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 3 weeks ago

There isn't a fixed yes or no answer to this question - it depends on your circumstances and yourself.

Personally, I think it is extremely helpful for people going into the study of Islam to have another career or vocation. This keeps you from financial dependency or desperation and makes you more free to study what you like for however long you feel is beneficial. This is especially if you are female and financially responsible for yourself or others, since men have certain financial opportunities that women don't; for instance, most imams of mosques are men, and usually men have more opportunities for paid services such as tabligh and majalis. 

Then, in the future, if the opportunity arises, you could shift to work in the area of Islamic studies, or full-time studies, if that is what seems right. 

So, you could try to do both - that is, maintain a separate job or career path, and do Islamic studies part-time on the side. (If you are not already doing this, and if you have the time and energy for it, of course - it is a commitment.) This would also allow you to see if it is right for you; for instance, some people think they want to go to hawza or do full time Islamic studies, but then decide after a couple years that it's not the right thing for them, and then sometmes it is a lot of work to get back onto a different career track.

Of course, the drawback is that you will miss out on an immersive experience, such as living at a hawza, but it can be a good way to feel things out. 

You could consider what career you might pursue after your studies - for instance, working at a mosque, chaplaincy, university teaching,  madrasa teaching, writing/translation, counselling, tabligh, or something completely different - and how available work is in that area, and much you would expect to earn.

You could also consider your skill sets that you would use after your studies - for instance, whether you feel most comfortable with things like leadership, management, oratory, social work, academics, and so forth. Of course, sometimes we discover that through experience. 

Conversely, you could also look at yourself as an engineer - is it something that suits you and feel like you would miss if you left it and see a future for yourself in, or is it something you don't think you would get much further with or feel blocked in.

If you are 100% committed to pursuing Islamic studies, don't worry about negativity from people around you; however, it is still good to pay attention to some of the practical considerations they might bring up. 

Similarly, if you are 100% committed to pursuing Islamic studies, then I would say just trust in Allah and go forward with it. The above advice is for if you are not certain. 

Sometimes, Allah makes the decision easy for us by forcing us one way or the other! However, in the meantime, of course, pray for guidance and talk to people around you. 

Allah does sustains us, but the reality is that many people who work in this area suffer from financial frustrations, unless they have a secure and suitably paying position of some sort, or other resources (inheritance, investments, etc). 

I will leave you with a short story. Back in my younger years, when I was attending university, I used to study computer science (which was very competitive to get into and we were considered the lucky ones who were on top of the world). I decided that I was going to pursue Islamic studies and begin that by changing my major to Near Eastern Studies (the closest thing to Islamic Studies).

So, I went to one of our professors, a well-known Muslim, and told him the good news. "I'm going to change to a Near Eastern Studies major," I said.

He looked at me and said just one word. "DON'T."

Anyway, I did it anyway, but I have come to understand why he said what he did. 
 

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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

Sorry to hear about your situation.

Allah is not angry with you. You sound like you are sincere and have a good heart, and these are the things that are important. Sometimes these thoughts pop up by themselves, or sometimes they are from shayateen. The best thing to do is just let the thoughts come and go on their own and remember that Allah does not blame us for things that are outside our control. Sometimes when we try not to think something, we end up thinking about it more. Also just do the salat as best as you can. You could also see if praying in a different location (like mosque, workplace, park, friend's house, etc) helps.

If you have some specific reason why you are upset with Allah (for instance, some people are upset when they lose a job, divorce, etc., as they blame Allah), this is something that is good to work through personally and spend some time sitting with Allah and doing dua or contemplating about to make peace about. 

We have lots of ups and downs in our religious life, inshallah you will get through this too. 

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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

Yes, every human being has a soul. No, no one is exempted from the Resurrection. If anyone claims otherwise, they are lying or confused. 

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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 month ago

Qur'an 27:80-81 say: "Thou dost not make the dead hear; nor dost thou make the deaf hear the call when they turn their backs; nor canst thou guide the blind away from their error. Thou canst only make hear those who believe in Our signs and are submitters."

Some exegetes take this verse metaphorically, to mean that you cannot make a person who is dead in their heart to understand the call to the truth. Not that it is literally saying that it impossible for people who are physically deceased to hear anything from the living world. 

