Talk:Muhammad/Mediation Archive 7

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Archive 7
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What you would do...

Please explain in a couple of sentences what you would do if you were allowed to do exactly what you want to, without other's opinions in consideration, as well as what you would do considering their opinions.

  • BostonMA:
  • Tom Harrison: I would include images wherever they would be included in any other biographical article. I think two would be appropriate: one Persian or Ottoman at the top or with a relevent section, and another, maybe Image:Maome.jpg, at the section on depictions. I care not so much about the result as about how we get there: I would not support basing on religion any decision about page content, here or anywhere else. Tom Harrison Talk 22:45, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
  • HighInBC: I would include at least one image. If there is one image that history agrees is accurate then that is great. If not, then it is appropriate to show a few different interpretations of his likeness. Just because the image may not be photo accurate, it still represents how people viewed the subject throughout history. As for the religious prohibition on this image, I don't think it is germane to an academic project that works with a neutral point of view. I would support the same if I was taking into considerations other people's opinion or not. NPOV is one of the 5 pillars of Wikipedia, and cannot be overrided by consensus. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 16:03, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Itsmejudith: Do not see any encyclopedic reason for depictions on either informational or esthetic grounds. Informational grounds: no images resemble the subject, who did not sit for any portraits. Esthetic grounds: there are available calligraphic representations that are some of the most beautiful artworks ever created, so there is no need to include depictions. If it is objected that Persian miniatures are also artistic creations of the very highest quality, that is true, and they can be displayed and explained on their own page. If for consensus there are to be depictions then follow Gren. Itsmejudith 13:09, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Merzbow: Agree with gren below... I think one face-covered image somewhere on the article is best (not at the top). Those who are willing to view additional depictions can follow the link to the depictions sub-article. - Merzbow 18:45, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Frotz661: The leading picture should be one of Muhammad, not calligraphy. The current lead picture is a bit too busy, so if someone can find a good head and shoulders picture of Muhammad, then that should be used instead. The article should be semi-protected to prevent random people from vandalizing it with image deletions. I fully agree with Proabivouac's words below. No one group should be given special consideration on Wikipedia. Frotz661 22:57, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Zora: I would go back to the compromise that worked for more than a year, I think it was, before the Muhammad cartoon controversy: one picture, near the bottom, the lovely Persian miniature with the veiled face, and the link to the Depictions of Muhammad article. Zora 19:54, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Proabivouac: I would include images wherever they are encyclopedic; that is, where they are historically notable, topical relative to associated text and of a tone and character appropriate to a serious article, in reasonable proportion to the length of the article.Proabivouac 21:40, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Hoverfish: If I was to do exactly what I want to do, without other's opinions in consideration, instead of including any depiction I would state that no depiction of how Muhammad really (or approximately) looked like exists that we know of and that all depiction made later are based on the artist's imagination or speculation, and since even speculative depictions of Muhammad are not considered acceptable by (or are offensive to) the vast majority of Muslims, Wikipedia kindly abstains from including any in this article, but I would give a link (with a warning that it may be offencive to some) to an article with speculative depictions of Persian and Ottoman traditional art. Now, considering others' opinions I would accept the compromise that Zora mentions above. Hoverfish Talk 15:31, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Aminz:Well, I have two points. 1. It is best to fix some standard and then commit to it. If the pictures of Muhammad are not pleasant to Muslims and they have to be included, so should the article include the information which are not pleasant to other groups. For example, we should also include the statement that the west, today, has a deep-seated prejudice towards Muhammad(This is sourced to one of the most renowned historians of Islam in west). Similarly there are several scholarly sources saying that the recent studies of Muhammad shows that he wasn't deliberately decieving people. 2. If we are going to include a picture, it would be best to include those drawn according to the Muslim traditions of the graphical description of Muhammad (as explained here [1] for example). These pictures could be easily found (illegally) in Iran. So, it is best to use one of those images rather than putting up some random picture. --Aminz 03:25, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Aslamt: Leading image should be a calligraphic piece because calligraphic renderings of his name have always been the more prevalent form of depiction used for him. In addition, the second most prevalent (and far more accurate) form of depiction has been textual. So if necessary, a verbal reference from an agreed upon text as to what he looked like (such as from the USC-MSA database that was referred to in the above discussion) should be included. By all standards, such a depiction would be more accurate than any given pictorial depiction; and as alluded to in the discussion above, verbal description are loosely the basis for most pictorial depictions anyway. If the consensus is to include a picture at any rate, it should at least be restricted to some standards of conformity with the textual description. Images of a renaissance-style Muhammad or a blond Muhammad don't have any encyclopedic value and should be avoided at all cost. --Aslamt 04:41, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Netscott:
  • gren: I believe there should be one Persian image of Muhammad with his face covered on a page with text possibly like this one but preferably with more text halfway down the page. The top image should be a piece of calligraphy since more often reverence is given in that manner. Reasons: 1) the Persian tradition most often represents Muhammad with images. 2) the tradition more often than not represents him with his face covered. 3) and possibly most importantly, Muslims representations of Muhammad are almost universally from within texts and to properly represent the tradition we should follow suit. Wikipedia is not censored but we are trying to accurately represent traditions of prophet depiction. At times Muslims have been content with reading texts with pictures of Muhammad in them and it is a notable enough strain to represent on Muhammad--not a sub-page. However, in doing this we should represent Muhammad in a way that accurately shows tradition--thus the three stipulations.
Considering others: I would find it acceptable to have two images if we found some good examples of calligraphy to help balance them. We must not forget the importance of calligraphy even though we tend find it comparatively boring. I would also accept an image of Ottoman drawing since they sometimes depict Muhammad but I think the Persian tradition is more important. With two images one must have face covered--possibly both. I would not concede having an image above the first piece of calligraphy since it is on the whole more important. "Informative" is based on Muslim tradition and to display that tradition accurately by not crowding article with non-representative images is not censorship but the most scholarly way possible of representing Muhammad in light of history. gren グレン 23:46, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Frinkus: If I could do anything regardless of others, I would show the first decent image I could find. Considering sensitivities to this, I would make darn certain that image was historical and relevant. An image with a face covered kind of defeats the purpose of any image … why bother putting in anything at all. If only people thought with minds first, hearts second, but alas, I am just a isolated whack. Peace all.  :-) Nonprof. Frinkus 20:58, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Sefringle: I would include the Image:Maome.jpg image, because it gives people a visual of what Muhammad probably looked like. This image is historical an relevant in my opinion, and is of good quality, and although it may not be completely accurate, it is a good representation of what Muhammad probably looked like. Consitering others opinions, I would include it if and only if it was historical, famous, and relevant.--Sefringle 22:56, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Netmonger: I would not include any image of a person in any of the biographies if it is not proven that it correctly represents the person. For argument sake; I have not seen how the editor Sefringle looks like but if I say he looks like below image, would it be correct? Wouldn't it be offensive? The point I am trying to make here is that historically Prophet Muhammad was never drawn until the time of the ottoman empire, so none of the artists who drew him had ever seen him, the image in question contains many men in the picture now which one of them is Muhammad? What is the source of the picture? who is the artist? The chances are that the claim of it being an historical picture may be a complete lie, unless proven. It is not fit for an encyclopedia article (a core article) to include an image that raises so many questions.
BTW the image [to the right] is a self portrait of David Levine ŇëŧΜǒńğëŗTalk 11:56, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
  • VirtualEye: I would NOT include any picture in an article which is false and does NOT add any additional information. Given that the picture of Muhammad be included then it validates the inclusion of fake pictures in thousands of wikipedia article with same point of not giving any additional information.
Now behold please:
  • A lie involves the use of conventional truthbearers, (i.e., statements in words or symbols) and not natural signs. Intentional deceit involving natural signs, such as wearing a wig, shamming a limp, or wearing a fake arm cast, is not usually classed as "lying", but as "deception".
    • Deception involves concepts like marketing, propaganda, distraction and concealment. Fiction, while sometimes manipulative, is not a deception unless it is portrayed as the whole truth; not to be confused with half-truths.
After reading the above two definitions, it is not difficult to infer what kind of act is the inclusion of fake picture in an article. Muhammad is NOT a fiction nor Islam.
Now I come to the point made by respected wikian sefringle, he says:
I would include the Image:Maome.jpg image, because it gives people a visual of what Muhammad probably looked like.
My comment: If you carefully think then opposite is also true, i.e. I wuld not include the Image:Maome.jpb image, because it gives people a visual of what Muhammad PROBABLY NOT looked like.
I would answer the (honest or dishonest) arguments of people that since the fake pictures of God, Jesus and others are shown on the pages so the fake picture of Muhammad should also be displayed. Here it is:
About Picture of God:
Since nobody has seen God and there is no clue that God looks like human, displaying the fake picture of God is purely a personal imagination and not a Universal Truth and hence manipulating as well as directing the thinking of reader to conclude right in first glimps if God has been seen by the content authors/painters.
Now the argument comes: Picture of God is painted by Michelangelo.
My answer: Has Michelangelo seen God? No, then why manipulaing the reader's observation as if this is the picture of God?
I know people will disgree to the above argument about God. I would just give a general argument (not directed to anyone), If you (in majority) want your mother to be shown naked on display, does that mean I should also show my mother? or does that mean you will forcefully make naked pictures of my mother and publish?
While considering others Please never take things for granted.
I mean no offese from above example and it is not directed to anyone.
Now I would like to answer the expected argument: The picture is titled as michael Angelo's depiction....
My Comment: Human observation is usually thematic. They visit the page and then its not their duty to read each an every line to correct the manipulation which they got at first site. i.e
  • 1- First visit the page and get manipulated.
  • 2- If you read a small font below picture carefully then you correct you misconcepton, Otherwise stay decieved from your glimps at the article.
This misperception is same as writing the price of something like 99.99$ and writing the dollars part to be microscopic and decieving the observer if the product is only for 0.99$.
It is NOT the duty of observer to go check everything for correctness but the duty of content provider to not to decieve the observer and direct his thoughts to falsehood.
If picture of God is not justified (because it abuses the different believers) then how come you can justify the manipulations of brains of the readers by showing fake picture? As far as Muslims are concerned, they niether depict God nor they depict Muhammad, nor they depict Jesus or Mary. The offense is only once sided in most of cases related to depiction.
VirtualEye 15:58, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Couple of sentences please :)
  • Ttiotsw - It is not our role to prevent Idolatry in the minds of the reader but to build a encyclopaedia. Pictures for BIO pages add verisimilitude to an article. It's more relevant for living people and certainly more relevant if we have a contemporaneous depiction. AFAIK there are no contemporaneous depictions of Muhammed and so we do not really need any image at the top for verisimilitude as it adds no more "truth" to the article. Truthfully same reasoning apply to any BIO-style article with an "image" at the top which wasn't taken/drawn/painted contemporaneous to the person's life. That there are images (non-contemporaneous and of good providence) is important but not to develop the person, Muhammed, but to develop how people perceived him later. The images are important as they reflect various styles of depicting Muhammed and there is a story behind the style which the article should capture. It is thus logical that the images (if any) are further down the article. The only grounds for exclusion is if the image has no story behind it or it is of a generic person of the time and not Muhammed. As with other articles we can flag the section with some "spoiler" tag if that is the consensus. Ttiotsw 06:18, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I think it is obvious that the picture should stay, but with an altered caption. It is somewhat unfair that we lead people to think that is a literal image of exactly what Muhammad looked like. The caption should read along the lines of "An artist's representation of Muhammad". However, according to the Chewbacca Defense tactics of some pro-image-deletion editors, the image is false due to it being a non-photographic visual representation. I would like to point out that no historical figure before the 1820's had a photograph taken of them, and according to this logic, all of the images on these figures pages would need to be deleted. It is also somewhat humorous that the debate could have surfaced on any of thousands of other articles, but inevitably found its way here.. --Hojimachongtalkcon 02:01, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
  • futurebird: I would not include any image, no matter how well sourced it may be especially at the top of the article or in and "in your face manner" the images would be behind links so that people who want to avoid them have the choice to do so. Including images will limit the people who can read and edit this article, some of those people may have some of the best information the wiki could have. Not including and image inline, is informative since by not including the image we are illustrating just how important this rule is to some people. Not having an image may be more informative than any image we could ever find.futurebird 23:56, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Big Brother 1984 - Keep the images. Some people are desperately scrambling to find legitimate encyclopedic reasons for removing these images, but they aren't fooling anyone. We would not even be having this discussion were it not for the rather odd traditions of a particular religious sect. That being the case, it is important to note that the Hadiths don't just ban pictures of Muhammad -- they ban all pictures. [2][3] Allowing Wikipedia’s content to be regulated by irrational religious dogma is a slippery slope that should be avoided at all costs. -- Big Brother 1984 23:07, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Interesting. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 23:12, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
      • Tom harrison, Marboz and ALL Muslim know that. Each one who has little bit of knowledge of Islam knows that fact. Hence it can be interesting only for someone who do not know ABC of Islam. However with Muhammad we love most, more than any other human being in the world, more than our parents and more than ourselves. Hence it as our compromise and flexibility that we tolerate many many things non-Islamic here and only wish that you tolerate it regarding few things. However, obviously we religious people can be flexible unlike secularism that show no flexibility at all. I simply started hating secularism from the bottom of my heart.. --- ALM 09:31, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
        • I would say that all religions promote inflexibility. Many religious rules from Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are highly incompatible with the neutral (not secular) guidelines of Wikipedia. While we should try to respect religions, if this gets in the way of Wikipedia's guidelines, it only opens a floodgate for other groups of people to censor Wikipedia to their heart's content. --Hojimachongtalkcon 17:38, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
          • Do you think I am inflexible? I do not go and delete picture from Depiction of Muhammad, Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. I do not say delete all the other painting you have. So we have done lots of compromises understanding secular nature of wikipedia? What comprise you has done? Not ready to do just little think even if it is align with histroy and logical too. Still I am inflexible? --- ALM 17:52, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
      • If all Muslims know that the neither the Quran nor the Hadith explicitly prohibit pictures of Muhammad, why are we even having this discussion? The Hadiths ban images of any person or animal. Muslims choose to ignore this, and instead have watered down this prohibition to only include picture of their prophet. The obvious question is, if Muslims are allowed to ignore their own laws and water them down to the point that they become almost meaningless, why all the outrage over non-Muslims ignoring the same rules? If a "true" Muslim was to obey the actual rules, they would be using a text-based browser to surf the internet to avoid seeing any pictures. IE has an option to disable pictures, you know. But I doubt any of the people who are complaining have done that. Why not? It seems that even Muslims realize that the prohibition against pictures and art is silly -- that's why they ignore it. That being the case, I don't see how you can get upset at other people for ignoring the very same rules. If you believe that your deity is going to punish you for looking at art, then I suggest that you change your IE settings right now to avoid pissing him off. But leave everybody else alone. We'll deal with Allah when we get there. -- Big Brother 1984 04:06, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Liberal Classic Regarding the lead-in image. Do one of two things: A.) Retain the current image of Muhammad preaching, but change the caption as it is misleading. It now reads, "Muhammad. After the people of Mecca converted to Islam Muhammad preached there in 631 CE." This implies a 7th century illustration. Instead, the caption should state that the illustration dates from the early 16th century and resides in the Department of Manuscripts, National Library of France, Paris. B.) Replace the current lead-in image with the one from the 14th century. It is second to the bottom of the page, and the caption reads: "Image made in 1315 of Pre-Prophethood Muhammad re-dedicating the Black Stone at the Kaaba. From Tabriz, Persia and can be found in Rashid al-Dins Jami' al-Tawarikh ("The Universal History" or "Compendium of Chronicles"), held in the University of Edinburgh". I prefer the first image because it shows Muhammad as a religious figure, but the second image is better sourced. Either is acceptable to me, provided that verifiability is maintained. At a minimum, the caption should specify the source of the image and the approximate date of the work. A few more comments: 1.) Retain the calligraphic depiction and caption in the next section. 2.) Retain the 16th century Persian painting that has Muhammad's face veiled. Retain its current caption, as it is relevant to the issue at hand. 3.) Yesterday, an anonymous IP user edited the image description and snuck in "Images of Muhammed are prohibited by Islam." That should be removed, as image files are not the place for that. If it is still there tomorrow, I will remove it myself. I intend to add some more comments at length. As time permits,I will echo here what I have stated on the talk page for the article. Liberal Classic 06:04, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Bless sins: I would depict Muhammad with the popular calligraphy all over mosques, homes, and apparently the internet too. Arab culture (Islamic and pre-Islamic) has been really heavy on words, but not so much on illustrations. Muslim artists throught Islam's existence presented the Prophet using writing, and Wikipedia should reflect the method of expression held by the majority.Bless sins 03:14, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Bricology Bless sins wrote "Wikipedia should reflect the method of expression held by the majority". The majority of whom? -the world's inhabitants? Or just Muslims? I don't believe that a global repository of information should be subject to the will of one group any more than I believe that a book on foods around the world should reflect the expression held the majority group of 500 million members who eat at McDonald's. Let Muslims set up their own on-line encyclopedia and run it however they want, and let people with minds unfettered by superstition deal with setting policy for Wikipedia.Bricology 00:13, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Itaqallah - WP:NPOV#Undue weight must be adhered to in all aspects of an article, and this includes the way we deal with and distribute our images. presenting multiple depictions of Muhammad implies that such is traditionally common, and this is simply deceptive. physical depictions of Muhammad are a minority tradition, and thus the amount of space we dedicate for it must reflect that. more than one depiction unfairly skews this balance, so i would endorse the compromise of one depiction in the article. we could also employ a notice as used in Bahá'u'lláh. i think option 2 suggested above below is the most reasonable in terms of compromising the two sides. and no, the image shouldn't be in the lead, again, per undue weight concerns. i fully endorse gren's and Zora's comments. ITAQALLAH 13:49, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Briangotts - Allow the images, both those that are respectful and those, in the appropriate section, which are satirical or otherwise disrespectful. There really is, as far as I'm concerned, no arguable issue here. A group of users is attempting to impose Islamic law (or rather, their understanding of Islamic law) on Wikipedia. While this has begun with this particular article, there is no indication that it will end here and no reason why it should, once the principle has been conceded. The very basic fact is that this is a secular encyclopedia, not intended to reflect a Muslim outlook. The principles of Wikipedia are very clear- it is not censored to shelter sensibilities. I fear for the future of this project if this censorship is imposed. Briangotts (Talk) (Contrib) 02:54, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • FrancisX: - Images of Mohammad are not appropriate. Not because they're offensive, but because they flunk WP:Notability, in that (1) there is no generally accepted contemporary likeness of Mohammad (or any contemporary likeness for that matter) and (2) because there is no standard iconography which is historically notable. As likenesses of Mohammed are clearly non-standard, and non-verifiable, this is not notable and should not be included per WP:Image.Francisx 18:08, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Another suggestion: one click away

