Brunei builds $120m Islamic gallery

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Waqiuddin Rajak

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam laid the foundation for the construction of the new Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Islamic Exhibition Gallery (BPIS) at Jalan Pengiran Babu Raja yesterday.

Costing around $120 million, the building will be able to house nine galleries with 29 themes compared to old temporary venue in the State Mufti’s Office where it can only house four themed exhibitions.

The building, which will also serve to become one of the country’s landmarks, is slated to be completed by March 2017.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and His Royal Highness Prince Hj Jefri Bolkiah as well as His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.

The ceremony began with the recital of Surah Al-Fatihah by State Mufti YB Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awang Abdul Aziz Juned followed by a video presentation showing the interior and exterior concepts of the building.

His Majesty then consented to pour concrete into one of the building’s main pillars, marking the start of the construction followed by a Takbir lauded by the State Mufti.

The monarch then consented to tour around an exhibition showing pictures of the exterior and interior concepts of the new building after signing the memorial plaque for the foundation laying ceremony.

Briefing His Majesty on the exterior concept as he toured along was the Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional) at the Ministry of Development, Dato Paduka Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar who was also helped by Toh Tsun Lim, an architect from Pei Partnership Architects, New York.

Explaining the interior concepts of the building to the Sultan was the Co-Secretary of the ceremony, director of administration at the State Mufti’s Office Dato Paduka Ahmad Bukhari Pehin Siraja Khatib Hj Abu Hanifah and Jasper Jacobs from Jasper Jacobs Associates from the United Kingdom.

Besides being able to house 1,000 Islamic manuscripts and hundreds of artefacts, the building will also allow the Islamic gallery to extend its intellectual agenda to conduct research on the exhibits and spread the findings to the general public.

His Majesty was then invited to sign the memorial parchment, before receiving a pesambah and concluding the ceremony with a group photo session with the executive committee of the ceremony and members of the management of the project.

The Brunei Times
Thursday, May 28, 2015

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No compromise to groups seeking to invalidate the Quran

Muslims Attend Friday Prayers At The End Of RamadanBANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THERE is no reason whatsoever not to appropriately and immediately respond to the most recent titah of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in which he reminded the nation to be cautious against groups that use knowledge in an attempt to invalidate Al-Quran and Al-Hadith. All doors must be firmly shut to such efforts in order to safeguard the ummah from being misguided by a religious understanding that goes against the teachings of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.

Indeed, regardless of how advanced mankind’s knowledge is, it will never be able to invalidate the Quran and Hadith or the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). What logic can accept that something that was invented by human beings, who are full of shortcomings and limitations, can be better than or supersede the divine teachings of the Noble Quran?

Delivering his titah at the fourth convocation of the Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (KUPU SB) on Thursday, November 20, 2014, His Majesty warned the nation to be vigilant against groups that attempt to use knowledge to discredit the fundamental sources of Islamic teachings.

Specifically mentioning the group ‘Mujaddid’ (reformists of Islam), His Majesty said it appears to be a movement that is based on knowledge. Members of this group actively promote new thoughts or theories to contradict and negate what they regard as outdated. His Majesty cited an example, in terms of Syariah law, there are those who say that it must be addressed in a new way and everything must be new, including the sources of reference. According to the group’s philosophy, if the law still makes use of the “old approach,” then it can’t be accepted.

Who are we, mankind, to underestimate or repudiate the laws prescribed based on the commandments of the Creator of the Universe, the Just Giver and the All-Knowing? Who are we to claim that we know more and better than Allah does? Who are we to contest Allah’s knowledge?

As His Majesty put it, old heritage (sources) remains relevant and needed as a source of reference. “Aren’t Al-Quran and Al-Hadith as well as the muktabar (venerated) scriptures considered old? How can these be rejected?” he asked.

The Glorious Qur’an is the final Book of divine guidance revealed by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala through His last Prophet, Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Each and every word of this Book is from Allah, the Creator and the Sustainer of the Universe.

The two fundamental sources of Islam are the Qur’an (the word of God) and the Sunnah (the example) of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). By Sunnah, we mean the actions, sayings and silent permissions (or disapprovals) of Prophet Muhammad, the seal of the prophets.

