WikiIslam:Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of WikiIslam?
The purpose of WikiIslam is to provide accurate and accessible information from traditional and critical perspectives on the beliefs, practices, and development of 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. This attracts broader and more diverse contributions.
Other advantages over conventional websites include the ability to keep articles up-to-date and relevant regardless of when the articles were first created.
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 on the relevant Discussions page.
Anyone can edit WikiIslam, 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.
Why should I trust WikiIslam's contents?
WikiIslam's focus on the criticism of Islam does not make it 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 sub variety of the ad hominem logical fallacy.
There are countless individuals and websites that present a critical perspective on all forms of belief, but this does not lead to them being automatically labelled as unreliable. Evidently, this is not always the case for those who choose to present a critical perspective on Islam. Dismissal of the wiki, therefore, does not necessarily reflect upon the quality of the wiki itself, but rather the biases of the individuals who write the wiki off as unreliable without ever analyzing its 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 can be just as guilty of bias as some of the biased, Islam-critical sites out there. WikiIslam strives to eliminate this sort of bias from its articles.
If one were looking for accurate information on Christianity or Buddhism, with and without the apologetics, they would not ask a Christian or Buddhist alone, nor would they resist visiting a site that openly presented critical perspectives on Christianity or Buddhism. If they did, they would actively engaging in a sort of confirmation bias -- consuming only that information which confirms their beliefs, while ignoring everything else. The same principles can 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 verify the citation in the footnotes for yourself, use the associated talk-page, and let us know. Some examples of the types of reliable sources encouraged for use on the wiki are listed here.
Someone found mistakes in one of the wiki's articles. How can I trust the rest of the site?
WikiIslam hosts 828 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.
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 notand edit the page yourself?
What sources does WikiIslam permit the usage of?
The wiki relies on Islamic and academic 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.
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.
What Qur'an translation does WikiIslam 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 widely referenced quranx.com and are properly sourced and linked with the context of three preceding and subsequent verses.
If a misquoted Qur'an verse is brought to the editors' attention, it will be corrected immediately. Most claims of "misquoted Qur'an verses" consist of an apologists using an obscure translation of the Qur'an and pointing out that the translation on the wiki is different from theirs (e.g. see here). If someone fails to check the sources, they may assume that it is a misquotation on the part of the editors. However, the wiki's policy is such that it relies on 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 WikiIslam use?
All hadith translations are taken from quranx.com. If the translation used is produced by the editor or not from quranx.com, this should be brought to the administration's attention, and it will be corrected. Editors are also instructed to make such corrections themselves.
Does WikiIslam permit the use of weak hadiths or allow partial hadiths to be quoted out of context?
No, it does 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, especially Bukhari and Muslim. 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 possible, 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, readers are advised to bring this to the wiki's attention and it will promptly be corrected.
It is somewhat ironic that Islamic apologists are usually the most frequently guilty of using weak hadiths or quoting partial hadiths out of context. In fact, the wiki hosts many articles that deal with both of these issues (e.g. see here, here and here) and requires 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, WikiIslam not in any way related to or endorsed by these organizations. The only commonality is WikiIslam's use of the same Mediawiki software which is also used by many other wiki websites.
Why should I use WikiIslam over Wikipedia for information on 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 fabricated version of Muhammad's farewell sermon which was created by an Indian/Pakistani author in the 80's, simply because the version often features in Islamic propaganda, all while ignoring the authentic version of the sermon found in Tabari.
As WikiIslam concentrates on only one subject, it hosts fewer articles than Wikipedia. This enables the community to fine-tune the wiki's articles to a much higher standard.
How is WikiIslam different from Wikipedia?
WikiIslam's primary focus is on 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. This is in addition to permitting the citation of critical, academic scholarship, which, while also allowed on Wikipedia, is almost invariably suppressed due to the abundance of editors seeking to cast Islam in a favorable light.
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 and apologists claim about Islamic scriptures 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 instance Bart Ehrman, are scared of violence against themselves or of being accused of bigotry if they 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 and Islamic history as well as world-renown academic historians and scholars of religion, such as Michael Cook.
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 is difficult or impossible to find on Wikipedia. Oftentimes controversial topics such as the List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad and many Direct Quotations from Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars are just a few examples. See the New Articles List for the latest articles on WikiIslam.