I would like to propose a solution that would minimise offence. Would it not be possible for the main article to have an icon (forgive the religious pun) indicating that a click upon it would lead to an image? There are all sorts of topics that could benefit, not just Muhammed. Many people would prefer to gain information about a distressing topic through words and not images -- car crash, for example, or starvation. Others would like to read about human anatomy or diseases without having to look at the evidence -- not just genitalia, but internal organs can be considered "private parts"! Some modern art installations can fall into this category too. So if there's a fair chance of an image offending readers, why not include it on a separate page all to itself, just one click away. No censorship; lots of civility and consideration. BrainyBabe 17:24, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

This seems like bowdlerising to me. I once suggested that, and neither side would accept it. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 17:28, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I think this is a fine idea. futurebird 23:01, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I am wary of it, but I would accept it because of (similar) precedent at Bahá'u'lláh. It's also only a partial solution because it doesn't solve issues such as which image and other academic details that need to be sorted out. But, maybe it would stop random users inflaming the situation and make the working condition better. gren グレン 23:15, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
The wikipdea isn't, as many have said, beholden to the laws of any religion, but the wikipedia is a culture (of sorts) and we do uphold ideas of etiquette and civility. So while it would be wrong to exclude the images from the database all together, or pretend that they do not exist, we can, and should make small changes that simply make the article readable for everyone, especially when the changes cause no loss of the informativeness of the wikipedia. There are precedents for doing this in the Spoiler warnings for the plots of movies and in the Bahá'u'lláh article that you and others have mentioned. I think it will make a big difference that the article shows that we have thought about this issue and know and acknowledge the importance of the issue while still holding to true the idea of including everything, even offensive material. I think we have an obligation to include offensive material, but there is no obligation that we go out of our way to offend people with that material. As, I've said before, it upset me to see the image right at the top, it's "in your face" and, well, uncivil to to do that. I'd also be annoyed if I went to the article on Jesus and saw Piss Christ-- I think this analogy is a good one because the man who made Piss Christ says that he did it out of reverence for Jesus, but many christians are bothered by his artwork. I think the same is true of the images that we have here-- they are not "Quintessential Muhammad" indeed no image could be.
The images do need to be sourced more clearly, I'd also like to see dates, if they can be found. futurebird 23:30, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Correct, we do have a tradition of self-censorship--lolicon being a prime, but also other bodily parts. I chose not to argue from this direction because I think there are clearly reasons why we need to limit the number of images and use calligraphy above the first image. gren グレン 23:42, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
futurebird, I feel that the "Piss Christ" comparison is somewhat different. Jesus was oft-depicted in his time, as well as after. He did preach against visual interpretations of himself, and therefore is a much more well-documented figure, with most people agreeing fairly closely on what he looked like (something like this), even though we know these images are probably not accurate (Jesus was from Nazareth in northern Israel, and definitely had a much darker skin tone). Additionally, the artist of the "Piss Christ" image has said he was deliberately testing the limits of free speech. I highly doubt that the artists of the proposed images of Muhammad were deliberately setting out to test the limits of a law, and that they were genuinely attempting to depict Muhammad truthfully. Therefore, I think we should find an image that most closely represents the hadith description of Muhammad. I do not have a specific place to look, but there is undoubtedly a solid description somewhere, if not in the Qu'ran. --Hojimachongtalkcon 00:45, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
"Jesus was oft-depicted in his time", eh? "is a much more well-documented figure" ehh? "with most people agreeing fairly closely on what he looked like" ehhh? I know this isn't exactly on topic... but... I think you're wrong on three counts. To bring this back to Muhammad, the reason the Jesus images are important is because they are closely associate with Jesus. We have no reason to think that Jesus was a meagerly clad skinny white guy with a UFO over his head but when we see that we say "that's Jesus". Not because they "look like him" but because that image is so strongly associated with him that it has become him. That is what is important for Muhammad images and a good reason not to use Image:Maomé.jpg if we use an image but instead something like Image:Miraj2.jpg or Image:Muhammad at Kaba.jpg (if it can be sourced) which are at least images highly associated with Muhammad. gren グレン 03:13, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
I would like to defend my statements;
  • "Jesus was oft-depicted in his time". Muhammad forbid (or preached against) people making an image of him, because he feared it might promote idolatry. We know many Muslims take idolatry very seriously (see Buddhas of Bamyan). Correct me if I am wrong, but Jesus did not preach against people making images of him. This is how it is interpreted in Christianity.
  • Jesus "is a much more well-documented figure". By the people who would be able to depict him the best, yes. I would assume (nobody can know for sure, due to the length of time since Jesus was alive) that people who had actually seen Jesus in person created some images of him. Conversely, we do not know of too many images of Muhammad created by the religion that would know him best, Muslims. Jesus would likely be best depicted by Christians, and Muhammad would likely be best depicted by Muslims.
  • "with most people agreeing fairly closely on what he looked like". I really do think that most, if not all, people with mental images of Jesus would describe something like this: Tall, thin, modest, and bearded. Wears plain clothes, has some shoulder-length, brown hair, and a crooked nose. Meanwhile (and correct me if I am wrong), there is no set mental image that most people have of Muhammad. If there is, then why are we not proposing its use on the page?
Regardless, if a picture is included, it should most likely be a picture created with Muslim influences, such as the images you link to, gren. Thanks for taking the time to read (and put up with) my comments. --Hojimachongtalkcon 22:44, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

This picture, not similar to the Muhammad (SAW) does not imply that there exists a picture of Muhammad (converse is not true). why? Has anybody seen Muhammad and drew his picture? NO. Does any picture drawn by 'any' artist similar to even the basic characteristics of Muhamamd? NO. Why is that? Because Islam forbids drawing pictures of the alive, so those painters were obviously those lost deserters who did not have knowledge about Islam except the vague one.
Had they been knowing how Muhamamd looked like had they been aware of the very very common fact that Islam does not allow painting the living things yet painting the picture of Muhammad was the gross Sin to be considered. Simple is that, those people claimed to be painting Muhamamd's picture were not even aware of the knowledge of Islam nor about the order of Islam about not to draw the pictures of the alive nor about how Muhammad looked like except they knew very basics such as : Muhammad had beard and he used to address people as prophet etc. (I have seen many painted pictures which are associated to Muhammad, no picture even resembles a single bit, except that the person has beard and our prophet also had.). If I hear that a person called John who was clean shaved and was addressing the people in the church, that does not mean I draw any picture of a person addressing people and put in the article about this person and claim that picture to be his. Any cleanshaved person addressubg the people in the church is NOT John. Any person having beard and addressing some people is NOT Muhammad. Same applies to the paintings of Jesus, but people idolize the painters and do not think the otherway. The falsehood and the possibility of abuse to the sacred Jesus is not important to the people but what is important is that the painter like davinci painted him. Davinci is greater than Jesus for Christians? I wonder what kind of self deceptions people are advocating and are forcing others to be self decepted to.
Any picture drawing to depict Muhammad (SAW) will always remain disputed, as every person has the right to disagree 100% rightly that the picture depicted does not reflect Muhamamd as the painter did not see him. There is not even 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% probability of an imaginary picture to match the real one if we have not seen the real person.
The coming of the idea that a picture should be depicted because Christians and other religions do that, is absured. If other religions depict, Muslims are not offended because its nonmuslims headache, so no problem in wikipedia too. But why forcefully dumb this idea of depiction and making it a rule that there is a need of picture in every article even if we dont have?
The picture claimed to be of Muhammad, is ONLY and ONLY the imagination of ONE person(painter). Please dont dump that ONE person's personal imagination to the billions of brains.
Wikipedians supporting picture: "Hey, if you dont want to think like that ONE painter, then move aroud buddy!!! Because we aint gonna remove it, bucause we have already have a picture of single person's(painter's) imaginated 'BLONDE Jesus with a UFO on his head' dumped in to the brains of people and they did not resist, so you also better shut up and accept the ONE person's imagination to be the picture of Muhammad, thats it."
Wikipedians supproting the picture the other way: "Hey, we have to mention the cruelty of Nazis even many many people dont like, because we have to be fair and no matter many people dont like but we have to show the facts. But in case of Muhammad, we will show the false picture of Muhammad even there are many people opposing it, because we are fair and the false picture of Muhammad is (not) a fact. So if you dont like our Policy thingy then move around"
No offense. Is this the way to workout????
VirtualEye 14:54, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
It would be worth noting that historically, artists have had a massive influence on world politics and the way people perceive things. Since there is no real picture, we need to come up with the best one. I didn't say that the hadith had a picture, but that we should find one that most closely matches the description given in the hadith, since that would be the most accurate picture available. --Hojimachongtalkcon 15:18, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
VirtualEye, again, no one is saying the picture looks like Muhammad (well, almost no one). The point is tradition and you have it stuck in your head that "Islam does not allow representations of humans". You must understand that Islam has many diverse and contradictory views over history. We are not claiming that any of these are right just that there is diversity. It is clear that some groups have had no problems with the images--does this make then notable enough? you decide. However, because they weren't drawn while he was alive and don't reflect his actual existence is not a valid argument: see the reasons explained many times in relation to other historical figures depicted long after their death. gren グレン 16:54, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
I'll go on the record as saying that I think the Maome picture does not depict Muhammad properly. --Hojimachongtalkcon 22:55, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

The moment I told Hochimajong about 'hadith' the moment he started talking about him. I think first he should learn it in detail.
Hadith is about picturing the way of life of Muhammad (SAW), his prophecy, his encounters, his character. Muhammad is known for his character. Hadith is not even 0.001% about the physical appearance of Muhammad, yet this wikipedia article is emphasizing about the 'looks' right at the top of article and even that with a fake picture. How miserable way.
Good people look for what a person did. The people who only have opthalmic obsession, look for how a person looks physically. And for the moment there are more such people aroud. If you want to accomodate such people then you might put that fake picture to solace their thirst. If you want to help the decent people and serious learners then no need of fake picture, they will like to know what Muhammad stands for.