The word “Sunnah” is also used to refer to religious duties that are optional. Here, we are concerned with Sunnah in the sense of the recorded sayings (Hadiths) of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). In this sense, Hadith is considered to be second to the Qur’an. It is impossible to understand the Qur’an without reference to the Hadith, and it is impossible to explain a Hadith without relating it to the Qur’an.

The Qur’an is the message, while the Hadith is the translation of the message in pragmatic terms as exemplified by the Prophet. While the Qur’an is the fundamental basis of the Sunnah, the Sunnah is the practical demonstration of the precepts laid down in the Qur’an.

The duty of the Messenger was not just to communicate the message. Rather, he was entrusted with the most important task of explaining and illustrating that message.

That is the reason why Allah Himself has commanded the following: “Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (the Prophet) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allah’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way.” (An-Nur 24:54)

According to Islam, one of the unique characteristics of the Quran is that it is the book of all times and space. This means the rulings and the teachings of the Quran are not restricted by time and space. They are universal and transcend time. They can be applied today as they were 1400 years ago and until the end of time.

Regardless of changes in our methods, knowledge and approaches, this does not affect the validity of the teachings of the Quran. The Quran speaks of itself, and we are told that it is also a comprehensive book. Allah the Almighty says in the Quran: “We have not neglected anything in the Book.” (Al-An’am 6:38)

Allah subhanna wa ta’ala gave us a comprehensive and all-embracing Quran so that we could act based on its guidance and apply its teachings in our lives. The Quran tells us that it was revealed to be followed and applied with the intention of leading a proper, God-pleasing life.

The nation’s higher learning institutions must be vigilant against the so-called “reformist” opinions and must not overlook them because they have the potential to trigger disputes and confusion in the community. As His Majesty warned, higher educational institutions “should not open their doors” to such groups and their mission as a precautionary measure.

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Friday, November 28, 2014

Developing the just, best and chosen ummah

ummahIN ITS quest to develop a just, best and chosen ummah (community) or the ummatan wasatan as mentioned in Al-Quran, Brunei will continue to take the best advantage of science and technology by using them to marvel the power of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, the All-Knowing and the All-Hearing.

And, in achieving the aspiration, we need to maintain and improve our iman (faith) and taqwa (obedience to Islamic laws and fear of Allah SWT), because in the absence of these vital elements in using science and technology it is impossible for us to achieve the development that is full of berkat (divine blessings). Iman and taqwa will further science and technology as the catalysts of development and thus enhance the quality of life of the ummah.

As His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam stressed in his titah at the launch of Knowledge Convention 2014 on Tuesday, we need to be very careful in matters related to the country’s development, in our quest to improve our standard of living. “We do not accept science and technology to belittle Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, but rather use them to marvel His power,” said His Majesty.

“InsyaAllah, all can benefit from a civilisation that comprises science and technology. We promote kindness and oppose evil. It is not wrong for us to aspire to be the ummatan wasatan as stated in the Quran,” the monarch added.

Dwelling on the convention’s theme ‘Science and Technology: Catalyst of Development and Enhancing the Ummah’s Quality of Life’, His Majesty reminded that it is wrong for us to regard science and technology simply as the manifestation of human capacity without linking it to divinity.

“Science and technology are a mere ‘specks’ of knowledge, while actually all knowledge absolutely belongs to Allah, not to anyone else,” he said, adding that knowledge is bestowed upon mankind as nikmat (blessings from Allah) that must be used in an appropriate manner.

Echoing His Majesty, State Mufti YB Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz Juned said that science and technology are not enough for the survival and advancement of Islam and Muslims. “We also need iman and taqwa,” he said in his special lecture during the opening ceremony. Iman and taqwa, according to him, must play a major role alongside science and technology in development, “because the development that we want to achieve is one which will generate berkat (divine blessings).”

He said that combining iman and taqwa with science and technology must be introduced to the present generation, including through the teaching and learning process starting from schools to the higher educational tertiary level.

