Sultan leads Maulud march
By Azlan Othman

Around 24,000 Muslims from over 124 teams joined His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a mass gathering and 4.3-kilometre procession around the capital to mark the birthday anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) yesterday morning.

Also present were His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Prince Abdul Mateen.

His Majesty was greeted on arrival at the Taman Hj Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien by Acting Minister of Religious Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin, and other executive committee members of major events for the Islamic calendar 1429 Hijrah.

Similarly, over 6,600 Muslims from 47 teams converged in the Tutong District while another 9,900 participants representing over 50 teams held a similar event in the Belait District. In Temburong, some 2,000 participants from 28 teams took part in the event.

Upon the monarch's arrival, the recitation of al-Fatihah was led by the State Mufti. Pehin Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin in his speech said the mass gathering and procession held annually are part of the efforts to spread the Islamic teachings and religion.

It is also to remember that Prophet Muhammad was sent by Allah to bless mankind and to show them the right path. The benevolent ruler then met team leaders and participants of the procession followed by 'Dikir Marhaban' performed by officers and staff of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.

A 21-cannon blast was later fired when the Dikir reached the 'Ya Habibi' verse. A doa selamat was later read by the State Mufti to bless the ceremony followed by three 'Salawat' praising the Prophet.

Meanwhile, in the Tutong District, the procession was held opposite the Community Hall; Municipal field in Belait; and at the field opposite the Civic Centre in Temburong.

The teams that took part in the procession included uniformed personnel, primary, religious and secondary schools and colleges, private organisations, government ministries and departments, associations, villages, mosques, religious halls and village consultative councils.

The theme for this year is "Tunas Bangsa Berakhlak Al-Quran". - Borneo Bulletin (21st Mar 2008)