| Syazwani Hj Rosli |
ORGANISING literary competitions is one way to revitalise the growth of Islamic literature in view of the lack of interest among the younger generation in literature particularly carrying Islamic themes.
In this regard, the Islamic Dakwah Centre should continue holding more competitions in the future and introduce a new category in its format specifically for secondary level students. This initiative should also include providing proper guidance to talented young poets.
These observations were made by Minister of Religious Affairs, Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman, during the Islamic Literature Platform (Wadah Sastera Islam) held at the Goldstone Ballroom, Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong yesterday.
Aside from poems, novels, articles and short stories, it is hoped that more categories would be included in these competitions, such as drama and pantomime script-writing, he added.
The minister also shared his contentment regarding recent developments in which students from secondary level and higher educational institutions have performed pantomimes which are delivered not only in the Malay language, but also in Arabic.
However, he reminded that such activities should not raise issues of promiscuity and ensure that they will not contradict Islamic values.
“Islamic literature in our country has a long history. Luminaries such as Al-Marhum Pengiran Syahbandar Muhammad Salleh Ibnu Pengiran Sharmayuda and Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien were pioneers in this field and have received the Brunei Islamic Literature Icon Award. Such recognition not only raises Brunei’s profile as a Muslim country but also makes the Sultanate well known as a place where Islamic literature flourishes,” Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad added.
The minister highlighted Islamic literature as a tool for dakwah which has influenced Muslim lives, traditions and culture, especially in Brunei. He also touched on a particular Islamic poem, the ‘Dikir Syarafil Anam’, which has heralded one of Brunei’s most well known Islamic literary traditions the likes of which can rarely be found anywhere else.
The minister urged for research to be conducted on the history and profile of its original writer, Al-Barzanji, and to find out how it was etched into Brunei’s art traditions.
The beauty of the language and content of the ‘Dikir Syarafil Anam’, infused with Brunei’s rhythm, according to the minister, was once discussed in a workshop in 1992 by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, where the interpretations of the poem were made by Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Haji Yahya bin Haji Awang Ibrahim, now the Chief Sya’rie Judge.
The minister believes that the translations should be exposed more for the community’s better understanding.
Earlier, Hajah Siti Azizah binti Haji Musa, Acting Director of Islamic Dakwah Centre, highlighted the huge participation (181 entries) for both the “Peraduan Penulisan Seni Kreatif Berunsur Islam 2013” and “Peraduan Menulis Seni Khat Jawi Kebangsaan 2014”. She also hopes that such competitions will continue in the future to attract new and fresh talents.
At yesterday’s event, Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad launched nine new books published by the Islamic Dakwah Centre. The event then continued with the recitation of poetry by Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, Minister of Home Affairs; Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman, Minister of Religious Affairs; and Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Awang Haji Mohd Zain bin Haji Serudin, MUIB member and former Minister of Religious Affairs.
Also performing were Abdul Aziz bin Haji Abdul Kahar, Acting Assistant Director of the Islamic Dakwah Centre; Hajah Aminah binti Haji Momin, Director of the Language and Literature Bureau; and Khairul Firdaus bin Abdullah, a representative from the Brunei History Centre.
Towards the end of the event, winners of both competitions received their prizes from the guest of honour.