VirtualEye 06:02, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

VirtualEye, I would like to quote you in regards to the hadith depiction of Muhammad:
"FYI, our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did not wear any luxarious clothes but ordinary clothes having patches. He did not use such kind of seat made of carved woods, insead the Mosque he built in Madinah had the roof made of the leafs of "date trees" and the pillars were the stock of the "date trees" and the floor of the mosque was not paved. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as well as his companions used have very little amount of food and were in very weak condition financially. They had to suffer a lot of hardships but only bowed in front of Allah." [4]
You are the one who brought up the hadith idea. So... would you like to defend it?
Also, please don't insinuate me as "stupid". I don't think that there is one editor here who does not have some strong personal opinions on the matter. I could say many things, but I as an editor am showing restraint, as are most others. --Hojimachongtalkcon 22:55, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Kindly have a look at my comments at the end of This page VirtualEye 06:51, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Picture supporters attention:

[split into its own section by gren]

Exceptional claims require exceptional sources [5]

Certain red flags should prompt editors to examine the sources for a given claim.

  • Surprising or apparently important claims that are not widely known.
  • Surprising or apparently important reports of recent events not covered by reputable news media.
  • Reports of a statement by someone that seems out of character, embarrassing, controversial, or against an interest they had previously defended.
  • Claims not supported or claims that are contradicted by the prevailing view in the relevant academic community. Be particularly careful when proponents say there is a conspiracy to silence them.

Exceptional claims should be supported by multiple credible and verifiable sources, especially with regard to historical events, politically-charged issues, and biographies of living people.

For guidance related to the creation of entire articles about said topics, see Wikipedia:Fringe theories.

VirtualEye 02:45, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I fail to see how Fringe Theories applies to this article. Are you suggesting that Muhammad is a non-mainstream figure?
Fringe Theories primarily deal with deliberate hoaxes and genuine misunderstandings. Not every single artist who depicted Muhammad was deliberately creating a hoax. The artists depicted Muhammad how they thought he probably looked. This argument could apply to any biographical article with a picture, but it has inevitably popped up on the Muhammad article. I find this interesting. Is there any reason you picked this specific article to go after? --Hojimachongtalkcon 04:25, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Once again, we are met with the Chewbacca defense.Proabivouac 08:37, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
And how is biographies of living people relevant at all? If somebody is under the impression that Muhammad is alive, we have much bigger problems than censorship here. --Hojimachongtalkcon 05:23, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
The problem with his whole argument is that we don't view a picture as a claim. Its existence and the fact that it was drawn by a Muslim is not a claim--it's a fact (unless someone wants to contest...) The issue at hand is representative-ness. Now, I think if he wants to argue WP:NPOV#Bias, sensationalism then we have something to discuss. Is adding an image placing the exceptional over the ordinary? Is placing an image above calligraphy exceptional? I'd definitely agree on the latter and I'd argue it's a matter of scale for the former--we can't justify too many images. I think this valid point is what he was trying for--and missed. So, maybe we can pursue this discussion? gren グレン 23:34, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Outside Resources

I have created User:Grenavitar/mimages to catalog some outside opinions on images of Muhammad (no images on the page in case anyone is worried). I think they are relevant to if or how we have a picture but also importantly, what kind of picture we would have (a subject widely ignored on this page). If you have relevant quotes feel free to add them... not from online sources which you can link to here but from harder to access ones.

Some things I want to note about the type of image: Persian is mentioned multiple times. First recorded images of prophets 1300s, not veiled... veiling and flames come later 1450s-1500s. 1600s tradition starts to die out in most places other than Iran. gren グレン 18:38, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the sources, that is very productive to this mediation. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 14:14, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

I added a section of writing by Oleg Grabar who is definitely one of the most important writers on Islamic art. It's where he talks about the use of calligraphy as an art--I stumbled across it searching for every reference to the word Muhammad in his index.

I have also just spent the last two hours searching through Islamic art books and journals. Amazingly you see almost nothing about Muhammad and depiction. There are no full articles on the subject, but in most I could not even track down a mention of traditions of his depiction. I knew it was not a prominent subject but I didn't know how marginal it was in important works. The only subject about Muhammad I found a full article on was Qadam Rasul or "footprint of the prophet": Perween Hasan. "The Footprint of the Prophet" Muqarnas, Vol. 10, Essays in Honor of Oleg Grabar. (1993), pp. 335-343. In any case a rather frustrating--yet still interesting--search. gren グレン 03:17, 16 February 2007 (UTC)


GO HERE for a redo of the poll which should be clear from the start

It seems that there are three opinions from the "What would you do..." section: 1. no picture at all, 2. veiled Muhammad picture near the bottom, and 3. unveiled picture at the top. Option 1 would probably not be the best, since it wouldn't be the best way to represent him for non-Muslims, but neither would 3, because Muslims would be upset, and calligraphy is more important in Islam (or it is for Muhammad at least). It seems to me that option 2 is the most favorable way to resolve this, since neither side is willing to give up too much ground. Gren's idea, option 2, is to include a Persian or Ottoman image, near the bottom, showing Muhammad veiled, while the lead image be of calligraphy. Others agreed with him/her, and the critisizm wasn't strongest his opinion. I suggest that if Gren's idea is used, the image of Muhammad be small (say, 150px), to decrease it's negative appeal towards Muslims. I think this is probably the only way to end the mediation, unless anyone would like to keep arguing until the other side leaves. Does everyone agree? · AndonicO Talk 20:13, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Gren's summary You are voting 'yes' or 'no' to: include one Persian or Ottoman image, near the bottom, showing Muhammad veiled, while the lead image be of calligraphy.

Yes (agree with above plan)

Caution: the above summary has been substantially qualified/altered since the poll was opened.
  • ŇëŧΜǒńğëŗTalk 11:33, 18 February 2007 (UTC) agree with option 2
  • · AndonicO Talk 20:13, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • gren グレン 20:26, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • futurebird 20:45, 16 February 2007 (UTC) (Otion 2 seems fair.)
  • Zora 21:26, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Merzbow 22:02, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Hoverfish Talk 00:13, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Aminz 02:45, 17 February 2007 (UTC) - I would agree with any persian image(not at the top of course).
  • HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 03:15, 17 February 2007 (UTC), though choosing an image where you cannot see the face seems silly to me, in the interest of reaching some sort of consensus fine. No blurring of details or other modifications to the image(other than 150px size, ok, no biggie).
  • Big Brother 1984 - Change the size to 150px, but don't change anything else.
  • VirtualEye 08:29, 17 February 2007 (UTC) I would agree with the image at the bottom which I have mentioned at the end this part of discussion. That image gives the symbolical representation of an artist as well as it has less number of clashes with the actual personality of Muhammad (SAW). This is because this modified image shows lesser number of those details which might contradict the acutal facts.
    Comment There would appear to be some confusion about the meaning of this endorsement. I request clarification of exactly what a "yes" decision means. My reading, per "there is to include a Persian or Ottoman image, near the bottom, showing Muhammad veiled," is that this course of action would limit the total number of depictions on the article to one veiled image at the bottom of the article, and forbid the inclusion of any other images. Having read all of the arguments here and on Talk:Muhammad, I would be very surprised to learn that all the editors who've signed above endorse this course of action.Proabivouac 05:30, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
    I have tried to faithfully sum it up. Please move these comments out of voting if this has cleared it up. You are free to contact all of the above voters if you think my summary does not represent what they chose. gren グレン 07:35, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
    Andonico's statement in the section below, "I believe you misunderstood; "yes" is for including the image, in a non-prominant position, while "no" is for not including any image whatsoever," led to at least one editor changing his vote from "no" to "yes," and for two more to remove their "no" vote. Additionally, at least one other editor has included a comment which suggsests that he does not, in fact, support the majority of the proposal. Changing the section title does not solve the problem. This straw poll was terribly framed and has been mishandled since; we should start over so that all editors can take part and endorse something with which we actually agree.Proabivouac 08:07, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
    I'm sorry, that was my mistake. I meant to say: "yes" is for including the image, in a non-prominant position, while "no" is either for not including any image whatsoever, or including an image near the top." Gren has summed it up as how I meant it. · AndonicO Talk 10:55, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
    Well, I am still confused, for Gwenavitar has summarized it as being generically for or against your proposal, but you state here that what Gren calls "against" is actually a positive endorsement of an even stricter censorship regime. Also, when you speak of "the image," are you talking only about the one currently in the lead? Why have you eliminated the possibility of including multiple depictions in prominent positions, which it appears that many participants to this mediation support?Proabivouac 11:13, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
    He hasn't eliminated that possibility! "Yes" is only saying that you believe it is a suitable compromise (not necessarily ideal) while "No" is saying you do not believe it is a suitable compromise. Therefore if you would not accept that as a compromise you can have any other view. He stated that an against vote was for "no image" or "an image at the top". I don't think he meant them to be exhaustive but just to represent two other predominant views. Voting "No" is just disagreeing with the plan--for any reason whatever. gren グレン 11:40, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
    Later we'll decide on which image to use. Right now, it's more important for you whether or not to accept the suggestion, in order to get things out of the "gridlock" they were in. There probably isn't a better solution than for both sides to give up some ground, unless of course you want to call in the ArbCom. There appears to be consensus, but let's wait a while longer. Do you have any better ideas Proabivouac? · AndonicO Talk 22:32, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
    Why do you say which image to use? There are currently there depictions of Muhammad in the article. Are we only deciding upon the lead image?Proabivouac 22:50, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
    "Which" because there are currently about three or four images, and there is always the possibility of finding a better one on Google image. · AndonicO Talk 23:59, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Aslamt 18:23, 17 February 2007 (UTC) Seems fair.
  • Although, I don't agree with putting a picture of Muhammad, this suggestion seems to be a good compromise that might just end the dispute. Therefore I agree to this suggestion.Bless sins 03:25, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
  • ITAQALLAH 14:04, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

No (disagree with above plan)

Caution: the above summary has been substantially qualified/altered since the poll was opened.

Suggestions Short please, no long discourses, for the sake of readibility.

