I was looking through some questions and I found out that some users try to answer a specific question using evidences from their sect and at the same time include the opinions of other sects .

An example can be found here: https://islam.stackexchange.com/a/938/885

and there was another example too regarding Fatima(RA), which I had to waste my time trying to read the answer because he included some evidences from a different sect and then search for the evidences he mentioned and it turned out to be either taken out of its context or doesn't make any sense.

This doesn't mean it has zero advantages. Truth is that I learned a lot because the user has included some evidences from my sect which I wasn't aware of at all. However, the bad thing as I said earlier is that this user probably doesn't have enough knowledge about Y sect and he just copied and pasted from a webpage that belongs to his sect which also doesn't have enough knowledge hence there will be false information and things taken out of its context.

Another disadvantage, When someone does that, Other users who belong to Y sect will have to check behind him/her to see if he/she has made any mistake(probably will do) while they don't have to do that. They can use their efforts on something else in Islam.SE

So here is the question:

Should we kindly ask users to stick to the evidences from their sect when they answer a question ?

P.S: I am not trying to cause sectarianism here. But I found out some serious errors when qouting hadiths or fatwas and there is nothing worse than misleading Muslims or other users

  • +1 I dont find any problem in quoting canonical books of any sect ,but if you find errors or wrong quotes please point out and flag it there itself so that the wrong quotes can be removed after due verification
    – Islam
    Mar 9, 2013 at 18:39
  • I think the issue is less about posters using evidences from other sects, as it is about using evidences they don't fully understand. I see no problems if a Sunni or Shi'a scholar who actually studies sources from other sects (rather than pick-and-choosing without understanding) chooses to use either.
    – goldPseudo Mod
    Mar 10, 2013 at 2:35
  • please do not assume all users think based on sect. do not assume a user does not understand another sect. do not assume a sect ignores all evidences of another sect. these assumptions about users is not right. Islam does not have sect and authentic hadith from any sect is accepted by a real Muslim. May 6, 2014 at 14:08

3 Answers 3


Yes, it is fine to use any Islamic sources for any answer unless the OP explicitly asks for answers from a particular perspective.

A good answer like a Wikipedia article can use sources from any of accepted Islamic sources as long as it is done well. The sources are not owned by or dependent on the particular interpretations and commentary that a particular group might assign to them. The sources are historical documents and can be used by anyone to provide justification for the point an answer is making.

If there is a misrepresentation of the position of a particular group then that can be fixed or explained in a separate answer.

There seems to be a new trend to restrict what people can write in answers in place of trying to make them write better answers and this is not good. The general rule is simple:

if you think an answer is not good enough for any reason write a better one yourself!

We should be leading by example to promote writing of better answers. Removal of answers should be a rare exception not a frequently applied rule. In general, it is usually a sign of laziness and censorship to try to restrict what others can write. In other words, when a person doesn't like the answers given by others but is not capable of or willing to write a better answer the person tries to silence and get rid of other answers.


It depends on if some of evidences of sect Y is valid for sect X or not.

For example in shia Islam a sunni hadith is considered valid and usable if the narrator chain of hadith includes reliable persons (even if they are sunni narrators). i.e. if historically it is proved that the narrator is a person who is known as person who does not tell lies and does not fabricate the hadith for worldly gains then the hadith narrated by him is considered as authentic hadith. even if that person is a Sunni narrator.

There are many of examples of such Sunni persons that shia scholars consider the hadith narrated by then as authentic. The are many great and famous books written by shia scholars that many sunni hadith is accepted as authentic and used heavily on those books. some example of books written by shia scholars based on many ahadeeth narrated by reliable sunni narriators are:

Tafsir Safi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tafsir_Safi

المحجة البیضاء


شرح اللّمعه


مسكّن الفؤاد

السوق فی الدوله الاسلامیه

تفسیر ابوالفتوح رازی

تفسیر مجمع البیان http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majma%27_al-Bayan

تفسیر منهج الصادقین http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menhaj_Al-Sadeghin

They are only examples and the list is much longer.

In other words being a Sunni person is not a reason for ignoring the hadith narrated by him. but if it is known that person is a liar then his hadith is ignored.

In fact a shia evidence is not defines as an evidence narrated only by a Shia narrator. but instead in shia view a shia evidence is defined as a hadith narrated by a reliable narrator regardless of his sect. only in some specific subjects the narrator of hadith is needed to be a shia to that hadith can be considered authentic.

