In the Islamic calendar, the night precedes the day, and we are approaching the glorious night of 27th Rajab. There are great lessons in the events that preceded, and took place on this night itself, which are a means of increasing in belief and certitude.
On this night, our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) met our Lord, and was given the gift of the five daily prayers. The ‘tashahhud’ that we recite in every sitting of our prayers are the words with which the Prophet greeted Allah on his ascent beyond the Heavens, in a place beyond place -- where not even the Archangel Jibril could go.
The miracle of the blessed night journey (isra) and heavenly ascent (mi'raj) followed a year of difficult ordeals and great sorrow in the Prophet’s life, from which we take lessons of patience, endurance and contentment with Divine decree, and which Allah rewards with our own spiritual “ascents”. This is the secret of tribulation – in it lies the greatest of opportunities for proximity to the Divine, insha’Allah.
"They encountered suffering and adversity and were shaken such that the Messenger and those of faith who were with him said: “When will Allah’s assistance come?” Truly Allah’s assistance is always near." --Surah Al-Baqarah [2:214]
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Benevolence had a full house for our Illumination of the Soul event with international author Michael Sugich!
Sidi Michael read extracts from his most recent book, Hearts Turn: Sinners, Seekers, Saints & The Road to Redemption, a gripping exploration of the act of 'tawba' (repentance), followed by Q&A with the audience.
'According to the master Abu 'Ali al-Daqqaq, may God be well pleased with him, "Repentance consists of three parts. Its beginning is 'tawba', repentance; its middle part is 'inaba', turning to God; and its end is 'awba', returning to God."
And Imam al-Qushayri, may God be well pleased with him, comments on this saying, "Whoever repents out of fear of Divine punishment acquires a repentance (tawba). Whoever repents out of desire of Divine reward acquires turning to God (inaba). And whoever repents out of compliance with Divine command, not out of desire of reward, nor out of fear of punishment (awba), acquires return to God."'
It is reported that Prophet Sheeth AS* was born a few years after the death of Habil (Abel). During that period Prophet Adam AS had experienced great sorrow. His son, Qabil (Cain) had succumbed to Satan’s temptation and killed his brother Habil. Qabil left following this, moving far away with his family to live elsewhere.
Allah SWT* told Adam AS that he would have a son, and when the child was born, he was named Sheeth, or “Gift.” It is said that Sheeth resembled his father greatly. Adam AS taught Sheeth the times of the day and night along with their required acts of worship. After Adam’s AS death, Sheeth succeeded him, ruling in accordance with God’s law. He taught the worship of God alone, and warned of Satan’s promise to lead mankind astray, as had occurred with Adam AS, and Qabil.
After Sheeth’s death, he was succeeded by his son Anoush, who was then succeeded by his son, Qinan. Qinan’s son, Mahlabeel was his successor. After his death, Mahlabeel's son, Yard took over his responsibilities, and upon his death, passed them to his son, Khonokh. Most scholars agree he is also known as Prophet Idris (Enoch) (peace be upon him).
Prophet Sheeth AS is not actually mentioned in the Quran. He is mentioned in a hadith (narration) by the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).
Abu Darr narrated in Sahih al Bukhari that the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said, "Allah SWT sent down 104 psalms (portions of scripture), of which 50 were sent to Sheeth AS." Prophet Seeth AS was therefore both a Prophet and a Messenger.
There is a difference between a Messenger (Rasul) and a Prophet (Nabi). All Messengers were Prophets, but not all Prophets were Messengers.
Messengers received revelation from Allah SWT, i.e, a new message, law, or changes in previous scripture sent down. Prophets didn’t receive new scripture, but were sent to convey a previous message. For instance Prophet Musa AS was sent the Torah and is a Messenger, as was Prophet Mohamed SAW who was sent the Quran.
Benevolence was invited to Mooroolbark College for Harmony Day last week, coinciding with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Our speaker, Zulfiye, addressed the school assembly of approximately 1000 students, sharing our grief of the tragedy in NZ, and highlighting that values such as compassion, acceptance and respect are more important than ever if we are to create the future we want to experience. The session was rounded off with an insightful Q&A with the students.
Thank you Mooroolbark College for seeking to deepen student's understanding of diversity and supporting social inclusion and connectedness. Contact us for more information about our schools program, or to book a session, at email@example.com.
Benevolence warmly opened its doors to the entire community on the occasion of the annual Victorian Mosque Open Day on Sunday, 17 March.
