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I have seen a number of questions show up on the site, usually in the form of "Is such-and-such common practice valid according to Islamic law?" or "Is so-and-so group wrong for practicing such-and-such?"

Rather than having anything to do with studying Islam the religion, such questions are typically focussed on passing judgement (be that judgement right or wrong) on practices performed by particular groups of people, or in some cases judging particular groups of people directly. As a site which has struggled with sectarianism pretty much from the get-go, do these questions have any place here at all? If so, how can they be made constructive rather than judgmental?

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Islamic practices are quite diverse, it is completely natural that people will ask about differences. The tone of a question and the intention of its owner are as important as the question being asked. When there is a genuine question it is almost always possible to restate the question is a constructive and unoffending manner. Is the question being asked to make a point or is it asked to learn? If it is a genuine question then

edit the question to ask for the reasons and justifications in place of passing judgments.

E.g. change "is X Islamic?" to "what is the basis of X according to Y?" or "why Y do X" or "what is the position of Z about practice X of Y and what is the basis of that position?" or "did the prophet (pbuh) did X?" or "are there verses related to X in Quran?" ...

Keep in mind many users are not used to a diverse community as we have on this site and may be insensitive to such issues. If we want the site to succeed we should help them state what they want to know on a suitable way and after a few examples they would be able to do so by themselves.

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I think the questioners who ask such questions are in three groups.

  1. Some questioners want to know about others sects of Islam and their laws. So It is natural to ask such questions. like persons who are not Muslims and want to know more about sects in Islam.

  2. Some others are curious about other sects practices. like the Sunnis who never saw Shias or Some Shias who never saw Sunnis. And the other sect is a mysterious thing for them.

  3. But some questioners ask these questions to open an illogical argumentative comments.

It is obvious that the third questions are not constructive. Due to a Hadith from the prophet(PBUH),

رسولُ اللّه‏ِ صلى‏ الله‏ عليه‏ و‏ آله: ما ضَلَّ قَومٌ إلّا أوْثَقواالجَدَلَ .
There was no ethnic misleading unless it relied on the controversy .

For Some practices Shia has its own reasons and Sunni has its own. A person who want to learn something,will take a look at the two sects opinions and logically decide to obey which one. It is more close to keep our unity. If we do not follow the Prophet (PBUH) orders We have no future.

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    I think you might have missed the point of what goldPseudo was asking about. The first two scenarios you describe are asking "about" the beliefs or practices of a group. The question here is whether questions asking for "judgment to be passed on" a group are okay. If the questions being discussed fell under the first two of your categories, they wouldn't be related to this question in the first place. But no matter what a users intentions, this site also needs to consider the importance of how questions are actually worded. – Caleb Jun 20 '14 at 13:34

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