The only reason limiting the use of evidence in an answer should be the non-reliability of narrator. it is irrelevant of sect of user who answers the question or the sect of hadith narrator. Imam Khomeini the leader of Iran Islamic revolution used sunni hadith narrators as reliable source more than other scholars. it is not true to assume and enforce this assumption to this site that a user only understand one sect and has the right to use hadith only from one sect. possibly such enforcements can lead to a form of racism in this site.

Islam does not have sect and evidence is evidence if it is reliable. regardless of the sect of scholars and narrators provided that evidence.

Please do not assume about sect of users. perhaps a user is expert in all sects of Islam but you do not know it.

Please do not assume all users think based on sect.

Do not assume a user does not understand another sect.

Do not assume scholars of a sect ignores all evidences of another sect.

These assumptions about users is not right and is dangerous for future of this site.

IF this site is for knowing Islam so it should not be important from what sect the evidence is provided. and instead the reliability of evidence can be critiqued. we should not have dogma about any sect and should accept reliable evidence provided by scholars of any sect.


In short:

Unless the question is explicitly seeking a comparison between two schools/sects, answers should focus on one viewpoint per post.

In long:

The Stack Exchange model works best with focussed answers to focussed questions. In my view, a post that attempts to answer a question from multiple points of view lacks focus, which threatens to lower the overall quality of the site. And even a well-written pluralistic post would likely fail to cover all effective points of view; expanding the scope of the answer to cover all contingencies just makes it longer, harder to read, and more difficult to extract useful information therefrom, and it still wouldn't cover everything.

So for the sake of focus (and by extension usefulness), a single post should stick to evidences that are actually useful to that answer; in general, schools/sects weigh evidences differently, so information useful to one perspective could well be useless to another.

This isn't to say that mentioning such is never useful (I myself have no problem bringing up biblical references and even outright hearsay if I feel they strengthen my answers), just that such uses should be considered carefully. Using evidences from one perspective to prove conclusions made by another perspective, as is commonly done by polemic sites, is typically non-constructive.

If any given user from either side is going to outright reject either the evidences or the conclusion written in the answer, who exactly is it useful to? And if it's not useful to anybody, why bother including it at all?

There is, of course, nothing stopping any user from posting multiple answers for multiple points-of-view. If a Shi'a user wishes to answer from a Sunni perspective, or a Sunni from a Shi'a, I see no problem with that; the voting system will handle whether or not it's actually a good answer.

If any user posts an answer that misrepresents its evidences or conclusions, it will (God willing) be downvoted like any other bad answer. It doesn't matter which sect the writer is from (even Sunni users can misrepresent Sunni evidences if they don't properly understand them): A good answer is a good answer, and a bad answer is a bad answer.

  • that was a good answer, but how would you deal with those upvoting a specific person just because he belong to their sect (even if the sources he/she brought from another sect were wrong, they would still upvote him) What should we do in this case ? In the answer I linked above, the user has 11 upvotes but if you read his answer you will find it confusing and not focused as you said earlier.
    – Sohaeb
    Mar 10, 2013 at 5:27
  • @Suhaib Inre the voting-per-sect issue, I wrote a relevant meta post here: meta.islam.stackexchange.com/a/648/22 In short, we just need enough active users who can recognize and downvote bad posts while recognizing and upvoting good posts, and the problem will mostly solve itself; one reason we're still in beta is because we haven't built up a strong enough voting community yet.
    – goldPseudo Mod
    Mar 10, 2013 at 6:09
  • I disagree. Unless OP explicitly asks for answers from a particular perspective users are free to answer using any accepted sources they wish to use. A good answer can be comprehensive one. Moreover, your suggestion gives too much weight to sects (emphasizing and dividing Islam to sects is against Quran's advice). Sects should be simply treated as groups with different perspectives towards issues, and should not be treated different from how difference between say two Sunnis are dealt with.
    – Kaveh
    May 8, 2014 at 1:39
  • @Kaveh I only emphasised sects in my answer because the question emphasised sects. I stand by the same argument for any case where there's a difference of opinion: "a single post should stick to evidences that are actually useful to that answer". As long as the evidences are accepted by (and hence useful to) the perspective the answer is written from, go nuts.
    – goldPseudo Mod
    May 23, 2014 at 1:29

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