WikiIslam:Writing Style Guide
WikiIslam's aim is to be the internet's most definitive, scholarly and neutral source for information of the religion of Islam. As such this page expands on the site's policies and guidelines concerning style, tone and content of its articles by providing a visual guide for editors. Its goal is both to provide practical guides to the editor on questions such as orthography as well as to facilitate the creation of articles which are neutral and encyclopedic in nature.
There are many acceptable phonetic spellings for different words that are translated or transliterated into English. However, WikiIslam editors should standardize spelling to use throughout the wiki. The following is a list of required spelling standardizations. Note: You should not standardize spelling in quotations, leave the quoted text as originally written. This table is subject to change to accommodate new words.
|WikiIslam Standard||Proper Noun||Meaning|
|Allah||Yes||God of the Quran|
|Quran||Yes||Central religious text (Holy book) of Islam|
|Hadith||No||Notable collections of words, actions, approvals and disapprovals of Muhammad during his life|
|Muhammad||Yes||Prophet of Islam|
|Abu Bakr||Yes||First caliph and best friend of Muhammad|
|Umar (ibn al-Khattab)||Yes||Second caliph and senior companion of Muhammad|
|Uthman (ibn Affan)||Yes||Third caliph, second cousin, and son-in-law of the Muhammad|
|Ali (ibn-Abi Talib)||Yes||Fourth caliph and Muhammad’s son-in-law|
|Tafsir||No||Exegesis – scholarly commentary on the Quran and hadith|
|Mufassir||No||Author of a Tafsir|
|Sunni||Yes||One of the two main branches of Islam|
|Shia||Yes||One of the two main branches of Islam|
|Aisha (bint Abu Bakr)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives, daughter of Abu Bakr|
|Khadijah (bint Khuwaylid)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Sawda (bint Zam’a)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Hafsa (bint Umar)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Zaynab (bint Khuzayma)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Hind (bint Abi Umayya)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Rayhana (bint Zayd)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Zaynab (bint Jahsh)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Juwayriyya (bint al-Harith)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Safiyya (bint Huyeiy)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Ramla (bint Abi Sufyan)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Maria al-Qibtiyya||Yes||One of Muhammad’s sex slaves / concubines|
|Maymuna (bint al-Harith)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Juwayriyya (bint al-Harith)||Yes||One of Muhammad’s wives|
|Fatimah||Yes||Muhammad’s youngest daughter, wife of Ali ibn-Abi Talib|
|Ahmadiyya||Yes||Islamic revival sect founded in Punjab|
|al-Bukhari||Yes||Islamic scholar who authored what is considered to be the most authentic hadith collection|
|al-Tabari||Yes||Islamic foremost Mufassir|
|al-Jalalayn||Yes||Classical tafsir of the Quran composed by Jalal ad-Din al-Mahalli|
|al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah||Yes||Biography of Muhammad|
|Mecca||Yes||Holy city of Islam|
|Hajj||No||Greater holy pilgrimage in Islam|
|Umrah||No||Lesser holy pilgrimage in Islam|
|Kaaba||Yes||Building at the center of Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. Direction of Muslim prayers and destination of pilgrimage|
|Najis||No||Ritually unclean or impure physically or spiritually|
|Sahih||No||The denotation of a hadith is “authentic”|
|Hasan||No||The denotation of a hadith as “good”|
|Da’if||No||The denotation of a hadith as “weak”|
|Mutawatir||No||Hadith with multiple narrators|
|Ahaad||No||Non-Mutawatir hadith, usually narrated by one narrator|
|Sharia||No||Islamic canonical law based on Islamic scriptures|
|Hanafi||Yes||One of four religious Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence|
|Maliki||Yes||One of four religious Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence|
|Shafi’i||Yes||One of four religious Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence|
|Ja’fari||Yes||The religious Shia Islamic school of jurisprudence|
|Fatwa||No||Non-binding but authoritative legal ruling issued by qualified jurist|
|Sheikh||No||Honorific title for knowledgeable Islamic clergyman.|
|Imam||No||Someone who leads prayer|
|Mufti||No||Someone who can give jurisprudence judgements on religious matters|
|Ayatollah||No||Honorific title of Shia religious leader|
|Halal||No||Permissible in Islam|
|Haram||No||Impermissible in Islam|
|Shirk||No||Idolatry or polytheism|
