BeneNews


A welcoming and inclusive space for spiritual growth through the Prophetic tradition in service to the community.

Benevolence Australia
  • Thursday, January 31, 2019 7:42 PM | Anonymous

    Prophet Adam ASWelcome to this series on the Prophets mentioned in the Quran.

    Belief in the Prophets of Allah SWT* is one of the 6 pillars of Iman. In learning how they lived and what they taught, we look to apply these timeless lessons to our own lives.

    “And mention when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed I will place mankind, generations after generations on the earth.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood while we glorify You with praises and thanks?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”
    -Chapter 2:30, Quran, Surah Baqara

    Prophet Adam AS* is both the first man and first Prophet in Islam. He was created by Allah SWT from moulded clay, after which a soul was breathed into him. After his creation, Allah commands the angels to prostrate to Adam in a show of respect, which they all do except one, Iblis* (Satan). He refuses, claiming, as one made of fire, that he is better than one made of clay. Allah SWT curses Iblis for his disobedience, and commands him to leave. He departs, but not before promising to spend the rest of his days leading man into misguidance.

    Prophet Adam AS is endowed with a love for knowledge, and is taught the names of all things by God. But he is lonely, and Allah SWT creates a woman from his rib, Hawa (Eve), to be his companion. They are admitted into paradise to live together in comfort, but cautioned to beware Satan, and to avoid the fruit of one tree.

    In paradise, Satan continually tries to persuade them to eat from the tree, promising them immortality if they heed him. After a time, Adam forgets God’s warning, and he and Hawa succumb to Iblis’ enticement to eat from the tree. This act then elicits emotions of shame, sadness and regret from them. Having disobeyed God, they become aware of their nakedness and begin to cover themselves. And Allah SWT addresses Adam – Didn’t He warn them against Iblis and the tree? Adam and Hawa beg for Allah’s SWT forgiveness and mercy, which He grants. However, they are made to leave paradise and descend to the earth where they are to live henceforth.

    Earth is an ongoing struggle with great hardship. The Prophet has to learn to labour and cultivate to survive. Prophet Adam and Hawa experience great joy though when they have children, a family that he now has to protect and provide for. There is also the constant struggle to be vigilant of Iblis who seeks to lead him and his family astray. With time, they settle to enjoy the bounties of the land, and their progeny begins to spread and settle over the earth.

    Prophet Adam and Hawa have many offspring, and he constantly teaches his children and grandchildren to worship in one God, to shun Iblis, and to remember that Allah will send Messengers to provide guidance on earth. Iblis continues in his attempts to corrupt and deceive, and it is also during Prophet Adam’s lifetime that the first murder on earth takes place; that of his son, Habil (Abel) at the hand of his brother Qabil (Cain).

    Prophet Adam AS lived for over 900 years, and upon his death, his son, Shiith (Seth) succeeds him as a Prophet.

    What we learn
    • In Islam, we believe Prophet Adam (AS) and Hawa’s removal from paradise to be pre-destined.  Allah (SWT) knew they would eat from the tree and descend to the earth. Note also, the verse from Surah Baqara above, where Allah says He will place man on earth, not in paradise.

    • We are reassured that humankind has not been left alone, but that guidance has been sent through the message of the Prophets, with the promise that following Allah’s path will lead us back to Him.

    Abu Hurraira RA* reported that the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said - "The best of days on which the sun has risen is Friday. On this day Adam was created, on it he entered paradise, and on it, descended to the earth. The Hour will not be established except on Friday."

    Notes

    • SWT is an abbreviation of the Arabic honorific phrase, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, which means, "May He be glorified and exalted".
    • AS is an abbreviation of the Arabic honorific phrase alayhi salam, which translates to "peace be upon him".
    • It is important to clarify that Iblis was the leader of the angels, however he was not an angel but a jinn. In Islam, angels are made of pure light, and follow all of God's commands. Jinns, however are created from a 'smokeless fire', and have free will, similar to humankind.
    • RA is an abbreviation of the Arabic honorific phrase, radiAllahu anhu, which means, "May Allah be pleased with him" and are used when referring to the companions of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH.


