WikiIslam:Frequently Asked Questions

From WikiIslam, the online resource on Islam
Jump to: navigation, search
Shortcut:
WIFAQ

Contents

General Information

What is the purpose of WikiIslam?

The purpose of WikiIslam is to provide an accurate and comprehensive resource on Islam.

What is a wiki?

A wiki is a website which anyone can edit using a web browser. This is different from conventional websites which can only be edited by their administrators who are using specialized web editing software. Content Management Systems that are not wikis are only managed by a small group of editors. A wiki puts any Internet user in the seat of a website administrator.

What are the advantages of this site as compared to other sites about Islam?

The biggest advantage is that anyone with access to the Internet can edit the website from their browser. You do not need to be a webmaster.

Other advantages over conventional websites would include the ability to keep our articles up-to-date and relevant regardless of when it was first created.

Reliability

I'm looking for information on Islam. Is this the site to get it?

Yes, if you are looking for factual information on Islam, this is the site to get it. If you have not found what you were looking for, you are welcome to make a request in the forum.

Anyone can edit WikiIslam, so does that mean anyone can insert false information?

No it does not. Like the German Wikipedia, all of our pages are under "Pending-changes protection", meaning they are open for editing, but changes will only become visible to readers once they have been reviewed by a user with the appropriate access, known as a "reviewer", or by the administration. WikiIslam prides itself on being an accurate source of information on Islam. There is even a page dedicated to arguments not to use on the website.

WikiIslam is only a wiki and is biased. How can we trust its content?

WikiIslam's focus on the criticism of Islam does not make us unreliable. The implementation of "Pending-changes protection" eliminates most of the common problems associated with wikis, and we also take great care in providing readers with copious references and footnotes that can be used to independently verify facts.

Concerning bias; if the references are reliable and presented correctly, the perceived bias of the site providing the information is irrelevant. Those who wish for others to dismiss the site by accusing us of bias are "attacking the messenger", a subdivision of the ad hominem logical fallacy.

There are countless individuals and websites that critique all forms of belief, but this does not lead to them being automatically labelled as unreliable. This is not always the case for those who choose to critique Islam. This is through no fault of our own, but the biases of the individuals who write us off as unreliable without ever analyzing our content. In most cases it would simply mean that you will have to look elsewhere for the positive aspects of whatever you are researching, however we actually host pro-Islamic content.

Conversely, apologetic sites are hardly a reliable source about Islamic beliefs. By their very nature, they are there to defend Islam from criticism, they are not there to reflect current Muslim thought on anything. They are just as guilty of bias as the sites critical of Islam are. For anyone to disparage a site critical of Islam, and then to present these sites as an alternative source for learning about Islamic beliefs, is extremely hypocritical.

If you are looking for accurate information on Christianity or Buddhism without the apologetics, you would not ask a Christian or Buddhist and you would not visit a biased pro-Christian/Buddhist website. Or, if you do, you would not limit your research to those few sources. The same principles apply to Islam.

How do I know the content is factual?

Facts concerning Islamic theology are supported by citing Islamic sources such as Qur'an verses, tafsirs, hadiths, and fatwas. If you believe something is factually inaccurate, please use the associated talk-page and let us know. Some examples of the types of sources we use are listed here.

Someone found mistakes in one of your articles. How can I trust the rest of the site?

WikiIslam hosts 2,794 articles written by various users. Anyone who claims they have found mistakes in one of our articles and therefore the rest of our site should be dismissed, is committing the logical fallacy of poisoning the well. Also note that essays do not necessarily reflect the views of WikiIslam.

We are receptive to criticism and appreciate the input of our readers because it only results in improving the site. So if you notice any errors please let us know via the associated talk-pages and we will put the article under review. Better still, if your aim is to provide us with constructive criticism, why not create an account and edit the page yourself?

Sources Used

Does WikiIslam use polemic sources?

No, we do not. Statements of fact concerning Islamic history and theology from polemic sources such as books, articles or commentaries by individuals such as Robert Spencer, Pamela Gellar, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Mark A. Gabriel, Wafa Sultan, Ali Sina, Walid Shoebat, Brigitte Gabriel etc., are not permitted under any circumstances as references on WikiIslam. Editors are advised to remove any such statements immediately if they come across them.

