Volunteer Picnic at Bonython Park

As a sign of appreciation to our Volunteer Team, who contributed so much towards our recent Jubilee, we had organised a thank you BBQ lunch at Bonython Park on Saturday the 6th of October. Seventeen volunteers attended, along with some of the management committee. 

Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the day. Naturally, the food was spectacular! There was plenty of chicken wings, sausages and bulgogi beef to go around. There was opportunity to chat and have a few laughs. The weather was wonderful, people were able to stroll and explore the park.

If you would like to get involved with the Muslim Women’s Association of SA, contribute to a team effort in helping the community and enjoy an occasional social day out, click here to go to our Volunteer page and send us through your details. 

Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens Learning Journey

The Muslim Women’s Association of SA provides several services to men and women over the age of 65 years who are coming from a CaLD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) background, under the CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program). 

On Thursday 4th of October 2018 an outing to Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens was planned as a Learning Journey.

Those who were attending met at our office on Victoria Square and caught a coach out to Mt Lofty. 

The weather was perfect for walking, overcast but not raining and with a cool breeze.  

The men and women were able to explore the Gardens at their leisure and work up an appetite before sharing a picnic lunch. The group came very well prepared for the picnic with delicious home-made delicacies in picnic baskets and even a table cloth for the picnic table. 

Everyone was very interested to read the signage on-site, in doing so everyone was able to learn about the plants and about the history of Adelaide and also about the Flinders Column. 

It was a wonderful opportunity for them to literally stop and smell the flowers, to socialise and catch up with each other. 

Over 20 Members attended and the general consensus from everyone is that they enjoyed the day immensely. They are looking forward to going back to the Gardens in Autumn time and are, of course, looking forward to the next CHSP Learning Journey. 

For more information about the CHSP and how to join, click here
 
 

Adult Learners’ Week 2018

The Muslim Women’s Association of SA (MWASA) participated in Adult Learners’ Week 2018, as we do every year. It was thoroughly enjoyed and very successful, as it is every year.

The theme this year was Discover Nature and History. With that in mind, the program coordinator planned outings to the Migration Museum to learn more about the history of migration and to the Botanical Gardens to learn more about nature. 

Our event was attended mainly by our ACE (Adult Community Education) students, who come from a variety of cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds and have called Australia home for varying lengths of time. 

Those who attended learnt about migration through history and about the struggles those migrants faced. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about other cultures, as well. During this time the Museum was showcasing Croatian culture and had a variety of dresses, photos, musical instruments and sporting equipment on exhibit. There was a photographic story of a Polish family who migrated to Australia in the 1960s and a handout on Russian migrants was available. Our students were able to relate to the struggles of past migrants and were inspired by the new and positive lives that have been built in Australia. 

The guided tour of the Botanical Gardens was loved by everyone. The weather was spectacular, all sunshine and fresh air. The guides were sensitive and informative. Through the use of interpreters the group members developed a keen interest in the Gardens, as they were more easily able to understand the information provided. Our group members enjoyed a shared lunch, a lovely way to end the day and encourage social networking.

One of our goals is to introduce educational resources to our members which they can then feel comfortable accessing by themselves in the future. Some in attendance had not visited these places before but have said they feel confidant to take their family and friends back. The students gave positive feedback about the trip.

The things learnt during this trip will be discussed further during the weekly program classes. The students are able to express and exchange views on different topics, this helps with improving conversational skills and making new friends. 

A continuing goal of MWASA is to provide opportunities and support to women on their learning journey. There are already plans being made for next term’s excursion: guided tours of the State Library and Central Market!

For more information about the MWASA ACE Program, click here

Leadership Workshop for Young Muslim Women

In this 4-part workshop series, young Muslim women aged between 14 – 25 years undergo training to develop their confidence and improve their communication skills.

The participants quickly warmed up to their trainer, Yasmin Gurreeboo, Associate Director, ACTNOW Theatre, and began sharing their thoughts and views on a wide range of topics and challenges.

During the first session, participants learned how to express their ideas and communicate confidently using the Theatre of the Oppressed technique. The second session saw participants discussing about cultural identity. It was interesting to see them discuss about common labels and act it out in a freeze frame. The youth noted how each of them interpreted labels they give and receive differently.