  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 4:38 PM | Anonymous

    Greetings of peace,

    Another year has come and gone, with moments shared, experiences lived and dreams realised. For Benevolence, this year brought with it many openings and milestones - the most significant being our 10 year anniversary. It was celebrated with a Gala Dinner to pay tribute to the selfless volunteers who have dedicated their time to creating the Benevolence community over the past ten years, to commemorate the remarkable achievements of Benevolence, and to share our vision for the next ten years.

    Another outstanding accomplishment of 2018 was the Spirit of Leadership (SOL) program, a ten-month leadership course for young Muslims aged between 18-26 that examined community leadership in the light of the Prophetic model. Piloted in collaboration with the Islamic Council of Victoria, t
    he course took a deep dive into contemporary topics such as identity, values, ethics and spiritual refinement. The SOL participants visited a number of community organisations with varying management frameworks to experience leadership in practice. This program was so well-received, and its cohort so impressive, that we are excited to announce SOL will continue next year! Look out for applications in early March.

    As the year winds up and our Bene programs come to a close, I gratefully acknowledge everyone who contributed to the success of Benevolence this year. I wish to thank our selfless volunteers, our staff and the Board on ensuring the continued growth and sustainability of the Benevolence vision. I wish to also thank you, our members, supporters and community, for it is only through your ongoing advocacy that we continue to thrive. 

    Wishing you a blessed, joyous and safe holiday season, and we look forward to connecting, serving and creating inspiring initiatives in the year ahead, insha-Allah!

    With love and peace,
    Saara Sabbagh

    Farewell 2018
  • Sunday, December 09, 2018 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    ABC radio national The hottest (and holiest) issues of 2018

    ABC radio national host James Carleton speaks with Saara Sabbagh (founder of Benevolence Australia) and Reverend Chris Bedding (St Cuthbert's Anglican Church), about the burning issues of 2018 in news and religion, including:
    • Genetically modified babies
    • Religious freedom
    • The government's encryption legislation
    • Combating Islamophobia

    Listen to the podcast

  • Friday, December 07, 2018 11:14 AM | Anonymous

    Benevolence held our very first family camping weekend to get away at the end of the year from busy schedules to enjoy quality time with loved ones. A friendly environment for both children and adults to establish new connections with other Muslim families, with activities such as bushwalking, swimming at the beach, fishing, BBQs, praying in congregation, and re-connecting with nature in the spectacular outdoors along the Great Ocean Road. What a fantastic getaway weekend!

    Bene Family Camp 2018

    View photos

  • Tuesday, November 20, 2018 5:52 PM | Anonymous

    Muslim Women's Association celebrated its 35th anniversary by honouring Muslim Women's contribution and launching the "Mosaic of Muslim Women in Australia." Thirty-five women across Australia were acknowledged and celebrated for their tireless efforts in serving both the Muslim and wider community.

    Our very own Saara Sabbagh was amongst the recipients for her unwavering service and leadership, as well as delivering the keynote speech, speaking straight to the heart of every person present in acknowledging the unique value and contribution of Muslim Women in Australia.

    Congratulations to both MWA and all the recipients for their steadfastness and dedication to community service!

    Mosaic of Muslim Women in Australia

  • Friday, November 16, 2018 2:55 PM | Anonymous
    Responding to Islamophobia and anti-Semitism

    Be empowered to take a safe, active stance when observing hateful, racist incidents of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Learn the skills, language and confidence to respond to bigotry, harassment, and violence in the community.

    Contact outreach@benevolenceaustralia.org to register for this training program to be delivered across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Vicoria commencing on 10th December 2018, or to inquire for more information for you / your workplace / community organisation.

    As part of the anti-racism and anti-discrimination Action Plan, the Victorian Government is supporting key organisations deliver community-led responses to Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. This project is a collaborative initaitve by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Australian Intercultural Society, Australia Union of Jewish Students and Benevolence Australia, who have formed a united body aimed at addressing these issues.

    Showing up Bystander intervention program

  • Monday, November 12, 2018 11:50 PM | Anonymous

    We concluded Monday night women's "Living with Excellence" class for 2018 with a communal Qur'an khatm in this blessed month of Rabi' al-Awwal.