Does WikiIslam use fabricated sources?

No, we do not. We use Islamic sources which are readily available, either on the net or through retailers. They are the same sources you will see being used and accepted by thousands of Muslim websites. Wherever possible, we link directly to these Muslim websites which, for example, host Qur'an, Hadith, fatwa, fiqh and Tafsir text.

What Qur'an translation do you use?

Unless otherwise stated, we use the respected and widely accepted translations of Yusuf Ali, Marmaduke Pickthal or M. H. Shakir. All Qur'an quotes are taken from the University of Southern California Muslim Students Association's Compendium of Muslim Texts.

Does WikiIslam misquote Qur'an verses?

No, we do not. If a misquoted Qur'an verse is brought to our attention, we will correct it immediately. Most claims of "misquoted Qur'an verses" consist of an apologist using an obscure translation of the Qur'an and pointing out that our translation is different to theirs (e.g. see here). If someone fails to check the sources, they may assume that it is a misquotation on our part. However, it is us who are using the most widely accepted and established translations of the Qur'an (i.e. Yusuf Ali, Marmaduke Pickthal or M. H. Shakir).

What Hadith translations do you use?

Unless we have to translate an Arabic narration not yet available in English, it will generally be; the translation of Sahih Al-Bukhari by Muhsin Khan, the translation of Sahih Muslim by Abd-al-Hamid Siddiqui, the translation of Sunan Abu Dawud by Ahmad Hasan, and the translation of Malik's Muwatta by A'isha Abd-al-Rahman al-Tarjumana and Ya'qub Johnson. All are taken from the University of Southern California Muslim Students Association's Compendium of Muslim Texts. The English translations of Al Tirmidhi, Al Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah are all taken from Sunnah.com.

Does WikiIslam use weak hadiths or quote partial hadiths out of context?

No, we do not. The hadith collections used most often at WikiIslam form what is known as the "Authentic Six" i.e. the six canonical hadith collections of mainstream Islam. Bukhari and Muslim are labeled as entirely authentic (sahih). The others are from Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah. Malik's Muwatta' is also used and is placed just below the two Sahihs for its reliability, but is not generally included among the six. If available, when hadith from collections such as Nasa'i and Ibn Majah are quoted, the grading of its authenticity is also provided.

Hadith are never quoted out of context. They are almost always quoted in full. If a partial hadith is quoted, then it is only for the sake of brevity, and a verifiable online source is always provided to the full text. If a hadith is quoted out of context or is quoted in a way that obscures its actually meaning, we advise readers to bring this to our attention and we will promptly correct it.

It is ironic that those who make these false claims are usually the ones guilty of using weak hadiths or quoting partial hadiths out of context. We actually host many articles that deal with both of these issues (e.g. see here, here and here) and require editors to adhere to strict guidelines concerning reliable sources and how they are cited.

Wikipedia and WikiIslam

Is WikiIslam a branch of Wikipedia or the Wikimedia foundation?

No, we are not in any way related to or endorsed by these organizations. Our only commonality is our use of the same Mediawiki software which is also used by many other wiki websites.

Why should I choose WikiIslam over Wikipedia for information critical of Islam?

The Jagged 85 incident is a good example of the problems faced by Wikipedia with respect to Islam-related articles. Jagged 85 was an editor who contributed to 8,115 separate articles with over 67,000 edits made over a period of 5 years until they were caught in 2010. Focusing efforts on improving the image of Islam and downplaying the achievements of the western world, for 5 years he/she was left largely unhindered, misrepresenting sources in various ways, misrepresentations which were then reproduced all over the net by other sites which use Wikipedia as a source.

Wikipedia's policies have also allowed for the use of some very suspect "reliable" secondary sources. A prime example of this would be Paul Vallely's "How Islamic inventors changed the world". And they also host a fraudulent farewell sermon which was created by an Indian/Pakistani author in the 80's simply because Muslims use it a lot for propaganda, but ignore the authentic version of the sermon found in Tabari.

As WikiIslam concentrates on only one subject, we host fewer articles than Wikipedia. This enables the community to fine-tune our articles to a much higher standard.

