Rebecca Masterton

Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been teaching for seventeen years through different media, and has also worked in media for ten years, producing and presenting programs for several TV channels.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answer updated 2 weeks ago

A good book to read on this is The Succession to Muhammad [s] by Wilferd Madelung, who explains very clearly the subtleties of the political situation of 'Uthman. 'Uthman had incited fury among Egyptians, Kufans and others because of his nepotism and awarding his family property that belonged to the umma. He had also cut 'Aisha's stipend, angering her. The Egyptians came as a delegation to 'Uthman with their grievances, but he refused to listen to them. Instead, he appealed to Imam Ali (as) to tell them to go away. Imam 'Ali (as) warned 'Uthman more than once that in order to calm the situation, he must listen to their grievances and correct his actions. 'Uthman refused to listen, and so Imam 'Ali (as) distanced himself. 'A'isha sent out letters inciting those who were angry with 'Uthman to kill him. 'Uthman's palace was stormed. Interestingly, 'Uthman was abandoned by his cousin Marwan and his sons in his time of need. Imam 'Ali (as) sent just Imam Hasan (as) (not Imam Husayn) and some others to try to calm the crowds, but they went ahead and killed 'Uthman. Because Imam 'Ali (as) had not directly intervened, Aisha later took advantage of this and accused him of being responsible for 'Uthman's murder. She used this allegation to try to overthrow Imam Ali (as). Imam 'Ali (as) says in sermon 30 in Nahj al-Balagha that both parties were in the wrong: 'Uthman was wrong for misappropriating property and governing badly; and the Egyptians and others were wrong for murdering 'Uthman, basically meaning that the grievances should have been addressed through a legal process: "If I had ordered his assassination I would have been his killer, but if I had prevented others from killing him I would have been his helper... I am putting before you his case.  He appropriated wealth and did it badly.  You protested against it and committed excesses therein. With Allah lies the real verdict between the appropriator and the protestor.' Thus, in sending Imam Hasan (as) to try to calm the crowds, Imam 'Ali (as) was not actually siding with 'Uthman, nor supporting him, but was rather trying to prevent excessive and unlawful behaviour on behalf of the aggrieved parties.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 2 weeks ago

According to the Sunni website Discovering Islam, Aisha was older than six years old:

We find evidence in both Hadith books and history books that indicates Aisha must have been older than nine when she got married:

According to a hadith in Bukhari and Muslim, Aisha is said to have joined Muhammad on the raid that culminated in the Battle of Badr, in 624 CE. However, because no one below the age of fifteen was allowed to accompany raiding parties, Aisha should have been at least fifteen in 624 CE and thus at least thirteen when she was married following the Hijra in 622 CE.

Ibn Hisham’s version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rashul Allah, the earliest surviving biography of Muhammad, records Aisha as having converted to Islam before Umar ibn al-Khattab, during the first few years of Islam around 610 CE. In order to accept Islam she must have been walking and talking, hence at least three years of age, which would make her at least fifteen in 622 CE.

Tabari also reports that Abu Bakr’s four children were all born during the Jahiliyyah (Pre-Islam Period), which has ended in 610 CE, making Aisha at least twelve in 622 CE.

According to the generally accepted tradition, Aisha was born about eight years before Hijrah (Migration to Medina). However, according to another narrative in Bukhari (Kitaab al-Tafseer) Aisha is reported to have said that at the time Surah Al-Qamar, the 54th chapter of the Qur’an , was revealed, “I was a young girl”. The 54th Surah of the Qur’an was revealed nine years before Hijrah. According to this tradition, Aisha had not only been born before the revelation of the referred Surah, but was actually a young girl, not even only an infant at that time. So if this age is assumed to be 7 to 14 years, then her age at the time of marriage would be 14 to 21.

According to almost all the historians, Asma the elder sister of Aisha, was ten years older than Aisha. It is reported in Taqreeb al-Tehzeeb as well as in Ibn Kathir's Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah that Asma died in the 73rd year after migration of Muhammad when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma was 100 years old in the 73rd year after Migration to Medina, she should have been 27 or 28 years old at the time of migration. If Asma was 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah, Aisha should have been 17 or 18 years old at that time. Thus, if Aisha got married in year 1 AH or 2 AH (after Migration to Medina), she must have been between 18 to 20 years old at the time of her marriage.

