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... Answered 41 min ago

According to most maraja' it is makruh for a woman to talk to a man unless it is necessary. Often, a woman can't see a situation how a man sees it. The woman may believe that the non-mahram she is talking to sees her as a genderless colleague, but most men, when talking honestly, say that men are usually conscious that they are talking to a woman. The male friend obviously enjoys talking to your wife, otherwise he would not do it. He does not realise that have a close, or familiar friendship with another man's wife is highly disrespectful to that man and in a sense invades the sanctity of the home. Islam encourages men to have ghirah; to have a sense of protecting their family and guarding their family's honour. In some countries this understanding has largely been lost, so that men have become silent and pacified. These cultural issues are very delicate and difficult to explain. I don't know if you could put the scenario to her of your supposedly having a 'female friend' that you talk to regularly, and ask how she would feel about that. Most women feel strongly about their husbands having other women around them. How would she feel if you had a female friend that chatted freely with you, but was not her friend? While this is not an Islamic argument - more an argument to appeal to a Westernised mind - it may be an argument that can appeal. In addition, this narration is in Sunni sources: "The Prophet (s) said: "Their (husbands') rights over you (wives) is that you do not allow anyone whom they dislike onto your bedding and you do not allow anyone whom they dislike into your house." [At-Tirmithi]". I haven't managed to find an exact equivalent in the Shi'i texts, but it may be worth searching for it.

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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 1 month 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 1 month 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 1 month 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. 

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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 1 month ago

Slavery exists today as it has existed in the past. Slavery exists in Western countries as well as Eastern countries. In Mauritania there is still a pre-modern system of slavery, with children being born into slavery. Those that campaign against it often risk their lives. In Pakistan children are enslaved, or at least indentured, which is virtually the same, in the carpet making business. The children that have campaigned against it have been killed. In Afghanistan children as young as three work long hours in brick kilns carrying bricks. In India, children work in the mica mines. In Africa, children work in mines also. In the Gulf, kidnapped boys are enslaved to work as camel jockeys. They are very often molested by their owners. There is a sad story of a boy from Pakistan who was sold as a camel jockey by his father who wanted the money for alcohol. Maids from the Philippines have their passports confiscated. Today, freeing a slave is not going to be as simple as making a credit card payment. It would mean contacting organisations that campaign against slavery, or else approaching actual business people who have control over their enslaved workers and offering to actually pay for one their slaves so that you can set that person free. Some people do that. It can be ethically controversial because it may imply a perpetuation of the slave trade, but maybe on these occasions the actual liberation of a child from a life of slavery, beatings and molestations is more important.

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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

In the early period, the word 'shi'a' was understood simply to mean 'follower'. Hence there were those known as the shi 'a of Mu'awiya, the shi'a of 'Uthman and the shi'a of 'Ali [as].  In the early period there was fierce debate as to who could be categorised as a Shi'a of 'Ali [as]. Sunnis who considered him superior to the first three khulafa were known as Shi'a of 'Ali. Due to propaganda and war, any such slight inclination towards Imam Ali [as] could mean being accused of being one his Shi'a. From the persepective of the Imams, their Shi'a were those that were utterly trustworthy, and intelligent enough to imbibe their teachings. People who simply loved the Imams were generally known as 'lovers and supporters' and were appreciated by the Imams, but could be of little use to them because of their lack of capacity to imbibe knowledge and be absolutely trustworthy. There is a narration of Imam al-Sadiq [as] that says '‘a simple profession of love for us (walayah) does not turn a person into a follower (shi‘a), rather those who profess love simply diminish the solitude of our followers.’ (Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 3)

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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

In Usul al-Kafi Vol. 1 (available from WOFIS in Iran), Imam 'Ali (as) explains that the decree is not finalised until the actual moment that it is brought into existence. Up until that time, there is room for the decree to be changed, or withheld. It is a key teaching from the Ahl al-Bayt (as) that you can have a living and dynamic relationship with Allah (swt) and that du'a, as well as other actions, can alter what is decreed. I know of the expression in the Middle East where they say 'the name of your spouse is written on your forehead', which sounds like an unchangeable destiny, but through du'a you may change that name.