How is WikiIslam different from Wikipedia?

WikiIslam's primary focus is on the criticism of Islam while Wikipedia is a compendium of general knowledge. These differing goals have led to different policies and guidelines.

Wikipedia discourages the use of primary and "non-notable/reliable" sources. WikiIslam, on the other hand, encourages the use of authentic primary religious text and the rulings of authoritative Muslim scholars who may not be notable to people outside of the Muslim world but who are giants within.

Wikipedia focuses on "verifiability, not truth". In essence, this means that anyone who falls under Wikipedia's classification of "notable/reliable" can make a statement about any subject, and regardless of its factual accuracy, it can be used in their articles. In regards to Islam, it has meant they accept what "notable/reliable" western commentators say about its religious text and Muslims over what the religious text and Muslims actually say themselves.

These commentators who speak about Islam and who fall under Wikipedia's classification of "notable/reliable" tend to be apologists, because serious scholars, for example; Bart Ehrman, are too scared, of violence against themselves or of being accused of bigotry, to criticize anything Islam-related. Thus, Wikipedia often uses notable apologists like Karen Armstrong (who is not a qualified historian or Islamic scholar) whilst ignoring some giant figures from the Islamic world.

What can I find at WikiIslam that I cannot find at Wikipedia?

While Wikipedia can be a good starting point for general knowledge on Islam, a lot of content and information can be found here on WikiIslam that you would never find there. Muslim Statistics, List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad, Converts to Islam, Quotations from Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars, and List of Genuine Islamic Inventions, Innovations, Records and Firsts are just a few examples. For our most recent articles, see the New Articles List.

About Us

Is WikiIslam Islamophobic, racist or a hate site?

No, WikiIslam is not Islamophobic, racist or a hate site. To make such a claim requires special pleading. If WikiIslam editors are labeled Islamophobes, racists and hate mongers, it is through no fault of their own, but the biases of the individuals who make these claims.

WikiIslam is not European or "Western", it is an international site with administrators, editors and contributors from all over the world, and the content and policies reflect this. The site does not have a left or right-wing political agenda, thus articles concerning immigration and other related issues are strictly prohibited. Consequently, readership is vast and not saturated by European or "Western" viewers.

Many of the site's administrators and editors are from a Muslim background and/or are skeptics from Muslim majority nations. The information on WikiIslam reflect what the religious sources say, so any negative or unflattering information in its articles concerning Islam or Prophet Muhammad are not the fault of editors. They are simply what the religious texts relate.

There are also many individuals and websites that critique all forms of beliefs, but this does not make them phobic, racist or hatemongers. For instance, Christians are the most widely persecuted religious group on earth, the majority of worldwide Christians are non-white, and Christianity is even sub-Saharan Africa's largest religion. This does not make criticism of Christianity or the actions and claims of its adherents, racist and phobic.

Everyone, without exception, is welcome to edit the main site content if they adhere to the policies and guidelines. And unlike most Muslim websites on the net, editors who would like to express an alternate point of view are welcome to create responses.

Is WikiIslam a propaganda site?

No, it is not. According to Wikipedia, propaganda is “a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position.” Sites which support women's rights, gay rights, refute Creationism or inform the public on matters concerning the science of Evolution would fit this definition. In fact any site with a point of view could be labeled with the “propaganda” tag, yet this is seldom the case.

Is WikiIslam a right-wing or counter-jihad site?

No, WikiIslam is not a right-wing or counter-jihad site. We do not endorse any particular political ideology. Thus, contributors to WikiIslam are from all positions of the political spectrum.

Also, according to Wikipedia, "Counter-jihad discourse mixes valid concerns about jihad-inspired terrorism with far more complex political issues about immigration to Europe from predominantly Muslim countries," and that "Bat Ye'Or's Eurabia [and other such conspiracy theories] are important to the movement. The main theme of these theories is an allegation that European leaders allow a Muslim dominance of Europe, whether by intention or not, through multicultural policies and lax immigration laws." WikiIslam does not cover political issues such as multiculturalism or immigration. Nor does it entertain related conspiracy theories such as Barack Obama being a secret Muslim.

