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 Islamic College in London and also the Managing Editor of the Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies.

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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 2 days ago

For the most part, we don't have strong historical evidence about the details of what women from the Ahl al-Bayt (A) were wearing, apart from a few situations where there was a reason to mention a specific fabric or something.

Anyway, without being an expert in the history of clothing, it seems that in some places, the tendency to wear black is pre-modern (and I suspect due to convenience) and in some places it is a product of modernity. When discussing today's "Islamic fashions", it is worth keeping in mind that what we have access to today is largely due to industrialization - for instance, the production of synthetic fabrics, cheap stretchy socks, and mass-produced garments - and people in the past did not have these things. Also, the concept of global "Islamic fashion" (often epitomized by the black Saudi-style abayah) is relatively new and probably due to globalization; up until recent decades, Muslims seemed to tend to wear their own regional styles more. 

(There are, however, some interesting books about the history of clothing in the Muslim world, if it is a subject of interest, as well as some early photographs)

To my knowledge, in places like Iran, in the past, it was more common to wear coloured chadors, but in the 20th century, black became the popular colour. 

Anyway, shari'ah in and of itself does not regulate what colour you have to wear. However, a general principle is that of 'urf; that is, one should dress in such a way which is considered normal in the area and does not attract attention (unless there is a clear reason to do otherwise, for instance, everyone may be wearing a bikini on the beach, but that doesn't mean it's appropriate to wear a bikini). So colours are one of the matters of 'urf; in some places, it might be normal and appropriate to wear bright colours, and in other places, such as Qom, it might attract a lot of attention or be an inappropriate form of social signalling. Non-Muslm countries also tend to vary widely in their 'urf regarding the colours people wear so it is really left to one's individual judgment, or you could ask people around you if you are concerned. 

Anyway, as is said, Allah is beautiful and loves beauty, and Allah created all the colours and did not make any of them inherently taboo.*

(*apart from cases where wearing certain colours is specifically considered makruh, this is not the main subject here)

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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 3 days ago

In theory, atheism is different from shirk.

In practice, it is often the same. Atheism usually leads to replacing theism with some sort of -ism such as nationalism, tribalism, communism, scienceism, secularism, etc, and this results in something else being treated as a partner of God (for instance, as something to appeal to in a time of need, as the height of perfection to try to attain, as what you live your life for). 

It is hard to say which is worse. On a social level, both atheism and degenerate polytheism cause harm. Places where there has been a push towards atheism often have a lot of problems such as totalitarianism, dictatorship, or corruption, as well as a sense of nihilsm or despair. Atheism as a state ideology has not brought happiness, justice, or a healthy and sustainable prosperity anywhere. 

Similarly, although secularism is not inherently atheist, secular social service organizations and interventions can provide functional help, but generally don't have the same ability to spread compassion and build community that religious institutions often do. That is, they can take care of some material problems in society, such as providing housing services, but they largely have not yet been able to deal with the human aspect of building community, bringing peace in a neighbourhood, encouraging love and forgiveness, uplifting people, and eradicating misery.

On the other hand, historically, degenerate polytheism has also tended to reinforce social injustice - for instance, reinforcing unhealthy taboos, wastage of money for unnecessary religious ceremonies or priesthoods while people are in poverty, injustice towards women, superstition, or privileging the elite. 

In fact, one can say that some of the problems in the Muslim world are due to various forms of lesser shirk - for instance, people worshipping traditions or national/tribal identity instead of God. 

On a personal and spiritual level, it really depends. I think that the biggest personal challenge of atheism is the loss of meaning and greater purpose in life. Some atheists also do unethical things to other people because they don't see anything wrong with it. (Yes, you do not need to be a theist to be ethical, but, statistically speaking, it seems to help.)

Of course people who are atheists may have other life purposes, for instance, a dedication to family or the arts; but, even in those cases, something greater than themselves is taking the place of God as a focal point.

Today, atheism is sometimes confused with lack of adherence to organized religion. However, there is an increasing number of people who do not feel fulfilled by organized religion and are unaffiliated, but who do believe in things like heaven or life after death.