“Only then it can achieve the aspiration of ‘berkat’ development. This is not a theory,” he said, while quoting a verse from Al-Quran: “and if the people of a country have faith and taqwa, we would be open for them (the gates of) blessings from heaven and earth).” (Al-A’raf 7: 96)

“If faith and taqwa become a basis for development, it will be the blessed development, and a blessed development will certainly bring more progress and growth, the country will flourish, peace and security will prevail; the economy will grow and the land will prosper,” he said, stressing the importance of instilling berkat-oriented goals in our mindset. Indeed, knowledge without an open heart and spirit is like any other topic. The love, fear and hope in Allah the Almighty must penetrate the deepest part of our soul. A verse in the Noble Quran says: “He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given abundant good. And none will remember except those of understanding.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 269)

Our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is reported to have said: “Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from knowledge that is of no benefit.” (Ibn Majah)

We need to always improve our iman and taqwa by getting closer to Allah and by worshipping Him alone; by obeying and performing His commands and abandoning as well as deserting everything He forbids us to do. The last element of attaining salvation from the Islamic perspective is having hope in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala all the times knowing that no matter how much we err and sin, as long as we intend to return to Him, ask for His forgiveness and live a righteous life, His vast mercy is awaiting us.

“Say: “O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Az-Zumar 39:53)

It makes clear sense that the elements of “love”, “fear” and “hope” are all essential in order to maintain a realistic balance in regards to our perception of our Creator. Or else, we may be deceiving ourselves. In this context we can clearly see that “fear” (taqwa or total obedience) of Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala has its own place when other elements are included.

We also have to regularly examine our intention toward our Creator. If we seek peace, there is no other alternative but to seek His pleasure. This is the only way for moving from darkness into light. “By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darkness into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.” (Al-Maidah 5:16)

Let us supplicate our Lord to help us take the best advantage of knowledge and place ourselves among those who are invited to the Home of Peace (Paradise) and among the ones guided by Him to the straight path.

“And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path.” (Yunus 10:25) Aamiin

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Fri, 31 October 2014

Sultan of Brunei launches complete edition of ‘Mushaf Brunei Darussalam’

bru hm quranRachel Thien

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday launched Brunei’s very own publication of Al-Quran titled “Mushaf Brunei Darussalam dan Terjemahannya”, a historic achievement for the Sultanate, he said.

The publication is a product of collocal Bruneians amongst scholars and graduates of the University of Al-Azhar.

In accordance with the Nuzul Al-Quran celebration this year which carries the theme “Al-Quran Suluh Umat Cemerlang” (Al-Quran beacon for Islamic community excellence), His Majesty said Brunei should be thankful that it now owns its own publication of Al-Quran, its translation and interpretation.

In a titah, His Majesty said he hoped the completed publication will become a source of reference by Muslims in Brunei.

“I also hope its translation and interpretation will follow, although it will take considerable time to complete,” the monarch said.

Meanwhile, the Sultan said he was thankful to Allah (SWT), as it is with His mercy that Muslims here are now again in the midst of the blessed month of Ramadhan, a month full of divine mercy and pardon (for sins).

“Therefore let us take advantage of the opportunity presented to us by multiplying our deeds of worship, aside from observing the obligatory fast,” His Majesty said.

The 17th of the month of Ramadhan, he added, is a date frequently remembered by the Muslim community worldwide.

His Majesty said it is on that particular date Al-Quran was revealed to the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

Speaking about Al-Quran, the ruler said Muslims are expected to hold true to Al-Quran as was steadfastly done by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

He said this did not mean merely committing it to memory and reciting (the verses), but comprehending and practising the teachings in its entirety.

“With understanding and continuous practising of the Quranic teachings, we will be able to ward off all ideas and thoughts that stray from the path of the Islamic religion, such secularism, pluralism, liberalism and feminism, among others,” His Majesty said.

The Sultan said taking or practising anything that is contrary to Islam means Muslims do not follow Al-Quran, or in other words refute the verses of Al-Quran.

“This is something most forbidden and is even despised by Allah (SWT),” said His Majesty as he recited a passage from Surah Al-Jumu’ah verse 5.

He added that is why Bruneians must ensure they truly follow the words of Al-Quran.

The ruler called on his people not to take teachings of Al-Quran lightly, and being choosy in taking only parts of them while the rest are rejected.