I’ve heard many good things about Islam. Why doesn’t this site talk about them?

We do in fact have a collection of articles that aim to provide you with a positive view of Islam. However, for reading and contributing exclusively pro-Islamic content please see the Muslim Wikipedia, where presenting alternate point of views are strictly prohibited.

Was WikiIslam created by Christian missionaries?

No. WikiIslam was founded by an atheist. However, in regards to the criticism of Islam, being called a "Christian missionary" is a common occurrence and always derogatory. The term is often used in debates as an ad-hominem to encourage Muslim listeners/readers to dismiss any valid points that may have been raised. It is often applied to critics regardless of their religious affiliation or occupation.

Is WikiIslam owned by Jews?

No.

Is WikiIslam funded by Jews, and how much do they pay you?

No. We are not funded by any individual or entity. However, we do accept donations. A record of all donations can be viewed here.

Is WikiIslam pro-Israel?

No. This is not a political wiki. We focus solely on Islam. Any such articles will be updated, deleted or removed from the wiki mainspace.

Is WikiIslam owned by Ali Sina or Faith Freedom International?

No, we are not. WikiIslam was created on October 27, 2005 in collaboration with various individuals from Faith Freedom International who provided the site with server space, technical help and exposure. However, in August 2008, the site was moved out of FFI's server and since then we have been an independent site not owned by or affiliated with any organization.

What is the religious persuasion of the contributors to WikiIslam?

WikiIslam contributors come from all religious persuasions, including irreligious contributors of no faith. We do not endorse any religion, nor do we criticize any religion other than Islam. However, we do accept Evolution as a scientific fact.

Content

Why are there spelling and grammatical errors in some articles?

A lot of our articles have been written by former Muslims who speak English only as a second or third language. The correct use of grammar is important to us, so any corrections are appreciated.

Why are there so few articles hosted on WikiIslam?

Like most wikis, WikiIslam is always growing and we currently host 2,794 articles. Many wikis use copies or modified versions of Wikipedia articles. However, as a general rule, we do not allow Wikipedia articles in any form. We aim to provide readers with unique content and believe quality over quantity is the best policy.

Why do some pages not adhere to your policies and guidelines?

Wiki sites are always evolving, so there may be a few things which do not completely adhere to our rules. We have updated or deleted a whole host of articles which were unsuitable for this site, and as time permits, more and more pages will closely reflect our policies and guidelines.

I am a critic of Islam but I do not like some of the content on this website

Criticism of Islam comes in many varieties. What one critic likes may not be liked by another critic. Nevertheless, content can usually be improved. If you have any constructive criticism please let us know on the Forum page or use the talk page of an article to provide feedback on it. Critics of Islam are encouraged to be accepting of differences of opinions, provide constructive criticism when possible and work together on common goals. However, inaccuracy of content falls outside the issue of "accepting differences of opinions" and will not be tolerated.

Contributing

Can anyone create a login id and contribute to this website?

Yes. Creating an account is free, allows you to remain anonymous and takes only seconds. You can also edit using an IP address but will have to enter an anti-spam CAPTCHA for every edit. Click here to create an account. Before editing, please see our policies and guidelines.

I want to create an article criticizing atheism, Christianity or Hinduism. Can I start one?

No. We do not criticize any religion or world view other than Islam. Any such articles will be updated, deleted or removed from the wiki mainspace. However, we do accept Evolution as a scientific fact.

I want to create an article proving Christianity or Hinduism is superior to Islam. Can I start one?

No. We do not endorse any religion or world view. Any such articles will be updated, deleted or removed from the wiki mainspace.

We may, however, host articles refuting the more popular tu-quoque arguments and Islamic propaganda made against other faiths and world-views (for example; claiming Joseph, the husband of Mary, was a pedophile so it excuses Muhammad's actions, or claiming Muhammad was predicted in Hindu scripture and Zoroastrian scripture).

The fact that we have pages discussing Christian, Hindu and Zoroastrian scripture does not in any way make us pro-Christianity, Hinduism, or Zoroastrianism, because we are not endorsing any of these scripture as truth or better than the Qur'an. We are simply clarifying misconceptions which are spread by Muslims to endorse their religion.

