I've noticed a trend — on Islamic forums in general, not exclusively this site — of answering questions with nothing more than a copy-paste of an article written by a scholar. Even if they're properly cited (and thus not falling into the issue of plagiarism), I don't feel such answers are appropriate for this site.

To me, such answers are exceedingly low quality. We are trying to build a site of expert knowledge here, but there's not a lot of expert knowledge needed to just point someone to (for example) IslamQA. And that's not even getting into the issue of copy-pasting an article that isn't even a direct answer to the question asked, and thus would be only partially relevant. I doubt such posts, posts that effectively just tell people that we don't have our own answers, will attract the type of knowledgeable people we really need to make this site thrive.

After all, if we're not actually providing better information, or presenting good information in a better form, then why would anyone want to invest their time here?

Now I understand that there's not a lot of support in Islamic schools for laymen performing "original research," and the easiest way to avoid falling into that trap is to reference only opinions of scholars who are educated enough to do such research. But even then there's little to no reason (other than laziness) not to summarize a scholarly opinion in an easier to digest manner, or combine mutually-supporting opinions into one post, and then provide links to the originals if anyone wants more depth.

So the question I present to the community is thus: How should we the site (and especially we the moderators) deal with such answers?

(see also: Are answers that just contain links elsewhere really "good answers"?)


5 Answers 5


Such posts ought to be downvoted and commented on, IMO. We don't want to become a repository of quotes from elsewhere.

You have two separate issues here:

Answers which just quote the Quran/etc

Yes, the Quran is considered paramount, but it doesn't hurt to provide an interpretation of the quoted lines. Yes, interpretations can be subjective, but in that case the quotes are always a fallback.

Also, I doubt the quote will actually answer the question at all times (Yes, it will answer it, but not exactly--it won't look like an answer to the question). So adding a conclusion that succinctly answers the question is good.

For example, https://islam.stackexchange.com/a/236/227 contains a quote which effectively answers the question, but a "So, the Quran forbids homosexuality" line underneath wouldn't be amiss. Along with some background (Who is Lut?). On the other hand, the first section of https://islam.stackexchange.com/a/1452/227 is much better, it had interpretations and background (though I'm not sure if the rest of that answer is good, though--I'm just focusing on the quoting part).

Answers which just quote another site

These are even worse, for one there is the credibility issue, and for another there's not much effort put into the post. Again, you can add interpretations, etc (or not quote the site at all, instead write it in your own words). Otherwise, just provide a link in a comment--don't answer if you're not going to write much yourself.


I agree with manishearth on last section. I think such answers should be disallowed. As Manishearth said, they should be a link in a comment only. I think answers should look like a short academic essay, or answer to an exam question. I think in a healthy answer no more than %30-%40 should be quotation. And, every quotation should be further explained or clarified by the answerer. Here are some answers that I like the style of;




  • 1
    Brother, actually scholars on many many websites have perfectly carved answer for many many common questions we have. and the answer is desgined in such a way that we cannot make it better in any way. thats why believe if best answer is posted for exact same question by many many scholars, then whats the point of dis0allowing them? i mean why re-invent the wheel? Answers are expected by experts, but we all know that not every muslim is scholar on this site (even i doubt we have 1 scholar here)
    – Farhan
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 21:58

I don't see a problem of having a copy-and-paste answer if it is covering the question correctly. I think that this is valid for a range of questions which asks about pretty straight answers.

For example:

Do I have to fast in Ramadan when playing soccer?

Is one of the popular question, which have many good canned-copy-and-paste answers. Just mention the source, and mention clearly that it is copied.

I think that the purpose of the website to offer good answers for questions.

  • i agree with you. Copy paste shouldnt matter, its the ANSWER, that should fulfill the requirement.. if already a perfect and BEST answer is available, then ehy invent the wheel again?
    – Farhan
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 21:40

When the same question is answered somewhere else and that answer is clear and enough and no need to add extra, what is problem to copy it with link and author and format and copyright maters?

It is said:

Do not invent the wheel again.

It depends on case. but some times a copied text is clear and enough as a valid answer.

it saves time also!

  • 1
    That raise a fundamental question, why was the question asked in the first place if it were answered elsewhere? Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 21:28
  • @BleedingFingers it can have different reasons. the asker should reply. perhaps same answer with different questions. perhaps asker could not find. if you want to have only really new questions this site will have less than 10 question. near all of questions are answered by different scholars in past. also all sites of scholars are not easily found in internet. or questions answered in other languages. different reasons. or perhaps askwer wants to know different views. or other reasons Commented Dec 28, 2013 at 4:52

Totally dis-agree.

Because many many questions are already answered by experts on IslamQA (as its the best site already for question answers about islam), so how can BEST answers, that too by EXPERTS became of Low quality? what is definition of low quality for you? Will i get a negative point for this comment too?

Copy paste shouldnt matter, its the ANSWER, that should fulfill the requirement.. if already a perfect and BEST answer is available, then ehy invent the wheel again?

  • If a question is perfectly answered by IslamQA or one of the other popular easily-searched Q&A sites, then the question is probably a poor question to begin with.
    – goldPseudo Mod
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 22:16
  • this is a totally wrong assumption. doesnt makes sense to me atleast. Imagine a person comes to internet and he does NOT know about IslamQa, or any islam related website, he comes up with this site, so when he wants to search for answer of his question, why cant WE (who have answer from islamQA) provide him the proper answer? which will save his time on searching (as not every person is BEST google searcher..) So this assumption is wrong as well, that whenever a person comes on internet, he will SURELY get his answer from google...
    – Farhan
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 9:47
  • Internet is FULL of knowledge, its WE who know , that which question's answer is answered WHERE on internet. its OUR duty to Research and Find proper answer and provide the user with that answer, simple.. if answer is already avaialble then its our job to guide those towards that answer, not just assume that he MUST be a Pro Searcher on internet.. some people are really dumb on internet as well
    – Farhan
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 9:50
  • "as its the best site already for question answers about islam" - I think there is different of opinions about that though.
    – Kilise
    Commented May 14, 2017 at 21:07

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