“This is not right. In Brunei we do not adopt the culture of observing Al-Quran merely in parts. What we do is practice the truth in its entirety. What the religion and Al-Quran commands is what we carry out,” His Majesty said.

For this reason, the ruler reminded that Muslims must not be reckless in the matter of presenting dakwah to the general public.

“Let us be cautious and not imitate or accept blindly other’s recipes. We must refrain ourselves from importing problems, particularly in aspects of religion,” he said.

With the recent award received by the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Tahfiz Al-Quran (IPQSHHB) at His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud Seventh International Award Ceremony, the monarch said he was very confident it will determine the Sultanate to continue to strive to become the best companion of Al-Quran.

The Brunei Times
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

'Mushaf Brunei Darussalam'

‘Mushaf Brunei Darussalam’

Al-Quran is the motivator of change

quran masjid ampelBANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

INSYAALLAH, with a few more days, we will celebrate a very important event in the human history — the revelation of the Noble Quran, the most precious gift Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) brought for mankind. The Qur’an, the Word of Allah, is the final Revelation sent down to humanity through His Messenger Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), the Seal of the Prophets.

One night in Ramadhan 14 centuries ago, in order to bring back humanity from the disgrace of slavery into the position of His emissary on earth, Allah the Lord tasked Angel Jibril to send the first revelation to Prophet Muhammad. On that special night Angel Jibril made an eternal link between the heaven and the earth. That was a night that shaped the destiny of humanity. It was the night that we observe as the Nuzul Al-Quran.

We have to thank Allah the Exalted for having sent His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to deliver the message of the Qur’an which contains guidance and wisdom in the form of laws, stories, parables, and arguments for those who have an intellect. Allah says: “This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:2)

Has anybody ever come across a book that contains a preface where its author mentions its infallibility from any single error? Has anyone ever heard of any author who talks with such confidence and authority? This is the Qur’an; it was revealed to one special human being named Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and its Author is Allah, the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe.

At a time when the world sank to its lowest, oppression and tyranny exceeded all limits, human beings were enslaved by arrogant kings and emperors, and women lost their human dignity on earth, a night in the month of Ramadan was destined to determine the course of human history from then on.

The miraculous aspect of the Qur’an is its status as the motivator of change. It has a wondrous impact on those who receive it as a book of guidance and remedy. Its influence on them is great and radical; the Qur’an reforms the character and remolds it into a new form that is loved by Allah. One who doubts this effect has to consider what happened to the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).

It is a unique Book that supports the previous revelations and restores the eternal message and truth of Allah the Almighty. It represents the first and primary source that constitutes the way of life and code of conduct, The Straight Path, known as Islam. It is essential for the believers to deeply understand the meanings and implications of the Book of the Creator in order to truly reflect and correctly act upon it.

As a brilliant and lasting miracle of Almighty Allah, the Qur’an was Prophet Muhammad’s only source of inspiration for the revolution he brought about. With Allah’s Book in hand, the Prophet formed a model of the nucleus of a universal society in Arabia. This society was formed out of those scattered and bad tempered desert tribes who had very little scientific knowledge or material resources. Their initiation into a stable Islamic cultural order was effected independent of all the socio-political systems or powers existing in the world at that time. The Qur’an was the backbone of this unique spiritual revolution which has shined throughout history. The verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi waSallam) over 23 years of his life. As soon as he received these verses, he dictated them to his Companions who not only wrote them down, but also learned them by heart.

There were so many people who had memorised the Qur’an, that from the first day of its revelation, it was in the hands and hearts of the people. We cannot say this about the Bible or about any other scripture.

Before Islam, the Companions led a miserable, ignorant life. The change effected by the Qur’an in their life testifies to its power of change and reformation. Those poor, insignificant, barefooted desert dwellers were reshaped into new beings; their ambitions were elevated to sublime goals; and their hearts were raised and attached to Allah. Thus, within a few years, a fresh force emerged from the desert of Arabia, conquering the strong empires of the time and seizing leadership from them.

How could the Qur’an bring about such dramatic change? Actually, what made the Qur’an so effective is the excellent approach followed by the Prophet’s Companions toward it. They understood the Qur’an and appreciated its value, taking in this regard the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi waSallam) as their best example.