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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 months ago

www.duas.org has many for this. 'La hawla wa la quwwata 'illa billah' x 100 every day is good. There is also a powerful du'a from this website, as follows: 

يَا قَاهِرُ يَا قَهَّارُ يَا ذَا الْبَطْشِ الشَّدِيْدِ اَنْتَ الَّذِىْ لاَ يُطَاقُ انْتِقَامَهُ

yaa qaahiru yaa qahhaaru yaa dhal bat’shish shadeedi antal ladhi laa yut’aaqu intiqaamah.

“O forceful, O powerful. O One with a severe might You are the One whose retaliation none could bear.”

After this, you blow in the direction of your enemy.

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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

People have always sought to arrange people into groups and to declare which are correct or not correct, or orthodox or not orthodox. First of all, what do you mean by 'orthodox'? Secondly, the Usuli and Akhbari both accuse each other of heterodoxy. Both are Twelver Shi'a. The Shaykhis are Twelver Shi'a and the Ni'matullahis are Sufis and are also Twelver Shi'a, except that one branch of the Ni'matullahis praises 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. Much Sufism that developed among the Shi'a during the medieval period incorporated elements of the Sunni Sufi silsilas, yet practitioners of that Sufism would consider themselves to be Twelver Shi'a. There are different 'Alawi groups - so which ones are you referring to? In the early period, the name 'Alawi was just another name for the Shi 'a of 'Ali [as]; the term 'Alawi also came to be use for the descendents of Abu Talib's [ra] household; there are also Sunni 'Alawis descended from Imam al-Hasan [as]. You say which ones are correct and by what criteria: correct from what perspective? A Sunni perspective? A Shi'i perspective? A secular perspective? Please clarify.

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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

As far as I know in the UK the hijama training centres are run by Sunnis. I know a Shi'i person that studied and is certified as a practitioner through one of these clinics.  There are hijama clinics in Iran, e.g. Tehran and Qom. The interest in natural medicine and tibb is rising in Iran. If you are based in the West there should be at least one hijama practitioner in a city near you. If you prefer something that is specifically established through the Shi'i tradition, this is a link to an article compiled by several practitioners. Their contact details are on the article: https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0254627217301644

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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 months ago

"Countries that are under the control of Sunni populations do not permit surrogacy. In Iran, where Shia are the majority, Ayatollah Khomeini allowed surrogacy in Islam, but with one condition: the resulting child must be recognized as the child of the donor father.This works well if an infertile couple contributes the egg and sperm, and then has it grown inside a third party surrogate mother, but it would not work well if the wife of the infertile couple wishes to carry the child using the sperm of a third party donor. Many Shia in some other countries actually agree with the Sunni point of view, but Iran’s position has made other countries consider their objection.The majority of the Shia scholars are willing to legitimise the issue. Ayatollah Musavi Bojnordi refers to the principle of (اصالة الحل) in Islamic jurisprudence. Everything is Halal unless it has been proved otherwise. Surrogacy is common in Iran. Act of donating Gamete or embryo donation was passed by parliament on 19 July 2003 and it has been approved by Guardian Council (شوراي نگهبان) on 29 July 2009. Article no 1) All of the fertility centres would be allowed to practice artificial insemination. Article no 2) Demand for donating embryos should be from both sides of legal couples. 

References:

Musavi Bojnurdi, Seyed Mohammad. Hoghoghe Khanevadeh
Safaei, Seyed Hosain & Imami, Asadolah. Mokhtasar Hoghoghe Khanevadeh
www.islamquest.net
http://www.mums.ac.ir/midwifery/fa/wom_heal_help_rent# (University of Mashhad) 
http://www.surrogacyclinics.com/surrogacy-and-islam/

(From a presentation by Fatemeh Ghiabi)

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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 upon the reason. It is obligatory for a Muslim to defend their honour. They are not allowed to accept being humiliated. Ayatollah Dastghayb Shirazi mentions situations where it is wajib or permissible to do qat' al-rahm: 'to cut off ties': that is: if you are forced to commit haram by your family and if your family drives you out due to your religion. If you are being seriously emotionally or physically harmed by a family member, then it is technically not permissible for you to tolerate that. Please see this link below for more information: https://www.al-islam.org/greater-sins-volume-1-ayatullah-sayyid-abdul-husayn-dastghaib-shirazi/seventh-greater-sin-qata-ar#what-least-amount-silet-ar-rahm-wajib