  • Not for your reasons... and we need to discuss which calligraphy and which image are representative. gren グレン 20:26, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I agree (on the second part), but first we have to decide on whether or not/how to display the image IMHO. · AndonicO Talk 22:33, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Whether the lead image is calligraphy or not but has nothing to do with whether and how many depictions are present. It was never disputed by any of the parties here that images of calligraphic treatments of the word "Muhammad" can, in principle, appear; hence they are basically irrelevant to this mediation. Regarding actual depictions of Muhammad, a single centimeter-high Muhammad with a two-millimeter blanked out face is not a credible compromise, and flagrantly violates Wikipedia policy. Proabivouac 21:22, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Not really... the policy says that "Wikipedia MAY contain content that some readers consider objectionable or offensive", it does not say that "Wikipedia MUST contain content that some readers consider objectionable or offensive". No censorship is occurring as long as it's left up to editors to decide what stays and what doesn't, as opposed to some committee of censors. - Merzbow 22:05, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Since Wikipedia has no censorship committee, I can't imagine to whom that policy would apply other than editors. This interpretation could be used to justify the removal of any information on similar grounds.
I believe the proper interpretation is that I, an editor, am not allowed to remove information on the ground that fails to "adhere to [my] social or religious norms or requirements," and that arguments I might make to that effect are to be disregarded.Proabivouac 22:16, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
When the loss of relevant informational value to the article is minimal, then there is no harm done in showing respect for a given culture's mores - especially since the article is about their heritage. There is no black-and-white binary divide between censorship and editorial discretion, it's a continuum... and to me this is clearly on the "editorial discretion" side of the continuum. - Merzbow 22:29, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Well Proabivac, how do you think the compromise should be then? · AndonicO Talk 22:33, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Are there not four opinions from the 'what would you do' section, the fourth being that images are appropriate for a biographical article on a notable religious figure? Or do you mean to say that there are three compromise positions? Liberal Classic 22:23, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
The ones that say images are appropriate are the third, whether they think the image should have a prominant position in the article, or whether there should be several. · AndonicO Talk 22:33, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for the clarification. If it is as you say, I would go with the third choice. I found the "choice 1, 2, 3" together with "yes, no" confusing. In the interest of reaching consensus, I would be willing to agree to an exchange of the current lead-in graphic of Mohammad with an image in which he appears veiled, such as the 16th Persian century miniature now in the article body. This would be with the provision that the consensus agrees unveiled images, such as the 14th century illustration from Tabriz, are appropriate for the article. This makes the choice of lead-in graphic merely an editorial decision. Further compromises, such as replacing the lead-in image with a calligraphic representation, or reducing the size of the lead-in graphic to something very small, or tucking a single image away at the end of the article, or a spoiler warning before a single image, or a link to an image, all of these verge dangerously close to religious censorship. The more I read about Wikipedia, about neutral point of view and What Wikipedia is not and especially NPOV FAQ on religion, the more I come to believe any other solution sets a dangerous precedent. Liberal Classic 05:10, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I cannot support any religious censorship of any article. Tom Harrison Talk 22:25, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Demonstrating the teachings of the subject of an article via the content of an article is flagrantly against Wikipedia guidelines. If this was the case, then every article would have to censor out views opposed to that of the subject. Additionally, inclusion of the image would send a strong image to Muslim readers, saying "we are not here to agree with you, but rather to present information neutrally". I think that after the initial offense, it might even bring increased respect of Wikipedia. --Hojimachongtalkcon 22:29, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
      • This is not so much of a suggestion but an observation: For folks who have not submitted themselves in accord with concept of Muslim deen it tends to be difficult to envision having a resource like Wikipedia "submit" in accord with it. There may need to be some sort of a guideline or policy drafted on Wikipedia that specifically deals with what path should be taken when there is this type of juxtaposition of freedom of speech values abutting against religious values. This is not the first time that this specific problem has been mediated and unfortunately without some sort of a style guide/policy I suspect that editors will be back before another mediator before too long. The reason this is true is that there are no binding decisions on Wikipedia precisely because consensus can change and due to that Wikipedia will be constantly forced to "test the waters" to see if consensus has changed. (Netscott) 23:34, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I do not vote yes as any type of religious cencorship. I vote yes out of kindness for those that may be offended. Hoverfish Talk 00:18, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I believe you misunderstood; "yes" is for including the image, in a non-prominant position, while "no" is for not including any image whatsoever. · AndonicO Talk 01:43, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Is it fair that "no" would support not including an image? Shouldn't no mean that you disagree with the proposal outlined in yes? It isn't all that fair to disregard one opinion while representing the other two. --Hojimachongtalkcon 01:51, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I, too, had voted "no" under this assumption. As it happens, the view not represented is exactly that with the clearest basis in Wikipedia precedent and policy.Proabivouac 02:54, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
What, the choices are include an image in a non-prominent location or include no image at all? I don't think either of those options is suitable, or consistent with policy. The option I would support would be that this biography should be treated like all other biographies. Tom Harrison Talk 04:21, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Regardless of what you think is best, I find it disappointing that a viewpoint with strong arguments supporting it is not represented here. It is not fair that our voice is silenced due to pressures from those who wish to violate Wikipedia's censored policy. I would like to see the option to vote for either proposal 1, 2, or 3. --Hojimachongtalkcon 04:23, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
"Does everyone agree?" Yes or no. If you don't agree you could think there should be no image of Muhammad or 20 pictures of a chicken. In either case you don't agree. I'm not sure how some of you are getting the idea that it means "no image"--it doesn't. gren グレン 07:26, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I think the confusion results from Andonico's statement in this section, "I believe you misunderstood; "yes" is for including the image, in a non-prominant position, while "no" is for not including any image whatsoever," which suggests that editors who wish Wikipedia to be free of religiously-motivated censorship should vote "yes." Anyone who has followed this mediation knows that there are a good number of participants who favor neither of the offered outcomes. Additionally, it is inaccurate: we are talking about depictions generally, are we not? The outcomes are phrased as if it's a given that there is only one image. When was this decided? Even so, he outlined three outcomes but only presented two for our approval.Proabivouac 07:48, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
By the way I didn't misunderstand it. I voted yes, in favor of a least offending compromise, since "no image at all" doesn't seem likely to be a consensus outcome. I visited the Bahá'u'lláh, by the way, to see what it's all about and after reading the comments near the image, I have the feeling someone force-fed me something I didn't really need to see. I have no religious preoccupations of any kind, but I do mind not intimidating those that do. Hoverfish Talk 09:41, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't referring to you, as your position has always been clear. Re Bahá'u'lláh, I felt that it's great that we have an actual photograph of this influential man, and it's too bad that it's been moved down the page for reasons that should play no role here.Proabivouac 11:06, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Altered image from VirtualEye

Here is the summary:

I agree that wikipedia articles may have pictures and it is preferable to show them for the convenience of the reader. The pictures of Jesus, Mary etc. are very commonly depicted in the churches and other places, so whenever there is article to explain about Jesus and christianity then it is much preferable to give the abstract idea to the user about 'how Christianity looks like and what is associated with it (including the pictures of Jesus and Mary)'. Now agreeing to the this, the problem is that there are no images associated to Muhammad or other Prophets in Muslims as well as Mosques and any other places. So, when a reader will come to know about Isamic articles then he will be given the idea of 'how Islam looks like and what is associated to Isalm and Muhammad (including Islamic calligraphy)'. Now if there does not exist and prominent association about Muhammad's picture then it is NOT necessary to somehow bring 'Any insignificant' picture no matter it is drawn by some 12 year old kid or some very unpopular artist who is not only unknown in the nonIslamic world but Muslims too.
So, when a Muslim comes to the article about Muhammad, he will just feel strange on the rediculous depiction and might even laugh that "I did'nt know there is such picture used about Islam".
Imagine the misery of a wikipedia article in where the follower of the religion himself has to laugh at what is being shown as a fact about his religion.
I hope my comments look valid at the same time when I agree about the value of an image where it is actually represending the article and not contradicting it.
VirtualEye 08:45, 17 February 2007 (UTC)


Notice: This image is to give idea of modification to reduce the contrary facts from the painting. My modifiction is NOT ultimate. Anybody can give me suggestion about how to reduce the contradictions and I will try to modify further to achieve a concensus among all the friends and foes. VirtualEye 08:50, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The preceding was modified and added by VirtualEye in its current position;[6] I have given it its own section.Proabivouac 08:42, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

bowdlerizing? Completely inappropriate. --Hojimachongtalkcon 08:47, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
This new artwork clearly fails as it is attempt by VirtualEye for some original research based on their POV and more importantly it is done for a point. The editor also categorises other editors who are contributing to identifying a consensus as either "friends" and "foes". Ttiotsw 10:01, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
POV inspired OR, what's the point if the faces are blurred?? HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 16:35, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The 4th Option

For NPOV why not the standard calligraphy representation (e.g. the one that is similar to that which tripped up NIKE) at the top in the lead-in paragraph and then at the middle/bottom in the section titled "Historical depictions of Muhammad", the other images that are representative i.e. both veiled and unveiled. Ttiotsw 05:56, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Suggest this is a consensus

Yes there are still opposing points of view, but there will always be. As it stands, a clear majority support the compromise shown above. I suggest we pick one of those images, implement it and consider this mediation complete. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 16:37, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The way the voting description is posed by AindonicO suggests that we should agree on a compromise because some people are "tired of the argument". The talk so far has been about what best represents Muhammad; I would like to see us find out how this should be handled according to Wikipedia Policy. Personally, I would rather see a thousand instances of vandalism to Muhammad every day than see Policy violated because we are all "tired of it". --Hojimachongtalkcon 17:30, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm concerned that a compromise that is inconsistent with our policy on censorship will not be stable. Tom Harrison Talk 17:33, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but how long has it been since a new argument, or new information has been presented? Also, it does seem to me to be a consensus above, if people disagreed with this suggestion there would be more people opposing it. Consensus does not mean everyone is satisfied, nor does it mean there can never be another consensus. Regardless, I am willing to carry on if new arguments are provided. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 18:07, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't know what new arguments could be produced that would let us over-ride policy and censor the page in deference to religious sentiments. I'm astonished that this is being seriously considered. Maybe I've misunderstood the proposal. Tom Harrison Talk 18:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but in addition to the fact that we cannot override core policy through consensus, anyone who has followed this mediation and knows that there are a number of editors who would not agree with this "compromise," and the straw poll was phrased in such a way as to completely confuse people. For my part, I refuse to sign either, and I cannot see that not signing "no" - which was presented by the moderator in discussion as meaning "no images at all," constitutes acceptance of one depiction near the bottom with his face blanked out. Observing that we cannot override policy by consensus, nevertheless, if we're to conduct a straw poll, it must be a clean one, with clearly defined options which are not misrepresented in discuession and do not change mid-poll, and which includes the option of supporting WP:NOT alongside the others. Then we must give editors time to respond to it.Proabivouac 22:44, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, then go for it, failing that I think this is a fine compromise. You can tell it is a good compromise because nobody is completely satisfied. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 14:06, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
We can't compromise away policy. If this is imposed, it will either be unstable, or set a dangerous precedent that we will not want to apply to other articles. I suppose some think it will get things moving again, and we will be able to gin up some pretext to ignore it when people want to do something similar elsewhere, or if more extensive demands are made later. Anyway, it's not a compromise I can support, whatever box I have to tick to indicate that. Tom Harrison Talk 14:31, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Which policy? I see no policy forbidding users to come to a compromise. Also Wikipedia is not run off of precedent so don't worry about that. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 14:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
  • i'm still new to the discussion.. but from what i can see the main argument (as provided by gren) is the issue of neutrality concerns through overstating a minority tradition (i.e. WP:NPOV). of course, we all agree that wikipedia is not censored, meaning that we don't sacrifice encyclopedicity for particular sensibilities. a lot of those who have agreed have done so on the basis of gren's argument, not necessarily as a compromise between encyclopedicity and people's feelings. i agree completely that any decision made must be grounded on policy if the results of the mediation are to be lasting. ITAQALLAH 14:47, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
If we cannot reach a consensus soon, then I think this needs arbitration. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 15:21, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

What is a "fake" picture? What is a "real" picture?

Many objections to inclusion of a picture of Muhammad seem to hinge on the assertion that the pictures offered are "fake" or "lying" in some way. I have a hard time understanding why such terms are used. Consider any other painting or drawing of someone who lived before photography was invented. Are such drawings "false"? No. We aren't comparing these paintings to the work of one of those masters whos paintings look a lot like photographs. Therefore, calling the painting "fake" is meaningless. Is a drawing known to be by Salvadore Dali of Don Quixote fake? According to the standards I see being used it would be doubly fake. Count one: Quixote is a fictional character. Count two: People don't look like tangles of squiggles. This is ridiculous. Artist impressions are neither fake nor real. They are artist impressions. --Frotz661 23:16, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Yup the only time an artist impression could be called a fake is,
  • ...if a particular print is attributed to the wrong artist i.e. it is a fake Dali usually done to increase its market value and I don't think we have anything like that here or
  • it is mistitled (in some cases the mistitling is very much historical; we should keep the historical title but if we have someone notable who says the print is not correctly titled then we would be able to quote them. Thus if an image of a generic person with a halo was titled Muhammad doing 'x' and someone was able to show that this image was originally titled "Αρταξέρξης" (i.e.Artaxerxes II who I chose as the book Anabasis by Xenophon is quite well known), then they'd have a case,
The editors who say the prints are fake don't seem to me to be notable art experts (or if they are then they should be able to easily point us at where they or someone notable has said the image is misattributed or mistitled). Ttiotsw 05:48, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
If the artist saw the operson and painted him then it has very high possibility of similarity. On the other hand, if an artist has not seen the person and just heard about him then then any paiting about that person will be just 'imaginative' and has no association to the actual person but symbolically. But please note that these paitings do NOT even have symbolic representations because of half a dozen differences and illusions I mentioned in my talks. The difference include the kind of dress, seat, turban, chinese looking face and many many more (look above in my talks or otherwise dont throw those questions which have been answered already, please). VirtualEye 07:58, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
The kind of dress and other characteristics are symbolic of what the artists thought was expected at that time. Many religious artefacts could be considered "fake" by your definition including the current copies of the Qu'ran itself. There are no original copies of the Qu'ran from the time of Muhammad but all date from many years later. The Qu'ran is not the only book like this; the Bible record of Jesus is equally a poor record of events. We're not arguing this but rather if the pictures fit within the context of the article. If the images used have interesting differences then find someone notable who has commented on this. Ttiotsw 09:45, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

My two cents on images of Muhammad

I'm not going to dive into the Mediation, but I'll post a copy of my assessment here for anyone who wants to see it. (Original copy is at Talk:Muhammad).

The first question is whether we should adhere to the Islamic prohibition against images of Muhammad. We'd all like Wikipedia to be acceptable and welcoming of all cultures worldwide-- but regrettably, however, I don't think we can do that. These sorts of conflicts are bound to come up in any global project like Wikipedia, and inevitably, it just won't be possible to try to let religious or cultural taboos define how we cover content. Adherents of Islam would certainly like Wikipedia's content on Muhammad to comply with an Islamic POV, just as adherents of Christianity would like Wikipedia's coverage of Jesus to comply with a Christian POV. Ultimately, however, it's completely impossible to try to build a free encyclopedia which complies with such religious edicts, and all we can do is to try to treat all articles equally. To apply Islamic rules to our coverage of Muhammad would imply that Islam somehow "owns" Muhammad, rather than treating him like a historical world figure, just like any other historical figure. In the end, a buddhist and a christian and a muslim all have just as much right to learn about Muhammad, and we shouldn't let the islamic rules define how we will cover Muhammad. Just because we're going to be talking about the founder of Islam, that in no way implies that we must adhere to the rules of Islam itself. My conclusion: We should handle the same way we usually handle articles of this sort.

