Tourists impressed with Maulidur Rasul celebrations

National 2 minutes, 21 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN 

DARK skies and intermittent rain failed to spoil the spirits of tourists who witnessed the Maulidur Rasul celebrations yesterday.

Tourists were seen taking pictures in the rain, and those who came to observe the event expressed their amazement at the dedication of the Muslims to Islam.

Most of them were impressed with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam leading participants at Taman Hj Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien to finish the 4.3 kilometre-procession despite the increasingly heavy downpour.

Benziane Lahcen, a Muslim from Algeria, said he was impressed with the birthday celebrations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the country.

“My wife and I are staying here for only three days and we came here only for this once-a-year celebration,” the 38-year-old told the Brunei Times yesterday.

“I can see, even in the rain, the spiritual power (of the congregants) and the beautiful strength of Islam in the country,” added Lahcen, who resides in France.

The Algerian, who witnessed the event with his wife for the first time, said the event was unique to him because the traditional clothing worn by the participants illustrated a blend of Islam and Malay culture.

Meanwhile, Thet Lwin and his sister-in-law May Sabal from Myanmar were also first-time witnesses to the Maulidur Rasul procession in the sultanate.

The tourists from Myanmar praised the determination of the procession participants, but were even more impressed because they withstood the rain.

“The significant event that caught our eyes today was the unity of the people,” said the 31-year-old Thet.

“The participants marching together, old and young, showed the unity and devotion of a religion,” he added.

Angela Laidlaw from Exeter, United Kingdom, who was waiting for her transit flight to Melbourne, Australia yesterday wanted to spend her last few hours in the country by watching the procession.

“I personally love the colours of the traditional attires,” said the 47-year-old.

“I am not sure if the colours (worn) mean to classify them into their associations or groups, but I love it, it shows diversity,” Laidlaw said.

“The cutest thing I have seen today was a young boy with his backpack eagerly trying to catch up with his father, but then got tired and his father eventually carried him through (the procession),” she added.

Her British compatriot, Sonja Earl, 36, was amazed by the humility of His Majesty in the procession.

“I woke up early and prepared as early as 6.30am at Radisson Hotel,” she said.

“I got through the crowds of people and I managed to catch a glimpse of His Majesty entering the (Taman Hj Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien) field,” she said.

“And I thought that was very inspiring, to see (His Majesty) so close to his people, driving his own car and walking in the rain leading the crowd,” Earl added.

The Brunei Times