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... Answered 15 hours ago

Most people eat animals. In fact all of nature is about eating. If you look outside, all you see is one thing eating another thing, from the birds to the insects to the mice to the cats to the fish and everything else. Lots and lots of eating!

It is really hard to comment on the will of animals. Obviously animals have a survival instinct which makes them dislike being killed. However, most farm animals would not exist at all if people hadn't taken the effort to breed them and raise them.

What can be said is that it is allowed for people to eat animals as long as they are treated and slaughtered in the right way, although some people may choose not to.

The "sacrifice" here is about sacrificing the time, money, and effort it takes to raise an animal (or, if it is purchased, to pay for that) and then giving away a good amount of it. In times where people had very limited food options, or in places where many people don't have access to healthy food, this is a big service to other people. It is one thing to advocate being a vegetarian in a place with many food options and where you can eat a healthy diet without meat or animal products, and a different thing when not eating animals can lead to malnutrition.

(This is as opposed to some older religious traditions where sacrificing an animal for deities or other beings was said to offer things that were useful for them such as blood; the Quran clarifies that God, as pure divinity, does not receive the meat or blood but rather acknowledges the sense of sacrifice.)

Sometimes these questions come up because some people look down on Muslims for being barbaric. However I would point out that in the United States, almost everyone considers it traditional to eat a turkey on Thanksgiving, and eating it requires slaughtering it, and sometimes homeless shelters also serve turkey to those in need, yet it is rare to hear people comment on that or treat it as backwards. 

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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 15 hours ago

It is not strongly established historically that Imam Husayn (A) had a daughter named Fatimah who stayed in Medina when he was travelling due to illness. For instance, al-Shaykh al-Mufid only mentions one Fatimah who was born to Imam Husayn (A) who was reported to have been in Karbala. 

Of course, it is certainly possible that this happened especially because historians do not usually not mention everything about young children, and I don't personally feel there is any harm in discussing it in majalis despite the absence of sources from the angle that it could have happened, or it is said to have happened. 

However, Bihar al-Anwar does include a report saying that Imam Husayn (A) had a daughter named Fatimah (and she was al-Sughra, the younger) who stayed in Medina. It does not say why she stayed. However it says that a crow came to her with the blood of Imam Husayn (A) (vol 45 / p 171).

Anyway, history is a complicated and murky subject. We should not be surprised that there is little information about some things; rather, we should be surprised that after so many years we have so much!

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 16 hours ago

I one saw someone teaching Surah al-Rahman by associating meaningful signs with each of the verses, so, for instance, in this verse, they pointed to stars and made trees with their hands and fingers. The idea behind this is that the human being will remember gestures and words more than gestures. You could try it!

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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

The hardships and tests we face - God willing - refine us not only as human beings but increase our spiritual understanding and capacity to behold the divine. This is one reason why human being agreed to accept the responsibility of free will - with it comes a risk (hellfire) but also great potential.

Ideally the main goal of the material existence (as I understand it) is for human beings to deepen their inherent spiritual understanding as much as possible. A child and an adult may both go to jannah; however, depending on their experiences (as not everyone grows throughout a long lifespan), they may end up with a different inherent capacity to perceive the divine there. (One might equate that with "higher in jennah")

 

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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

First, in this day and age, it is good for us to be thoughtful about how we phrase things. "Liberating" people from Zoroastrianism is rude. Zoroastrianism, like most world religions, has good things and bad things. In any case, it is good to respect people's faith and heritage, especially since Zoroastrianism continues to be practiced today.

Second, describing the conquest of lands by the Muslim Empire as "liberation" can come across the wrong way.

It is true that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered an invasion of the Sassanian Empire which led to the conquest of what is present-day Iran. So, it is more correct to say that he annexed Iran to the Arab-Muslim Empire, and this was one of the factors that led Iran to become a Muslim region.