The next session focused on the participants’ communication skills. The girls enjoyed activities such as ‘silent birthdate game’ where they had fun exploring non-verbal communication techniques  to line-up in the order of their respective birth dates.

The workshop culminated on 17 April 2018 with more teamwork activities that enabled the girls to improve their communication skills in a fun environment. On the whole, the youth enjoyed meeting new people, learning to work confidently in teams while tapping on each others’ strengths and realised they were able to step out of their comfort zones.

Quotes from participants:
“The workshop was very interactive and engaging. It enabled us to think with the creative side of our brain, become a more confident woman, and also allowed us to explore other people’s interpretations and ideas. Overall it was a very interesting and enjoyable session.”
   – Melissa
“The second session was really insightful. I understand that we need to empower ourselves in order to empower other people. We also need to overcome our fear to become more confident and powerful. It is definitely another step forward in understanding what leadership is”
– Balqis

 

MyGov and My Aged Care talk for seniors

With most transactions and communications being done online, it is important for the seniors in our community to know how to access information and assistance schemes online.

In collaboration with Centrelink and Bene Aged Care, MWASA organised a ‘hands on’ session to help seniors learn how they could access their accounts and assistance schemes on the myGov portal and My Aged Care portal.

While using technology and computers can be a tedious process for most seniors, our group of 34 seniors were able to rise up to the challenge and learnt how to use online portals and services provided by aged care providers.

26 April 2018

Annual General Meeting 2017

Assalaamu Alaykum

MWASA held its Annual General Meeting 2017 on 12th February 2018 where members attended and voted for the 2018 committee.

Sr Dora Abbas, Chairperson, MWASA, extends her appreciation to all partners, friends, staff and volunteers of MWASA for their unwavering support and partnership and looks forward to their continued collaboration and support in the years ahead.

Sr Dora also thanks colleagues, Sr June Hussain, Community Development Officer, for organising a successful AGM and Sr Shaista Kalaniya, Project Manager, for her achievements in MWASA’s Youth program. Last year, our youth group collaborated with the Dulwich Centre on a project that focused on survival strategies by young people. They produced a video on how as Muslims, they try not to take people’s hate into their hearts.

Overall, the project highlighted knowledge and philosophies of students from primary schools, high schools and universities on tackling problems, overcoming bullying, surviving the ocean of depression, and much more.

 

 

In Memory of Zabedah Ashe

IN memory of Zabedah Ashe

 
Our dear sister Zabedah Ashe returned to Allah swt on 23 December 2016.
 
She had been one of MWASA’s hard working management committee members for a few years, and a dedicated volunteer for MWA and the community in various areas. When MWASA did not have a treasurer in 2006-7, Sr Zabedah selflessly took up the role with full commitment, making it easier for our organisation to continue our work smoothly.
 
One of her passions was to help others. Always keen to support sisters, she was known to and popular with sisters of many ethnic backgrounds- new arrivals, long established residents, students or visitors. When there were sisters looking for rental places, or needing connection with others in the community, Zabedah was always willing to give them time and advice. She was especially active in helping students to adapt and settle in Adelaide.
 
On a few occasions, when there were sisters needing urgent temporary accommodation, she had helped to accommodate them or arranged for them to stay elsewhere. Her compassion had won her many friends in different circles.
 
Often when work pressure became heavy in the office, it was Zabedah’s good humour that broke the tension and had everyone burst out laughing! Through her passion for food she treated us to a variety of delicious Malaysian food!
 
We have missed her dearly and pray that Allah swt will forgive her sins and highly reward her for all her good deeds!
 
MWASA Management Committee

Climate Change Message

These are the words of Imam Ensar Cutahija (Adelaide City Mosque), who delivered a talk at the multi-faith conference on climate change in late October at the Hawke Centre (Uni SA West Campus).

CORE OF THE PROBLEM

“Well, what is the real problem?”

It’s the way we live. It’s the idea of consumerism, that by and through material things we are taught that this is the way to happiness.

