After a rather painful conversation in the comments of this question, I realize that I asked the wrong question, expanded on it badly, and made edits that didn't really help. Should I repost a new question, or entirely change the title and contents of the original?

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    I suppose that depends on what you think the "right" question should've been, and how fundamentally different it is from the one you actually asked.
    – goldPseudo Mod
    Jun 21 '16 at 17:48
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    I should not have started with the premise (or even a hint of the premise) that Muhammad was not explicit about succession. That caused a huge misunderstanding, and a conversation about whether Muhammad was indeed explicit. I do not care whether he was or he wasn't. I am wondering about the stark contrast between the handling of succession versus the handling of mundane details like personal hygiene, or the handling of the Aisha incident, which although huge, seems far less huge than the issue of succession. Jun 21 '16 at 18:15

As best I can tell, your "real" question just seems to be a clearer version of the question you ended up posting, rather than a fundamental change to the actual question. That puts it well into "Edit" territory in my book.

As I read it, your use of the word "explicit" was a weak choice, since the Shi'ite interpretation is that it was "explicit"; a fact that you were well aware of and lampshaded in the question itself ("One group says Muhammad was explicit, another group says Muhammad deliberately left the matter to the will of the Umma."). I would've gone with something more along the lines of "clear-cut" or "unambiguous", but otherwise the question itself seems fundamentally sound: You want to know why this isn't an issue in which there was absolutely no doubt among everybody concerned, and are looking for secular resources which examine it.

(of course, if i'm wrong in the above interpretation, then perhaps your question does need significant rework…)

I'm not convinced the comments thereon were remotely constructive or based on any actual misunderstanding, given that they seemed intent on bringing in exactly the same sectarian arguments you explicitly clearly and unambiguously weren't interested in, even in spite you repeatedly saying you weren't interested in them.

  • Ok, thanks very much. I've struggled with this sort of thing on the Christianity site too, and I've worried a lot that I'm just not being clear enough. Maybe it's just really hard to have a SE-style site related to a subject that engenders emotional investment. I guess similar problems would appear on a SE site devoted to politics. Thanks so much for your input, not only on this question, but on all the others you've helped me with. Jun 22 '16 at 15:17

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