So if we shouldn't make up special rules for "Muhammad", the next question is, how do we generally deal with articles like this. Which is to say, "What is the usual use of images on articles about the founders of major world religions?" Which leads me to examine the relevant articles: Jesus, Gautama Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Abraham, Zoroaster. In all the articles, we see the same pattern: Several images featured. An artistic "main image" of the subject is featured prominently near the top of the article. Preference seems to be given to historical artistic depictions, rather than contemporary ones. The images also seem to usually be in the artistic style of a culture that revered the individual in question. In addition to the "main image", a few other images are usually included elsewhere in the article. If that's the way we usually do things, that's what we should do here: We should have one "main image" of Muhammad at the top, and a few others lower in the article.

The next question is: "Which image should be the 'main image' at the top?"

  • The use of a caligraphy image at the top would be a very odd choice, presumably motivated by a desire to have Wikipedia adhere to the Islamic rules on depictions. But it's a completely unprecedented choice-- none of the other articles lead off with an image of a handwritten example of the subject' name. This would be a bad candidate for main image.
  • Image:Mahomet.jpg and Image:Lifeofmahomet.jpg seems inappropriate-- they're Western. I certainly don't require artistic depictions of ancient individuals to actually achieve historical accuracy, but these two seem "grossly" innacurate. Bad candidates.
  • The 16th century Persian miniature is nice for being historical and Persian, but it's very difficult to parse, visually speaking. In thumbnail form, it's almost impossible to make out.
  • The Supreme Court image also doesn't grab me. For one, it's a modern, western depiction. For another, it's not very good quality-- it was taken at an odd angle and isn't colored. Lastly, it's under copyright, and we should use free images whenever possible.
  • Image:Maome.jpg is the best I've seen so far. It's historic, it's Persian, it's easy to see, and it seems all around "appropriate".

I suggest, therefore, that Maome.jpg be left up as the main image, wit the other images sprinkled throughout the article as needed. --Alecmconroy 08:14, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Wonderfully stated. Thank you for bringing some common sense into this discussion. Liberal Classic 08:59, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Ditto. Thank you.Proabivouac 09:53, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

You are very right about treating them all the same... yet your conclusions are all wrong. You view the outcome as what should be kept the same ignoring the differences in history and tradition. What needs to be kept the same is the methodology. By saying we should have the same representation of images you are implying that the traditions depict along similar lines. Western scholars often note the exceptionalism of Islamic art when viewed from the Western tradition and much effort has been given to reflect on the 'aniconism' (which Gabrar terms to describe the Islamic tradition). To avoid greater conflict you claim that Image:Mahomet.jpg is grossly inaccurate. How? Are you telling me that a man with a halo around his head meant to show his importance and that of the Sahaba is more realistic than a somber portrait styled drawing? I think that is a ludicrous claim. The Western depictions are just as accurate if not moreso in many cases as the Islamic ones. I have been a proponent of limited imagery and disagree with many who claim it is "avoiding censorship" to add them or that we should remove them so as not to disrepect Muslims. Here is my reply to you:
There is a misconception that following the Muslim lead is not NPOV and is invoking censorship. To prove censorship you must prove that an image should first be shown. The primary argument for this is "look at Jesus, Gautama Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Abraham, Zoroaster; they show images so they should be here". I think that is very misleading. As I mentioned above it's a coherent methodology that needs to be followed in image choice and the realization that one size does not fit all traditions. It is incumbent upon us to read the scholarship about Islamic art and apply it to how we represent Muhammad. I must state before I am misunderstand; scholarship on Islamic art is not a Muslim enterprise. It is how scholars try to conceptualize and explain the traditions. Without it as a reference we are taking pot shots for the sake of using pretty pictures. I too like the pretty pictures--the face of Muhammad included--but I do not think we should use it where it is not warranted. I have looked at every volume of Muqarnas (which the first 16 volumes seem to be available online) and you will see a startling lack of discussion about the representation of Muhammad. The only full article is about the Qadam Rasul. When this was not a contested issue it worked when we discussed our opinions on this. Now it is contested and we need to take a seriously look about what constitutes an important theme within history and not give undue weight to certain elements--or exclude those elements all together if they are important.
There is one thing that I will whole-heartedly agree with you on: modern Muslim sensibilities should not subvert a proper representation of tradition. Islam has existed for 1400 years and whether or not contemporary views treat past representations of Muhammad as proper or not is irrelevant. It's clear that Muslims have produced images of Muhammad. Out job is to assess their importance in tradition. A thousand pictures relatively unknown images of Muhammad in the course of 1400 years is nothing. If that's what these images are then they should not be included. (This isn't, I will argue, an accurate representation for Muslim images but pretty accurately describes the Western drawings.) This is what I ask for. I am no expert and we need more views from expert sources. gren グレン 10:24, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
No, you're vastly overcomplicating this. It's actually quite simple. On a biographical article, I (the reader) want to see a picture of the subject of the biography. Delving into the 16 volumes of the Muqarna and 1400 years of history isn't going to change the fact that by default, if we have an article about someone, then we show the reader a picture of that someone. That's what an encyclopedia is-- we included images for Aachen and Zygmunt, and everyone in between. --Alecmconroy 14:41, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
WP:NPOV#Bias states that we should not try to portray the exceptional. Image policy at Wikipedia:Images#Pertinence_and_encyclopedicity states that "Images must be relevant to the article they appear in and be of sufficient notability (relative to the article's topic)". So, you should see the most relevant picture. If that is calligraphy or some other form of representation then I don't see how "user preference" for images of a something's physiognomy would overrule that. In another note, there Muqarnas had an interesting article about an obscure Ilkhanate traditions where the hand of Allah was represented in painting. Would you support its inclusion above calligraphy on Allah? In any case, I see no reason why what you say is default. It will happen to work out that way for many articles because, especially in the West, painting is the primary mode of representation. And I'd also like to point out that there are quite a few biographies out there with an image without it at the top. gren グレン 00:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your sensible comments gren. The only thing I would dispute is that "a small picture further down would still be NPOV". The current condition of the article is normal to Wikipedia, looks about the same as any other biographical article. If we can agree on that, then it should be obvious that any variation of this is obvious censorship. --Hojimachongtalkcon 17:20, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how you can find my comments sensibile while totally ignoring their implications. My argument is that it would be NPOV if it reflects practices of depicting Muhammad. The issue is that within the tradition of depictions, portrayals of his physiognomy are rare and the page should reflect that. We shouldn't use anecdotal representations; we must use representative ones--and that is how you maintain NPOV--not by making it look like another person's page. gren グレン 00:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I think what we should do is maybe include the persian image with the face vailed at the top instead of at the bottom. At the bottom it is, in my opinion, religous censorship, and I believe that would fairly represent the traditions of muhammad, since there would still be very few depictions of Muhammad in the page. I would prefer the Image:Maome.jpg image, but I think including the covered image at the top is a fair compromise.--Sefringle 03:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

An essay on Muhammad's pictures

I respect non-Muslim contributors' views as much as i respect Muslims contributors' views regarding Muhammad's depictions. However, i tend to agree w/ non-muslims views here for simple and rationale reasons:

  • First and most important. According to some Hadiths but not the Qur'an, Islam discourages depicting religious figures and the reasons behind that are known to most contributors. However, logically, this discouragement concern solely Muslims. In other words, if you believe in Islam, than you'd be avoiding depicting but if a non-Muslim does depict Muhammad than it is not a Muslim's fault and therefore he would not be committing a sin.
  • I am sure that no single Muslim would put any existing portrait or picture of Muhammad in front of him and pray. A good Muslim would not be influenced by a portrait i believe. Otherwise we'd be talking about weak-faithed Muslims. What would a devout Muslim do if he sees other people eating during Ramadan in a non-Muslim country? Nothing. What would a devout Muslim do if he sees a pretty unveiled girl? If he's really a devout Muslim than obviously he'd not be influenced because i believe a devout Muslim, if he really is, can really master his desires. Otherwise, he'd be a BIG Munafiq. It is about faith and not anything else.
  • In Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Ibn Sa'd describes Muhammad. The description is sourced to Ali ibn Abi Talib. The point here is how come one accepts oral and written descriptions while having a different attitude toward depictions. After all, any person can make/draw a picture on his mind out of oral or written discription. So what's the difference?
  • Not all Muslims agree that depictions are forbidden. Ottomans and some Persians did actually had depictions of Muhammad. Actually, it is only idolatry that is condemned.
  • Many Caliphs and Amir al-Muminins were depicted and nobody argued about that. Isn't Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz considered as the fifth rightly guided caliph by some Sunnis? Isn't there a risk of people worshiping him as Caliphs are considered by Muslims the representatives of God on earth?
  • The building of the Congress features a sculpture of Muhammad as well as Moses holding the Commandments. Note that Moses' one got only 6 out of the 10 are visible and all the six got a secular character. I haven't heard of any Jew arguing against the fact that there should be 10 and not 6. I haven't heard of CAIR arguing against the existence of the Moses sculpture on the building. They only argued against Muhammad's sculpture. Isn't Moses a religious figure for Muslims as well? Why did CAIR argued only about Muhammad's one? That i really don't and can't understand.
  • I agree that the 2 pictures posted on the article are encyclopaedic while i agree w/ Netscot about the removal of Mahomet.jpg as being unencyclopaedic. -- Szvest - Wiki me up ® 17:41, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Reposted by Proabivouac 11:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

There is no problem in putting a picture on the article, but do you have:

  • 1- A picture which clearly represents Muhammad in accordance to the textual descriptions of his physical appearance as well as his life?........and IF there is such picture available then:
  • 2- Is that Picture Credible and cited in any scholastic works Notably?
  • 3- If above two conditions are met AND the picture NOT titled as "Muhammad." but by the artists reference

If above three conditions are true then I am right here to support the picture. Otherwise please find out such picture and come back.

VirtualEye 12:45, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

"Textual descriptions" would be primary sources with respect to Muhammad and really shouldn't be used to set the policy for inclusion (or not) of Wikipedia content. It is only if the picture is notable in some way and cited as an example of "Muhammad". It would obviously have to be titled "Muhammad" (or any other historical name as used by the artist/author) for it to even be considered as "Muhammad". So far, after an incredible amount of talk you have not yet shown that any of the images to date are not valid for inclusion based on consensus for content; in fact you have invented your own mock image which is clearly derivative of an existing image. Ttiotsw 15:52, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Ttistsw! I think you only see what you like to see. I wonder where are you dropping from in this logical discussion. VirtualEye 17:58, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The slippery slope?

Since this discussion has moved here from the Talk page, I'd like to restate my overriding concern that treating this article any differently than any other Wikipedia article about an historical person, because of a particular religious sect's veneration of that person, would be a terrible precedent to set. It would be a significant departure from the concept of Wikipedia as a completely neutral, secular encyclopedia.

If special editing rules are applied to this article about Mohammed in deference to Islamic views, then the Roman Catholic Church will logically expect (and be similarly entitled to) removal of any portrayals of the Pope they deem offensive. Scientologists will assuredly demand similar deference in the article about L. Ron Hubbard, and so forth.

Other articles and photos will need to be filtered in the same way. For example, will Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam have to be removed because of its portrayal of God, which is likewise anathema to Moslems?

Creation of Adam

JGHowes 16:34, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

RAmen, my brother. There are many true believers who are undoubtedly "offended" by the information that Wikipedia contains. But thus far, we have stood firmly against catering to these irrational sensibilities. I am a faithful follower of the prophet Voltaire, and in the holy scripture the lord did sayeth, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.". Therefore, as a practicing Voltairian, I am deeply offended by people who attempt to censor the work of others, no matter what their excuse. So, I humbly ask wikipedia to respect my firmly held beliefs, and not give in to the religious vanities of others. On a side note, I am also deeply offended by those who claim that the great prophet never said those words. But, as a Voltarian, I'm seriously confused about what exactly I should do to correct this travesty... -- Big Brother 1984 20:09, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Image of Muhammad in the intro

First of all let me stress that I oppose any form of censorship on Wikipedia, religious or otherwise. In fact I created the Wikipedians against censorship Wikiproject. For that reason I oppose eliminating depictions of Muhammad from the Muhammad article. However, I do not support having an image of Muhammad in the intro. The reason is that there is no image of Muhammad that is iconic enough or realistic enough to be able to represent Muhammad in the intro. Indeed, all the depictions we have of Muhammad are either cartoonish (such as the one currently in the intro), completely generic, or Muhammad's features are obscured. I have yet to see a depiction of Muhammad that would make a good intro image. Kaldari 16:59, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The issue is very simple

Should we treat this article any differently from any other? And if so, on what grounds? As has been pointed out so many times, Wikipedia is full of images of historical figures that can be criticised for historical inaccuracy. Either we remove all of those, or we treat Muhammad as any other historical figure. If we don't have a picture of him at the head of the article, then our readers might legitimately wonder what else we've censored for religious reasons. This degrades Wikipedia. As for the actual image, on reflection, I think we should stick with the Persian one that's already there. At least it was made by a Muslim. TharkunColl 00:05, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