Can I write an article about Muslim immigration, multiculturalism, leftists or Barack Obama?

No. This is not a "counter-jihad" wiki. Our aim is to remain neutral towards issues of a political rather than religious nature. Any such articles will be updated, deleted or removed from the wiki mainspace.

I want to become an admin and open up my own language's sub-domain. Can I start one?

We require about a front page's worth of translations (about 25-35 articles) before considering to launch a new sub-domain. More information about translations can be found at WikiIslam:Translations. Although WikiIslam's core principles will remain, once these initial translations are completed, the new sub-domains are free to evolve separately to the English site.

One of the key rules to follow when translating these pre-sub-domain articles is that they should always remain absolutely faithful to the original English work, retaining their scholarly tone and information. The reason for accurate translations to begin with is that it allows new editors in that particular language to understand the style, tone, and quality that is expected in all languages.

It also allows existing administrators to see if there are any users who would be suitable and willing to take on the responsibility of guiding the future direction of that sub-domain. To be an administrator at this site or one of its sub-domains, an editor must demonstrate that they fully understand and are willing to uphold the policies and guidelines concerning style, tone, and quality.

We take a scholarly and rational approach in our conduct and criticisms. We also differ from other sites in the fact that we have stringent rules concerning the content of our articles. Material should always be tailored to accommodate, as best as possible, a universal audience, and they should contain no politics, no promotion or criticism of other religions/worldviews and no opinions, only referenced facts.

Those who would like to see a WikiIslam sub-domain in their language are advised to join the WikiIslam Translation Project and start translating articles.

I want to donate to the site but have no PayPal account. Can you give me your postal address?

No, for obvious reasons we cannot. If you would honestly like to help, please open a PayPal account or consider an alternative way to support the site.

I know a great book/blog/website you could use to improve the wiki. What should I do?

If you know of a resource that may useful to editors at the wiki, then contact us via email. If the resource is suited to the site, an administrator will make it known to editors. Although general comments and suggestions are welcome on the wiki's forum page for visitors, posting links to online books/blogs/websites may be construed as a form of promotion.

Requests

Can someone do XYZ, create/edit an article for me?

You can leave a request in the forum, but editors are already busy with existing tasks, so you may have to do it yourself.

Can someone join Wikipedia and help me by doing some work/voting over there?

No, we are not a recruiting ground for Wikipedians.

Muslims are claiming XYZ about Islam. Can I have some help refuting this?

Such requests are better suited to the FFI forum. Open a thread under the Islam: Questioned, Defended, & Explained or The Quran and Hadith sub forums, and you should receive an answer.

Vandalism and Security

We are aware of the high risk of vandalism to this website and are prepared to effectively deal with any attempt to sabotage its content. In any case this is a wiki website, which means the website can always recover from any amount of vandalism.

Muslims openly discuss hacking the site, so is the content safe from their illegal activities?

Yes, we make regular data backups in multiple locations. We did lose 5 day's worth of edits in April 2007 after the server was hacked, but fortunately there was little editing that was done during those 5 days. This was the only time we have lost data.

Why not disallow IP edits to minimize vandalism?

The reasons are threefold:

  • Our pages are under "Pending-changes protection", meaning that all attempts at vandalizing the site are pointless because readers will never see any of it.
  • IP editors have contributed some great referenced work to the site (for example, Health Effects of Islamic Dress).
  • More often than not, IP vandals inadvertently contribute positively to the site. They do this by alerting editors of pages that may need to be improved or new pages that may need to be created. For example, this bit of vandalism resulted in an unreferenced page now being fully referenced, and this bit of vandalism resulted in an entire new page refuting a popular Muslim apologetic.

Miscellaneous

Does WikiIslam claim that Taqiyya allows Muslims to lie whenever they want?

No. Taqiyya does not mean "lying" in Islam. It only refers to a specific doctrine, a predominantly Shi'ite one, used by them in order to save their own lives or avoid some other form of severe persecution. Critics of Islam are often ridiculed because they tend to conflate this doctrine with that of lying in general, leading to the mislabelling of all forms of religious lying as an example of "taqiyya" (See, "Taqiyya" and "Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Lying and Deception" for more information on this subject).

See Also