 

CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM

It’s because we have turned away from our Creator, lost our purpose, our souls seek satisfaction in the material. But we can never find it there, so we consume more and more, hoping that if we just have this or that then we’ll be happy. But we are not.

It’s only when we understand the true purpose of our life and surrender to the will of our Creator that we can find true happiness. Just see how everything follows the laws and patterns and systems laid down for them by the wise Creator. They all submit to God. It is only when we also follow the guidance and systems and patterns laid down for us by the Creator that we can also be in harmony with the universe and world around us.

 

ISLAMIC SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM

Islam teaches that we are responsible and accountable for everything we do. Our bodies, our health, our lives, our wealth, the planet and all that is in it has been entrusted to us, and Allah is going to ask us about what we did with it.

By being Muslim you are already on the first and most important step to being in tune and living in harmony with your environment.  The whole universe is in a state of submission to the laws of it’s Creator. The very word ‘Muslim’ means someone who submits to God. In this profound spiritual sense a Muslim is in harmony with the universe.

The Almighty Creator said:

“There is not a living creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with it’s two wings, but are communities like you.”

The Qur’aan, 6:38

The Muslims know that this world is a test. You know that in good deeds and obeying your Lord and seeking His pleasure is the real path to happiness and success, and as you live and feel that, you become content with what Allah has provided you with and are happy with what suffices your bare needs. This is the way we can think in a completely different way from the enslavement of consumerism that is in part destroying our world.

We have been warned by Allah and His messenger against waste and excess:

“Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the Evil Ones; and the Evil One is to his Lord (himself) ungrateful.”

The Qur’aan, 17:27

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-`Aas reported that the Prophet ﷺ passed one day by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas while he was performing wudu (ritual washing of body parts in preparation for prayer). The prophet asked Sa`d, “Why this wastage?” Sa`d replied “Is there wastage in wudu also?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.” [Ahmad]

So even when there is plenty, we should take care not to be wasteful!  Part of being a Muslim is being conscious, modest and moderate, aware and realising that one is accountable.

Ultimately all the problems burdening humanity come from sick hearts. Hearts that are detached from their real purpose which is knowing and remembering Allah, for in this alone do hearts find rest. So it is inevitable that when humanity is distant from their Lord, evils will emerge:

“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]”

The Qur’aan, 30:41

When we turn to other than Allah and set up false objects besides Him, in which we place our hope, trust and love, our hearts become corrupted and the earth on which we dwell also falls into corruption.

The solution, then, is to return to our Lord and to single Him out alone for our obedience and adoration. The hearts are then filled with the peace and tranquility for which they long.

It is empty, corrupt hearts that are destroying our world and it is only whole and fulfilled hearts that can mend it.

The cure for the hearts is a living, vibrant and real connection with our Creator, not merely some passive ritualistic emulation of it.

Of course many point out that the most excessive consumers and producers of carbon fuels are in fact Muslims. This is not however the correct manner in which to judge Islam itself. There are many reasons for this discrepancy between the claim to be Muslim and Islamic and the reality of what it entails. Part of the problem that besets the Muslim world is following a hollow ritualistic shadow of Islam. If we merely go through motions of the outer acts of worship without imbibing their inner dynamics we will not change anything. This is exactly the problem with many Muslims all over the world. They perform prayers without understanding a word. They fast by abstaining from food and drink but do not leave the evil in their words and deeds.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it and offensive speech and behaviour, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

This is a very profound statement, the one we should reflect upon in respect to all of the rituals of Islam. These outer rituals have an inner purpose. Islam needs to be lived inwardly and outwardly. Only then will it become the cure for the ills besetting our world.

The faith leaders must use their influence in raising awareness in their communities, starting with their places of worship. Together and only together, their voices can make the difference. Politicians will listen and corporations will act if sermons change the consumption habits and lifestyles of society.

We are not ‘eating to live’ but rather ‘living to eat’. This has to change.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ taught us to leave one-third of our stomach empty when eating a meal. He ate only when he was hungry and would never fill up his stomach.

We love our Prophet, but we love our super-size burgers more.

By having more than we need we nourish our selfishness and ego, becoming self-important beyond imagination. This is neither good nor moral. This is not our mission in this temporary world.