We had a working compromise with one picture for more than a year. It's only after the Muhammad cartoon controversy that it suddenly seems so necessary to insert pictures of Muhammad, just to prove that we don't care what Muslims think. This is disrupting WP to make a point. A political point that has nothing to do with the goal of an encyclopedia, which is provide useful, reliable information to readers. We've got pictures of Muhammad -- we've got a whole article full of them. They aren't censored. Insisting that we put a picture of Muhammad at the top of the article just to PROVE to readers that we can do it -- that's degrading WP.
I wish the editors who are so concerned about the pictures would learn more about Islam (from a secular, academic viewpoint) and set to work improving the rest of the Islam-related articles, many of which need work. They are unbalanced, hagiographic, use pious Muslim language that doesn't belong in an encyclopedia, and push various Sunni/Shi'a/Salafi/Hizb-ut-Tahrir POVs. Fixing that is more important than fighting over pictures. Zora 01:06, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it's necessary to insert a picture to make the point that we will not be bowing to religious pressure. Major news networks did not show images because the corporations they work for wouldn't let them. We are not a major news network. In fact, Wikipedia is one of the last places where any controversial view, no matter how ridiculous (Branch Davidians) is represented in a NPOV. I would like to bring up again that inclusion of the image at the top would send a strong message to Muslim and non-Muslim users alike: some non-Muslim users will undoubtedly regard Wikipedia as more credible because of our adherence to our stated goal of neutrality. Additionally, some Muslim users (after dealing with the "slap-in-the-face" that some users are assuming every Muslim will feel) will find that Wikipedia is not here to boost their ego, but rather to present everything in a perfectly neutral matter. So, inclusion of the image would not only be in accordance with Wikipedia policy (which trump guidelines), it would be beneficial to the credibility of Wikipedia, as long as the caption read "an artists depiction of Muhammad". To those who say that "some users may only see the picture and not read the caption", this could apply to the content of the article as well. What is to stop a reader from reading only the information that they agree with in an article? --Hojimachongtalkcon 01:55, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
The message any article is meant to send is a proper representation of history; I have no idea how you got the idea that any article is supposed to be making a point that we aren't self-censoring. Your reasoning doesn't bring up tradition or how to properly represent it. You don't mention why it is censorship not to have an image. You don't mention any academic sources and how they discuss issues of representation. You want to show the world we don't censor. And frankly, that has nothing to do with the goal of writing an encyclopedia. We are not censored and for you to keep on assuming that the only reason to limit the number of pictures is self-censorship to please the Muslims is both wrong and tiring. I don't want a picture at the top because I think it is utterly encyclopedic to use an unrepresentative image to represent a topic. I have tried harder than any other editor (it seems) to look into how Muhammad is represented over time and present it to you and yet I get the stock answers of we don't censor and all of the other articles use physiognomy for representation. I also hear that it's not acceptable to use calligraphy. Why? because it doesn't look as good or because it's not art. This is the personal opinion of someone with no real attempt to look into how scholars of Islamic art view calligraphy or its place and function in representation. If we don't use tradition then we have no criteria for which image we use. It just makes sense that tradition is going to be Muslim since no other group has as much stake in how Muhammad is represented. Most everyone is admitting this. This is why the images being proposed are from Muslim sources and not the Muhammad cartoons or Orientalist works which would seem out of place. However, users are either trying to choose what they want from a tradition they believe they can portray as legitimate or they are trying to deny that this tradition is Muslim because "Muslims don't allow images of Muhammad". I think both of those views are missing the point and just trying to sanitize their preconceived notions that their either should or should not be images in the first place. For the love of God, this is not a censorship battle. It's a discussion about how you represent someone in light of how that has been done throughout history. Yes, some users want to censor the images and other want to portray them just to fight any possibility of censorship. Both of these are in complete violation of Wikipedia policy. Wikipedia is not censored but we don't show things just to prove we aren't censored. Now, let's discuss this issue and drop the irrelevant talk about censorship. gren グレン 02:39, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I strongly disagree. This issue is one of censorship at a fundamental level. The reason for this controversy is plainly because of some people's religious traditions. Simply put, there exist those people who want to change the article such that it conforms with their cultural and religious point of view. That is not what Wikipedia is about. Editors have gone to great lengths to identify artwork from credible sources that are both edifying to the article and sensitive to Muslims. The article as it stands portrays the Prophet Muhammad as he has been portrayed by Muslim scholars and artists through the centuries, with representations unveiled, veiled, and calligraphic. I believe the best course of action is to accept the status quo, and move forward with improving the written content of the article. Liberal Classic 03:36, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
The original change took place from people adding images to the article after the cartoon controversy. The article as it stands now is also not a status quo nor has it ever been. When images started being added edit wars ensued. Is it at all possible that the article was NPOV until people's secular traditions violated that by their beliefs that it was necessary to have pictoral representation regardless of their historicity? I am not saying this is the reason but these arguments go both ways and do not further anything.
As for well sourced images, yes, they are. However, a well sourced image does not make it any less anecdotal. We are not proving that an individual image has worth, we are assessing its value vis-à-vis a whole tradition. All of the images belong on Wikipedia, the question is where. We could have tons of them on Ilkhanate iconography of Muhammad. The question is are they important enough to belong on the main page. This is something that must be researched. gren グレン 04:44, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Again, I must strenuously disagree. Arguments of neutral point of view, censorship, and religious interest are vital to this discussion. I have no vested interest in exactly which images portray the Prophet Muhammad within the article, or exactly how many. However, as someone who wandered into this discussion from the recent changes page, I do have an expectation that the encyclopeida article on Muhammad be similar in style and substance to those of other great religious figures in history. What I see coming into this debate fresh is that there is a great deal of rationalization used to justify why this article should be treated differently. Liberal Classic 05:46, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I do not mean to agree these core concepts are irrelevant. I mean to say they are core concepts but you cannot decide the course of an article with generalized concepts without looking at the history of what you are trying to represent. What this debate has become is "Muslims don't want an image" "That's cenosrship; therefore, we need an image and other pages have images". You may call looking at the history of the subject at hand rationalization--but I call it attempting to properly deal with a contentious issue. So, yes, those important values of Wikipedia are important--but you cannot make an appeal for an image referencing Wikipedia policy but remaining mute on any understanding of the subject at hand. I would like to point out again that you have no reason to expect two articles to be the same if what they are representing is fundamentally different. If representative ways of depicting Muhammad are fundamentally different from the ways in which other historical figures are represented then you should expect to see fundamentally different content. Not all biographies are the same nor do I see any reason that they should be. There is nothing in Wikipedia policy that argues that the face is the only proper way in which someone can be remembered. To imply that is the case would be to ignore the study of Islamic art. We don't have images accentuating Mary's breasts but in accordance with common representational standards we do for some Hindu goddesses/avatars. Not everything is the same nor is there any reason that it must be represented in the same way. The goal is to represent it--not make it match other representations. gren グレン 06:29, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Gren, I sincerely think you got the wrong impression from my post. My reasoning is that why else would the censorship policy exist if not for these exact reasons? I don't think including the image is deliberately "making a point" or "political grandstanding", but rather practicing what is accepted, encouraged, and enforced on all other biographical articles. As for the argument about differentials between images of Mary and Hindu Gods: The images on those pages depict the subject in a manner used by the culture with which they are associated with. However, on both of these pages, the images appear at the top. Depicting the person in a manner used by the culture associated with that person is agreed upon. However, we should not be demonstrating Muhammad's teachings via the content of the article; If we were, then this would need to apply to the text as well, which would not be able to portray Muhammad in any way other than the "right" way, e.g. Fundamentalist Muslim thoughts upon Muhammad. Even I am confused by this edit, so please contact me if my incoherentness confuses you. I think it may. Thanks, --Hojimachongtalkcon 06:41, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Including an image isn't necessarily making a point nor is the reverse necessarily censorship. You are saying that the physical body is the only accepted mode of representation in biographical arguments and implying that any other way is religious censorship. I'd also like to point out that there is nothing wrong with an image representing the teachings of the person it represents. In fact, many of the images of religious figures do just that. Jesus being tempted by the Devil wasn't created because it shows no lesson... I would like to see your justification for why physiognomic representation is the only acceptable type, especially when we have people like Oleg Grabar saying calligraphy is an important type of representation that says a lot more than mere writing. It seems to me that there is a breakdown on the fact that you find such representations to be the only legitimate ones and it's important to understand why... gren グレン 07:33, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Regarding an "image representing the teachings of the person it represents", yes, this is fine. But the placement of the image in the article, or removing it altogether, would be demonstrating the teachings of the subject in a way that is not explicitly NPOV; The content of the article states where POV statements have been acquired from. It would be difficult to explain in a caption to a link why that link to an image further down the page exists; What else could the caption say than image moved down to demonstrate teachings of Muhammad? --Hojimachongtalkcon 08:00, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
What? No. I am saying the actual pictures represent teachings from the lives of religious figures. That's why you see Jesus with the Devil or Muhammad teaching the Sahaba (in Maome). This is in the images. I don't understand how having calligraphy is showing his teachings. In fact, there is no reason to essentialize Muhammad's teachings as disallowing images because, it's interpreted tradition where the buyer decides what they want to believe. Arguing that having calligraphy at the top is preaching Islam to people is... a little silly to my mind. We are representing the tradition and of course they are going to see what Muslims believe about Muhammad on the page... that just stands to reason? gren グレン 10:12, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
The goal, as I see it, is to write a relatively concise biographical document, that is detailed enough to lead the reader on to further study, while remaining general enough to be accessible to everyone. I believe it is reasonable that ordinary users of Wikipedia should expect to see a portrait of Muhammad when pulling up his article. While researching this topic I ran across the Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Islam-related articles). Note the section on honorifics. In my estimation (with the large caveat that I am a newbie here) that the inclusion of images ought to be handled in similarly dispassionate way. I make no claims to being an art historian, I appreciate your discussion on the subtleties of Islamic art. I have said previously that care should be taken in selecting images, and I prefer images from Muslim sources over Western sources for reasons of sensitivity. However, sensitivity should not overshadow the core concern of neutrality. Liberal Classic 08:04, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Gren, let me try to understand the argument your making. It sounds like you agree, in principle, with the argument being made that "Wikipedia should not censor itself just because of a Muslimi prohibition against images of Muhammad". It sounds like you also agree that "In general, Wikipedia can use artistic depictions of historical individuals, even if those depictions might not be historically accurate". Am I right on those points?
Instead, I _think_ you're making a different argument which is "Historically, Muslims have not had depictions of Muhammad" and "Wikipedia should adhere to whatever historical traditions have been set". Is that what you're saying? --Alecmconroy 03:39, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, more or less. If by historically accurate you mean they may not look like what they real person did instead of 'not representative of history'. We all (most) know that these images don't look like Muhammad or Jesus or whichever other figure they purport to represent. Yet, they are still important. So, why do we choose the images we do? Tradition, of course. We don't use modern art to represent Jesus because it's not an important tradition. (This is also why I challenge others on their reasoning of why we don't use the orientalist images. They are by no means less accurate and by the fact that they don't have halo-type things I'd argue they could be more accurate). I'm also not saying that they haven't used images historically--they have. And that's precisely why I disagree with the image removal crew. But, I think it's clear that the scope of such representations is much more limited for depictions of Muhammad than for Jesus and that calligraphy and hayli and Qadam Rasul are all other forms of representation that need to be taken into account or at least looked into by editors before they baselessly argue that images are the proper way to represent people on Wikipedia. gren グレン 04:37, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree the wikipedia isn't a place for political grandstanding or 'making a point.' I suspected that something like this was behind this huge push to have an image. We need to work with the sources. Plain and simple. futurebird 03:28, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Agreed that if a Wiki article departed from the norm to deliberately insult, inflame, or push an agenda, that would deserve a speedy delete. On the other hand, if it is normal Wikipedia practice to have a picture of a biographical subject, then to remove the picture from the Muhammad bio would be exceptional, not normative. If I understand what gren is suggesting, that the issue should be decided on the basis of customary practice over time, in effect that amounts to Wikipedia observing Moslem custom by removal of a picture. That is differentiation based on religious grounds, pure and simple.
But to answer gren's point, let's look at what Depiction of Muhammad says: "The long history of Islamic art contains many examples of pictures respectfully representing Muhammad. They are not to be considered lifelike portraits. In some, but by no means all cases, the face is left blank so that Muhammad is suggested rather than completely depicted. Many times flames seem to emanate from Muhammad's head; this suggests the radiance of his countenance. Persian and Ottoman miniatures of the 14th to 16th centuries are especially notable for their free approach to pictorial representations." So, even using gren's premise, a case can be made for inclusion of a respectful, dignified imagery.
The poll above was quite confusing to me, as it apparently was to others. Perhaps a consensus would support instead, keep a picture at the top of the article, but replace it with a better one. I would like to propose for consideration this cropped view of Muhammad re-dedicating the Black Stone at the Kaaba, a Persian work from c. 1315 portraying an important historic event in the Prophet's life: - JGHowes 05:22, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Um, I think I wrote that bit in the Depictions of Muhammad article -- in fact, I think I started the article. You've taken the quote out of context, without mention of the aniconism sections. I haven't studied this matter in as much depth as Gren has, so I'd bow to him here. But, my impression is that the vast majority of the small drawings and paintings of Muhammad come from Persian and Ottoman manuscripts. Illustrated manuscripts were accepted and normal (various illustrated Shahnamehs are famous) and the depictions of Islamic subjects fall within that tradition. They were for private consumption and not public display. A Muslim might read his illustrated manuscript at home and then go pray at a mosque that was decorated exclusively with calligraphy (or perhaps small decorative tiles with trees or gazelles ... ). This would have been a rich Muslim, mind you ... the masses were too poor for illuminated manuscripts.
The only Islamic tradition in which public display of religious images is tolerated is the Iranian Shi'a tradition. There are the banners displayed at public recitations re the death of Husayn, sometimes murals on mosques, pictures framed and hung on walls. However, the subjects are usually Ali, Fatima, Husayn, not Muhammad. (BTW, we've had some ugly battles at the Ali article, with Shi'a adding pictures and Sunni removing them.)
Gren is right in pointing out that emphasizing pictures taken from rich men's books misrepresents the Islamic tradition. When the Jesus article shows a depiction of Jesus, that's one of millions of existing depictions. When the Muhammad article shows a miniature from an illuminated manuscript, it's pulling from a much smaller pool of art. How much smaller I don't know. Several orders of magnitude at least. It really is not the same thing. Zora 07:33, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
This argument strikes me as particularly silly-- it's just grasping at straws in order to justify making Wikipedia comply with Muslim laws. "Books and illustrations historically were expensive and available only to the rich, so Wikipedia shouldn't have illustrations of historical figures because this misrepresents history"??? Not gonna happen. --Alecmconroy 02:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Because you are trying to make it look silly. In Christian history illustrated manuscripts became normal and flourished over time. In Islamic history there was a short period in very limited areas where they existed and then almost altogether fizzled out (except for Iran). Even when they were around the scope of their existence was much smaller than would be with their Christian counterparts. Your argument seems to be that if something has any parallels to what Muslims believe then it doesn't belong in the article. Now that is a silly view in my opinion. Not to mention that most of these images will be a click away on the commons or on other pages where they are historically notable. There are legitimate reasons not to use images willy-nilly--not just censorship. gren グレン 03:22, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I should clarify-- I don't meant to say say the entire debate is silly-- I was just refering simply to this specific argument which says we ought not use images because historically only the very rich could afford them. Obviously, we're not really having this discussion because of anything to do with the historical cost of books prior to the printing press-- nobody's making these "using images misrepresents the historical scarcity of illustrations" argument in any articles but this one. What's at issue here is that many modern muslims are likely to be deeply offended by images of Muhammad-- that's why this is a dispute.
And I have great sympathy for that concern-- it's a valid concern, and it's something worth thinking about, and it's regrettable that there isn't a way of making this article that doesn't offend someone: Many muslims will be offended if we include an image, many non-muslims will be offended if we violate our usual content practices and forbid images of the subject of the article. We're talking about potentially offending the deeply held beliefs of millions of human beings, it's not something to take lightly, it's not something to scoff at, and it's not something I'd ever call "silly".
On the other hand, when those concerns get repackaged and spun, it's strains credulity. When we don't just admit the concern about offending our muslim readers, but instead claim that images should be banned from this article because they "misrepresent the historical scarcity and expensive of publically-available illustrated reading materials in antiquity"-- now that's what is just silly. --Alecmconroy 03:49, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

