| Fadhil Yunus |
A TOTAL of 14,267 people from all walks of life led by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam took part in a procession to mark the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the heart of the capital yesterday morning.
His Majesty was greeted upon arrival by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman, who is also the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Major Islamic Events for the year 1436 Hijrah, and other committee members.
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 Haji Sufri Bolkiah and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik.
The event commenced with a mass recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah read by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.
The Minister of Religious Affairs, Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad, in a speech said that Brunei Darussalam welcomed the Maulidur Rasul celebration on a large scale through a mass gathering and procession, as a symbol of the nation’s affection for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and to show an example to the country’s future generation.
He said a number of ideas had been discussed to ensure that the ceremony would run smoothly to add to the excitement of the occasion.
The distance covered by the procession this year was reduced from 4.7km to 3.7km.
“Primary schools, religious schools, Arabic preparatory schools and private school teams were excluded from this year’s procession. Instead they are at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien to perform the Selawat and Nasyid to further enliven the celebrations,” Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad said.
“This has a connection with this year’s theme ‘Love Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)’ where they are introduced to various kinds of Selawat and Nasyid which contain praises to symbolise deep affection and love for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).”
A total of 132 teams joined the annual procession and as in previous years, His Majesty met with group leaders who represented many types of organisations, including 29 teams from high schools, Arabic schools, higher learning institutes, colleges and the private sector.
Some 16 groups from various ministries and government departments, 24 groups from associations and the private sector, as well as 31 teams comprising Mukims, villages, Mukim Consultative Councils, Village Consultative Councils and Mosque Takmir Committees were also among those who showed their strong affection and love for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by participating in the 3.7km walk.
Nearly a fortnight of deep outpouring of love and affection for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through Dikir Maulud events culminated in a Dikir Marhaban performance by a group from the Ministry of Defence. As soon as they reached the part ‘Ya Habibi’, the firing of 21 cannon shots marked the occasion.
Prior to the start of the procession, a Doa Selamat was read by the State Mufti to seek blessings from Allah the Almighty.
Before His Majesty led the teams from the gates of the Taman, a Selawat was read by YB Pehin Datu Imam Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Hamid bin Bakal marking the start of the procession.