The Messenger ﷺ also reminded us that we cannot make good believers if we had enough food in our home and our neighbours go to their beds hungry without having food for dinner. By having said this he did not mention that our neighbors had to be Muslims to enjoy this courtesy – all they have to be is our neighbour!

I would conclude by the passage from the Holy Qur’an:

“And [the righteous are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but hold a medium way between those.”

The Qur’aan, 25:67

 

The Ramadan Experience Community Dinner – A Truly Pleasant Experience

Here is what people are saying about the Community Dinner:

“Please pass on my thanks to everyone connected with last Saturday’s Ramadan Experience community dinner. It was such an enjoyable and informative evening, and the food was delicious! I had the pleasure of sharing some of the evening with Atefa and also with Sherifa, who were delightful company as they sat at our table and shared their insights in answer to some of our questions. The speakers were very interesting and the entire evening was enlightening and a pleasure.”

  • Caroline

“I thought the call to prayer was so beautiful and I felt very moved. I also loved how a member of the youth group cam and joined us at our table – how brave! The Q & A was good because it opened up the discussion and it was great to hear a range of answers from the panel. I thought it was really well organised. However, you may need a bigger venue next time because word is likely to spread about how good it was. I know I intend to get more teachers from my school there next time.”

  • Liz

“(What I like most about the event was) I received a basic understanding of Islam. Meeting such positive people. This countering the negativity around Islam in the media.”

  • Robert

“(What I like most about the event was) Everything – learning a bit about Islam, sharing the lovely food, and meeting young Muslim women. Sada was especially friendly and willing to answer our questions.”

  • Helen

You Will Achieve!

You Will Achieve - Poster

Professional young Muslims were invited to speak to Muslim and non-Muslim students at Adelaide schools with a high number of Muslim students.

Teachers were present as well. Young Muslim professionals shared with them their experiences through school, university and now at workforce.

People who attended the programs : 361  students, 15 teachers directly, and 45 indirectly. Young professionals and 12 volunteers.

This program emphasised the fact that it is their attitude to life, their knowledge and skills, and their behaviour that determine their future.  This program has  also helped the Young Muslim professionals in taking a leadership role  and mentoring.

Train the Trainer Course

Summary of ‘Train the Trainer Course’ evaluations on 29th and 30th of December 2012:

The ‘Train the Trainer Course’ was held for a period of two days, on the 29th and 30th of December 2012. Several topics were discussed every hour of the course. Most of the participants gave positive responses at the end of the first session. A lot of them highlighted Maqasid al Shariah, Usul al Fiqh and Ijtihad as the most interesting topics for them. Some of the issues raised were regarding the difference between the schools of thoughts (4 Mazhabs) as well as the lack of discussion on interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Similar to the first session, many positive responses were given by the participants for the second session. Most, if not all, were enthusiastic in attending future TTC courses. Topics of interest for the second session include Jihad and Polygamy. Due to the short duration of the program, however, many participants felt that the topics were not able to be discussed in depth. Some of the suggestions offered include longer duration for the future courses, more interactive discussion rather than passive listening and provision of references and materials for further study.

All in all, the participants were broadly satisfied with how the course was conducted.

Usrah Class Testimonial

Attending usrah classes at the Muslim Women’s Association has become a bit of an addiction for me. I know it’s an addiction because when I don’t go I miss it and feel that something is lacking. When I do go I feel spiritually replenished and inspired to try harder and do better in the name of Allah (swt). We have a wonderful teacher in Sis Azida who not only shares information with us but is constantly encouraging us to think for ourselves and seek the true meaning in everything we read. Her fundamental message of never giving up and the encouragement to keep trying to do better and be better no matter how many times we may stumble always gives me hope that through the abundant mercy of Allah (swt) my personal efforts will be rewarded and my many mistakes will be forgiven. I find the classes welcoming and nonthreatening. I don’t feel like I am being judged for missing a week or not knowing the answer to every question. When I walk into the room I am always greeted with the warm smiles of the other women attending even if I don’t know them all very well. In this day and age when we are all so busy and life is at times so overwhelming, usrah is my chance to stop and smell the flowers. It gives me a chance to consider what is truly important in life and reassess my priorities. The immense benefits I feel I receive are easily worth the few hours a week I give up to attend these classes. I think a little reflection time would benefit us all.

