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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 1 day ago

The Qur'an mentions two types of prostration: (a) prostration as a form of worship and obedience (whether it be literal, as in during prayer; or figurative), and (b) prostration for reasons other than worship (for instance, in some cultures, it was/is a gesture of respect).

Qur'an 2:34, 17:16, and 20:116 say that Allah ordered Shaytan (Iblis) to prostrate to Adam. It literally says "to Adam", and I see no reason why it shouldn't be taken at face value rather than looking for a sideways interpretation. Obviously, Allah is not commanding Shaytan to worship Adam but rather it is a gesture of humility and an acknowledgment of the potential of the human being to ascend higher than the angels. It may also have been a test for Shaytan to prove his inner nature because, up until then, he had been seen as an excellent worshipper. 

(Maybe it was also a gesture of service, in that some of the angels, who were also ordered to prostrate to Adam, are assigned to serve people - for instance, in recording the deeds of people. Some people also hold it was out of reverence for the position of the Prophet Muhammad and his Ahl al-Bayt who would be born from Adam.) 

Anyway, all of this appears to have occurred outside the earthly realm. Some also say that "Adam" here refers to humanity as an archetype as a whole, as existing outside this world, and not the living, breathing human being. So, while we picture this as Shaytan getting onto his hands and knees and performing what we consider to be sajda to Adam as a human being, it may have been somewhat different. So for this reason also, it isn't really worthwhile to differentiate between "sajda to" or "sajda in front of". 

The Qur'an does not specifically say that sajda is only for Allah. Instead, it says that everything in the heavens and earth already does sadja to Allah, willingly or unwillingly (13:52, etc.). This can be taken to mean literal sajda as well as metaphorical. That is, all created beings are compelled to follow the divine decree and no created being can decide it is outside of Allah's control. Most creations willingly worship Allah, although human beings have the free will to worship Allah or other things (and we have the free will to perform sajda to Allah or not perform sajda to Allah). For this reason, the Qur'an tells people not to do sadja to the sun and the moon, and instead tells people to do sajda to Allah who is the creator of the sun and the moon.

However, according to Islamic law, it is not permissible for human beings to do sadja to other Allah. This is derived from Qur'an and hadith. 

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 1 day ago
  1. All rules in Islam are based on the benefit of human beings and avoiding them any type of harm.
  2. Watching opposite gender should not be a cause of harm under any circumstance.
  3. Men playing football or women playing any sport are been done with dress which is not necessarily according to Hijab rules, that is why watching opposite gender playing should be avoided especially when there is a possibility of harm. If all conditions of Hijab are fulfilled and there is no possibility of any harm, then it will be allowed.

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 1 day ago
  1. It is permissible to apply nail polish during menstruation, but it is better to avoid it because it might be Makrouh ( disliked). It is Makrouh during menstruation period to apply Hina and some Ulama take the nail polish as type of Hina. After all, every Makrouh is permissible but better to avoid it.
  2. It is recommended for female during menstruation to wear her Prayers dress and sit at her place of Salah ( Namaz) and remember Allah for a time which is equal to her usual time of Prayers in her usual days.
  3. Nail polish should not be shown to non Mahram man at all.  Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 1 day ago
  1. Yes it is very good to give charity on behalf of a living person with out informing them. In fact, it will be much better than informing them, because when it is done secretly for the sake of Allah, Allah will reward you more because there is no intention to gain praise from the person you did the good deed on his behalf.
  2. No need to take their name, but only to know in your heart that you are giving the charity on behalf of him for the sake of Allah.  Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 1 day ago
  1. Pray for your friend to be away from the influence of Shaitan. Shaitan tries to make some weak people lose hope in the Greatest Mercy of Allah.
  2. Ask you friend : Which is bigger; Your sufferings or The Mercy of Allah? There is no doubt that the Mercy of Allah is bigger. So, why don’t you hope and pray to Allah to cover your sufferings by His Greatest Mercy?
  3. Remind your friend about the bounties of Allah on him despite his problems. Thanking Allah for His bounties and Grace will bring more bounties and more Mercy.    Wassalam.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 1 day ago

Sh'is do not accept the hadith saying to fast on Ashura as valid. They are considered fabrications which came about in/after the time of Yazid to promote Ashura as a day of celebration. (Indeed, in some areas, Ashura is still celebrated as a holiday.)

For more information, you can look at resources such as this: https://www.al-islam.org/understanding-karbala-allamah-sayyid-saeed-akhtar-rizvi/appendix-4-fasting-ashura

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 1 day ago

Zanjeer involves hitting yourself with chains or sometimes blades as part of a mourning ceremony for Imam Husain. It is customary in some areas.

