For 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:
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.
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
Benevolence was pleased to have The Ansaar project visit our BeneKids class to discuss food insecurity, the virtue of charity, and the impact of community efforts to address societal shortfalls.
The Halal Food Bank - Melbourne is run entirely by volunteers and purely with donations from the community, and aims to provide halal, nutritionally sound food to needy families, those who require crisis support, and asylum seekers on a monthly basis.
We are proud supporters of local, grassroots initiatives such as the HFB, please visit their profile to donate or volunteer!
Our popular How To Pray workshop focuses on ritual prayer (salat) and its place and purpose in the life of a Muslim. The spiritual, as well as physical aspects of prayer, are explored in detail. The workshop also covers the benefits one can obtain from the regular practice of ritual prayer.
Motivations to attend for non-practicing born Muslims were to reconnect with their faith; for recent converts to boost their knowledge; and to learn about Islam and its virtuous rituals for those in the process of converting.
Benevolence founder Saara Sabbagh was invited to Carey Baptist Grammar School to join a multi-faith panel for a question and answer session about life, God and faith.
Joining Sister Saara on the panel was a Buddhist monk and a Christian leader. Around a hundred Year 9 students lead the discussion with questions about the faiths, including:
• Why is your religion important to you?
• What do you believe are common misconceptions about your religion?
• How do you believe in something you haven’t seen?
• Do you like every aspect of your religion?
Interested in running a similar session for your school? Contact Dee to book your school for a similar session or to discuss the various school programs we can offer:
P: +61 3 99138262
Assalamu 'alaikum, We are very excited about Br Musab Penfound coming to Melbourne!
Born and raised in the UK, Br Musab is a young and emerging scholar who entered Islam in his youth and has continued the pursuit of Islamic knowledge both locally and abroad. This journey has seen him studying full-time under a variety of scholars, each with unbroken chains of scholarly transmission back to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Br Musab has received training through a classical syllabus based upon the formal Islamic sciences combined with the disciplines of inward purification. He travels regularly, and has taught and lectured in the UK, the Middle East, across Africa and South East Asia. Currently, Br Musab lives in Yemen where he is continuing his studies under the guidance of his teachers, and is involved in a convert specific initiative under the direction of Habib Umar, the ‘Way of Light’.
Check out our Events page to register. We look forward to your joining us in this authentic learning experience with Br. Musab Penfound!
We thank you so kindly,
for being part of our special night.
To celebrate our ten years,
with you has been an absolute delight.
We look forward to your support,
for the Benevolence vision we share.
An inclusive space for spiritual growth,
and nourishment is our prayer.
And all those behind the scenes,
who got us here.
We thank each and every one,
of you who volunteer.
Your support has been invaluable,
for building foundations to thrive.
In our quest to service the community,
we continue to strive!
Ladies, applications for our long awaited and very popular women's Spiritual Retreat is NOW OPEN!
The Benevolence spiritual retreats were organically developed out of what we found to be critical to the mental, physical and spiritual development of Muslim women. Focusing on personal development, nutrition and improving one's spiritual and mental wellbeing, these retreats provide the ideal opportunity for women to evaluate their spiritual journey in a comfortable and nurturing environment.
We invite you to join us as we explore habits, reconnect with Islamic rituals, and practice the art of sacred surrender. Apply now at our Events page!
BeneHouse is part of the Melbourne experience for the Australia-Indonesia Muslim exchange program, a prestigious international initiative which invites emerging Muslim leaders in Australia and Indonesia to engage in an intensive two-week visit of cultural, social, interreligious, and intellectual exchange with their neighbouring country.
Interested in this unique opportunity to experience Islam in Indonesia and its relevance to Australia today? Applications close Monday, 15 October. We look forward to hosting the Indonesian delegates once again in 2019!
125 George St
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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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