By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 28: Padang Merdeka burst into life with a fervent spirit of unity as nearly 11,000 participants from 248 contingents gathered for a spectacular Maulidur Rasul celebration and procession today.
These contingents represented various sectors, including government ministries, statutory bodies, Village Development and Security Communities (JKKKs), associations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), private sector, mosques and suraus, Hadrah groups, higher education institutions, and primary and secondary schools.
The procession covered two routes encompassing village areas spanning a distance of 4km and the city of Kuching covering 3.7km.
Themed “Sarawak Makmur Ummah Sejahtera” and held in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary of Sarawak’s Independence, the celebration was graced by the presence of Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib.
Also in attendance were Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and his wife Puan Sri Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar, Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Deputy Minister of Energy and Environment Sustainability Dr Hazland Abang Hipni and Deputy Minister of Utility Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi.
Despite the early morning rain and drizzle, the spirit and faith of the vast number of participants, who had gathered as early as 5am, remained undeterred.
The celebration and procession were marked with colourful displays of unity, with participants dressed in beautiful and vibrant Malay attire.
They carried banners bearing words of devotion to Prophet Muhammad and showcased unique props as they paraded past the main stage.
The melodious sounds of nasyid songs, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of the “kompang”, reverberated through the air of Padang Merdeka.
Crowds also gathered along the roadside surrounding Padang Merdeka to witness this spectacular procession, which highlighted religious and cultural aspects of the Muslim community.
Maulidur Rasul holds great importance for Muslims as it commemorates the birth of Prophet Muhammad and honours his deeds and sacrifices.
The Sarawak-level celebration this year commenced yesterday evening (Sept 27) with a thanksgiving ceremony at the Jamek Mosque.
The ceremony began with Maghrib prayers, followed by the recitation of Yaasin led by Imam Besar Negeri Sarawak, Sahibul Fadillah Mustapha Kamal Ahmad Fauzi. It also featured a special Maulidur Rasul sermon delivered by the Sarawak Mufti, Datuk Kipli Yassin, followed by congregational Isha prayers and “Marhaban Zikir.