Does WikiIslam permit Islamophobic, racist, or hateful content?
No, WikiIslam does not permit Islamophobic, racist or a hateful content.
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, along with political topics in general. Consequently, readership is vast and not monopolized by European or "Western" viewers.
Many if not most of the site's administrators and editors are from a Muslim background or are skeptics from Muslim majority nations and no infrequently have some level of formal Islamic religious training. The information on WikiIslam reflect what the religious sources say, so any negative or unflattering information concerning Islam or Prophet Muhammad cannot be described as the fault of editors. The information is very 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, as is often made to be the case with Islam (even as it is Christians and not Muslims who comprise the most widely persecuted religious group on earth, it is worth noting that while left-leaning political parties in Western countries often go out of their way to make Muslim diasporas feel included, the same is hardly - if ever - the case in Muslim-majority countries with respect to their Christian and other religious minorities).
Does WikiIslam permit politically-charged content?
No, WikiIslam does not permit content of a political nature. WikiIslam does not endorse any particular political ideology.
Does WikiIslam permit content on the "positive" aspects of Islam?
WikiIslam is naturally comprised of the contributions made to it by its editors, the great majority of whom are interested in critical perspectives on Islam. As a result, often-important "good" and "neutral" matters concerning Islam sometimes receive a less intensive treatment on the wiki. Constructing this base of more general and even positive knowledge about Islam is, like the rest of the wiki, an ongoing project, and it is important to understand, as per WikiIslam's mission statement, that articles on such "polemically-benign" topics are absolutely and incontrovertibly allowed and encouraged on the wiki.
Editors interested in spreading information on the aspects of Islam they perceive to be positive are encouraged to contribute to the wiki, along with anyone else aiming to contribute accurate and objective content, no matter whether it is perceived as being positive or negative.
Who owns, operates and finances WikiIslam?
Who founded WikiIslam?
WikiIslam was created on October 27, 2005 by various online activists led by Axius and was hosted on server space provided by Faith Freedom International. Starting in August 2008, the site separated from FFI and operated as an independent site. In 2015, following excessive amounts of vandalism, the site came under the management of the Ex-Muslims of North America.
What is the religious persuasion of the contributors to WikiIslam?
WikiIslam contributors come from all religious persuasions, including irreligious contributors of no faith. WikiIslam does not endorse any religion. However, certain scientific theories, such as Evolution, are treated on the wiki as fact.
Why are there spelling and grammatical errors in some articles?
A lot of articles on the wiki have been written by former Muslims who speak English only as a second or third language. The correct use of grammar is important to the wiki, so any corrections are appreciated.
Why are there so few articles hosted on WikiIslam?
WikiIslam currently host 828 articles and, like most wikis, is always growing.
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 site policy. Administrators have updated and deleted several hundred articles which were deemed unsuitable for the site, and as time permits, more and more pages will closely reflect wiki policies and guidelines.
I have something to contribute but I do not like some of the content on this website
Content can usually be improved and, when this is not the case, recommended for deletion. If you have any constructive criticism or contribution to make consider sharing as much on the relevant Discussions page or use the talk page of an article to provide feedback on it, or, if willing, consider joining WikiIslam's community of editors and making changes yourself. WikiIslam is fully that which its editors make it to be, and if there are improvements you would like to see and are competent to deliver, the most reliable way to effect that change will always be to do so yourself.
I think WikiIslam is great, how can I help?
Help is always appreciated and can come in various forms, including: new ideas, content-writing, data scanning and collection, translations, copy-editing, marketing and donations (see Ways To Help for more details).
Can anyone create a login ID and contribute to this website?
Anyone without destructive and malicious intent is fully welcome to contact administrators and request an editor account (these accounts will be readily provided). Anyone seeking to make genuine, constructive contributions - even if just grammar and formatting edits - is allowed to possess a fully-functional editors account.
Can I create an article about another religion?
No. WikiIslam focuses solely on Islam. WikiIslam do not endorse any religion, worldview, or hierarchy thereof. Any such irrelevant and biased articles will be updated, deleted or removed from the wiki.
Topics regarding other religious traditions are only allowed insofar as they are discussed in a comparative context with Islam, and even in such cases it is necessary that the article focus on comparisons with Islam and not focus on other topics with no relation to Islam.
Can I contribute politically-charged content?