Our Prophet lived the Qur’an and was imbued by its spirit, approving what it approved and rejecting what it rejected. Therefore, it is not strange that his wife ‘Aisyah described him as the “Qur’an walking on the earth”.

The above example affirms that reciting the Qur’an was not mere lip service practiced by the Prophet and his Companions. Actually, the real value of the Qur’an lies in its meanings and in its ability to affect change in the reader. The Qur’an is meant to revive believers’ hearts and to reform their minds. This in turn would produce people who know Allah and worship Him sincerely.

It is very relevant for us to reflect on His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s advice to make the Quran as guide. Delivering a titah at the Nuzul Al-Quran celebration in 2012, His Majesty appealed to the people to read, learn and understand the Quran and apply its teachings in their daily lives to create and achieve a Quran-following generation.

His Majesty said that the Muslim Ummah can regain the golden era of Islam by making Al-Quran their guide to life. The Ummah has been left behind because they are not taking much inspiration from the Book. They only read the Quran but are not making it their guide (to life).

That’s why it’s obligatory for Muslims to seek the guidance from the Quran to achieve the glory. In other words, we need to rise as the generation of Quran readers who at the same time also practise its teachings. In this regard, families need to give serious attention to the learning of the Book for children as early as possible. There should be no exception to this responsibility.

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Fri, 11 July 2014

A royal welcome for Aidil Fitri

bru raya sultanJacqueline Wong

THERE are three days in every calendar year that Bruneians and visitors await with abated breath. And if you’re a guest in-the-know to the Sultanate, you would mark the date, too. This is the day when the ornate palace doors of the Istana Nurul Iman are open wide in true Bruneian royalty, style, grace and hospitality to welcome everyone.

That day is during Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, the Muslim festival that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadhan. It is also when His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, and the Royal Family host their official Hari Raya open house to celebrate and share the day’s festivities with the nation.

Whether you’re young or old, a local or a visitor, the day when ordinary citizens are allowed to enter the palace grounds, let alone its majestic halls, is a day to be remembered. Not only will you be able to see what’s beyond the palace walls – its vast grounds and well-manicured gardens – but also walk the opulent halls that is the home and official residence of His Majesty.

But it’s not just the intricate chandeliers or the exotic floral arrangements nor the incredibly lavish buffet spread that will be forever etched in your mind. Rather, it’s the chance to personally meet with His Majesty and the Royal Family who are there to meet and greet everyone.

The open house tradition is practised in the Sultanate and neighbouring Malaysia. It is a tradition that welcomes everyone in the community, often to mark a festivity, without any formal invitation.

What’s unique of the Istana Nurul Iman open house is that no other head of state – anywhere in the world – readily opens the doors to the official residence to celebrate the community for three straight days. Not only that, but it is estimated that in past open houses, His Majesty and the Royal Family were on their feet for over five hours in which each proffered handshake is graciously accepted.

By the conclusion of the Istana open house, His Majesty and the Royal Family would have personally greeted over 100,000 well-wishers!

The palace open house is a magical occasion. Visitors come from near and far, where everyone is eager and overjoyed to be able to meet in person and greet His Majesty and the Royal Family – the men greets His Majesty and the male members of the Royal Family, and the women greets Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha and female members of the Royal Family.

The royal open house is a sight to behold, which sees the Royal Family and other members of the royal family gathered under one roof to celebrate the occasion together with all visitors and well-wishers. And, His Majesty knows the importance of this only too well.

Everything runs like clockwork, right down to the minute details. In planning for the three-day open house, His Majesty takes special care to ensure the thousands that make a beeline to the palace are welcomed with warmth and hospitality.

The buffet spread reflects a menu that has something for everyone, the palace is dressed in welcoming display bouquets while all around, help staff are available to ensure the weak or invalid continue to remain comfortable during the long wait and queue to proffer their Hari Raya well wishes to Their Majesties.

Indeed, the Hari Raya open house at Istana Nurul Iman is unique in its preparation and occasion. For His Majesty in particular, the open house is beyond the opportunity to meet the rakyat and exchange Hari Raya greetings. It is an occasion for His Majesty and the Royal Family to honour and fete his subjects on this very special day and extend his personal greetings to his people.

