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 3 days ago

Yes.

Why would God punish or restrict a woman due to her paternal lineage to only allow her to marry a certain group of men, whereas other Muslim women are allowed to marry any Muslim man? 

However, I do think it's advisable to take sect into consideration when marrying, and to make sure that the husband and wife have compatible ideas about religion, especially if there is the possibility of children. However, this is general advice, not related to one's lineage.

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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 4 days ago

It is not necessary to make a formal conversion. You can simply make an inner commitment to follow and respect Imam 'Ali and the other Imams, to implement the teachings of the Prophet (S) as transmitted from the family of the Prophet (S) (that is, Shi'i hadith), and to follow Shi'i religious law.

In practice, you will probably also want to find a Shi'i mosque or Shi'i gatherings to attend, if it is possible where you live. (It isn't a requirement, but most people like to spend time with people of the same faith orientation.)

There are a number of recommended practices in Shi'ism that are not required while, at the same time, are spiritually beneficial, such as reciting certain du'as on certain days, such as Du'a Kumayl on Thursday nights. One can find more information on these things on the websites www.duas.org. Attending gatherings for these can also be both spiritually and socially beneficial, although they are not considered necessary in the same way the salat is necessary.

In terms of deepening one's knowledge of the Shi'i tradition, there are a lot of good videos on YouTube and on sites such as ShiaTV.Net as well as sites from mosques (for instance, broadcasting Friday sermons), and also a lot of books available, including on al-islam.org.

[Note that I am putting these resources for information only, not implying that you do not have knowledge of these subjects already! However someone else might come across this response and find the links useful.]
Best wishes!

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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 4 days ago

Teachers are highly respected in the Islamic tradition. 

The Qur'an does not talk about teachers too much, perhaps because part of the reform that Islam was bringing was an educational reform, and so, during the time of the Prophet (S), the society was transitioning to one with more focus on learning. However, one can see all the prophets discussed in the Qur'an as teachers.

Furthermore, the Prophet (S) emphasised teaching and learning, for instance, when he freed some literate prisoners of war, rather than requesting money in exchange for returning them, he requested that they teach others to read first. Islam has been referred to as 'the world's largest literacy program' and I think that is an apt description.

Additionally, there are many mentions in hadith of the importance of teaching, necessity and value of learning, and honour of the teacher, such as:
 
* It is narrated that the Prophet (S) said, ‘The best form of charity is for a man to gain knowledge and then teach it to his fellow brethren.'

* It is narrated that Imam Ali (A) said, ‘Everything decreases with giving away except knowledge.’

* It is narrated that Imam al-Baqir (A) said, ‘For the teacher of good, all the animals on the land and the fish in the sea seek forgiveness on his behalf, as do all creatures great and small in Allah’s earth and sky.’

* It is narrated that Imam al-Sadiq (A) said, 'Everything has a zakat, and the zakat of knowledge is to teach it to those who are worthy of it.’

If you have an interest in this subject, I would recommend the following book:

Desire of the Aspirant: On the Etiquette of the Teacher and the Student
by al-Shahid al-Thani [a classical Muslim scholar of the Shi'i persuasion]
translated by Alexander Khaleeli 

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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 4 days ago

This is a question which can have many answers. In addition to the other answers given, you could:

* Be sure to pray all your salat. Regular salat makes a person mindful of God and makes a person embarrassed to do things that would displease God.
* Try to minimize exposure to things that would be ethically harmful to you (in-person, television, or social media). Go on an "information diet" - that is, be conscious of how what you are taking in is affecting you, and as much as possible choose the media that you feel makes you a better person.
* Try to spend some time regularly in the company of believers, as it strengthens and refreshes the soul.

 

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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 week ago

It's up to you to decide whether you and this person share the same ethical values that would likely lead to a good marriage.

However... this may be a cause of "if you have to ask the question, you already know the answer." (That is, if it weren't a concern to you, you wouldn't ask; inside, you already know what you should do but may be second-guessing yourself.)