According to many Ahadith in Bukhari, it is believed Aisha participated in the both of Badr and Uhud battles. Furthermore, in Bukhari's Kitabu’l-Maghazi, Ibn `Umar states: "The Prophet did not permit me to participate in Uhud battle, as at that time, I was 14 years old. But on the day of Khandaq battle, when I was 15 years old, the Prophet permitted my participation". So, since it was not allowed for Muslims younger than 15 years old to participate in Uhud battle, Aisha, who participated in Uhud, must have been at least 15 years old in those battles; thus her age was at least 13 to 14 at the time of her marriage.

According to Shi‘i scholar Sayyid Ja'far Murtada al-‘Amili, the early historian Muhammad ibn Ishaq says that Aisha was approximately the nineteenth person to convert to Islam after the commencement of the Holy Prophet (s)’s mission. Even if she had been just seven at this time, she would then have been seventeen by the time she was married and twenty at the time of Hijra.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answer updated 2 weeks ago

You can find out a lot about this on-line. The Jewish Encylcopedia says: "The fact that Azazel occupied a place in Mandæan, Sabean, and Arabian mythology (see Brandt, "Mandäische Theologie," pp. 197, 198; Norberg's "Onomasticon," p. 31; Reland's "De Religione Mohammedanarum," p. 89; Kamus, s.v. "Azazel" [demon identical with Satan]; Delitzsch, "Zeitsch. f. Kirchl. Wissensch. u. Leben," 1880, p. 182), renders it probable that Azazel was a degraded Babylonian deity. Origen ("Contra Celsum," vi. 43) identifies Azazel with Satan; Pirḳe R. El. (l.c.) with Samael; and the Zohar Aḥare Mot, following Naḥmanides, with the spirit of Esau or heathenism; still, while one of the chief demons in the Cabala, he never attained in the doctrinal system of Judaism a position similar to that of Satan."

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answer updated 3 weeks ago

I tend to smile, put my hand to my chest, and say 'Sorry, I don't shake.' By placing your hand on your chest, you are offering an alternative way of greeting, which makes greeting less awkward. Another method is to get a sympathetic colleague - if you have one - to inform people ahead of meeting you that you don't shake hands with the opposite gender.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 3 weeks ago

Sunni texts also say that the Holy Prophet (s) died with his head in the lap of Imam 'Ali (as): The following is quoted in Khasa'is of Nasa'i from Umm Salamah: "By Allah, the closest person [to the Prophet] at the time of the Prophet's death was 'Ali. Early on the morning of the day when he was going to die, the Prophet called 'Ali who had been sent out on some errand. He asked for 'Ali three times before his return. However, 'Ali came before sunrise. So, thinking that the Prophet needed some privacy with 'Ali, we came out. I was the last to be out; therefore, I sat closer to the door than the other women. I saw that 'Ali lowered his head towards the Prophet and the Prophet kept whispering into his ears (for sometime). Therefore, 'Ali is the only person who was near the Prophet till the last." 

Al-Hakim al-Nasyaburi, moreover, remarks in his Mustadrak that: "the Prophet kept confiding in 'Ali till the time of his death. Then he breathed his last." 

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 2 months ago

There are many scientists (particularly physicists), who, on a scientific basis, conclude that there must be a conscious transcendent being behind creation.  If we look at the work of scientists and why they conclude that there is a God, this can help to strengthen our UNDERSTANDING (and not just our faith). The work of Wolfgang Smith is interesting. He is a scientist who has pointed out the philosophical errors that form the basis of today's (mainly post-Enlightenment) science. His books include 'The Quantum Enigma' and 'Cosmos and Transcendence'. It is also useful to explore a range of theodicies (arguments that tackle the question of the suffering of the innocent and the justice of God). For those that argue that there is no life after death: there are millions of anecdotal accounts that testify to people encountering those that have died in one way or another - and these cut across all cultures. There is certainly evidence that some way of existing continues after our bodies have expired. So far I haven't come across good explanations for this by atheists.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 2 months ago

The Imams have clarified that only Allah (swt) has 'ilm al-ghayb, but when they wish to know something, Allah (swt) makes it known to them, and then it is no longer classified as 'ilm al-ghayb.