    The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said, "No people gather in a house of the houses of Allah reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves except that serenity descends upon them, mercy envelops them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them to those with Him." [Muslim]

    Final Monday night women's class 2018

  • Saturday, November 10, 2018 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    Rabi' al-Awwal 1440We welcome Rabi' al-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar, which means 'the first month of Spring'.

    The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was born in this blessed month. Many Muslims celebrate the Prophet’s birth, known as mawlid, which involves gratitude in the remembrance of the birth, life and message of the Prophet, and is marked in different ways, such as with prayers, and by offering salutations upon him.

    • The Prophet was born on a Monday and he, himself turned this into an act of worship, fasting on Mondays in gratitude to Allah SWT.
    • It was in the month of Rabi' al-Awwal that the Prophet, peace be upon him, migrated from Mecca to Medina, known as hijra.
    • The Prophet peace be upon him died on a Monday in this month 11 years after hijra.

    Allahumma salli wa sallim wa barik ‘ala sayyidina Muhammadin wa ‘ala alihi
    ‘O Allah bestow Your blessings, peace and grace upon our master Muhammad and his family.’

    • Wednesday, November 07, 2018 9:17 AM | Anonymous

      Greetings of peace,

      Agenda to change our conditionFor almost twenty years, teaching the Monday night women’s class has been a consistent part of my life. It wasn’t always on Monday evenings - it began at Doncaster mosque on Tuesday mornings, then moved to the Uniting Church on Westfield Drive, and then back to the mosque for a new time slot on Monday nights. The classes found its permanent home at BeneHouse when it opened in 2014. The venue and times may have evolved over the years, however the intention of the women’s class has always remained clear: to educate, nurture and support the spiritual and faith development of women.

      This semester we covered the iconic spiritual self-development book Agenda to Change our Condition by Hamza Yusuf and Zaid Shakir. The theme is centred on the Quranic verse, "Allah does not change a people until they change what is in themselves." (13:11) Within this verse is a calling for introspection, self awareness and a call to action: the attainment of taqwa, God-consciousness.

      The book details the various toxic inroads to the heart, the role of the limbs, and daily habits and exercises to safeguard a sound heart and create a taqwa orientated lifestyle. It challenged us to see God-consciousness in the practical way that it was intended, rather than spiritual theory reserved for saints and mystics. Agenda to Change our Condition can be summarised in the following four sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him); some scholars have said that all of Islam revolves around these wisdoms, that they are the cornerstones of attaining a life of God-consciousness:

      • "The permissible is clear and the prohibited is clear, and between them are grey areas; not many people know their rulings. So, whoever protects themselves from them has kept his religion sound and free of blemishes. However, whoever falls into them has fallen into the prohibited. His likeness is that of a shepherd who takes his flock to graze near a king’s sanctuary, and due to his proximity to it, he inevitably falls into it. Surely, every king has a sanctuary, and surely the sanctuary of Allah on His earth lies in avoiding those things He has prohibited. Surely, there is a lump of flesh in the body - if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. Is it not the heart?"
      • "Abandon the world, and Allah will love you; and abandon what people have, and the people will love you."
      • "From the excellence of a person’s Islam is that he/she leaves what does not concern them."
      • "Surely, actions are judged by intentions, and everyone has what he/she intended."

      Like any lifestyle choice, choosing to live a life of taqwa requires strong conviction, an implantation method and a solid support structure. The Monday night women's class created the space, knowledge and support where striving for excellence in character and self-refinement could be gradually incorporated into our daily lives until it becomes part of who we are.

      As we conclude our education programs for yet another year at Benevolence, I pray that we have been a place of knowledge and support on your spiritual and faith journey.


      With love and peace,

      Saara Sabbagh
    • Friday, November 02, 2018 11:39 AM | Anonymous

      Benevolence held a fun youth night where young people gathered to enjoy pizza and conversation about themselves, their hobbies, their indentity as young Muslims, and the importance of having a support network with authentic and strong foundations.

      "Last night was not what we expected! It was different and relaxing. We played games and spoke about what it means to be a Muslim." -Youth participant feedback

      Youth Night at BeneHouse


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