Bandar Seri Begawan - The possibility ofteaching religious classes for adults in English as well as having written translations of Friday sermons in English prepared was raised during the Legislative Council meeting yesterday.
The topic of Religious Affairs took centre stage yesterday at the meeting as around 59 queries were put forward by the council's members.
The suggestion of having religious classes and Friday sermons was made by Datin Paduka Dayang Hajah Zasia binti Sirin.
She said that while the Islamic Dakwah Centre has been active in preparing religious courses and classes for adults, it should be taken into consideration that there are groups of Muslims here in the country who do not fully understand what is taught in Malay, particularly non-locals, whose numbers are growing.
"I would like to suggest having the Islamic Dakwah Centre organise Fardhu Ain religious courses and classes in English," she proposed, affirming that this would allow for religious studies to be more accessible for people in the country who do not understand Malay.
"This should also be applied to the Friday sermons, which are important for the people to understand and appreciate, and we should consider translating the sermons into English text," she said. This, she highlighted, would allow those who do not speak Malay to understand the valuable teachings that are contained in the sermons.
Responding, the Minister of Religious Affairs, YB Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman agreed with the suggestion.
"I feel that this is a good idea. It would help foreign nationals get a better understanding of what Islam is, what its teachings are, and so that they can understand it through an English medium," he said.
"I feel that this is a good suggestion that should be taken into consideration by the Islamic Dakwah Centre so that they can conduct programmes in English," continued the minister.
"This would be of great use to those who wish to learn more about Islam but cannot understand Malay" Moving on, YB Pengiran Dato Dr Haji Mohammad affirmed, As for English text translations of the Friday Sermons being provided to those who do not understand Malay after the Friday prayers, this is another good suggestion.
"As for having the Friday sermons themselves conducted in English, I feel that it is not yet suitable for Brunei," he asserted. "There are places in Singapore where the sermons are done in English or Indian languages, but I do not feel that it would be suitable for Brunei at this point in time."
"Brunei is a country that follows the MIB (Malay Islamic Monarchy) philosophy, which encourages the use of the Malay language," added the minister.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin