Foreign students thrilled to meet Johor Ruler at open house

JOHOR BARU - Commoners at the Hari Raya open house at Istana Pasir Pelangi were ex­­cited to meet Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

The Johor Ruler, clad in a simple dark brown checkered shirt and long pants, spent about 15 minutes with his subjects, obliging requests for selfies and photos.

Among the delighted visitors was Nigerian Muslim Auwalu Mohammad, 34, who felt blessed to join the celebration here.

While the Malaysian and the Nigerian ways of celebrating Hari Raya - or Eid al-Fitr in his home country - bore some differences, he observed that people from both countries marked the festival by gathering at the Ruler's home.

"Just like here, our Nigerian ruler also invites his people to the palace to feast with him.

"The Johor Sultan is such a friendly and humble person, from how he went around greeting the crowd.

"I am lucky to have been able to shake his hand and take a selfie with him," he said, adding that he has not returned home for the festival for the past three years.

Stunning images of Eid al-Fitr 2017 from around the world

  • The sun rises above a mosque before the prayer for Eid al-Fitr in Lipljan, Kosovo.
  • More than 1,000 Muslim congregants gathered at the void deck of Block 116 Simei Street 1 to do their prayers and celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri on 25 June 2017.
  • More than 1,000 Muslim congregants gathered at the void deck of Block 116 Simei Street 1 to do their prayers and celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri on 25 June 2017.
  • More than 1,000 Muslim congregants gathered at the void deck of Block 116 Simei Street 1 to do their prayers and celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri on 25 June 2017.
  • Hj Aspar Hj Anwar (top row, second from left) leading the Jasman family in a round of prayers before they begin the practice of "acara sungkeman", translated from Javanese as the seeking of forgiveness from elders in the family.
  • Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers outside the Grande Mosquee de Paris (Great Mosque of Paris) in Paris on June 25, 2017.
  • Young Indian Muslims take part in Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Khairuddin Mosque in Amritsar on June 26, 2017.
  • Indian Muslims are silhouetted as they gather in the early morning at Jama Masjid mosque to offer Eid al-Fitr prayers in New Delhi on June 26, 2017.
  • A young Indian Muslim looks on during Eid al-Fitr prayers in Bangalore on June 26, 2017.
  • Yemeni-American Muslim Talal Radman embraces his wife Yusra Udayni as the family return home after taking part in Eid al-Fitr prayers in Brooklyn, New York, US, on June 25, 2017.
  • Men say their prayers during Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at the Badshahi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • People attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at a play ground in the suburb of Sale, Morocco.
  • Muslim men receive a meal during Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Chinese Muslims offer prayers during Eid al-Fitr at the Niujie mosque in Beijing.
  • Chinese Muslims visit Niujie mosque during Eid al-Fitr in Beijing.
  • Chinese Muslims visit Niujie mosque during Eid al-Fitr in Beijing.
  • Muslim women pass through security as Muslims gather for the celebration of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the end of the holy month of Ramadan at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California, US.
  • Muslim women gather on the baseball field for the celebration of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the end of the holy month of Ramadan at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California.
  • Young Kosovo Muslims attend the Eid al-Fitr prayer near the Sulltan Mehmet Fatih mosque in Pristina, Kosovo.
  • A Syrian Kurdish woman takes part in celebrations for Eid al-Fitr holiday, that marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli.
  • Nepalese Muslims offer Eid prayers at the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan at the Kashmiri Mosque in Kathmandu.
  • People visit the Dubai Mall aquarium during celebrations for Eid al-Fitr holiday.
  • A Muslim man washes his face before attending the Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • An Iraqi soldier stands guard as displaced Iraqi residents queue for a food distribution by an aid organization during the first day of Eid al-Fitr celebration in West Mosul, Iraq.
  • Muslim men arrive to attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, at the Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, Panama.
  • Iraqi Shiite Muslims perform Eid al-Fitr prayers as they celebrate the end of the month of Ramadan on June 26, 2017, in the holy city of Najaf.
  • A girl shows a piece of candy with her hand painted with henna during the first day of Eid-al Fitr celebration in West Mosul, Iraq.
  • A man wearing makeup reading "Happy Ramadan" parades through the streets of Abidjan on June 25, 2017, as Muslims celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
  • Iranian Muslim women perform Eid al-Fitr prayers in western Tehran on June 26, 2017.
  • Pakistan security personnel exchange Eid greetings to one another after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers at a mosque in Islamabad on June 26, 2017.
  • Nepalese Muslims apply traditional Kohl eyeliner before offering Eid prayers at the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan at the Kashmiri Mosque in Kathmandu.

Auwalu, who is pursuing a doctorate in electrical engineering, was among 100 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) representatives who joined thousands of guests to celebrate Hari Raya with the Johor royal fa­mily.

His friend and fellow PhD student Sulaiman Aliyu, 40, was also over the moon to meet Sultan Ibrahim, whom they had come to learn about since joining UTM.

"I have read many good things about him and so when the university offered to bring us here, my family and I jumped at the opportunity," he said, adding that his wife and three young children are staying with him here.

He said that the warmth of the Johoreans and the close bond of the community were the best part of living in Malaysia.

At the open house, the visitors arrived as early as 9am and were treated to an array of local delicacies and Raya must-haves like ke­tupat and lemang.

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