- Likely to attract partisan voting
- Appears to be answering entirely the wrong question
- Too much noise; not enough signal
- Deletion recommended
I contend that, as written, the answer has significant problems which are too fundamental to be reasonably corrected by editing; this takes it beyond the realm of "not useful" and into the realm of "probably shouldn't be on the site at all".
The first and most fundamental of these problems is the fact that it does not actually answer the question, which is to say "Why Shia Muslims use a stone for saying prayers but Sunni Muslims don't?" The answer argues extensively why Shi'a Muslims use a stone for praying, which covers the first half of the question, but except for one short paragraph (in parentheses, no less) doesn't even try to explain why Sunni Muslims don't. This is clearly intentional, given the opening paragraph of the answer.
Likely to attract partisan voting
In an earlier meta post, I argued that for cases where the question is asking about a point in which there are major differences of opinion between sects, answers should either accurately summarise all sides of the argument (as is done in the current top-voted answer), or the question should be edited to focus on one side or the other. In this case, the question is clearly asking "Why such difference in style?" which would put it in well in the former category.
The danger in allowing the sorts of "half-answers" that only present one half of a controversial issue is that it tends to attract partisan voting. In the best case scenario, voters from one perspective will vote for the best post that reflects that perspective, while voters from the other perspective will vote for the best post of that perspective; in the worst case scenario, voters from one perspective will also selectively downvote posts of the other. This basically means that instead of allowing the most useful answers to float to the top, voting on these answers effectively just turns things into a popularity contest. This doesn't really jive with the Stack Exchange way and is potentially disastrous on a site such as ours where the risks of sectarianism cannot be overstated. Especially in this case where the difference of opinion is explicitly between Shi'ites and Sunnis, given the relative sizes of the two demographics.
Appears to be answering entirely the wrong question
Beyond that, it doesn't actually seem intent on answering even that half of the question; the bulk of the answer seems concerned with answering the entirely unasked (and only tangentially related) question, which from context appears to be either "Is it permissible/recommended for Sunni Muslims to pray on earth," or "Are Sunnis wrong to condemn Shi'ites for praying on earth?" This can easily be seen in various sentences throughout the answer:
- Both Shia and Sunni scholars allow prostration over clay…
- some sunni references say it is sunnah…
- None of these is wrong in the Sunni view as well…
- Some Sunni Muslims think Shia worship to stone itself…
The most egregious case of this, however, is with the ahadith quoted in the latter half of the answer, which are explicitly presented as "some hadith from Sunni hadith books." While the answer does explain that Shi'ites are more than happy to use "Sunni" ahadith in their rulings if they're found authentic, the answer does not claim nor demonstrate that these particular ahadith were ever used in such a manner.
It even goes so far as to quote "Sunni scholar Maulana Vahidul Zamankhan" with no attempt to explain why his opinion is of any value in Ja'fari jurisprudence.
Putting aside the Sunni/Shi'a issue for a minute, I contend that just quoting a list of ahadith is useless in an answer of this sort. Without providing any context to demonstrate their actual use, not to mention any attempt to gauge relative strengths, context or interpretation, it tends to come across as a vain attempt to look authentic without providing actual value. And even if they're all authentic and valuable in their own right, there really is no reason to list all of them; such lists are typically just an example of quantity over quality.
And as for the linked sites,
The first of the linked sites was nothing a long list of ahadith — emphasising the fact that they're Sunni ahadith — with absolute no attempt at context. The page isn't even credited to anyone, so there's no way of knowing if these ahadith were compiled by a scholar, or just a random Joe on the street. They're just… there.
The second of the linked sites is entirely in Arabic, so I can't comment on its value.
The third of the linked sites, however, again seems less interested in arguing for the Shi'ite practice of praying with stone, and more intent on proving Sunnis wrong for arguing against it.
At this point, I feel it is important to note that the author of the question makes absolutely no indication that he's even Sunni or coming from a Sunni background, so from the perspective of the question (which, honestly, should be the most important perspective for any answer) there's really no reason to believe there's any value to sites or even an answer intent on disproving a Sunni perspective.
Too much noise; not enough signal
The value of the Stack Exchange model is to maximise the signal-to-noise ratio; as such, answers should be clear and to-the-point. I contend that this answer, as written, is almost entirely noise, and that the only real "signal" is in the first three paragraphs of the posts "In Length" section. While barely an answer in its own right, this segment at least tries to answer the actual question by explaining why Shi'ites do and (some) Sunni's don't insist on using stone to pray:
According to Jafari Fiqh sujud (prostration) should be only on earth and if is on other things like carpet the prayer is not accepted.
because in today like findig earth is difficult in homes and
apartments so Shia Muslims use anything that is considered part of
earth like stone, wood, leaf of plants. but usually a Muhr (made by
soil) for genuflection. it is highly recommended with a great reward
to to sujud on soil of Karbala.
(Some Sunni Muslims think Shia worship to stone itself as idol and so
consider it as polytheism and taboo. Using a stone among Shia is
similar to praying towards Kabba which isnot worshiping Kaaba itself.)
Imam Sadiq S.A. always had emphasized this.
Given that this would involve deleting the vast majority of the answer, this edit would involve a fundamental change in the information presented; this is not really what editing is for. And even if that were done, it would still require substantial editing for grammar, and even then it doesn't really provide much in the way of information that isn't already present in the extant answers, and if it presents it in a way that is better, or even remotely comparable, to the current top-voted answer, I'm just not seeing it.
As far as I'm concerned, any attempt to salvage this answer would require such substantial editing that it would lose pretty much any resemblance to the original, and those edits will leave it, at best, passable. Not great, not good, just passable. There's just not enough meat in this answer to warrant the effort.
As such, I feel that this answer should just be deleted in its entirety.