The Brunei Times/Courtesy of Muhibah
Sun, 6 July 2014

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Brunei State Mufti: ‘Addressing criticism on Syariah extremely important’

bru Mufti_workshop-003Rasidah HAB

FAILURE to address criticisms on the implementation of Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 could result in catastrophic conse-quences that may affect the law implementation, the State Mufti said yesterday.

“The ‘silence’ syndrome can be interpreted as if we agree with their criticisms; that their criticisms are correct. If critics said Allah SWT’s law is inhumane, and we keep quiet, the whole world will think that we are wrong and that they (the critics) are right,” Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Hj Abdul Aziz Juned said.

He delivered a speech at a workshop aimed at managing the criticisms on the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013. The workshop was organised by Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

During the workshop, the reactions and criticisms on the law’s implementation were compiled. Participants used the information to understand the thinking behind each reaction and criticism while at the same time identify their respective challenges.

Criticisms on the implementation is inevitable, especially from non-Muslims and the western world, the state mufti said.

Taking swift and appropriate action is one way to deal with criticisms and address confusion, he said, as recently advised by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah.

The titah was delivered during a meeting with Brunei Islamic Religious Council members on May 5.

The State Mufti, Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Hj Abdul Aziz Juned (C), delivers his speech at the workshop aimed at managing the criticisms on the implementation of Syariah Penal Code Order 2013. Also present at yesterday’s event were Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos (R), the Permanent Secretary (Media and Cabinet) at the Prime Minister’s Office and Director of SOASCIS Professor Datuk Dr Osman Bakar. Photo: Courtesy of State Mufti's Office

The State Mufti, Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Hj Abdul Aziz Juned (C), delivers his speech at the workshop aimed at managing the criticisms on the implementation of Syariah Penal Code Order 2013. Also present at yesterday’s event were Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos (R), the Permanent Secretary (Media and Cabinet) at the Prime Minister’s Office and Director of SOASCIS Professor Datuk Dr Osman Bakar. Photo: Courtesy of State Mufti’s Office

The state mufti, in his speech, categorised the reactions to the law implementation into three groups.

The first reaction is of those who fully support and uphold the implementation of the law; the second from those who greatly oppose it (those outside Islam); and the third come from those who support some aspects of the law and are also opposed to it.

“It is incumbent that we address reactions from the critics that belong to the second and third group,” he said.

At the same time, the state mufti said that Bruneians need not worry about the opposition coming from those outside of Islam.

“There is no need for us to panic or desperately hope that they accept us. They will not stop and it is impossible for them to accept the syariah criminal law.”

However, he stressed that attention must be given to the oppositions that come from Muslims as damage to faith is one of the greatest risks that may stem from misunderstandings of Islam.

In his comment regarding reactions from those who are caught between supporting and opposing the law, the state mufti gave an example of an opinion made by a professor that said Islam in Saudi Arabia and the archipelago is not the same because of cultural differences.

The state mufti described the opinion as being a confused one.

“Islam is Islam regardless of where we are. It is up to the individual to practise it or not. Islam does not bow to culture; it is culture that must submit to Islam,” he said.

The professor’s opinion on how Brunei should not rush in implementing hudud is both misleading and distorted “ because Allah SWT’s law is not new, it has been in place for more than a thousand years”.

“Those who are implementing it are not doing it in a rush, they are in fact doing it too late as the penal law had been conveyed in Al-Quran for more than 1,000 years, while Islam only came to us (Brunei) 600 years ago,” he said.

The state mufti expressed his surprise on another academician’s opinion that the punishments for crimes under syariah were produced by Islamic scholars in the past, based on their understanding of Al-Quran and Hadith.

The same academician also described His Majesty’s titah on implementing the Syariah Penal Code Order as arrogant because of the monarch’s confession that the implementation of the law was Allah SWT’s hidayah (guidance) to him.

“Is this correct, that if people do good deeds and they confess that it was guidance from Allah that it is considered arrogance? Is this true? For me, this is not arrogance; this is tawaduk (humble and down to earth).

“Those who base (their actions) on Allah are those who always remember Allah and they are never arrogant,” he said.

The Brunei Times
Friday, May 16, 2014

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