In Nahj al-Balāgha, Imam ‘Alī (as) defines 'ilm al-ghayb by beginning with a prediction of the coming of the Mongol invasion of the Muslim world:

‘I can see a people whose faces are like shields covered with rough-scraped skins. They dress themselves in silken and woollen clothes and hold dear excellent horses.  Their killing and bloodshed shall take place freely til the wounded shall walk over the dead and the number of runners-away shall be less than those taken prisoner.’ One of his companions said to him, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minīn, you have been given knowledge of hidden things.’  Whereupon Amir al-Mu’minīn laughed and said to the man who belonged to the tribe of Bani Kalb: ‘O brother of Kalb!  This is not knowledge of hidden things (‘ilm al-ghayb).  These matters have been acquired from him (namely the Prophet) who knew them.  As regards knowledge of hidden things, that means knowledge of the Day of Judgment, and matters touched upon by Allah in the verse, ‘Verily, Allah is He with Whom is knowledge of the Hour’ (31:34).  Therefore, Allah alone knows what is there in the wombs, whether male or female, ugly or handsome, generous or miserly, mischievous or pious, and who will be fuel for Hell and who will be in the company of the Prophets in Paradise. This is the knowledge of hidden things, which is not known by anybody except Allah.  All else is that whose knowledge Allah passed on to his Prophet and he passed it on to me, and prayed for me that my chest may retain it and my ribs may hold it.’ (Sermon 127, p. 304). 

This is confirmed by the verse in the Qur’an: ‘(He alone is) the Knower of the Unseen, neither does he reveal His secrets unto any (one else) save unto one of the Messengers that He chooses.’ (72:26-27)

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 2 months ago

Your male friend asking you to marry him and you saying 'yes' sounds like the proper phrasing for marriage has not been done, since it consists of the woman proposing to the man, saying 'zawwajtuka nafsi 'ala sidaq al-ma'lum', meaning 'I marry myself to you with an agreed mahr'. The man then says 'qabiltu al-tazwij 'ala sidaq al-ma'lum', meaning 'I accept the marriage with the agreed mahr'. Prior to this, you should have both agreed what mahr [marriage gift] he should give you. According to Wikishia: "The Marriage formula should be recited in correct manner. If even one letter is changed in the formula which changes the meaning, the contract will be void."

If this has been fulfilled, then your marriage would technically be valid, but a word should be said about the issue of 'technically fulfilling the law' while not fulfilling its spirit. Marriages can often be contracted that do not in practice honour the respect of either party. Being technically married Islamically does not guarantee that the situation itself supports that respect. It is wise to be wary of being exploited or manipulated, or coerced into a situation that is not beneficial or appropriate for you in the long term. Being asked over the phone raises doubts about whether you are being given the proper respect, even if it were a long distance proposal.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 3 months ago

It depends on what you mean by 'judge'. If it were impermissible to judge others, there would be no judiciary, and no criminals would be brought to court and justice would not be done for victims of crimes. There is a fine line between being bigoted or prejudiced, and using what insight Allah (swt) has blessed you with to assess people. There are many ahadith about the necessity for choosing your spouse carefully or choosing your friends carefully. This requires a judgement of someone's personality. If we did not judge at all, then people could have criminals for friends and non-believers for spouses. Children would be raised with no moral compass and would be allowed to do whatever they wanted because the parents would feel they were judging them if they tried to establish boundaries for them. When seeking knowledge, a person would not 'judge' between good teachers and bad teachers, and would simply go to anybody to try to study. If by 'judge' you mean 'condemn someone without evidence', then that is not permissible; or even if someone is a criminal, maybe we should not look down on them and think we are superior to them, because we don't know what their circumstances were in life that led them to commit crimes. Nevertheless, they must still pay for their crimes. However, some people are deliberately malicious and have evil intentions towards others. If others forgive their evil actions and evil intentions because they think they are 'judging' them, then this allows corruption to prevail.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 5 months ago

Do you mean his own works, or other people's commentary on his works? His books on Islamic Philosophy are available in pdf. En Islam Iranien is only partially translated into English. There are various websites that list his publications.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 5 months ago

If you have free time these days then you are blessed. Free time can be used for reflection, contemplation, reading and studying, following a fitness routine, improving one's Arabic and Persian, writing, visiting the elderly and sick, working towards a goal, which is to learn this tradition and teach it inshaAllah.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 5 months ago

There are narrations in both Sunni and Shi'i collections that say that this ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, with only one being saved, i.e. 'the jama'a'. This has been interpreted to mean 'the majority' by Sunni scholars, whereas Imam 'Ali (as) has said that 'the jama'a' are those who follow the truth, even if they are few. This means that, even among the Shi'a, not all will necessarily be among the jama'a. Imam al-Baqir (as) has said 'the fitna is inevitable'. The Qur'an talks about previous generations that attacked their prophets and became divided over their message. There are many reasons for divisions to occur, but one key reason seems to have been for the Arabs to overcome their tribal pride and accept Imam 'Ali (as) as the successor. The Jews and Christians also hid parts of their prophets' messages or changed them, because they thought that their worldly position was jeopardised by challenging aspects of these messages. People are often happy to accept the message as long as they can maintain their worldly status and comforts.