And, atheists come in all types. Some are seekers and just haven't been sold on theism or have been put off by some ways that theism has been co-opted (for instance, how Fox News in the US treats Jesus these days), or else had bad experiences with organized religion. In fact I have met some rather spiritually minded atheists.

Some people are just occupied with other things in life.

And then there are some atheists who are genuinely evil and end up using atheism as a front for something worse, such as dictatorship, or starting a cult (obviously, non-theistic cults). But, again, one could classify that as a form of shirk, in the same way that the Pharaoh in the Qur'an deified himself and was not merely an atheist.

So, basically, it's not easy to answer which is worse, atheism or shirk, except that I would go back to what I said in the beginning; and that is, that they tend to go together. 

In any case, the Qur'an addresses both atheism and shirk with the main message that God exists and is present and involved in our lives, that the universe is meaningful, that our existences are meaningful, that we are part of a broader picture, and that theism is part of the road to success.

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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 3 days ago

Here are a few narrations on this topic:

Imam al-Sadiq (A) said, “The things which enter a person’s grave are ritual prayer, fasting, hajj, charity, good deeds, supplication, and its reward is written for those who do them and for the deceased.” (Man la yahduruhu al-faqih)

Imam al-Sadiq (A) said, “Whoever of the Muslims does a good deed for a deceased person, God will double his reward and benefit through it the deceased” (Bihar al-Anwar citing Uddat al-Da’i)

It is related that a man came to the Prophet (S) and asked, “My mother has died. Will it benefit her if I give charity on her behalf?” He said, “Yes.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Apart from Wahhabis who object to this because they see everything as bid'ah, it is hard to see the objection to this since if one is doing something good in the hopes that it would benefit the deceased, at least one is doing something good and beneficial. 

Maybe some people might object because some things are done for esaal-e-sawab which are not overly beneficial in the present time, for instance, printing Qur'ans and distributing them in an area where Qur'ans are easily accessible. This would have been very beneficial in earlier centuries but today because printing is cheap, it often is not the most beneficial thing to do even if it is meaningful, or sometimes things could even be wasteful. So it is good to think about what is most beneficial, and I am sure the deceased appreciate being remembered in a good way!

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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 3 days ago

Yes.

However it is good to avoid being paranoid about jinns or black magic. Most jinns have better things to do than get involved in people's lives, and some people blame everything on jinns or black magic because it is easier or less painful than looking at some of the tangible and obvious reasons for why they are having problems. 

Of course, if someone genuinely feels they are having a problem in this area, it should be dealt with the same as one would deal with any other life problem. 

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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 5 days ago

Apart from what was said about the sanctions, I don't think we have any solid historical evidence about this.

It is true that there is a popular biography about her that says that after she got married, her priorities changed and she became uninterested in her business. However, the author did not present his source or reference for this, and so it can't be evaluated. 

Some of these popular biographies are not strongly sourced and come across more as guesswork or the author's idea of how these people should have lived. (If someone finds a source, please add it and I will stand corrected!) Even if there is a source, the source might not be correct, but at least we know where something comes from.

Using purely guesswork... often around mid-life, people change their direction or priorities; similarly, after people succeed in one area of life, they sometimes to go another. One could also imagine that childbirth and having a larger family might have changed her direction in life, especially because (according to reports) she was already extremely wealthy and didn't need to work. However, she was also wealthy enough to have servants and didn't need to spend her time on chores or even things like diapers unless she wanted to. And, it is said that she used her wealth in a lot of charitable causes, so that would have been an incentive to continue. These are just my own guesses however.

Anyway, 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 week ago

Narrations say that the tree was a grape "tree", a wheat/grain "tree", or the tree of envy of Ahl al-Bayt (A), which Adam and Eve ate from and then became envious of blessings and position given to the Ahl al-Bayt (A) and their closeness to God; for that reason, God cast them to earth, and they had to repent. [For instance, see Uyun Akhbar al-Rida (A)].

It is related from Imam al-Rida (A) that all these views are correct in that it was a tree that bore more than one type of produce, since it was not a normal tree. 

