bakti Hijrah" recipient, Awang Abd Rahman bin Abdullah Sambang was known as a caring citizen and an active volunteer in community activities. He was also known for his special Dakwah among new Muslim converts. He is a Muslim convert, who was valued and respected as well as active in volunteer work to spread the Syiar Islam, especially in Dakwah. His positions as Head of Village and then as Mukim Penghulu were used well in his religious work. His biggest effort came in the form of the "Balai Ibadat" or religious centre in Kampong Merangking.
Recipient of the "Anugerah Jasawan Ugama", Dato Paduka Awang Hj Saman started work with the Government of His Majesty the Sultan in November 1969.
After that, he continued his studies at Al-Azhar university in Egypt to pursue a bachelor's degree in Islamic Legal Policy. In 1982, he was given important duties in government secretariat office in administration, education, language and post services.
His work then brought him to important posts and duties at the directorial level, and then as a permanent secretary in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
He also had an important role in the creation of Islamic religious institute. He also played an active role in the early stages of MABIMS in 1989.
Towards the end of the ceremony a "Doa Selamat" was read by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti. The theme for this year's celebration is "Memperkasa Iltizam Kehidupan Berugama".
(20th January 2007)