AN important role of His Majesty, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, is to encourage charity and promote empathy.
"It is my view that if, what will be carried in a few moments, really constitutes as the official list of fakir miskin, then when I have handed out the zakat documents to them, the country, from that moment on, is justified to be labelled as free from poverty. Today, our country's history is being written in gold ink, as we are now moving towards freeing ourselves from poverty," said His Majesty in a titah. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, prior to distributing approximately $90 million worth of zakat funds at a ceremony held at the International Convention Centre on 7 October, 2009.
"O you who believe! Spend out of what We have given you" (2:254).
Charity is preached by every religion of the world, and Islam is no stranger to the concept. It is a way of bringing balance to society, so that society can flourish through the charitable acts of giving and kindness. As head of the Islamic faith in Brunei Darussalam, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, is the embodiment of devotion and duty to the country; a model example to everyone on the importance of charity and care giving.
His Majesty's long record of charity and selfless giving to his nation underpins Brunei Darussalam's history and identity. A country blessed with rich natural resources, His Majesty made it clear upon his ascension to the throne in 1967 that the well-being of his people was his priority. Guided by his vision and strong-willed leadership, His Majesty rules the country with a deep sense of individual responsibility and duty towards the nation's growth.
His Majesty's compassion has brought comfort to many of his people. From providing his people access to free medical health, education and housing, and freeing his people of personal income tax, His Majesty exemplifies the true dedication of a charitable ruler.
Furthering His Majesty's aim to develop the country and assist the underprivileged, His Majesty initiated a charity foundation in his name, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation (Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah) in 1992, in an effort to facilitate the implementations of his and the Royal Family's charitable works. Funds from the foundation are channelled to support socially beneficial projects in five different components, namely education, welfare, religion, development and to finance higher education. This includes providing financial assistance to students furthering higher religious education while the welfare arm provides assistance to eliminate poverty in the country.
The poor and underprivileged, in fact, hold a very special place in His Majesty's heart. To support this particular group, His Majesty established the "Document of Tithe Distribution Fund" and "Document of Settlement of Outstanding Housing Debt" to help ease the lives of deserving subjects, working towards a noble goal to eliminate poverty in Brunei Darussalam.
His Majesty is also committed to the welfare of his nation's new Muslims. Through the Government's framework, new Muslims are provided free travels to the holy city of Mekah to perform their Haj pilgrimage while other initiatives that provide Islamic education to the converts emphasise on bridging the gap between born-Muslims and those new to Islam. Such programmes have been an inspiration to so many other similar initiatives overseas and reflect His Majesty's own faith and values in propagating the religion.
Further charitable contribution arose in the form of various housing scheme projects. Housing assistance is given to the poor and new Muslim converts through the National Housing Scheme (NHS) and the Skim Tanah Kurnia Rakyat Jati (STKRJ). In a ceremony to hand over the keys under the NHS and STKRJ schemes for Kampung Mumong and Lorong Tiga Seria in 1992, His Majesty stressed that: "I believe that the quality and level of welfare and livelihood of the rakyat can be enhanced by the government housing schemes. Therefore it is of importance and a priority to me under the relevant Ministry."
Philanthropy is ever one of His Majesty's characteristics. In his travels abroad, His Majesty often shows support for organisations that reflect issues he cares about. His Majesty understands that as head of state, an important aspect of the work of a statesman is to support and encourage public and voluntary charitable work. His Majesty is all too aware of how easy it is for society to forget the less fortunate, and to this end, continues to tirelessly champion various charitable works and organisations, devoting his strength, wisdom, time and financial support for the development of the country and assistance to the underprivileged.
July 15, 2012, marks His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 66th birthday celebration. It is indeed a joyous occasion celebrated throughout Brunei Darussalam with special events held in conjunction in Brunei-Muara, Tutong, Belait and Temburong Districts.
Courtesy of Muhibah, inflight magazine of RBA
Sunday, July 1, 2012
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