"Apple" is not present in narrations but to my knowledge the idea of it being an apple tree was also a later addition to Christianity.

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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 2 weeks ago

Short answer: The Qur'an and hadith teach us to respect other people, regardless of what they believe. However, they do not give an equal place to all beliefs or practices.

Long answer: While the Qur'an and hadith recognize several different religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism, they do not recognize the custom of worshipping idols in Mecca or Medina as a distinct religion.

As for whether the Arabs who worshipped idols in Mecca and Medina saw their customs as a distinct religion, it is difficult to say for sure, but there is no indication in the texts that they saw themselves as united as a single faith community or a single religion; appealing to idols was simply customary practice. They focused on tribal and ancestral identity, not religious identity. I am fairly sure that the term "wathaniyyah" was adopted after their time. In contrast, the Qur'an encourages replacing ancestral/tribal identity with a faith-based identity.

The concept of "religion" as we have it today (and as it is used in the English language) is rather modern. In fact, it is heavily rooted ins secularism. Everyone is expected to follow the same way of life (national culture, national laws), and religion is seen as a private matter. Therefore, we should respect everyone's personal decision about their religion (that is, private beliefs); however, everyone must follow the same way of life (national culture and law). So, in essence, national culture and law has taken the place of religion in modernity in most nation-states. 

In fact, many languages historically have not even had an equivalent word for "religion" as it is used in English today. 

So, talking about religions during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (S) or the Prophet Ibrahim (A) should be done with the understanding that we may be accidentally projecting modern ideas onto the past, or onto other cultures, and then trying to avoid that.

The Qur'an, hadith, and classical Islamic literature tend to use words such as din, millah, and shari'ah to mean "religion". These could be translated as "way of life", "community", and "religious law". From this angle, the communities that were identified as having a specific way of life, scripture, communal identity, and law were Jews, Christians, Sabaians, or other established communities. 

For instance, in the classical model of the Islamic state, certain religious communities (in particular, the Ahl al-Kitab, including Jews, Christians, and some others) are allowed to follow their own religious law, abstain from military service in exchange for paying the jizyah, and enjoy protection of their houses of worship. [Of course this model is somewhat theoretical as what happens in practice tends to be more complicated, but this is how things were seen theoretically]

However, neither the polytheists of Arabia nor the polytheists of the time of Ibrahim are seen as having their own communal identity based on religion or what we would call a "religion"; they are simply seen as (a) deviating from the truth, and (b) following common custom. 

Conversely, neither the Prophet Muhammad (S) nor the Prophet Ibrahim (A) is presented as a prophet bringing a new or alternative religion to his people (in the same way that, for example, Christianity was seen as a distinct faith community coming from outside the Arabian Peninsula). Both prophets are seen as supporting the ancient message, not bringing a new idea.

This is why the bulk of the arguments in the Quran are not about accepting Islam as a specific religion. Rather, it focuses on why the idol-worshippers (who believed in God as well as demigods) should stop appealing to their demigods and worship only God instead. That is, the idol-worshippers tended to worship their demigods to placate them, with the belief that if they did not, a disaster might strike them. Or they would worship their demigods to appeal to them for wealth or sustenance. Or, they would worship their demigods with the belief that their demigods would appeal to God on their behalf. The Qur'an, basically, says that all of this is unnecessary and/or false since all power belongs to God and their demigods do not control matters of good and evil or sustenance, and that their demigods are not really intermediaries. 

They should also give up backwards customs and taboos which are socially harmful and which were passed on along with their customs regarding idols.

For instance, Ibrahim (A) is not telling his people to follow a new religion; rather, he is telling his people to stop supporting falsehood. 

Basically, there is a sense that these people should have known better than to be building and appealing to idols and had simply deviated from the truth. One way this is apparent is that the Qur'an does not explain everything anew; rather, there is an assumption in the text that the people hearing about the stories of the prophets are famliar with them and it is all part of a common cultural and religious context, even if some people were appealing to idols.

