One Saturday towards the end of September, MWASA (Muslim Women’s Association of SA) held “A cross-cultural exploration of women’s rights through time to commemorate 125 years of women’s suffrage in SA”.
The event was held in the Bradley Forum of the Hawke Centre, on the UniSA City West campus. UniSA allows the centre to be used for educational free community events and we acknowledge and thank them for that.
The event was opened with a lovely Quran recitation from Sister Ulfat. She recited paragraph 35 of the chapter Al Ahzab (known in English as The Confederates) in the original Arabic and then the English translation was shared so that everybody could fully appreciate the meaning. For your convenience we have included the paragraph here.
Following the Quran recitation, Chairperson Dora Abbas welcomed the gathering with a few dignified words.
Each speaker of the day was introduced by a supremely elegant MC: Sister Peta Abdalla.
The Guest of Honour for this event was Katrine Hildyard MP. Katrine works tirelessly towards bettering the lives of all South Australians. In Katrine’s fight for a fair and inclusive society she has actively encouraged and made space for CaLD women to have their voice heard in parliament. She shared with us a few words about her own personal journey and experiences as a female Member of Parliament. Everyone present was touched by Katrine’s words, she is truly a brave and highly motivated woman.
Presenting directly on the SA women’s suffrage movement was Mandy Paul. Mandy is Director at the SA Migration Museum and she herself contains an immense wealth of state history. Her speech was accompanied by a slideshow, it was very interesting to put faces to the names of the leading suffragists and their key supporters. Whilst celebrating the achievements of the suffragists, we must acknowledge and respect that the same freedoms were not extended to Aboriginal men and women until much later. We are grateful for and enriched by Mandy’s unbiased talk.
Presenting a Muslim woman’s perspective on the SA women’s suffrage movement was Melati Lum. Melati Lum is a practising lawyer specialising in public law and criminal prosection, an Australian/Malay/Chinese Muslim mum, and author of the Ayesha Dean mystery series for children. In her spare time, she is working on her next novel for a young adult audience. Melati brought several historical Muslim women to life for the audience by recounting some monumental achievements. There is a misconception that Islam oppresses women, when in reality it is humans who oppress each other and rather Islamic guidelines provide structure where a woman can be heard and be successful with her education and/or business empire.
Proceedings were concluded with an opportunity for all attendees to network over refreshments.
Everybody had the opportunity to provide feedback after the event. A template was provided asking specifically how satisfied people were with everything from promotions before the event, to the venue and seating, to each of the speeches. We can proudly say that we received 5 out of 5 across the board!
For more information about the Suffragists
Throughout the month of May, our seniors group met regularly in preparation for Ramadan.
The first gathering was for ‘Ramadan Love Letter’, a session led by Sister Nurhayati who is a graduate from Al Azhar University majoring in Shariah Islamiah. She is a recognised Asatizah by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. She also did her Post Graduate diploma in Islamic Law.
The number of participants exceeded expectations. All attendees were captivated and engaged in listening to the guest speaker. Sister Nurhayati explained thoroughly the revelation prescribing Ramadan and the rationale behind fasting.
Following on from Ramadan Love Letter was 3 Tajweed classes (reading the Quran with correct pronunciation and grammar), led by Sister Hanna. Some of the ladies from the seniors group enjoyed the Quran reading so much that they will in future also attend the Monday classes.
This program was a huge success; the feedback received was overwhelmingly positive, all sessions went smoothly and the group is looking forward to future similar sessions.
For more information about our program for men and women aged over 65 years, go to our CHSP page.
Our Usrah is a group of enthusiastic Muslim sisters getting together with faith in Islam, working and helping out one another, working together towards a better understanding and practice of Islam. The Usrah study circle provides direction towards building self-confidence in a process of developing a balanced and well composed Muslimah in all aspects – spiritually, mentally and physically.
The following programs are conducted in our Usrah Study Circle for Muslim women. To benefit from these programs, you need to be a member. Our annual membership fees are $10 and you can walk-in to our office to apply for membership.
1. Tajweed Class (Quranic recitation and grammar class)
Sisters learn how to read the Quran and the basic rules of Tajweed (Quranic recitation and grammar) so that they are able to recite the Quran in all its glory confidently. This class is designed for students with no knowledge of Tajweed to an intermediate level reciting and recognising the basics of Tajweed.
Every Monday (except Public Holidays)
10am – 11.20am
2. Islamic Talk / Discussion
Led by Dr Rokkiah Tawi in English, sisters gather on Mondays to benefit from Islamic discussions. Some of these talks/discussions focus on Tafseer where sisters analyse verses from the Quran and relate to everyday events and problems in the lives of Muslim women. Currently, sisters are learning about the 99 Names of Allah (Asma ul Husna).
Every Monday (except Public Holidays)
11.30am – 12.30pm
3. Conversational Arabic Class
This course is for learning how to speak and converse in Arabic. This is suitable for beginners who know how to read and write Arabic. The class is conducted in English.
Every Monday (except Public Holidays)
1pm – 2pm
All classes are conducted at our office in the city – Level 4, 182 Victoria Square, SA 5000.
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