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In one of Gigili's answers, I realized that we haven't really talked about the best way to cite sources. I believe we need a clear, strong, common way to cite sources.

Islam is pretty vast; we already have sunni vs. shia vs. sufi vs. ahmadi sources cited across the site. That's okay, because we want to see what different groups say about different issues.

As an end-user, readers want to understand (if it matters) who's perspective they're reading. Therefore, I advocate a clear citation like:

Surah Baqarah, verse 201

I advocate a similar style for hadith -- quote and link to the collection at least (eg. Bukhari, book of X). Mention the collection, so readers know whether it's a Sunni collection like Bukhari or a shia/etc. collection.

Also, when you quote imams, you may need to mention who he is for the benefit of some readers. I assume this will be a judgment call; Google is always your friend.

Again, the goal is clarity and consistency. If someone has a better approach, I'd love to hear it.

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Asalamu wa alaikum,

I think you are correct in all of the ways.

I just want to add that when we cite something from a Imam, we should link it to somewhere where we could learn more about him. I think it should be the same with all of what we cite, instead of just putting Surat Baqarah Ayah 201 , we put that as a link to somewhere reliable where they can read it. And the same thing with the Hadith.

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    +1 for linking to information about an Imam, so that even if it is an Imam we are unfamiliar with we can at least make a better judgment. – System Down Jun 21 '12 at 17:03
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I think this is a very good suggestion. It can be very helpful and is consistent with practice on other sites. Without references a post referring or quoting an ayah, a hadith, or any other source is not very informative since one cannot easily verify it. This is similar to the practice on Wikipedia template citation needed.

We might also want to collect some online list that can help people find references for what they are quoting or referring to. If someone is unable to find a reference others should help if they know a reference.

Following this practice will make the content of questions and answers will be verifiable and less confusing to others.

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