No. This is not a political wiki. WikiIslam's 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.
I want to become an admin and open up my own language's sub-domain. Can I start one?
Roughly a front page's worth of translations (about 25-35 full-length articles, excluding links or media pages) are required before considering to launch a new sub-domain. More information about translations can be found at WikiIslam:Translations. WikiIslam's core principles must be maintained on all sub-domains, and may be deactivated if they fail to do so.
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 a 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.
Can you give me your postal address?
No, for obvious reasons we cannot. If you would honestly like to help, 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 be 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 discussion page for visitors, posting links to online books/blogs/websites may be construed as a form of promotion, so please do not post them there.
Can someone do XYZ or create/edit an article for me?
You can leave a request on the relevant Discussions page, however WikiIslam can make no guarantees as to whether or not editors will take on the task of writing the articles suggested.
Can someone join Wikipedia and help me by doing some work/voting over there?
No, WikiIslam is not a recruiting ground for Wikipedia projects. Editors and readers are allowed to network for such purposes on personal talk pages and through other means however they see fit, but such activity is not otherwise permitted on WikiIslam.
Someone is falsely claiming XYZ about Islam. Can I have some help refuting this?
While WikiIslam encourages requesting and recommending novel content on the site's discussions and talk pages, requests for help with everyday online debates are better suited to the various forums found online dedicated to this sort of discussion (e.g. Ex-Muslims Reddit, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Forum, Religious Forums, and The Interfaith Forum). Informing wiki editors of a claim by posting links to it on discussions pages may be construed as a form of promotion or spam, so please do not do that.
Vandalism and Security
Certain online forums openly discuss hacking/vandalizing this site, so is the content safe from their illegal activities?
Yes. WikiIslam admins 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. WikiIslam admins regularly generate data backups in multiple locations. Once, the wiki lost 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. That was only time site data was ever irreparably lost.
Why were IP edits disabled? Is WikiIslam trying to restrict who is and is not allowed to edit? Does this mean the wiki will be biased?
Following a surge of vandalism efforts, it was felt that the net negative impact of continuing to allow IP edits outweighed its positives. Currently, a thorough cleanup of the website and refocusing of the website is underway, with the general objective of making the site focus on broader topics within Islam and not just its criticisms. While WikiIslam aspires to maintain its critical, non-dogmatic treatment of Islam, it is decidedly the case that openly antagonizing Muslims is contrary to and indeed undermines the site's purpose. After such content has been satisfactorily updated and removed, WikiIslam may once again open itself to IP edits, though such a return cannot be guaranteed.
It is important to note that throughout all this and into the future, anyone and everyone hoping to contribute constructively to the wiki is allowed to contribute. Aspiring editors are simply required to request an account registration from the wiki administration and undergo a brief vetting process (to make sure such accounts are not wastefully handed out to vandals). Muslims, ex-Muslims, and non-Muslims are all welcome to contribute to the website, so long as adversarial and dogmatic commentary is absent from their contributions. WikiIslam aspires to give an objective, nonpartisan portrait of Islam; contributors from any and all backgrounds can help in achieving this.
Everybody, ranging from critics to apologists of Islam, is welcome to request an account on WikiIslam, so long as they do not proceed to suppress or distort perspective they disagree with. No discrimination on the basis of personal identity will be made in distributing accounts. However, editors activities are monitored. Anyone caught fabricating sources, deliberately presenting distortions of the historical or modern mainstream Islamic tradition, or engaging in personal attacks will be dealt with equally and swiftly, no matter their religious or irreligious self-identification.
Modern reinterpretations of classical Islamic doctrine are always welcome on the site, being a part of the intellectual history and development of Islam, but must always be described as such. Attempts to present modern reinterpretations as somehow historically mainstream will (whether to recast the historical tradition in a more positive or negative light) result in content deletion and account deactivation. This applies equally to, for instance, attempts to present modern Salafi perspectives as historically mainstream as it does to attempts to present Islamic modernist or Islamic feminist perspectives as historically mainstream.
Why should I be blocked for including my opinions in an article?
WikiIslam does not advocate any political or religious positions. WikiIslam consists of an online community whose rules you agree to abide by when voluntarily joining it. If those rules are broken (e.g. through vandalism and other forms of disruption) then you will be sanctioned (given a warning or blocked, depending on the situation). Outside of our policies maintain that every individual, no matter their gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationality, religious beliefs or political views are equals and should be treated as such. This does not exempt any of the aforementioned groups from being required to adhere to the site's policies and guidelines.