There is a difference of opinion on this these days. Some Shi'is consider it to be a good expression of dedication or loyalty to Imam Husain or as a practice they associate with their identity. (Personally I think some people associate it with being manly, as women do not usually do it, but admittedly no one around me has ever put this into words.)

Other Shi'is consider it wrong because it does not have a solid basis in Qur'an/hadith, because there is evidence that it is a later addition to Shi'i practice, because they feel it gives Islam a bad image, because it could distract from doing acts that the Qur'an teaches about, or because it might lead to self-harm.

Anyway there are plenty of enthusiastic debates about this online which you can read.

God knows best!

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 1 day ago

It means "the father of Abdullah". Arabs traditionally addressed men by the name of their firstborn son rather than by their first names. This was considered a respectful way to address someone. (This is also common today.) So when Imam Husain is referred to as "Aba Abdillah" it is a conventional usage of his time. Other men who had a son called Abdullah are also called "Aba Abdillah", and it is not something specific to or limited to Imam Husain. (Occasionally, some people think this and are shocked to hear "Aba Abdillah" used for anyone else.)

("Abdillah" instead of "Abdullah" is used due to the grammatical construction used when addressing someone, since Arabic words are adjusted slightly when they are used in different ways grammatically)

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 1 day ago

Christians and Muslims come from many ethnic and racial backgrounds. The only person they are all descended from is Adam.

At some point in history, the idea became popular that Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, and Jews are descendants of Isaac. Obviously not all Arabs are really descendants of Ishmael and it seems questionable for all Jews too, so it shouldn't be interpreted as a literal fact. Anyway, most Muslims are not Arabs so this does not factor into questions of descent. 

There are texts identifying the Prophet Muhammad as a descendant of Ishmael so this may be another way of associating Islam with Ishmael. Also Muslims tend to say that Ishmael was the son of Abraham whom God asked him to sacrifice (I sense another complicated question coming...) whereas Christians and Jews say it was Isaac. So, again, one can say there is a sort of figurative association or inclination towards each.

Of course, both Isaac and Ishmael are respected in the Islamic tradition and in the Qur'an.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 1 day ago

Many animals eat other animals, and many human societies have also subsisted on animals, especially in areas with limited agriculture. Animal sacrifice is not killing for the sake of killing, as one should respect the animal, but killing so that those who are in need can have food. 

Plants are also living creatures and also belong to Allah! Many people interpret the Qur'an as indicating that all beings, whether animal, plant, or stone, have some level of awareness and their own means of glorifying Allah. 

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 1 day ago

It is an Arabic word for "visiting". In religious terms, it is used for visiting the final resting place of a sacred personality such as one of the prophets or twelve Imams. It can also be used to refer to ritual texts recited at these places to send greetings and blessings upon them, or which are recited at certain times of the year from afar for the same reason. 

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 1 day ago

A scriptural perspective: According to Qur'an and hadith, it is good to share the message of Islam and invite others to it (what is known as da'wah). This should be done in a good way, with politeness and good forms of discussion and argumentation. 

However, nothing in Islamic texts that says that conversion for the sake of conversion is a goal. There is no real point to false conversion or forced conversion. The Qur'an and Islamic worldview acknowledge the existence of people of other faiths and that there is good and bad in other faiths. It is said that at the end of time when the Mahdi (the promised saviour/last imam) arrives, many people will convert to Islam because it will be clear that he has a true and good message. However, texts also indicate that some people will remain with their own religions and not convert to Islam. 

Many regions that today are majority Muslim took time to convert to Islam. This process happened gradually, over hundreds of years, and wasn't instant, even though the rulers of many of these regions identified as Muslim. Probably this is because while conversion is a social phenomenon, it is also a highly individual one, and individuals have different reasons for religious conversion. Sometimes there is a conflation between the expansion of the original Arab-Muslim Empires and conversion to Islam, but in reality just because the borders expanded did not mean that everyone in these territories suddenly became Muslim. 

A sociopolitical perspective: The Islamic world today does not have a single goal. While it would be ideal if Muslim-majority countries and Muslim leaders could unite (especially on the basics, such as economic cooperation), currently, this is not happening. Individual Muslim leaders and Muslim groups have their own goals. By and large, I think most Muslims today are more concerned about internal issues (politics, the threat of war) or questions regarding Islam and contemporary life, rather than expansion. Islam is already a large religion and isn't in danger of disappearing due to numbers. Also, most Muslim-majority countries have historically established religious minority communities. That being said, there are some Muslims who do work at spreading the message of Islam.

In any case, Islam is still spreading (particularly in the West and parts of Africa, but also - although there is less attention to it - in Muslim-majority countries and India). There is some interesting literature on the dynamics of the history of the spread of Islam if you wish to explore it.