Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Quest to produce quality preachers

Azlan Othman

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam called on the Islamic Da’wah Centre to produce Da’ie (religious preachers) of high calibre.

During His Majesty’s unscheduled visit to the Islamic Da’wah Centre in Kampong Pulaie yesterday, His Majesty said the centre’s crucial role as one of the departments under the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) is ensuring Islamic eminence prevails in the country.

“The centre cannot avoid such a bold task. But I see that the Islamic Da’wah Centre is yet to meet the required demand as there are still weaknesses plaguing, especially in terms of the structuring of the creation of the post of a religious preacher that is yet to be seen.

“Although it is called the Islamic Da’wah Centre, there is no designated post as a ‘preacher’,” His Majesty said, adding that there is conflict on who is responsible in giving the task to preach or deliver religious talks in filling up the preaching programme. “Officials regularly push the task from one person to another to the extent that some unqualified individuals are forced to preach even if it is not entailed in their job description. Hence, in such a pressing need, the centre would request assistance from religious teachers, mosque officers or university graduates to preach by providing them with a fee allowance.”

His Majesty warned that preaching Islamic teachings in the Sultanate will wither and diminish should such practice persists.

His Majesty said, “To produce seasonal local preachers of high calibre, the MoRA has carried out formal training through seminars, forums, courses, conferences, study visits and to send the qualified ones from the Islamic Da’wah Centre to participate in programmes through the memorandum of understandings with MABIMS (Religious Council of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) nations and so on.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the visit to the Islamic Da’wah Centre. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam delivers a titah. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“In my opinion, although the intention is good, it is not enough to produce preachers of high calibre.”

His Majesty added that MoRA is seeking to offer 195 posts in the preaching division to realise the need to fill in the vacant spots.

“There is always the tendency to add more manpower but adding such a a large workforce is not enough to ascertain the department’s capability in shouldering such a monumental task if it still lacks in quality,” His Majesty said.

“Hence, before adding more to the workforce, the existing state of the preachers’ welfare should be taken care of and empowered in terms of quality.

“This is achievable by establishing a training scheme to provide these officers proper guidance for effective deliverance. Under this scheme, these potential officers will be groomed and encouraged to take a PhD in the relevant field. The methodology is to interview preachers who have been identified to be of high calibre either domestically or internationally, and to learn from them in delivering effective preaching or any recipes for success needed to attain such an objective.”

His Majesty also highlighted that if candidates complete their PhD and produce a high quality thesis, they will become experts or can be educators to other preachers.

“If this happens, we can see major changes,” His Majesty said, affirming confidence that the Islamic Da’wah Centre is equipped with a capable workforce to be given opportunities.

Present to greet His Majesty upon arrival at the Islamic Da’wah Centre were Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Pengiran Dato Seri Paduka Haji Bahrom bin Pengiran Haji Bahar, permanent secretaries and deputy permanent secretary at the MoRA and Prime Minister’s Office.

His Majesty also held a dialogue session with local preachers, signed the visitors book and toured a learning session of basic guidance course scheme for Muslim converts.

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