No, Alec, it's a careful weighing of the reasons for doing something that you know is going to hurt other people. If it's necessary, you do it. If it's not necessary, you don't do it. Suppose you swear like a longshoreman in your ordinary speech and you know that when you do that, it gives extreme pain to your (hypothetical) devout Methodist mother. Do you swear when you're around her or not? Do you hold to your "right" to speak the way you wish, the way you ordinarily do, or do you temper your speech when you're around her? I hope you would spare your hypothetical mother. Well, suppose your hypothetical mother has a chronic disease that is going to kill her in a few years, and she hasn't made a living will. She doesn't want to think about death. Are you going to avoid talking about death, or are you going to force her to talk about it and take steps that are going to make her passing easier? I hope you would speak up, even if she doesn't like it.

So let's assume that you don't want to hurt Muslims just because they're Muslims -- which would be cruel and mean. Let's assume that you accept them as your human brothers and sisters, whose feelings are just as worthy of consideration as those of your own friends and family. When is it necessary to present pictures that you know will hurt? Well, for our purposes, when those pictures are necessary to convey information, because that's what we're here to do. What information does putting a picture from a miniature at the top of the Muhammad page convey? That some Muslims pictured Muhammad in this fashion. BUT ... if those Muslims are a minority, and most Muslims, now and in the past, would not have approved of public display of such a picture, then prominently displaying that picture actually distorts history. It says, "this is an ordinary Muslim action", when in fact, it isn't. That is giving undue weight to one side in a controversial matter. Gren and I are arguing that it would be wrong to completely remove all pictures -- that would be censorship -- but it would be just as wrong to present the pictures as ordinary and acceptable to all Muslims. That is why putting calligraphy at the top (as the majority view) and one picture at the bottom (as the minority view) makes sense. A veiled picture will do, because we have our choice of veiled and unveiled images, and we might as well pick the one that is less offensive. It's just as representative.

We always take the less offensive choice. That's covered by WP:Profanity.

That's in this context, BTW. If somebody wants to draw cartoons about Muhammad, that's fine by me. But that's not what's under consideration here. Zora 05:32, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Once again, WP:Profanity is a guideline. WP:NPOV and the censorship guidelines are policies. --Hojimachongtalkcon 05:52, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
She's not arguing against those policies. What she is saying (I think) is that we can't look at history and come up with a magic number of images that can't be contested. It's clear that images are not the most important for of representation but we have options under NPOV and not censoring. She is saying within those parameters we have the choice whether to be offensive or to use discretion. Which is a completely valid point. Within the contexts of the Muhammad cartoon page we have no discretion because it's obvious that the image belongs there since it is vital to the subject. Muslims may be offended but that is NPOV and WP does not censor. In this case we have a history which is aniconistic and there is not one clear answer (although I think it's clear that calligraphy belongs at the top since it is far more important than icons) of how to represent it. There is a range of answers which will be acceptable ways to represent the tradition. She thinks that within that range we need to use WP profanity to offend the least. It is not a violation of policy. gren グレン 06:15, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. I think we should put the picture at the top. I think the fact that we only will include one picture will demonstrate the fact that tradition is not to include pictures, especially if we explain that in the caption.--Sefringle 06:02, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
That was my point as well Sefringle. --Hojimachongtalkcon 06:07, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
But your lead image is supposed to be the most representative? I don't even have a huge issue with the second image down being an image... but the first really should be calligraphy. gren グレン 06:20, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Calligraphy may be the most representative to Muslims. But to the vast majority (those who cannot read Arabic) the image is just a bunch of "random squiggles". To most people, an image is the most representative. Are all images on Wikipedia accurate? I don't think so. However, they have usually been found to be somewhat notable and credible artist's representation. --Hojimachongtalkcon 07:19, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Calligraphy may be most representative to historians of Islamic art. The fact that any user is culturally unaware does not warrant changing the definition of representative. The science articles do not remove all references to chemistry just because it is meaningless to me. That is a seriously flawed argument and... it really is not relevant if the users relate to some type of representation better (nor do I have any concept of how you'd judge this). It is experts who define relevance. As for credible artist--yes, using IrishPunkTom's calligraphy is not acceptable. We would find a notable type. gren グレン 16:36, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Zora-- I do understand the argument which goes: "Images will cause pain to our Muslim readers, and we should minimize that pain as much as possible". That argument is a reasonable one to make, and I understand it, and sympathize with it. Whether information that might cause pain should be removed is a big question, a huge debate that is being held in all cultures around the world-- particularly in the Internet age. How should we deal with information which many people find offensive and upsetting? It's a really big question. Lots of very intelligent people are found on all sides of the question. It's a genuine debate.
In that debate, Wikipedia has taken a very "radical" approach-- one of total noncensorship. The weight given to the possiblity of offending others by showing them information is precisely and completely 0. I know that sounds harsh, but that's the path Wikipedia has taken. We don't let fear about offending our readers influence our editorial decisions. Ever. Not even a little. In the world at large, this is a very controversial choice, and who knows-- maybe it's the wrong one. There are many other ways to run a society, and in the end, I definitely leave room for the possiblity that maybe that isn't the best way to do things. Who am I to say how is best to run the world? Many, many, many people, from diverse backgrounds, all feel some information can be harmful to society and upsetting to society, and therefore shouldn't be shown. So, I understand this POV, I think it is a widespread one and a reasonable one, but for the moment, "Wikipedia is not censored" stands. If we're to follow policy, then we can't start trying to balance "Potential utility" vs "Potential to Offend". But I do understand people who wish that maybe we would try to do that balancing. It's a valid disagreement, and it's a real issue.
Now, the other argument that's been floated, this notion that "Using images misrepresents history"-- that to me is just a distraction from the real issue. No one seriously believes that Wikipedia's content somehow "emulates" historical stylistic decisions of the subjec being discussed. The text of the Wikipedia article on Poetry does not rhyme, it is not in the form of a Haiku, nor does anyone expect it would be. Nobody is misled or confused by the fact that our poetry article isn't poetic.
Wikipedia's use of images is a reflection on how Wikipedia generally deals with images in biographical articles-- not a reflection of how Muslims use images in dealing with Muhammad. We always use images to show the subject of a biography-- even if the images weren't common during the subject's lifetime, even if the images aren't realistic, even if most people throughout history have had neither the resources nor the inclination to view images of the subject of our article.
Throughout history in all cultures, artists have been very rare. During the Renaissance, I doubt even 1 person in a 100,000 was a painter, whereas 99,000 of others were farmers-- but our article on the Renaissance has lots of artwork, yet contains no sentences about farming. By using images, Wikipedia does give artists a disproportionate weight as compared with their non-artist counterparts. If you really think this is a problem, you could propose a policy saying that images should be removed from all articles about cultures which haven't had a lot of images historically. You could propose such a policy by following the instructions here. I personally don't think anyone is truly concerned about this. This objection hasn't come up anywhere else in the encyclopedia, which is , to me, proof that "The article has a disproportionate use of images as compared with the historical frequency of artistic images in ancient culuters" is just something we say when we aren't having much luck persuading people about the real issue: "The images will offend Muslims".
--Alecmconroy 07:28, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Here's a good example of Wikipedia non-censorship policy in action. We have an article on Jahbulon. This is a word that is supposedly secret and known only to higher degrees of Freemasonry. They take solemn oaths to never write, say, or reveal this word in any way. Some at least must be offended or upset that Wikipedia has an article about it. And yet the article exists. TharkunColl 12:24, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
That is not related to this debate. We have depictions of Muhammad. We could have Ilkhanate iconography of Muhammad. We could have Prophetic iconography in Islam... any numbers of articles that prominently display pictures of Islamic prophets if they were well sourced. In this case we are arguing not whether it is okay to have such pictures on Wikipedia--they are here, there are no IfDs happening. We are debating an issue of prominence, which is a completely separate issue. Relative to the article Muhammad are the images the most significant form of representation. I must say it is slightly frustrating that you continue to refer to the arguments of anonymous users who drop in and say they're offended only because they're Muslim rather than addressing the far more nuanced arguments of Zora and others. Ignoring such points does not help you win debates here... although, I could be wrong :/ gren グレン 16:44, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
We all see the debate in different terms. I see it as a debate about religious censorship, and I find it provoking that others want to argue it on some other level. That's not becuase any of us is being perverse; it's just because we disagree. Tom Harrison Talk 17:39, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The problem I have with that is because seeing it as a censorship issue you automatically assume that to combat censorship it belongs. I don't mind if you think censorship is important to this debate; I want you why under NPOV you believe such an image is the proper thingamabob to put at the top. "Because other articles do it" is not really a justification. Can you justify that such images are more representative than calligraphy? If not, are you violating Wikipedia:NPOV#Undue_weight? On these issues it's not just a difference of opinion on how to view the issue. It's something that needs to be discussed without throwing "Wikipedia is uncensored" around making it seem like anyone with a differing view is attempting to censor the article. So, I don't think we can boil this down to "we look at things differently" because there is an important neutrality issue here that must be discussed. gren グレン 21:24, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
There is an important censorship issue here that must be discussed, but there is no more use in my insisting we have the debate on my terms than in you insisting we have it on your terms. If my concerns about censorship are going to be dismissed, I don't see how you expect me to respond. I oppose applying an artificial standard to this biography that is not applied to other biographies, that just happens to have the result of removing pictures of Muhammad. I don't doubt your sincerity, Gren, but I cannot support the standard you want to apply. Tom Harrison Talk 21:57, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
"'Because other articles do it' is not really a justification"? Of course it is. Every other article takes it for granted that images of the subject of a biography are useful. Biography articles don't, however, typically lead with a handwritten image of the subject name. If you think images of historical individuals in general aren't useful, you should propose a policy to remove them from all such articles. If you think only images of Muhammad should be removed, you're making up special rules, which apply only to Muhammad, which cooincidentally have the effect of censoring the article so won't violate Muslim taboos. Either way you slice it, it's not going to happen.
We have some freedom of discretion about which images to use. We don't have any choice whatsoever about whether or not to use multiple, prominent images of Muhammad including one in the lead. --Alecmconroy 22:56, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Both of you, I am not asking for special terms only to be applied to Muhammad. It does not make sense to represent largely aniconistic traditions with icons be it Muhammad, early stages of Buddhism or the Iconoclastic period of Byzantine history. It does not help that you portray this me giving special treatment to Muhammad--it just happens to be that my studies are tied up with Islam so I edit these articles and not other traditions which I am far less familiar with. Iconistic traditions will take the user of icons for granted--that stands to reason. I think I've made it perfectly clear many times that images are useful when the history of representation merits them. I think physiognomic images of Muhammad are useful and a completely valid part of history open for exploration and encyclopedic articles. You make the assumption that the only valid image is one that represents his body rather than hayli, Qadam Rasul, calligraphy, or any other traditional forms of representation. I see absolutely no reason to believe that the only valid way to represent someone in the top image is showing the body. And you never show any reason that leads me to believe it is the case--instead you try to make it seem like I am censoring the article if that is done. I ask that you properly represent my view instead of bringing up the boogeyman of censorship to any point I make.
Tom, the response I expect is: 1) on what basis is there a rule or policy that every biography page gets an image depicting the body of the person. "taken for granted" as Alecmconroy says is not an answer. 2) Should all aniconistic traditions have to express themselves in terms of icons in Wikipedia articles because we deem that to be the only acceptable standard of art to top biographical articles. 3) Look into both Wikipedia policy reasons that would be the case or academic reasons. 4) With WP:NPOV#Undue_weight, can we not give undue weight to icons in relatively aniconistic traditions if we represent them with icons? Can we agree that Islamic art is a relatively aniconistic tradition. Do you believe that any competing strains in artistic representation of Muhammad whether it be Western, Muslim or otherwise makes iconistic representations important enough to act as the primary image of a page. I think those are all important questions you can respond to. gren グレン 23:27, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Getting crowded here, so i'll respond below --Alecmconroy 07:24, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
"The weight given to the possiblity of offending others by showing them information is precisely and completely 0"? Here you are completely wrong. Please see WP:PROFANITY: "Words and images that would be considered offensive, profane, or obscene by typical Wikipedia readers should be used if and only if their omission would cause the article to be less informative, relevant, or accurate, and no equally suitable alternatives are available." This discussion will continue to go nowhere if people continue to take an absolutist and extreme position on the matter, against guideline and policy. - Merzbow 18:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I realize it's a bold statement to say that that absolutely no weight is given to it, but that's a good summation of the situation. Profanity is inappropriate if it fails to help the encyclopedia-- indeed all text or images is inappropriate if it fails to help the encyclopedia. If, however, profanity improves the article, it's completely allowed and indeed, essential to making a good encyclopedia.
Multiple, promiment images of the subject of a biography improve the encyclopedia. This is undisputed for every article I've seen except Muhammad, and we're not going to start making special rules for him. --Alecmconroy 22:36, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
A respectful picture of Muhammad at the head of the article, painted by a Muslim artist, with his face veiled, would not be "considered offensive, profane, or obscene by typical Wikipedia readers." That already includes several elements of compromise, which kind of illustrates my concerns about slippery slopes and further demands, leaving aside any expectation of reciprocity. For the section on depictions of Muhammad, I think any reasonable picture would be sufficiently informative to overcome any offense. It's possible that a third picture for another section could also be justified. These are judgment calls, and on Wikipedias in other languages the judgment might be different. Remember I was originally on the other side of this debate, and changed my mind after careful consideration in the light of experience and the nature of the debate. If even my fairly moderate position is absolutist and extreme (which I don't think you mean to say), I don't see a prospect of usefully continuing. Tom Harrison Talk 20:33, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I have never said anything about "respectful" or "dignified"--they needn't be either. I have not denied the possibility of using physiognomic representations, I have just asked that they be representative. Yes such representations have been a part of the history of depictions of Muhammad but they need to be judged as to their prevalence and furthermore, specifically, what style or precise image would belong. I also wouldn't take much note of what Depictions of Muhammad says--it is by no means a model article. And it is correct that there are traditions of depiction, but it uses loose language specifically because it makes no real attempt at assessing their place in history. So, there are many examples--yes, but in the span of 1400 years there were probably many examples of most things...
I would be very much against cropping any image just to show Muhammad. Most scenes are depictions from Muhammad's life illuminating a text and involve others in the image. They are not portraits of only Muhammad unlike is done for Jesus and to make it seem like they only represent him would be very misleading indeed. As you noted you want to portray an important event which is how images of Muhammad are used--much more than portraying the person as was commonly done in Christian tradition. gren グレン 06:10, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The issue is indeed very simple. Censorship is when there are strong reasons why something should be included, but when it is not included because of concerns about offending a group. Editorial discretion is when the decision could go either way ABSENT any concern about potentially offending a group, and when that latter concern tips the balance. Any way you cut it, the tradition of lifelike depictions of Muhammad is a weak one in Islamic culture. It is perfectly appropriate, from a purely encyclopedic viewpoint, to have only one lifelike depiction in that article among calligraphics, etc. Unless one fanatically must demand that concerns about offense be assigned a zero weight, even granting them a small but non-zero weight would tip the balance of our discretion towards the compromise above - one picture, small, near the bottom, veiled. - Merzbow 06:00, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Apparently the issue is not simple. A veiled picture near the bottom is the definition of censorship. This entire discussion is about censorship for religous reasons. That is my summary of the arguements. The pocture should be at the top for that would be most consistent with other articles on people.--Sefringle 06:57, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
What other articles do is irrelevant. We do what is best for this article. The issue is some editors misrepresenting a tradition by overemphasizing specific aspects of it, and using the excuse of 'censorship' to attempt to freeze their edits in stone. And there is no policy that states that concerns about objectionable content cannot have any influence whatever in editorial decisions, no matter how small. - Merzbow 08:15, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
How can you say what other articles do is irrelevant? That is double standards. Why should Muhammad get special treatment? What applies to Muhammad needs to apply to other articles, vice versa. Wikipeida policies cannot be mutually exclusive to certian articles. All policies apply to all articles.--Sefringle 23:31, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
If you can show me the policy that says that all articles about a person must include a prominent picture of said person, then you have a point. - Merzbow 02:05, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Islam isn't the only aniconistic tradition