That being said, military annexation of a region is not the same thing as converting a people to Islam, or even introducing them to Islam. Actual conversion to Islam in conquered lands happened over a span of time. Conversely, Islam spread in many areas, such as Indonesia, where the initial Muslim Empire had no power. There were good and bad points about the conquests of the early Muslim Empire.

Sometimes - in my experience - some of our Sunni brothers and sisters glorify those conquests, perhaps out of respect for the first 3 caliphs, without taking into consideration that they were in fact military conquests which were not dissimilar to the expansion of other empires. Like other military expansions they brought some good and and some difficulty, some people in these areas were (according to what we can glean from historical records) fine with being under Muslim rule or even welcomed it, and some resisted it. Basically it's good to take a more intermediate position, neither to say "Islam spread by the sword and those Muslims are violent!" nor to say "Muslims liberated all the other regions from their former faiths." (In fact, that comes across as quite violent.) 

As for who introduced Iran to Islam, why not begin with Salman al-Farsi? And, second, what about the letter that the Prophet (S) sent to the Persian king, inviting him to Islam?

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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

In the Sunni hadith books, especiallly Bukhari and Muslim, it is mentioned that children should not go out at/after maghrib for fear of shayateen. Among some Sunnis, it is customary to discourage women or children in particular from going out then or at night. 

Perhaps this developed in part also due to a practical safety concern (that generally it is less safe outside at night, and in many places, women and children are cautious about going out alone at night). Also in those days they had less lighting. 

This idea is not commonly found in the Shi'i tradition, and Shi'is generally do not accept the contents of Bukhari and Muslim as authentic without further investigation. I am not saying that this narration doesn't possibly exist anywhere in Shi'i books, since there are thousands and thousands of Shi'i narrations, but it isn't generally given consideration a religious basis. (Of course, culturally, some Shi'is may discourage some people from going outside for social or safety reasons, but that is different.)

Anyway, the Prophet and Imams went outside at night when it was appropriate to do so. 

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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

Part of the responsibility of a leader is to know what is happening to his people. This is especially true for a divine leader (prophet, Imam). 

Not all human beings have the qualities necessary to be good leaders. Some people have the social, intellectual, and emotional capacity, foresight, initiative, wisdom, and planning and communication skills to be great leaders. Most people do not. But that is ok, because we only need a handful of great leaders. 

So, bearing this burden might be very difficult for the average person. However, the Imam is not an average person. Allah would not give the Imam this responsibility if he did not have the ability to bear it, as Allah says in the Qur'an that He does not burden with something beyond their capability. Because the Imam is at the highest level of spiritual perfection (as well as intellectual and emotional perfection), he has the capacity to handle many things that regular people cannot. Also, when people are truly at a high level of faith and have a deep and sincere connection with God, this enables them to bear things that other people cannot.

Still, of course, we should try our best to give the Imam a good report about our deeds and circumstances, and try to work as hard as we can to improve things around us!

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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

Further clarification:

There are many different hadith that are considered hadith qudsi (that is, telling us directly what God says, but not as part of the Qur'anic revelation). 

Some of these hadith are shared between Sunnis and Shi'is, and some are specifically Sunni, and some are specifically Shi'i.

As mentioned in the previous answer, each one can be evaluated individually with respect to its authenticity.

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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

The Prophet (S) cared about his appearance and used to fix himself up before each communal prayer. Although he lived simply, he gave due attention to personal grooming. Here are some narrations about how he approached that: https://www.al-islam.org/sunan-nabi-allamah-sayyid-muhammad-husayn-tabatabai/chapter-3-cleanliness-and-rules-beautification

The Qur'an also says:  “Put on your adornment on every occasion of prayer” (7:31).

I don't think it's correct to say that Imam Ali (A) didn't care about how he looked; rather he chose to live simply and did not own much clothing. One can still look after grooming, washing one's clothes, etc, even if one's clothing is old. Even on the day of Ashura it is said that Imam Husayn and his companions made the effort to remove unwanted body hair. (Sorry if that's sensitive but it's related!) Usually when people don't care about their appearance at all, it is a sign they are not feeling well, depressed, stressed, etc.  