|Mushrik||No||Someone who commits shirk|
|Mulhid||No||Apostate, heretic, or atheist|
|Murtad||No||Denier (of Islam)|
|Zakat||No||Obligatory charity based on % wealth|
WikiIslam is an objective and neutral, encyclopedic source of information about Islam. As such the tone of its writing and the use of its sources directly impact its mission. Writers for WikiIslam should collect and present the relevant information from the cited sources. The articles should not include conclusions, as WikiIslam should be the beginning of research on a given subject, not the final word on it. When divergent views exist within expert opinion, both sides should be included so far as possible and the conclusion should encourage the reader to draw their own conclusions/investigate further. It should go without saying, however to be explicit extremely generalizing, hateful, or otherwise insulting statements against any group of people (including against Muslims) are specifically not allowed and continued use of such language may result in a permanent ban.
Overall, the tone should be encyclopedic and neutral. The facts should be presented "as is" with only as much commentary is needed to elucidate any given point or give relevant background information, and the tone of the writing should be that of an encyclopedia entry describing a fact about the world we live in, not a polemic trying to convince the reader of a given point or conversational banter with a familiar second party. Articles must adhere to the encyclopedia format and should address the topic at hand directly and neutrally; articles engaged in a particular argument (whether states explicitly or left implicit) and attempting to persuade the reader of one side will not be permitted. Speaking directly to the reader should be avoided if at all possible, and the use of the 1st person "we" should likewise be avoided if at all possible. Although the wiki covers some controversial topics the goal of its language should be to keep anyone reading as long as possible without causing any offense. This does NOT mean that the content of the article should "pull punches" or avoid controversial topics that might hurt the feelings of Muslims or any other group of people, however the word choice should not be such that a reasonable person from any given group might immediately stop reading due to the diction or word choice alone.
Any and all analyses should not be labeled as an analysis and there should be no sections dedicated to or labeled as analysis—the whole article should be a comprehensive summary and analysis of scripture and scholarly sources. Thus, analysis will present itself throughout the article.
Acceptable analysis includes that analysis which brings together scholarly stances and/or direct scriptural references on a position and makes objective observations. The idea is to summarize the sources and allow the reader to determine how they support or conflict with one another. All positions mentioned should stay relevant to the subject of the article. Original research, that is to say conclusions reached by the writer/editor of the article and not subject peer review in an academic manner, is not allowed and should not be part of the analysis if there is no relevant scholarly source to be cited in support of it. Even if a fact or analysis conclusion is so elementary as to not require a citation, every fact or analysis conclusion must be able to be cited in an acceptable source.
Unacceptable analysis Includes any analysis that contains the editor’s own judgement, conclusions, impressions, evaluations, or ethics. It is also unacceptable for editors to judge intentions or character of any author, source, or person—real or fictional.
While editing, do not to delete good analyses that are poorly written. Instead try to clean any biases and opinions from the old editor and leave any of the objective valuable or citable material.
Be sure to investigate counter arguments and check key translated words in the original Arabic or other language before adding a point.
Lead vs Body
The Lead Text should define and explain only essential information about the subject and its impacts/contributions. The Lead Text text comes before the table of contents and does not have a section title. It is composed of one to five paragraphs and should be written simply and concisely to allow for easy digestion of information. This will also help Google create snippets for their search engine and therefore boosts the article’s visibility.
The lead text is the most important text in the article and should clearly lay out and summarize the information to be presented in the rest of the article.
