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I wrote a question "Is Allah Wearing a Loincloth" which was originally closed by multiple users, with the close reason given as "Unclear what you are asking." It was subsequently reopened by votes, but then it was closed again by a different moderator for the same reason.

Should this question be reopened? Or, if this question as written does necessitate closure, what if anything can be done to make it clear and constructive?

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    Just a clarification: Sayyid and Sohaeb are not moderators. This site is moderated in large part by its users. Folks that have been around a while and have earned reputation points through their posts are grated various privileges including the ability to vote on closing and opening questions. See privileges for more info on this. – Caleb Aug 1 '14 at 10:47
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    Whether they are moderators or not, they should be held accountable for the decision they have made. – fatemah3 Aug 1 '14 at 19:53
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    You say that as if they are crimanals that broke the law or something but they are not. In fact that is exactly how this site is supposed to work. It's a crowd sourqed system with trusted community members being endowed with the responsibility to close questions that are not a good fit for the site. At best they might be expected to help educate people on why things aren't a good fit but your antagonistic tone is not exactly encouraging that. Are you here to learn why some things aren't a good fit here or to fight to make them fit no matter? – Caleb Aug 1 '14 at 21:04
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    Antagonistic decisions trigger off antagonistic comments. However, I do not believe that a non-offensive direct question should be considered antagonistic. Anyway, please do not lose the big picture. When your rights are being trampled, you've got to stand up firmly for them! – fatemah3 Aug 2 '14 at 1:38
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    A question closure is neither an antagonistic decision nor a trampling of your rights. It's part of the normal function of this site. Are you wi/liog to consider the possibility that not all question. Are a good fit here, that this might have been one that doesn't and learn what features make good questions and which are problematic? – Caleb Aug 2 '14 at 4:28
  • I do not have any problem with closure rules but the point is that sometimes users mistakenly enforce a rule which will result in trampling others' rights. That's why we cannot remain silent when seeing such violations. – fatemah3 Aug 2 '14 at 6:46
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    You're still not hearing what I'm saying here. Maybe English isn't your first language or maybe you've just got a bit of tunnel vision but hear me on this: phrases like "rights being trampled", "violations" and "hold people accountable for mistaken enforcement" are neither compatible with "I do not have a problem with closure rules" nor are they constructive ways to talk about a judgment call you disagree with. Those are fighting words---not a good way to get people to review their judgment call and not indicative of you being willing to learn adout how this site works. Are you? – Caleb Aug 2 '14 at 10:18
  • come on man! you're being so sensitive! If I didn't know how this site worked, I wouldn't have brought this matter up at the first place. Additionally, to be honest I didn't get the feeling of being treated constructively! Please take a quick look at the reasons (let's not say excuses) why they decided to put my question on hold so that you can find out about my feelings. And last but not least: Islamically speaking, violation is not always used for killing, murdering , theft or.... You would be violating others' right if you intentionally cut in a line! – fatemah3 Aug 2 '14 at 12:39
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    My point is than nothing is being violated! The system is working as it was designed to. Even in the cases where moderators or other users made a judgment call about a question and closed something you think the site would be better for having open, that is still the system working as it should, and a constructive way to participate would be to ask, discuss and try to understand where people you disagree with are coming from then make a positive case for how you think your view improves the site rather than just demanding they change their minds or justify their existing action. – Caleb Aug 2 '14 at 12:46
  • This question was re-edited for neutrality and constructivity. Loading it with biassed language and accusations is not appropriate conduct, and indicates that you are less interested in getting an actual answer to your question than you are in proving yourself right. – goldPseudo Aug 27 '14 at 22:20
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I think most of the users totally missed the real point of the question asked by the OP which was "making sense of" a hadith that apparently attributes physical parts or belongings to Allah.

I already know that there are some disagreements among muslim scholars (especially from different schools) on this problem which in turn might have posed a different problem to the question as it could've attracted different answers based on different schools however this problem could've been avoided if the OP had made it explicit which school (or schools) of jurisprudence he wants to answer the question.

But the question got stuck in a very different controversy because of what seems to be a confusion rising from the correct translation vs correct interpretation of the hadith which are two very different things!

As for the contested translation of the hadith which revolved mainly around the translation of the Arabic word "حَقو", Almaany Online Arabic Dictionary returns 'groin' and 'loin' as the correct Arabic equivalents. Google Translate (which admittedly doesn't have a scholarly-authored glossary but one that reflects languages as commonly used by internet users), in turn, returns 'waist' and 'loin'.

These are the common literal translations of the controversial word at least as in contemporary use.

Other advocated translations such as the one provided by Sunnah.com doesn't seem to be a literal translation as it entirely ignores the word "حقو" but probably for interpretative intention of the translator to rule out unwanted literal (mis)connotations which, in the meantime, must be understood as one way of "making sense of" the tradition as demanded by the OP, representing at least one of the approaches to the problem raised.

Therefore it was crucial to explicitly distinguish between the literal translation and interpretative understanding of the tradition in order to avoid a misleading controversy stemming from confusing between the two, while the latter was the independent problem that should've been recognized and properly addressed by answerers.

But obviously the OP himself was mainly responsible for the controversy for insisting on one alleged literal translation 'loincloth' as opposed to 'waist' (which may be one possibility and true but not yet verified for others). But the point is that regardless of the literal translation so long as the equivalent is a physical object the interpretive problem stands; a problem already wisely recognized and answered by one user!

I recommend the OP to update the question to better highlight the actual problem. Moreover as physical metaphors in Quran and Sunna are too ample to resort to a one single controversial one, I recommend producing some additional examples for making a stronger case for the problem.

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  • I appreciate this excellent analysis of the question. I should note that if you feel able to correct the question itself, that would increase the odds that it will get reopened. – Jon Ericson Aug 30 '14 at 18:05
  • @JonEricson, Thanks, edit done! – infatuated Aug 31 '14 at 4:44
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The question itself doesn't really make any sense; the whole thing seems to be based on a mistranslation of the hadith, a translation which (as best I can tell) isn't espoused by anyone except the OP.

Of note, here is the entirity of the hadith using a more common translation (as provided by Sunnah.com)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Allah created His creation, and when He had finished it, the womb, got up and caught hold of Allah whereupon Allah said, "What is the matter?' On that, it said, 'I seek refuge with you from those who sever the ties of Kith and kin.' On that Allah said, 'Will you be satisfied if I bestow My favors on him who keeps your ties, and withhold My favors from him who severs your ties?' On that it said, 'Yes, O my Lord!' Then Allah said, 'That is for you.' " Abu Huraira added: If you wish, you can recite: "Would you then if you were given the authority. do mischief in the land and sever your ties of kinship. (47. 22)

This is word-for-word the same translation used in OP, except with the first sentence re-translated:

  • from: Allah created His creation, and when He had finished it, the womb, got up and caught hold of Allah whereupon Allah said,
  • to: Allah created His creation, and when He was done with it, the womb, got up and caught hold of Arrahman's loincloth! Allah said,

This suggests that, rather than asking about a particular, a common, or even a reasonable interpretation of the hadith held by any particular school of Islam (which would easily make the question on-topic and constructive) you're asking about the reasoning behind your own personal interpretation, even though you don't give any particularly compelling argument behind why you've even bothered to translate it like that (while ignoring multiple comments mentioning the peculiarity of the translation).

But that's all moot, since the question isn't really asking about the reasoning behind the translation. It isn't even asking about why your translation and the more common translation differ. Basically, all it does is presents a peculiar translation (which, by the quoted reference in the post itself, is not even the primary definition the word), then asks if we're supposed to agree with that translation.

Honestly, I can't see any constructive value to this question; as written, it looks like nothing more than a crude attempt to either lay doubt on the collection of Sahih Bukhari or the narrations of Abu Hurayrah, rather than an actual legitimate question based on an actual problem you face. That sort of polemic question is not what the site is geared toward, and such are not welcome on this site at all.

If such polemic was not your intent, then the question still needs to be reworked to make that clear, and to focus on what (if any) legitimate question you're actually asking. Otherwise, keeping it closed as "unclear" makes perfect sense.

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  • Well, the translation you offered is different from what the actual hadith in Arabic reads. The word "حقو" is commonly translated to 'waist' or 'loin' in most Arabic dictionaries. Your suggested translation entirely ignores it probably for being an interpretive translation rather than a literal. Please note my answer where I fully discuss the controversy. – infatuated Aug 30 '14 at 16:32
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I voted to close it down:

  1. You got an answer, but you didn't like it.

  2. Another person told you about the correct translation, but you declined his translation.

Thus, it is unclear what you are asking

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  • 1.Do I have to like the first answer I get even if it dose not make any sense? 2. Sayyid didn't give me the correct translation. Additionally, if MAKZ's translation was correct, there would be no question. But the problem is MAKZ's translation was not correct as I explained over there. As a result my question remains unanswered. 3. at least be honest with yourselves. would you really be convinced by such an answer and comments, if you were the questioner? – fatemah3 Aug 1 '14 at 6:56
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    One doesn't close the question if OP doesn't like an answer. A question should should be judged independent of what the author or the answerer thinks. Same goes for the second point. – Bleeding Fingers Aug 2 '14 at 16:38
  • @BleedingFingers, it seems you misunderstood my comment. when more than one person reads the question and then answer based on this understanding, yet OP comes and says the answer contradicts the question, then this means the question is "unclear" – Sohaeb Aug 2 '14 at 20:17
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    I disagree. OP could be confused or is not being able to properly state the question. If the question is unambiguous then OP's contradiction in the comment doesn't make the question unclear. – Bleeding Fingers Aug 2 '14 at 22:03

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