The first phase of the Syariah Penal Code Order - which incorporates Islamic laws into the existing criminal justice system - comes into force today, May 1.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam made the much-awaited announcement during a special declaration ceremony at the International Convention Centre (ICC) yesterday.
"With complete faith and gratitude towards Allah, I wish to declare tomorrow Thursday, 1 Rejab 1435, corresponding to May 1, 2014 as the date for the enforcement of the first phase of the Syariah Penal Code Order of 2013, which is to be followed by subsequent phases," he said in a titah.
The monarch also responded to rumours that the implementation of the law had been "delayed" from April 22.
"There is no truth that we are postponing the implementation date as quoted by the media. We need to understand the phrase 'six months after the Order is gazetted', which means that even today is still within the specified six-month period (for implementation)."
His Majesty said the Syariah Penal Code was a revival of Islamic laws once practiced in the Sultanate centuries ago, and that it was his "personal obligation" to enforce God's laws.
"Remember, our focus is on Allah SWT alone, seeking His approval only, neither looking left or right in search of others' approval."
The monarch then touched on the criticism his government has received in the international press and from human rights groups who decried some of the punishments prescribed under Islamic law, such as whipping, stoning and the death penalty.
"We have never viewed others in a negative light because what they do is within their rights and up to their individual choices. We also do not expect them to accept and agree with us, but it is sufficient if they respect us as we duly respect them."
"Some theories claim that Allah's law is cruel and unjust, but it is Allah SWT Himself who proclaims His law is just.
"What is the value of this theory in comparison to the revelations of Allah SWT?" His Majesty said in his titah.
The monarch added that the decision to implement the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 was not made on a whim but it was to "act upon the command of Allah SWT as prescribed in the Quran and Sunnah."
The Sultan said he was happy with the support shown for the law by citizens and residents, including non-Muslims, as well as the support of the Legislative Council.