Anyway, here are some things you could consider:

  • Why prostitutes instead of a girlfriend? (Unless it he lives somewhere strict where he couldn't have a girlfriend, which is increasingly rare) I am not advocating having a girlfriend. (Please, no angry emails!) However, if someone has a girlfriend, they are at least demonstrating the emotional and personal maturity to invest in a relationship. Paying for company can be a way of avoiding the inconvenience of actually having a relationship. Is there any hint that this person might have difficulty with emotional commitment to a relationship?
  • How do you feel about the religious aspect of violating the command of Allah, and do you share the same religious values and worldview presently?
  • How do you feel about the objectification of women involved in paying for services?
  • Once a person has done something once, they may do it again. How would you feel if he continued this during your marriage?
  • If you are coming from a conservative or cautious religious background (for instance, no dating), it might not be a good match. Among other things, there may be resentment that he was indulging while you were trying your best to be chaste. Also, some women might feel insecure about the possibility of being compared to a professional sex worker.
  • Has he been tested for STD's?
  • And, how important this marriage is to you? Do you feel like this man is your soulmate and you will be losing out on a big opportunity in life if you pass up on this marriage? Or is it just that you're ready to get married and he happens to be around? 

(While some of the above is inherently critical, I do think it is good he is being honest about it rather than hiding things)

These are just some thoughts, but in the end it is your decision, I hope and pray that what happens is the best for both of you. 

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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 week ago

In and of itself, there is nothing in Islam forbidding communication with any type of being (spirit, animal, human, tree, etc.). There is also nothing inherently forbidden about meditation or meditative practices.

However, some specific practices might be forbidden or at least deeply questionable, for instance, the use of psychoactive substances to induce these things.

Similarly, if someone does this for a wrong or haraam reason, this would also be forbidden.

The Quran does warn people about dependency or reliance on jinn, and that should be taken into consideration. People can be easily confused, deluded, or misled about these matters and there is also no guarantee that any spirit is going to say something which is truthful or beneficial. Sometimes people also get manipulated by things beyond themselves if they attempt to connect with them. So it is good to be careful and use good judgment. 

Note that some Muslims will take a more conservative approach to this question and say that it is forbidden based on reasons such as avoiding religious practices which are not prescribed by the Sunnah, etc. 

Also, attitudes among Muslims towards these things tend to vary, e.g. some Sufi groups tend to be more open to them. 

Anyway, people are called to all sorts of things in life. Some people are called to being artists, some to being athletes, some to what lies beyond. If you have a calling that is easily compatible with Islam, such as nursing, this is relatively straightforward. If you have a calling that is less easily compatible, such as being a ballet dancer, this is more difficult. In any case, part of being a dedicated Muslim who has a calling to something is deciding how to navigate and live one's calling in a way that is authentic to one's self and one's faith. 

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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 week ago

In and of itself, it is not offensive - Muslims don't have a monopoly on head-covering. 

If someone is specifically wearing a style of head-covering that specifically seems to identify them as a Muslim:

* Clothing is a form of social signalling and identification. It is worth mentioning that, in general, the hijab comes with a package of values, beliefs, and social expectations (for instance, it is generally assumed that women who wear hijab pray regularly, are committed Muslims, behave in accordance with certain Islamic norms, do not date before marriage, etc), just as one might expect someone wearing a priest's collar to behave or not-behave in certain ways. So it is worth taking that into consideration. At the very least, someone might be surprised if they see a woman wearing a hijab buying bacon, for example.

* If someone is doing it to fetishize Islam and as a popularity stunt, it could be offensive and a form of cultural appropriation. For instance, if someone wears a a Muslim-style headscarf but posts sexually explicit photos, a bikini photo, a bar photo, etc. Some magazines and media outlets these days have caught on to the idea that "Muslim-ness" can be a great selling tool and some of the ways they use this to sell fashion is offensive, or, at least, against the spirit of hijab.

So, basically, if someone is choosing to wear a headscarf style that specifically makes them look like a Muslim, it would largely come down to intent and how they are presenting themselves and if they are doing it respectfully. 