The lead should also give a reasonable facsimile of the information in the article. As WikiIslam is an encyclopedia this should not be an argument but should be long enough to give the reader an idea of what they will be reading.
The body text should go into greater detail than the Lead text. It is important that all challengeable materials, or any claim that is subject to dispute, are from third party published works. The body should go into further details of interest on the subject and be broken down into sections.
Where a source is open to interpretation or is disputed, editors should not assume a particular meaning. Interpretations can be discussed by reference to scholars. The editor should only seek to summarize and collect sources that accurately reflect the positions and dialogue concerning the article’s subject. Articles should never end with an evaluation of the editor’s impression, as this constitutes original research. They should, however, summarize the conclusions of the scholarly works and the plain readings of the primary sources cited.
Modern Views of Traditional Islamic Topics
Islam, as any great tradition, has and continues to change with the times. What a Muslim scholar wrote in a book in 10th century Baghdad is not going to perfectly reflect the beliefs and practices of Muslims living on the West Coast of the United States in the current year. The beliefs of both and in fact all other Muslims fall within the scope and purview of WikiIslam, and it is the wiki's job to document both. When it comes to the arguments of modern Islamic du'aah (preachers) and apologists however special care is needed. The wiki shall concern itself with documenting such arguments as reach a critical mass of recognition in the Muslim community at large, and will present them clearly and in an unbiased fashion. Where these arguments contradict obvious readings of the original texts, contradict published and accepted science, or generally err in regards to the facts these errors shall be enumerated and commented upon, but the wiki will not concern itself with making persuasive arguments as to the merits of these apologetic claims, one way or another. Likewise, when a commonly held modern view in the contemporary Muslim community contradicts a plain reading of the text or provable history, these discrepancies too shall be catalogued, but it is once again not the wiki's job to make a persuasive argument for or against such views. For more information on which apologetic claims can be included for discussion on the wiki, please see WikiIslam:Scope and Article Relevance.
If the transliterated word is not the subject of the article always link the first occurrence of the word to its own article when applicable. If you find a commonly transliterated word does not have its own article suggest or start one.
For titles of transliterated words use the standardized transliteration as the title with the English translation in brackets next to it. Example: Jannah (Heaven)
If a word has a suitable English translation the first occurrence of the word should use the translation followed by brackets including the transliteration and the word in its original language. Example: dust (turabin تُرَابٍ) all following occurrences can use either the English translation (preferred) or the transliteration if necessary.
If the word does not have a suitable English translation the first occurrence of the word should use the standardized transliteration followed by brackets including the language and the word in its original language. Example: Jizyah (جزية) all following occurrences can use the transliterated word.
This page explains polices concerning honorifics
Prophet, Christ or Lord
When discussing the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the first mention in an article and its conclusion should begin with the capitalized qualifier, Prophet, i.e. "The Prophet Muhammad". The same applies to any personal noun such as Jesus or Ganesha, (i.e. Jesus Christ" or "Lord Ganesha). This is because we need to be clear that we are discussing the religious figures named Muhammad, Jesus or Ganesha, and not another individual. Referring to Jesus as "Jesus Christ" does not make one a Christian, nor does referring to Muhammad as "Prophet Muhammad" make one a Muslim.
Sheikh, Imam, Saint or Doctor
Due to similar reasons, at least the first mention in an article should include the individual's religious title. For example, "Imam Bukhari" or "Shaykh Qaradawi". This is no different than referring to a saint or doctor as "Saint Patrick" or "Dr. Phil".
SAW, SWT, He, Him or Her
WikiIslam aims to be an objective platform, therefore additional religious honorifics such as "Muhammad (saw)" or "Allah (swt)" are not permitted in articles, unless quoting from a text which has them. The same applies to using an uppercase "H" in words such as "he", "him" or "her" in reference to deities of any religion. An exception to this rule would be the talk pages where users are free to use whatever form they feel comfortable with.
- Guidelines for Effective Professional and Academic Writing - University of Florida, Reviewed January 2013 (archived), http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc063