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My question is related to the answer I posted to another question "How to avoid masturbation and sincerly repent doing it?" and it was deleted based on the reason that we are supposed to answer in our own words. Even though I provided the reference from which my answer was copied.

That answer was copied from another website where a similar question was asked and answered by a renowned scholar "Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid".

Now I have the following questions:

  • The purpose of this site should be answering the queries which people have but based on authentic sources and not what someone thinks is the solution?
  • I can write the same answer rephrased but since it is answered by a scholar, his answer will always be better because he is more knowledgeable about the finer details which any normal person can miss.
  • The answer mostly contains quotes of Quran and hadith which is anyway copied from Quran and hadith (Just to clarify answer based on Quran and hadith are more relevant and should always be considered rather than people relying on their whims to answers questions related to Islam.)

Also to clarify please consider the following hadith: Jareer ibn 'Abdullaah al-Bajali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: 'Whoever starts a good thing and is followed by others, will have his own reward and a reward equal to that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their reward in any way. Whoever starts a bad thing and is followed by others, will bear the burden of his own sin and a burden equal to that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their burden in any way.'" (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2675. He said, this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth)

So if we are forcing normal people to answer questions in their own words, the chance of error increases and that increases the chance of committing a sin as well.

A simple solution would be (as written in the comments) - It's better if we quote scholars on matters related to fiqh (rough meaning law and rulings) like questions asking if beard keeping beard is fard etc. but on non-fiqh issues promoting user opinions, like questions asking about ways to prepare for ramadan, family issues etc. which are open for discussion and which normal people can answer as well.

Rest Allah knows best.

migrated from islam.stackexchange.com May 10 '16 at 15:43

This question came from our site for Muslims, experts in Islam, and those interested in learning more about Islam.

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    You can write an answer with your own words and link fatwas, but not post an entire fatwa as your answer! – Medi1Saif May 10 '16 at 9:22
  • I read through the links you shared and I get the idea.In every other case this would work and I have no doubt in that. But the problem here is when it comes to Islam we should seek answers from scholars, and not from normal people who don't even properly know about Islam, answers questions about it is far fetched. When it comes to attracting users a better strategy would be that users get relevant answer on the web site, rather than original content(original content now doesn't make sense because the person who is asking and the person who is answering both have no idea about islam). – fr33styl3 May 10 '16 at 10:04
  • I mean I do agree with the issue of plagiarism but we should also agree on the fact that issues related to fiqh should only be answered by scholars (A sample question will be- Is beard haraam?). So such questions would better have answers which are from scholars and not general users. However the questions not involving fiqh (rough meaning would be laws) can have public opinions and answers (A sample question would be-How should we spend Ramadan etc.) – fr33styl3 May 10 '16 at 11:57
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    @fr33styl3 the point is we want answers that come from you or what you've learnt not from a scholar. So yes you may refer to a scholars answer but in your own words, to show that you understood it else you are doing plagiarism and that is a legal issue! Islamqa is an ambivalent site: It only shows one opinion of Islam, a salafi PoV. – Medi1Saif May 10 '16 at 11:59
  • @Medi1Saif What I mean is the issue of plagiarism can arise (From where I have copied there is no such issue, I mean if it's actually a scholar he wouldn't mind his answers being told to more people, plus the website doesn't say another about it and I have quoted the page as well). – fr33styl3 May 10 '16 at 12:06
  • @Medi1Saif Also we are missing the point here, it's not about me, it's about all of us. You know if I write fiqh issues in my own words and make mistake, that would mean spreading false information and we very well know how serious that is in Islam. There are many ahadith on this and no point quoting them. – fr33styl3 May 10 '16 at 12:11
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    @fr33styl3 well we are on SE, and the rules of SE are relevant. If you want to make your own rules that's your choice. In fiqh matters honestly any one is giving fatwa. Or do you think that any appointed young man who is imam is able to give fatwa or the right person to ask? I'm only answering questions I'm able to give my opinion about based on fatwa and sources. And if you like you can interpret a lot more like those who are taking any "hadith" literally like salafis! Most of the people here are smart so if they don't use their own mind whom will do so? – Medi1Saif May 10 '16 at 12:16
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Actually, you summed it up pretty well yourself:

So if we are forcing normal people to answer questions in their own words, the chance of error increases and that increases the chance of committing a sin as well.

Posters are expected to stand behind their answers, including the risk of any potential errors they might make. If you don't take the effort to be sure that your post is without error, then yes, you run the risk of committing sin and spreading false information. This obviously applies to laymen and scholars alike: If you're going to go out and spread information on Islam, you better make sure it's correct.

Quoting fatawa from scholars is not an excuse to shirk this responsibility. As per the Stack Exchange model, not only do you need to be sure that your answer directly, completely and usefully answers the question asked, but you also need the critical ability to recognize when your post is accurate and without error. You need to understand what you've posted well enough to be able to respond to people who need further clarification and/or react to criticism and improve what you've posted, and especially to be able to recognize and correct any errors that may have slipped past as soon as they're brought to your attention.

If you don't even trust your own ability to understand the reference well enough to explain it in your own words, why would you expect anyone else to trust your opinion that it's even useful and/or relevant? And why would you expect anyone else who reads your post to understand it any better than you didn't?

When it comes to answers, there is no real personal authority on the Stack Exchange network; authenticity is determined by peer review. If you look on every other successful Stack Exchange site, poor answers get voted down and good answers get voted up because the community consists of large amounts of experts: Experts who can recognize when someone posts a good answer and when someone posts garbage.

Quoting people who know more than you do with no attempt at elaboration or critical evaluation (i.e. "Scholar said so: It must be right") is known as an appeal to authority, which is a fallacy. Even if most laymen would accept it, experts can usually recognize it for what it is: Evidence that the poster actually doesn't understand what he's talking about.

Experts are not likely to hang around a site that actively encourages people who don't know what they're talking about to answer questions. And without experts, the entire Stack Exchange model fails.

In other words, if you think a question should only be answered by a scholar, and you are not a scholar, you probably shouldn't be answering the question in the first place: Just leave it for someone who can.

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The content on Stack Exchange is similar to content on Wikipedia. The goal is not finding answers which are true or authoritative and can be trusted but answers which are verifiable. See Wikipedia:Verifiability,_not_truth for an explanation of what this means.

The answers here are not supposed to be trusted and this is explained clearly in our help center. This is a knowledge sharing site not a fatwa site. The information is provided in good faith but no grantees are made that it is correct, complete, etc. If you take actions based on the content on this site you yourself bear the sole responsibility for your actions.

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If you have ever considered taking the tour and checked our help-center you may have understood or got an idea how this site is supposed to work and guide:

Islam Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for experts in Islam, students of knowledge, and those interested in Islam on an academic level. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about Islam on an academic level.

  • We are in first place not a fatwa site. But a side for academical discussions on the topic of Islam.
  • Yes we do answer questions based on fatwa, but as you may see the community helps improving answers, by up- down-votes, comments pointing at some missing points, mistakes, misunderstandings or asking for clarification etc.
  • Yes we may give answers which maybe qualified as fatawa, and as any other scholar we are asked to support our claims with evidences, so again the community is asked to help to improve answers like these.
    Note fatawa on the internet are a very ambivalent matter. As no scholar can give you an appropriate answer unless he can get more feedback (from you), to give a fatwa a good Mufti would ask you to get all relevant and useful information, this isn't possible in the internet. And fatwa may differ from mufti to mufti according his background (madhab, is he rather addicted to the fiqh or to hadith school, to what extent is he able to go beyond the opinions of his school), knowledge and understanding or interpretation of your question. So yes we are not qualified to give a fatwa and no fatwa on the internet could be used to answer similar purposes or even the same, if it lacks further information both our answer and fatwas on the net could only help or give a hint about a possible ruling, no more no less!

What does this mean: If we answer we should do our best to give a good answer, based on evidences else such an answer would/should be down-voted or even deleted, and we should give it knowing that we are responsible for what we write and stand up for it. So giving our opinion is allowed,a s it can be widely discussed: via comments, chat etc. this is what we would call an active community.

Therefore one should think first and answer if one is able to defend his opinion and explain it. Else it would be better not to answer or as German say colloquially (in a rather abusive manner): "Wenn man mal keine Ahnung hat, einfach mal die Fresse halten" which may mean (in a nicer manner): "If you haven't got a clue, just keep quiet." and is not that far from the great quote from Mark Twain:

“It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Note that in any community people may differ and have some kind of understanding and relationships as this post may display or suggest.

The copy paste Issue: Copying and pasting, as @goldPseudo wrote, is a sign that the author of such an answer isn't able to write in his own words, to explain the fatwa, so he apparently doesn't understand what he is posting, so how can he defend an opinion which is not based on his own opinion or elaboration?

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