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Established off-topic reasons

I think we need to reconsider the list of off-topic closure reasons, and I plan to propose revised close reasons in a subsequent post (they were last considered in 2013). As a first step in this process, I want to list off-topic close reasons which are established and are largely accepted by the community.

1. Questions unrelated to the teachings of Islam.

Note: All of the following general off-topic reasons are overridden when there is something tangible to be learned about Islam by asking them. If there's doubt, the author can simply state what they aim to learn about Islam.

(a) Politics

I think political questions which are about Islam's teachings and understanding Islam ... Political questions are likely to be controversial and lead to lengthy and extended debate and discussion. They need be stated very carefully to avoid such issues. -- Kaveh, 2014 (current score: +7/-0)

(b) Advice

  • Peer support

    Some questions are only tangentially-related to the subject of Islam. Try not to turn this into a issues or political forum, or a place to ask "What do Muslims think about [X]?" ... This is a site about the subject of Islam ... -- Robert Cartaino ♦, 2012 (current score: +26/-0)

  • Counselling

    The problem I see in allowing these type of questions, which can come under primarily opinion-based, is that less effort is put into constructing the core question and more is put into discussing and describing one's personal problems -- Bleeding Fingers ♦, 2013 (current score: +5/-0)

(c) Arabic language

... the translation or meaning of a word or text in Arabic which is relevant in Islam ... can be considered in the scope and the OP should provide the context to make it on-topic for the site. ... The translation and meaning of arbitrary Arabic words or texts should be off-topic. -- Kaveh, 2012 (current score: +11/-0)

(d) Dream interpretation

But the interpretation of dreams can be correct or incorrect, and Quran and hadith are not abundant with details on that. -- user2350, 2013 (current score: +4/-0)

(e) Spiritual healing

I reckon that the site should not be used for these types of question ... because these questions typically do not come from any academic interest in the topic. -- goldPseudo ♦, 2013 (current score +6/-3)

2. Questions which tend to result in arguing.

The questions have been declared off-topic, not because they are not about Islam, but because they risk leading to arguments and voting based on agreement rather than quality/usefulness.

(a) Defend yourself questions

The problem with each is that they confrontational first and inquisitive second. -- Jon Ericson ♦, 2013 (current score: +6/-0)

(b) Criticisms phrased as questions

This is not a debate/discussion site, nor a site to criticize Islam/Muslims. It is for people who genuinely want to learn about Islam from Islamic perspective(s) to ask questions, not for expressing or discussing what others think about Islam/Muslims. -- Kaveh, 2012 (current score +8/-0)

(c) Which group is "right"?

All posts asking for the site to pass judgement on some person or group, or which seek to "invalidate" some sect of Islam ... are off-topic and will be closed/deleted on sight. -- Aarthi, 2012 (current score: +41/-1)

(d) Truth questions

Questions are Truthy when they're explicitly attempting to pit one ideology against another -- goldPseudo ♦, 2017 (new post)



Other off-topic reasons [not as established, but well known]

These come up from time to time, but I feel they're not as established as the above off-topic reasons.

1. Questions unrelated to the teachings of Islam.

(f) Culture and behaviour

The current close reason includes "culture or behaviour":

Questions on Muslim culture or behaviour unrelated to the teachings of Islam are off-topic here. See: Islam SE: Not an Muslim Peer Support Group.

and it's mentioned in the on-topic page:

The following, however, are considered off-topic here except where they're shown to be directly relevant to the religion of Islam: ... - Cultural practices and behaviour of Muslim communities

But I don't see a meta post explaining which culture and behaviour questions are off-topic, and why they are off-topic. There's this post which introduces the off-topic close reason (current score +2/-1). I've asked two questions about this: here and here.

(g) Requests for apologetics

This seems to have arisen here: Islam—Stack Exchange is not for debates or apologetics, but it's not so clear-cut: What types of apologetics do we want to discourage?.


Other discussed off-topic reasons

  • "Truth questions are those which, inadvertently or not, request multiple answers from incompatible points of view." I've voiced this somewhere before, but this reads to me like all questions on fiqh where there isn't ijma would be off topic; it's incompatible to say both not praying takes you out of Islam and not praying doesn't take you out of Islam, but both those positions exist in fiqh. Can you clarify what you mean here with something more precise? – G. Bach Jun 4 '17 at 19:40
  • @G.Bach: That appears to be (an approximation of) the definition used on Christianity.SE. It wouldn't be that "all questions on fiqh where there isn't ijma would be off topic", it's that asking in such a way so they get competing answers makes them Truth questions. (And I'm unsure they should be considered off-topic, but they seem to have been harmful in the past.) This conversation should be had at the relevant thread though: islam.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1917/17163 – Rebecca J. Stones Jun 5 '17 at 1:05
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Question is an individual fatwa

An addition to off-topic reasons

My suggestion is that we add an off-topic category that is dedicated to Islam.SE not being a fatwa site. This should help us close questions that fall under the category of individual fatwas, while keeping ones that are broad enough or can be made broad enough through editing.

Closing — Off topic

Islam.SE is not a fatwa site. This question belongs a fatwa site as the case has more than one condition that makes it specific to an individual or under specific conditions, which requires a certified scholar to answer.

In my opinion, two topics need to fall under this (will definitely be revised as we move along):

  1. Matters related to individual marriage or divorce validity.
  2. Matters related to the inheritance of one individual or a number of individuals tied together (e.g., parents die in an accident, while mother is pregnant but the fetus survives for a few hours in an incubator, who should inherit).

See this answer for the discussion, based on the help section of Islam.SE not being a fatwa site.

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