Why are you censoring me by deleting/wiping my comments or edits?
WikiIslam does not "censor" people because it "has an agenda" or is "afraid of criticism". Indeed, WikiIslam welcomes every legitimate point of view and actually and strives to document the developments and changes that take place in Islamic beliefs over time. Modern or reformed Islamic perspectives are welcome on the wiki, but must be described as such and cannot pretend to being historically mainstream.
Besides this strict policy against censorship, the wiki also refuses to host irrelevant content. Content having nothing to do with Islam, such as an article about a certain make of car or aircraft, will be removed. This is also utterly unrelated to WikiIslam's anti-censorship policy and by no means violates it.
Simply put, removing content that violates this website's policies is not censorship. If errors, incomprehensible English or bad formatting is inserted into articles, those edits are subject to reversion. If insults, threats and other forms of vandalism are inserted into articles, they will be wiped from the pages' history. The same principle applies to talk pages. If people violate the talk page guidelines, post insults, off-topic rants or questions on talk pages, they will be deleted or wiped from the talk page's history (depending on the nature of the comment itself). These are straightforward and commonsense policies, and in no way can they be construed as "censorship".
People are entirely free to voice their complaints or concerns about WikiIslam (this is why an email address is provided for anyone who would like to reach out). However, WikiIslam will not pander to time-wasters who disrupt editors with inane questions in the name of "dialogue" or vandals who seek to delete valid material while adding their own.
Islam has many sects and interpretations, so what definition of "Islam" does this site use?
When anyone refers to "Islam" without providing a qualifier, it is widely understood to mean Sunni Islam. For example, the Five Pillars of Islam is a set of beliefs specific to the Sunnis, but it is never referred to as the "Five Pillars of Sunni Islam". This is no surprise, considering the Sunnis (which include the Salafis or "Wahhabis") account for up to 90% of all Muslims. Sunni Islam itself is also widely referred to as "mainstream" and "orthodox" Islam (indeed, in at least one sense, the word "Shi'a" literally means "sect"). Therefore, when referring to the beliefs of a version of Islam other than the Sunni version, editors must always make sure the readers know this by specifying the name of the sect or cult (e.g. Shi'ite, Qur'anist, etc.). With these qualifications, content regarding any belief system that refers to itself as Islamic is welcome on the wiki, as WikiIslam is not in the business of distinguishing "true" or "false" forms of Islam.
Concerning possible variances of interpretations within Sunni Islam, there are four mainstream schools of thought, which are accepted by one another. Although there are some differences in beliefs and law, the schools generally agree on the more important and consequential issues (e.g. classically: marriages to young girls, the death sentence for apostates, the positive view of female genital mutilation, and so on). In any case, WikiIslam uses the majority views held by both the followers and fuqaha’ (scholars) of Islam. If a minority or modern view is being quoted, the name of that particular Madh'hab or sect is required to be provided.
Some readers may find it worth noting that those who hold minority views (often views more pleasant to modern sensibilities) usually also consider majority views perfectly acceptable -- in these cases, holding the minority view does not preclude or undermine the majority view, even if it is disagreeable (e.g. the execution of apostates), and so the proponents of minority views are often still left tacitly approving majority views that may be considered disagreeable. This phenomenon often renders approval of disagreeable practices implicit in modern or minority interpretive circles, forcing the question of whether a meaningful change of belief has in fact been attained.
I have a complaint/concern/serious matter to discuss. What should I do?
If you have a complaint, concern or some other serious matter you would like to discuss with site admins, please feel free to use the email address found here. However, be aware that emails which contain death threats or insults will be ignored. Do not post complaints, concerns or other serious matters on the Discussions pages. That is not why they are there for. Those pages are there for friendly discussions between editors (or for general enquiries), and users who attempt to disrupt or discourage editors with their complaints will not be tolerated whatsoever. If you do decide to violate our site's policies by deliberately posting such messages in an inappropriate place, your complaint will be reverted/wiped from the page's history and you will risk being blocked from further editing.
- WikiIslam:Core Principles
- If you have any other questions, leave a message at the relevant Discussions page.
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