This seems to better fit with the context of the verses which are about how the Prophet (S) cannot force people to listen to or accept his message; the main idea of the verses is not about physical death and the deceased.

A similar idea in the Qur'an is: "Have they not journeyed upon the earth, that they might have hearts by which to understand or ears by which to hear? Truly it is not the eyes that go blind, but it is hearts within chests that go blind (22:46)." That is, it is not about physical blindness but rather a metaphorical blindness.

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 month ago

Although belief in tahrif of the Qur'an is non-standard, it is better to reserve the word kufr for the things that Allah directly uses it for.

The Qur'an does not directly say that belief in tahrif is kufr. (Rather, some people assert this based on a deduction/interpretation of a verse, not a direct statement.)

The word kufr tends to be thrown around quite casually these days. There is rarely any benefit to accusing people of kufr or labelling Muslims as kafir just because one thinks they are incorrect in their belief. It is quite sad that this intolerance has developed today. The classical Islamic era seems to have been much more tolerant and open to discussing differences of opinion regarding theology. This is not to say that every view was always right, but it is better to be able to discuss things rationally rather than to shut down dissenting views by just labelling and attacking (verbally or sometimes physically).

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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 month ago

The assumption that the physical world must be lifeless and non-sentient arises is somewhat modern and became prominent along with the rise of a European secular worldview. Peoples throughout history have held (and continue to hold) a variety of views of whether or not there is some inherent intelligence or sentience in nature.

Anyway, a literal reading of the verse suggests that the mountains do indeed have some level of awareness or comprehension, such that they were able to understand what it would mean to be offered the "trust" (amanah), and reply.

Other interpretations of this verse include:

* The verse is metaphorical. That is, it means to say, if the mountains were able to speak and understand, this is what they would say - to emphasize the enormity of the amanah.
* The verse is referring to the inhabitants of the earth and mountains, such as people, earth, jinn, and angels. This view exists but is somewhat odd since humans took on the amanah. 

Personally I favour the literal understanding. It is in line with the Qur'anic verse that says that everything glorifies Allah but we do not understand it. So just we cannot understand the mountains does not mean they have no ability to communicate with Allah. However others may prefer other views. 

Even if one does not accept this literal meaning, it should be noted that on the Day of Resurrection, it is said that the earth will be able to speak and bear witness to what happened upon it, so the natural world will have awareness and the ability to speak then. 

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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 month ago

The images that go through one's imagination are not usually in the domain of halal or haram because they are not entirely under the control of the human being - sometimes the imagination makes up its own images spontaneously, sometimes we try to imagine something, and something an external source can put something in the imagination. Halal and haram are usually confined to physical actions.

It is natural to have some impression of what Allah might be, whether that be a mental image, a feeling, or an impression via the inner senses.

The Qur'an also gives us metaphors for how to understand Allah, such as in the phrases "the hand of Allah is above their hands" or "Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth",  which might trigger visual imagery, although we understand that Allah does not really have a hand and is not a light bulb, and these are just ideas to help us understand better.

The important thing is to remember that the senses cannot confine Allah and Allah cannot be seen:

* "No vision can grasp Allah, but Allah's grasp is over all visions" (Qur'an 6:103)
* "He [Allah] is too exalted for sight to be able to perceive Him, for imagination to be able to fathom Him, and for the intellect to be able to grasp Him." (related from Imam Rida (A))

So any ideas or images we have about the nature of Allah are just personal impressions, which may change over time, and are not encompassing the Reality.

Beyond that, we are advised to ponder on the attributes of Allah but not to try to imagine the essence of Allah.

Some people might also perceive higher spiritual realities and take them as an image of Allah. However, insofar as narrations remind us that Allah is veiled by veils of light, and that Allah cannot be encompassed by the senses, it is also important to acknowledge that these are just created things and are not actually Allah. 

I am reminded of an exercise which some young people were doing in school in the UK where they were asked to draw God and some of the Muslim students drew Allah as a giant cloud. Most people who believe in a force of divinity have some mental model of 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 month ago

The above answer is very accurate.

However, I would like to add that the idea of separation between religion and politics is quite new and really only emerged with the notion of separation of church and the modern nation-state.

During the time of the Prophet (S), especially after the formation of the Muslim community in Medina, the Prophet handled matters that today would be considered both "religious" (like acts of worship) and "political" (like laws and the military).