The Ka'bah, in particular, is seen as originally being a site of worshipping God, built (or re-built) by Ibrahim (A), but the practice in it became corrupted (for instance, through people performing the hajj in the nude, or placing false idols in it). So the job of these prophets is to remind the people of how they have gone wrong, and then to provide some new religious legislation and teachings (such as the shari'ah and Qur'an) to steer the boat in the correct direction in the future. 

This is rather different from, say, someone who grows up as a secular agnostic, has no real contact with organized religion, and then converts to Islam as a new faith.

So this is how the matter is understood in Islamic sources. 

In any case, that was then and these were prophets; today, there is no need to go around breaking people's idols. Also, most modern idols are invisible things, such as money, celebrity status, number of likes on Facebook, and so forth which cannot be broken even if one tried. 

In any case, it is a good question and good to think about.

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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 3 weeks ago

Regarding whether he had a daughter named Fatima in Madina, there is some discussion here: https://www.al-islam.org/ask/what-information-is-available-on-the-life-o...

Historians do not agree on how many children Imam Husain had. However, this is a good summary of what various authors have said: https://en.wikishia.net/view/Imam_al-Husayn_b._%27Ali_(a)#Wives_and_Children

Hope that helps - history is a challenging subject!

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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 3 weeks ago

Technically you are married (even if psychologically or socially you are single), so if you want to marry someone else, you should first get a divorce, and then observe iddah if necessary.

Istikhara is not appropriate for a thing which is inherently forbidden (and to marry someone else while you are married is forbidden).

This is why it is not a good idea to let a nikah without an actual marriage hang for a long time, whether it is as an engagement or after marriage. Of course it happens and I am not saying it is your fault personally, as usually it is the fault of society, but I am just saying it is not a healthy situation.

Anyway I hope you can resolve your marital situation soon (or, rather, dissolve it, if that is your intent).
 

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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 3 weeks ago

There are a few reasons, including:

* Modesty (regarding explicit subjects, the Qur'an tends to be more modest and address men specifically as well as use euphemisms, even if both men and women are intended)
* Generality (zawj/azwaj can be understood in some cases to mean "spouses" in general and not specifically "wives" as it is often translated)
* In some cases, it is specifically addressing men and speaking about women (for instance, the verse about zihar when it talks about men divorcing their wives via zihar)

So it really depends on the verse. A good resource to look at for varying interpretations of verses is _The Study Quran_ edited by S. H. Nasr.

Hope that helps!

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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 3 weeks ago

This question has been discussed to some degree here: https://www.al-islam.org/ask/topics/7744/questions-about-Houris

Anyway, it seems that this is said in the Qur'an as a form of encouragement (just as some things about Hell can be seen as a discouragement from doing certain things). Apparently this must have been or indeed must be encourgaging to men. As for why men are addressed and promised this instead of women, some might say it is out of modesty, although I might also suggest that perhaps men need a little more encouragement sometimes! :)

As for what virginity means in the Hereafter... that is more complicated question. One would assume that the physics of things is somewhat different there, and while there is a means for 2 beings to relate which is analagous to how 2 beings relate here, it is unlikely to involve all of the specific physiological details of earthly virginity.

There is also a certain logic behind saying that the huris are "not touched by jinn or men", since (a) it is generally held that jinn have their own Paradise and so they wouldn't be interacting with them anyway, and (b) there won't be people in Paradise until the judgment, so they wouldn't have had anyone to have a relationship with before. (c) Also since there are so many of them, perhaps they are all created as exact matches (soul-mates, if you will) to their human partners and not necessarily compatible with others.

As for women, seeing as it is said that we can more or less have whatever we want in Paradise, there is no reason what women should not have virgins, if that is what they would like.

That being said, I am sure you will agree that men are the cause of 90% of headaches for women in this world, so I would not be surprised if some women decide they would like some peace and quiet instead!

(With all apologies to our male colleagues who may completely disagree :) )

Anyway, Allah speaks to us according to our understanding in this world, when it comes to matters outside of this world, there is a certain amount of guesswork or theorizing when it comes to these questions. It is however an interesting question to ponder.