Upholding Islam, Brunei’s official religion

|     Dr Muhammad Hadi bin Muhammad Melayong, Senior Special Duties Officer, Secretariat Office, MIB Supreme Council     |

ON APRIL 30, 2014, a milestone was reached in Brunei’s Islamic development with 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’s declaration of the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code Order Phase II at the Plenary Hall of the International Convention Centre in Berakas:

“Pada 22hb Oktober, 2013 yang lalu, Beta telah mengumumkan pewartaan Perintah Kanun Hukuman Jenayah Syar’iah, 2013. Maka pada hari ini, setelah berlangsung enam bulan, Beta dengan bertawakal kepada Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala serta bersyukur, mengisytiharkan bahawa esok, hari Khamis 1hb Rejab, 1435 Hijrah bersamaan 1hb Mei, 2014 Masihi adalah tarikh, mulanya berkuatkuasa Perintah Kanun Hukuman Jenayah Syar’iah, 2013, fasa pertama, yang kemudian akan diikuti pula dengan fasa selanjutnya.”

Islam and its teachings have been adhered to and lived on in Brunei Darussalam since the introduction of the religion to Brunei. The revised Brunei Constitution of 1959 in 2004 and 2008 has become the basis of legal developments in the country and has formalised Islam as the official religion, providing a platform for the continued development of its symbolism.

The implementation of Islamic law in Brunei has become increasingly comprehensive, especially after Brunei Darussalam achieved independence in 1984. The government’s policy aligns itself with the path of Allah the Almighty to hopefully create a blessed nation and one that is of the Baldatun Thayyibatun Wa Rabbun Ghafur. Islamic law is the basis of national legislation, while Al-Quran provides guidance to Brunei Muslims.

File photo shows 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 delivering a titah
The fifth pillar of Islam is performing Haj for Muslims who are able

Under the leadership of the Sultan, Islamic teaching continues to grow strong in the face of changing times. His Majesty in his titah at the opening ceremony of the National Al-Quran Reading Competition for Adults 1430H / 2009 at the International Convention Centre in Berakas stated:

“Beta bersyukur ke hadrat Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala di atas limpah rahmat-Nya mengurniakan kita kemakmuran, keselamatan dan kesejahteraan. Nikmat ini kita capai adalah hasil dari usaha mematuhi segala ajaran agama Islam selaku cara hidup yang lengkap lagi sempurna.”

We are already practising our way of life based on Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) concepts which place the position of Islam in the highest pedestal within the nation’s administration and management. Injustices or anything that is sinful is strictly forbidden. The act of banning liquor, prostitution and gambling is made to fulfil the claim of Islam as the official religion of the country and in unquestioning adherence to Islamic teachings as outlined in Al-Quran and the Hadith.

This is the reward of the MIB concept in our monarchial system that began 650 years ago. As subjects of His Majesty and as citizens of Brunei, we place Islam in the highest place in the life of society and the state. The Brunei Government is obliged to safeguard and preserve the sanctity of Islam as the official religion of the State as provided in Part II of the Constitution of Brunei Darussalam 2008 which mentions that:

3. (1) The official religion of Brunei Darussalam shall be the Islamic religion: Provided that all other religions may be practised in peace and harmony by the persons professing them.

(2) The Head of the official religion of Brunei Darussalam shall be His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan.

(3) The Religious Council shall be the authority responsible for advising His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan on all matters relating to the Islamic religion.

(4) For the purpose of this Article, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam may, after consultation with the Religious Council, but not necessarily in accordance with the advice of that council, make laws in respect of matters relating to the Islamic religion.

The success of Brunei Darussalam in defending the religion of Allah the Almighty under the leadership of His Majesty is recorded in the modern history of Brunei with the implementation of the Syariah Criminal Procedure Code fully in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution of Brunei Darussalam.

Brunei Darussalam and its people are grateful for having a leader who is concerned in matters concerning the welfare and well-being of the people as well as the teachings of Islam which have a great impact on the practice of religious life in Brunei.

All these are blessings from Allah the Almighty as a result of leadership that is guided by Al-Quran and As-Sunnah. Islam is the glue that binds all Muslims in this country together and keeps them united to avoid disintegration which can bring about chaos in the society and nation.

From history we have learnt that Islam has had a very strong and deep impact on the development of Malay civilisation in the Malay world. Including Brunei Darussalam, in the 14th Century before the advent of Islam, the Malay world was under a shroud of darkness and in a state of poorness, devoid of graces and blessings.

Islam is an ally of the Malay Sultanate in Brunei Darussalam. The religion of Islam which is the axis of the existence of MIB has been declared by His Majesty on 28th of Rabiulawal, 1404H / January 1, 1984 in his titah, in which he stated that Brunei Darussalam:

“… is and by the blessing of Allah the Almighty shall be forever a sovereign, democratic and independent MIB upon the teachings of Islam according to Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah…”

It is therefore an obligation of the people and residents of Brunei Darussalam to continue to maintain and live a way of life based on MIB values and use them as the basis for unity, prosperity and peace in society and the nation.