This continued to be the situation during the early caliphates and early Arab-Muslim empires as well as the times of the Shi'i Imams; for instance, Imam 'Ali  (A) being formally appointed as the caliph and the treaty of Imam Hasan (A). That is to say, their role as religious leaders also involved political matters. Conversely, political leaders such as those who took on the caliphate also saw themselves as leaders of Islam. 

One can say a similar thing for many other pre-modern empires as well, which were not led by Muslims. 

So for that reason it is not really correct to divide the Battle of Karbala into "religious" or "political" since it involved both. There were clearly matters that today would be considered "political" such as succession (that is, it was not a battle over theology) while at the same time, as the previous response emphasized, it was not a ploy for power or this sort of thing. From the accounts of the Battle of Karbala, it is clear that matters both religious and political were discussed between both sides prior to the outbreak of fighting.

Rather one can say it was a religious objection to the use and assignment of political power, and a political response to it (military attack). 

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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 months ago

A short answer is, bid'ah is most strongly rejected when it comes to formal acts of worship. Performing mustahabb prayers differently from how the Prophet (S) taught it is a difference in formal acts of worship and is therefore inappropriate. 

Although celebrating the Prophet's birthday can be considered devotional, it is not a shariah-prescribed act of worship like performing types of salat; it is more of a customary thing. 

I am sure others will give a long answer! :)

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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 months ago

This comes from hadith. Here is an explanation: https://alkafeel.net/news/index?id=6874&lang=en

However, all the nights are valuable and important!
 

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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 months ago

The question of what luck is, and whether or not it exists, is a challenging metaphysical question. 

Scholars who take a strict reading of Islamic theology will generally reject the idea of "luck", if one defines "luck" as something amoral (that is, acting outside a moral compass) which exists independent of the divine involvement in the universe. This is especially if it seems to go against a sense of divine justice. "Luck" is sometimes seen as belonging to pre-Islamic and/or non-Abrahamic belief systems. 

That is to say, things that are seen as "lucky" tend to be seen as Allah's will or something occurring on the level of metaphysical cause and effect (for instance, I help an orphan today, and am saved from a car crash tomorrow). This is apart from hard work and smart work; for instance, some people are "lucky" in their exams simply because they study smart.

Instead, they will focus on concepts like baraka (things, people, places, etc, being blessed by Allah), divine destiny, divine mercy, divine punishment, and so forth. So, for instance, one might increase "luck" by doing good deeds or giving charity. (That is, it is not mere luck but rather cause and effect.) 

Certain things which might be considered "luck" in some cultures are also ascribed to divine decree; for instance, Allah decrees sustenance for a human being. So, receiving sustenance is ultimately through the decree of Allah and the acts of angels in obedience to Allah in delivering it, even if we also have to put forth efforts. Or, someone may receive a scholarship to Harvard and be considered "lucky", but someone else may not receive that scholarship because it is not their destiny and they are meant to do something else in life, so it is not really about "luck". 

On the other hand, it is not impossible to find Muslims who do hold that luck exists as a metaphysical thing, and that some people seem to have more of it. After all, Muslims have held a great many views over the past 1000+ years. 

In any case, most people are not ruminating over these philosophical questions when wishing someone good luck on something, and it's fine to say.  

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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 months ago

Some scholars have rejected the idea of the theory of evolution as being against the Qur'anic teaching of the creation of the human being, whereas others have accepted it as being compatible with the Qur'an and as being Allah's plan for the human being and how to engage in creation.

It seems that there is some generational factor here - the older generation tended to reject it more, perhaps because they saw the theory of evolution as being associated with colonialism or secularization, and as an attack on traditional Muslim values. This is less of a factor in today's globalized world. 

At the same time, the theory of evolution is only a theory and cannot necessarily be said to be true either. It is simply considered an acceptble possibility, pending further evidence, by some scholars. 

The idea that life originated from water is supported by the Qur'an. 

One could somewhat nebulously suggest that the idea of "nasnas", or prior types of humanoids, which appears in hadith, could also support the idea of evolution, although in my view this may be a stretch in interpreting the hadith. 

There is a paper on Shi'i scholars' responses to evolution in the conference proceedings for this conference, if you are interested in reading it. https://www.islamic-college.ac.uk/publications/shiistudies/sixth-shii-co...