The program for the Benevolence Open Day was updated in light of the recent tragic incident in New Zealand to provide a space for the Muslim community to gather together in this time of grief, and offer an opportunity for the wider community to engage in conversation on anything of topical interest, including themes of faith and contemporary issues, to unite and strengthen our shared humanity.
Benevolence was invited to the Victorian Parliament for a condolence motion in honour of all the victims from last Friday's terrorist attack in New Zealand.
The unanimous and resounding message lead by Premier Daniel Andrews was one of peace and unity, and an assurance that there will be change. The language used today by Premier Andrews was mirrored by all members of Parliament who spoke, indicating that there is real commitment to changing the way we use words. Words of hate and bigotry are not acceptable, nor will be welcomed in our community, and real advancement in a policy setting for education programs to support our unity have been promised.
It was an honour for Benevolence to stand alongside Muslim community leaders in sharing and being present at today’s official condolences.
#ActivatingHumanity at the Stand Up to Islamophobia and Antisemitism program today: in light of the NZ terrorist attack, Benevolence went ahead with the planned bystander training this morning at the Darebin Intercultural Centre in Melbourne. The program focuses specifically on addressing the rise of Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Victoria, an unfortunate increasing reality.
We felt that people without distinction are in great need of connecting with one another at the moment. We therefore started by just giving our participants the space to allow them to feel, to share, to talk about how they are feeling about the NZ attacks, as many are talking about media and political discourse, the language we use and the need to take action.
Tackling these tough issues with the wonderful trainers from Polykala, Ananth Gopal and Tom Henderson, is always an enriching experience. Their compassion and empathy at this time was obvious and an important presence in sharing our humanity.
The 'Stand Up to Islamophobia and Antisemitism - Bystander Training' is being rolled out across Victoria supported by the Victorian Government. For more information on our program, please contact Jessica Swann at firstname.lastname@example.org
Greetings of peace,
Please find the updated program for the Benevolence Open day tomorrow on the occasion of the annual Victorian Mosque Open Day.
During this time of grief with the recent tragic incident in New Zealand, let us come together to strengthen our shared humanity.
The day will consist of a community meet and greet in the morning, and Conversations in the afternoon - an opportunity to ask questions or discuss anything of topical interest, including themes of faith and contemporary issues.
We hope you can join us.
Benevolence founder Saara Sabbagh was invited by the Department of Education and Training (DET) to present at the Intercultural Champions Workshop (ICW) attended by about 40 primary and secondary Government school teachers across Victoria.
The ICW is a specialist program designed by DET to equip and develop specialist training to selected teachers to support students from a cultural perspective within their schools.
Sr. Saara presented key facts and figures about Islam, the current societal climate and its effect on students and how our Schools program can assist teachers, parents and students to 'walk in my shoes', challenge stereotypes, and encourage diversity and social harmony.
We look forward to working closely with the DET and Victorian schools champions to empower our students and teachers for a better community.
Contact us for more information about our Schools program, or email email@example.com to book a session.
Rajab is the key to the months of goodness which follow it. Imam Abu Bakr al-Warraq explains, “In the month of Rajab you sow the seeds, in Sha`ban you irrigate them, and in Ramadan you reap the harvest.” He also said: “Rajab is like a wind, Sha`ban is like a cloud and Ramadan is like rain.”
The best way of preparing the heart to receive divine gifts is purification and repentance. Rajab is the month of seeking forgiveness, Sha`ban is the month of bestowing prayers upon the Prophet, and Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an. It has been narrated: “Seek much forgiveness from Allah in Rajab because in every hour (of the month) Allah frees people from the Fire.” It is recommended to recite the following supplication 70 times after `Isha Prayer every night in Rajab:
َر ِّب اْغِفْر لي واْرَحْمِني َوُت ْب َعلَ َّي
“Rabbi ‘ghfir li w’ arhamni wa tub `alayya.”
“O Allah forgive me, have mercy upon me, and grant me repentance.”
The reward of our good actions is multiplied in the sacred months, so it is recommended to do as many good deeds as possible. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم recommended fasting at least some days in each of the sacred months. At the same time bad deeds are also more serious in the sacred months so we must do our utmost to avoid any wrongdoings.
‘O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban and enable us to reach Ramadan. Peace and blessings upon the one who guided us to all good and warned us of all evil, our Master Muhammad and his blessed family and Companions and all those that follow his guidance until the end of time.’
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We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which BeneHouse stands, and we pay our respect to their elders past, and present.
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