SB

July 2013

COUNTERING STEREOTYPES – MUSLIM WOMEN

18TH MAY, 2013

 The second part of the exhibition was titled ‘Muslim Women: Countering Stereotypes’ and was held on Saturday the 18th of May. Here, four successful Muslim women spoke about their experiences and careers and how Islam has remained a part of them throughout their lives. The purpose of this was to alleviate the stereotype of Muslim women being ‘oppressed’ and ‘conventional’.

Sister Azidah got the ball rolling with her enlightening presentation. Azidah invited the audience to think about society’s expectations and stereotypes of women.  That is – how do you characterise “successful women” or “good wives”? The audience responded with characteristics such as being ‘loyal’ and ‘supportive’.

She noted that everyone will have their own opinions and a range is to be expected.  Muslims are instructed to live by the standards set by Allah in His revelation, the Holy Quran.  So she spoke about the two women highly commended in the Quran – one a young lady and the other a wife.  Azidah shared that the women were Mariam or the Virgin Mary as the West know her, and the other is the Pharaoh’s wife, or better known as the adopted mother of Prophet Moses/Musa.  The wife of the Pharaoh refused to worship her husband and chose the one God instead. Mary was a young single mother who had to flee from her people because of her pregnancy.   Azidah then asked the audience to reflect in what ways these two women fit the conventional ideas of successful or good women. Neither was what society would generally consider typical role models.  In contrast these women stood out for their independence, courage and grace under difficult circumstances.  Most important to them was being true to their Lord and Creator, rather than fulfilling society’s expectations of them.

There are many other women who meet the conventional ideas of good women and could easily have been picked as examples instead. Azidah concluded that in holding up these two women as examples, the Quran invites us to rethink what stereotypes we impose on ourselves and others.  There will always be misconceptions and false standards.  Like the two women we can choose to free ourselves by acting in the light of revealed guidance.

After this brilliant presentation Sister Laila El Assaad, a teacher at the Islamic College of SA, a SACE moderator, a wife and mother of three told her story. The first thing that Laila said was that she never felt any different to her non-Muslim friends. Her struggles were the same as other women. She told the guests about her family history and life growing up. Working at the Islamic college Laila is around young Muslims all day and she said she felt that the girls in her school were strong and resilient contrary to what the stereotype placed on them may be.

Melati Lum was the second speaker.  Melati is currently working as a trial lawyer for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Melati is also a committee member of the Women’s Advisory Committee of SA Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, and a board member of Islamic Foundation Australia.  Melati’s main point is that Islam never stopped her from doing the things she wanted to do. She has had the opportunity to travel overseas and work with the UN.  She has participated in sports such as taekwondo even with a hijab.  While Melati no longer wears the hijab – this seemed surprising to some of the audience members – she explained that she wore it without trouble for 17 years. Her decision to remove it was a personal one.

Finally, Miriam Silva addressed the guests. Miriam participates in a number of boards, Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Muslim Women’s Association and Rotary as well as carrying a full-time job in the financial field. Miriam mentioned that she had grown up with Laila and Melati and had gone on a similar spiritual journey. Miriam’s presentation was more career focused but the three suggestions she gave for overcoming issues can be applied to life in general. These were to be yourself, hold yourself accountable for your actions and be of service to others; to have courage to move away from your comfort zone; to have mentors and seek advice from those who are more experienced than yourself.

After the presentations the guests were introduced to Elham who was demonstrating and displaying some of her calligraphy art work.  Elham has a BA in theology, and completed a course in Traditional wood art and Traditional music in Iran.

When we returned to the meeting room, the ladies happily answered questions about their careers and the Islamic faith. Many of the questions were regarding stereotypes about Muslim women and how they can be overcome. The main messages that came from this discussion were that there are over a billion Muslims in the world, we cannot generalize among one billion people. The event ended on a happy note at around 4:30pm with more conversations amongst guests and speakers.

– Manal