BeneNews


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

Benevolence Australia
  • Tuesday, February 26, 2019 9:47 AM | Anonymous

    Greetings of peace,

    It is said that visiting God’s House requires an invitation. Intention and aspiration may be prerequisites, but these are not sufficient on their own. An invitation is specific, personalised and cannot be ignored. It is always an honour to be a recipient, whether it is anticipated or completely unexpected. The honour lies in being hosted by the All Merciful, surrendering oneself to the rythmic flow of ancient rituals that point to the Divine Oneness, and receiving innumerable spiritual gifts that nourish the soul like no other.

    Feeling blessed and grateful for the invitation earlier this month; my husband and I set out to perform Umrah and visit the beloved (peace and blessings be upon him). As excited as I was about the journey, it always brings with it a level of trepidation for it will undoubtedly expose one’s spiritual deficiencies and ailments in a way that only pilgrimage can. It is through these liturgies, which seem repetitive and taxing on the body, that sends one into a deeper state of self-awareness, holding a mirror up to the soul and forcing the pilgrim to see their inner self clearly in the harsh and luminous desert sun.
     
    What is profoundly beautiful about being a guest of God are the personalised gifts with which every pilgrim is honoured. These usually come in the form of awakenings, a chance to refine the self and aspire towards a higher station of connectedness with the Divine presence. It also offers an opportunity to reflect on one’s character in the light of the best of creation (peace and blessings be upon him).

    Through simply being in his blessed city, praying in the Haram and visiting historical sites, the pilgrim is transported to a time where love of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) transformed hearts, minds and civilisations. This love is felt throughout the city of Medina - there is a serenity and peace which manifests through the gentleness and generosity of its people, in the tranquillity that envelopes the entire city, and is symbolised by the green dome that leaves every Muslim yearning to go back time and time again.
     
    I believe that every pilgrim is gifted the longing to cherish this love, to understand it and embody it. As the knowers of God would say, “How do you love the one whom you do not know?” It is only with familiarity, and by creating a fond relationship, that love is sustained.
     
    I returned home inspired to cultivate this love in our community, through which true faith is exemplified. With this intention, the women’s Monday night class will be dedicated to this theme: to increasing our knowledge of the Messenger of God. I am incredibly excited to be teaching his life and character over a three-part series throughout 2019. I invite you to join me as we traverse the path of love through knowledge of the most noble and beloved of creations - peace and blessings be upon him.

    Tell me about love - Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

    With love and light,
    Saara Sabbagh

  • Monday, February 18, 2019 3:38 PM | Anonymous

    Benevolence open day

    On the occasion of the annual Victorian Open Mosque day, we warmly welcome you to our upcoming Open day at BeneHouse!

    The day will consist of 'Conversations', an opportunity to meet-and-greet, sit down with Benevolence staff and community members, and ask questions or discuss anything of topical interest.

    Saara Sabbagh, founder of Benevolence Australia, will later present Understanding Islam, an information session aimed at demystifying perceptions of Islam and Muslims in Australia and engendering a deeper level of understanding of the faith, themes and issues in popular discourse.

    The event is open to public attendance and free of charge as a service to the community for the Open Mosque Day initiative in collaboration with the ICV - Islamic Council of Victoria.

    If you have any queries, or would like more information, please contact us.

    We look forward to your joining us!

  • 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.

    Benevolence founder 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

    Benevolence concluded our weekly 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.’


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