Also note that people vary in their views of what they personally consider offensive or not. Some Muslim women might be very happy to see other women wearing the hijab and others might be taken aback. It's difficult to please all the people all the time! In my view, the most important thing is just to be authentic to yourself, whatever that might mean for you.

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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 weeks ago

https://muflihun.com/muslim/8/3422

Anyway it is just a single hadith whereas the Quran has been transmitted in a lot of ways, so it is probably just an erroneous hadith and doesn't pose a serious challenge to the authenticity of the Qur'an.

Besides, if someone was going to intentionally lose a part of the Qur'an, one would think it would be about a more controversial subject than how many times a baby should be suckled to be mahram. And it is unlikely that it would be lost accidentally.

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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

Sanad is who related the hadith (chain of narrators) and matn is the text/content of the hadith.

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 2 weeks ago

You have the choice to go to the wedding or to not go to the wedding. It is not required to observe days of mourning for days of wafat or shahadat (death/martyrdom), it is only recommended. Weddings are also optional.

In my view, if you have a good relationship with your family, or if you will regret missing the wedding, then you should go. Allah knows that your intention in your heart is not to disrespect the Prophet (S) and to maintain family ties, and maintaining family ties is also good. The Prophet (S) was compassionate and merciful and would be unlikely to criticise you for this!

However, you also have the choice not to go, and it isn't necessary to go.

This is as long as it doesn't involve disrespect to the religion. Most Muslims don't know that the 28th Safar is the death anniversary of the Prophet (S), and don't commemorate this, so they aren't intentionally being disrespectful when they schedule a wedding. However, for instance, if someone schedules a wedding on Ashura, and they know some Muslims commemorate Ashura, then maybe attending the wedding would convey disrespect to Ashura or give them the idea that you don't take your faith seriously.

The biggest emphasis in our tradition is on avoiding celebrations on Ashura. It is also good to avoid celebrations on other sad days, but the biggest emphasis is on Ashura.

There are a lot of shahadat/wafat days that are commemorated, so, sometimes, in an environment where not everyone shares the same religious traditions, it can be difficult to observe all of them!

 

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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

It is fine to have a domestic cat, and the Prophet (S) is said to have been favourable to cats.

Some cultures have fear of cats due to superstition.  

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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 weeks ago

Short answer: Yes and no.

Longer answer:

"Al-Qa'im" means "the one who rises up" [for instance, against injustice]. It is primarily used for the Mahdi, but it can also be used for all the Imams.

The literal meaning of the word "al-Qa'im" does not specifically relate to one's name being unused; it comes from the word meaning "to rise" or "to stand".

However, titles for the Mahdi (including al-Mahdi and al-Qa'im) have been used instead of his personal name (which is the same as that of the Prophet (S)) because there are narrations saying that you should not refer to the Mahdi by name. So, in that sense, the Qa'im will arise when people are not referring to him by name; rather, they are referring to him as the Mahdi or the Qa'im.

[For instance, see https://www.al-islam.org/kamaaluddin-wa-tamaamun-nima-vol-2-shaykh-saduq... ]

It is also mentioned in a couple narrations that the Mahdi is called "al-Qa'im" because his occultation will last for a very long time. Therefore, when he reappears, people will have forgotten him so much that it will be as if he is rising up as a new creation. [Similar to how, on the qiyamah or Resurrection, people will rise up anew after being dead.]

[For instance, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 30 -  سمي القائم عليه السلام قائما لأنه يقوم بعد موته ذكره. - "he is called the Qa'im because he will arise after his remembrance has perished".]

This is similar to narrations which say that the Mahdi will reappear in a time when faith is at an all-time low. So, in this sense, he may not be commonly spoken about before his reappearance. 

So, you can say that both:

(a) The Mahdi is called "al-Qa'im" because he will lead an uprising [this is explained, for instance, by Imam al-Sadiq], and
(b) The Mahdi is called "al-Qa'im" beacuse he will arise at a time when his name has been forgotten, and therefore will be rising up anew.

The first view (that he is called al-Qa'im because he will lead an uprising) is the more commonly understood meaning, but both views are supported by narrations, and one can say that he is called al-Qai'm for both reasons.

Hope that helps!