However, it is good not to throw away clothing just because it is damaged. If it is possible to repair it, it is better to repair it and continue using it. After all, the Qur'an and hadith strongly discourage wasting, and the throwing away of discared clothing is becoming a big environmental problem today, especially with manmade fabrics such as polyester.

There is a virtue to doing things yourself, such as fixing your own clothing, but there is also no harm in taking clothing to a tailor to be fixed, especially since it gives the tailor income.

Basically you should use your wisdom and common sense. If wearing patched clothes will harm you at work or in other places, then it is good to wear clothing that is suitable for that environment.

Also, hadith encourage men to dress nicely in front of their wives at home, and wives to dress nicely in front of their husbands at home; it is good to try not to be an eyesore at home!

If you are representing Islam publicly, it is also good to have a neat and respectable appearance because people judge by appearance these days. Once, I remember I went to an interfaith program where the only Muslims were me and a Wahhabi shaykh with a stained, torn dishdasha that was well above the ankles. Guess which one of us ended up answering most of the questions. So it is good to be thoughtful of these things and to try to come across in a respectful manner, while at the same time not being extravagant. 

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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

With regards to general du'a (not performing qadha salat), no. Praying or not praying for the well-being of the deceased is optional.

However, it is good to pray for the deceased - both for them, and also for yourself, if there are areas of conflict that need forgiveness. Sometimes it is easier to make peace with people and forgive them once they are gone.

If your parents have harmed you, it may be helpful to remember that, after they are deceased, they are no longer able to harm you. Also, most people act angrily, violently, etc, due to hormones, greed for material things, the way the body interacts with emotions, and so on, and deceased souls no longer have these things. So the deceased may also regret how they acted in this life once they are no longer affected by having a physical body. 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... Answer updated 2 weeks ago

Allah says in the Qur'an that the only thing that will not be forgiven is that partners be associated with Allah, and that Allah forgives whatever else Allah wills.

Allah also says in the Qur'an that whoever believes and works righteous deeds, including Jews, Christians, and Sabeans, will have a good afterlife.

With that in mind, how can someone exclude some people from heaven just because they are not Shi'i (or Shi'i Ithna Ashari)? 

Only Allah has the authority and power to send people to heaven or hell. 

Nowadays, also, people often follow religions or sects due to inherited understandings and doctrines. A Sunni who loves certain individuals (who do not have the same status among Shi'is) does so because they have heard very good things about them, or because they believe the Prophet (S) loves them, not because they are trying to fight against the Imams or support wrong.

It is a different situation for someone who actually was alive during the time of Imam 'Ali (A) and saw him and rejected him or physically fought against him. Anyway most Sunnis, and most or all Sufis, respect Imam 'Ali and other Imams, they just have a different understanding of their role. 

However, following the teachings of Ahl al-Bayt (A) through the Imams can help develop one's ethics, actions, and spirituality in such a way that can, insha'allah, help with going to heaven. Also one can hope for the intercession of the Imams (A) if one has a close relationship to them and is dedicated to them, and this is also an invaluable gift. 

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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

Further explanation: In some cultures, dating back to ancient or mediaeval times (including parts of Europe/Britain as well as Greece), it was considered inappropriate or immodest for respectable women to ride horses in the normal way, especially if they were wearing long dresses that might not stay in place, so women were expected to ride side-saddle or, as Sayyed mentions, in a litter atop the animal. (I am not saying that no women ever rode horses the normal way, just that this was considered more mannerly.) It seems that women riding horses the normal way may have been seen as suggestive, although, nowadays, in much of the world, there is no stigma attached to it. 

If they rode bare horses or regularly saddled horses during that time, it could be taken as a sign of them being treated harshly by the enemy.