I discovered only recently that Buddhism, in its earliest centuries, discouraged pictures and statues of the Buddha. He was shown as an umbrella, or a footprint. Out of respect. Lest people worship the Buddha instead of trying to follow his path. Interesting. Carry on with the acrimonious discussions now! Zora 08:04, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

From what I have read (and I make to claims to being a historian or theologian) in Christianity though the sign of the cross came about quite rapidly, the image of the crucifix (a cross with a image of Jesus carved into it) did not come about until five hundred years (or more?) after the formation of the church. It was considered quite graphic and gruesome by early Christians. Liberal Classic 08:14, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
It still is by Mormons. - Merzbow 08:16, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Pity poor King David and Moses. They have to make due with Rembrandt. :P Liberal Classic 08:19, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
See-- this proves my point exactly. Some followers of Buddhism discouraged images of the Buddha-- but Wikipedia doesn't change its editorials policies to comply with those religious beliefs-- and our article on Buddha has statues, not umbrellas. --Alecmconroy 08:39, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, no. Early Buddhism was that way... there was a large change and iconography became more prominent over time--especially with all of the different forms. The terms aniconistic was coined by Grabar (I believe?) for early Islam which didn't really use images but wasn't exactly iconoclastic (until Yazid II). But, it had a period in certain areas of some icons within a limited range (texts) before it died off again. gren グレン 09:52, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
If, for the sake of argument, Buddhism had retained a tradition of discouraging paintings and sculptures of the Buddha, would it be reasonable for users of English Wikipedia to expect to see an image of an umbrella when accessing his encyclopedia entry? Liberal Classic 16:50, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Although I am not taking part in the mediation but cannot stop me here. No one is removing images from Depiction of Muhammad or the cartoon page where they are required. In Muhammad they do not add any information other than to imagine him wrongly with pictures that even do not depict him correctly. --- ALM 17:22, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Liberal Classic, yes, that seems reasonable (if what Zora says is correct). I'm not sure of the exactly why you're asking. gren グレン 23:52, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Comparing the articles of two Abrahamic prophets in Wikipedia.

The current Muhammad article is fine. If we compare the Jesus and Muhammad articles (both recent prophets of Abrahamic religions) then we can see that the Muhammad article has quite a representative set of images without going overboard,

  • The Jesus article has 10 pictures of Jesus in various guises plus one of Sol Invictus total of 11 images.
  • The Muhammad article currently has 1 x veiled, 2x full face from different eras, 2 x icons (art plus photo), 1 x plate of Quran plus 5 Islamic-related photos for a total of 11 images.

Thus whereas the Jesus article has 90% images of Jesus, the Muhammad article has only 30% images of which 20% are contentious and would have been edit-warred over. It would seem to be an unrepresentative view to simply remove the last few images from the article. Ttiotsw 10:42, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Looking at the article history only the 1 image, Maome.jpg, was being removed by a low-edit count user (Special:Contributions/Aatif.haider who was 3RR'd for this). They haven't contributed much to this discussion so far. I'd say that this past 3 weeks has been a storm in a teacup and that the current article is probably the consensus view anyway. Ttiotsw 16:13, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
This has never been a consensus view--the last one of those was pre-cartoon controversy one veiled image at the bottom. Consensus does change and someone trying to change it led to a responding editor violating the 3RR and to the page lock and to its current status.
In any case, you do bring up an interesting point--and one that I have been thinking about. I think one huge problem is the image so prominently placed. You also have missing traditions like Qadam Rasul and hayli (neither of which I have yet properly contextualized in my own mind to make a good judgment on). Jesus also could really use someone with knowledge of Christian art history going through it and fixing it up some. Those images appear to have been chosen haphazardly... and maybe that page needs a big hullabaloo for it to be fixed (not that I ever want to see something like this happen again...) But, it could use some crucifix or a representation of early Protestant iconoclasm. Your point in general is well taken. gren グレン 23:49, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Ttiotsw says: >>Thus whereas the Jesus article has 90% images of Jesus, the Muhammad article has only 30% images of which 20% are contentious and would have been edit-warred over. It would seem to be an unrepresentative view to simply remove the last few images from the article.

My answer: Jusus article has 100% images of Jesus which are accepted/used/associated about Jesus in 90% of Christianians.

Muhammad article 100% images of Muhammad which are accepted/used/associated about Muhammad in 0.1% of Muslims as well as nonmuslims in all the history.

There is not even a single mosque having the image of Muhammad hanged and represented, which proves that the image in wikipedia article is purely a POV for few people who argue about the image that it is related to some 'unknown' painter and was used in a short span of history.

Use of the image having no source and no creator, is the violation of wikipedia images policy and not my personal opinion.

If there is an image which represents and is associated to Muhammad in mainstream Muslims/nonMuslims then use it. If there is no such image then it does NOT imply that you put some non-representing image or you put some image which is not associated to Muhammad by Mainstream Muslims/nonmuslims but by very few people in a short span of history.

VirtualEye 08:17, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

The few images of Muhammad in the article are well sourced and verifiable and representative of how people have viewed the subject in the past; the recent cartoon controversy highlights that there is a style that has been used, and is still used to represent Muhammad. Ttiotsw 10:29, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Images created by worshippers of Muhammad


It ought to be remembered that Muslims are not the only people who have venerated Muhammad. There were the Knights Templar for example, who (unlike the Muslims) actually worshipped him, and placed idols of him in all their preceptories. These idols were given the name Baphomet, a version of Mahomet (i.e. Muhammad). The picture on the right is a famous image of Baphomet by the French scholar Eliphas Levi.

Another piece of information relating to this "idol," which has been the subject of considerable discussion among modern writers, was elicited from the examination of some knights from the south. Gauserand de Montpesant, a knight of Provence, said that their superior showed him an idol made in the form of Baffomet; another, named Raymond Rubei, described it as a wooden head, on which the figure of Baphomet was painted, and adds, "that he worshipped it by kissing its feet, and exclaiming, 'Yalla,' which was," he says, "verbum Saracenorum," a word taken from the Saracens. A templar of Florence declared that, in the secret chapters of the order, one brother said to the other, showing the idol, "Adore this head--this head is your god and your Mahomet." The word Mahomet was used commonly in the middle ages as a general term for an idol or false god; but some writers have suggested that Baphomet is itself a mere corruption of Mahomet, and suppose that the templars had secretly embraced Mahometanism. [7] (The Worship of the Generative Powers, Thomas Wright, 1865)

So not only did the Templars take the name Baphomet/Mahomet from the Muslims, but also the name Allah (Yalla). Yet anyone reading our article on Muhammad would have no inkling of any of this whatsoever, because as it stands the article only presents the Muslim view. This is a form of censorship, just as much as the issue of images. I suggest the image of Baphomet should go in the article somewhere, though possibly not as the lead picture, which should be by a Muslim artist (I don't really care which). TharkunColl 12:47, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I think this'll be like putting the Piss Christ into the Jesus article !. It's a spurious association. Ttiotsw 12:59, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
No, because if the Knights Templar worshipped Muhammad, then their religious beliefs are every bit as valid as anyone elses. Piss Christ is not a manifestation of religious belief, but the idol Baphomet certainly was. TharkunColl 13:03, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
this is indeed a spurious accusation, and the original research involved here was fully exposed on Talk:Muhammad a while ago. ITAQALLAH 13:36, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes indeed this is nothing but pure original research.. This discussion is about whether we can accommodate a depiction of prophet Muhammed in the article and how best to do it. Whether to call him Baphomet calls for a separate discussion (It's a spurious association indeed that will effect the stability of the article at a different level). So lets stay On-topic, and solve this than bring other unnecessary topics that deviates from the subject matter. ŇëŧΜǒńğëŗTalk 14:48, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

It is not original research, but a well known historical fact.

Baph"o*met (?), n.[A corruption of Mahomet or Mohammed, the Arabian prophet: cf. Pr. Bafomet, OSp. Mafomat, OPg. Mafameda.]

An idol or symbolical figure which the Templars were accused of using in their mysterious rites.

Websters Dictionary, 1913 [8].

Please do not describe something as original research simply because you don't like it, or find it bizarre. Perfectly respectable academic sources tell us that the Templars worshipped an idol of Muhammad under the name Baphomet. Surely this deserves a mention in the article. TharkunColl 16:08, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The Templars were accused of worshipping Baphomet. It's clear that the connection between and Muhammad and Baphomet was borne of sloppy etymology and malice from those who destroyed the Templars. This can be learned from any text on the Templars. Please point me to a source that seriously states the Templars worshipped Muhammad? I have access to a good academic library. Frotz661 07:53, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Even if it does make your point, your argument from absurdity may be somewhat unhelpful to the discussion. Liberal Classic 16:56, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
This is indeed a bad idea. It is much like Piss Christ, meant to deliberately inflame a group of users where there are clearly better alternatives. --Hojimachongtalkcon 17:30, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I find it to be a fascinating example of religious evolution. Why should we not have a brief paragraph about it in the article (with or without the picture)? Why should the Islamic view of Muhammad be the only one allowed? TharkunColl 17:49, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Because it's non-notable, period. - Merzbow 18:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
First, despite our 1913 dictionary, I do not believe that it is broadly accepted that "Baphomet" is derived from "Muhammad," and besides this very dubious etymology, there are basically no similarities between these personae which would support the conclusion that they are historically related. Even were it known to be so, see WP:NPOV#Undue weight - the Knights Templar in the scheme of things are far too marginal for their view of "Muhammad" to warrant mention here, and certainly not an image. Let us close this thread forthwith.Proabivouac 19:01, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

In what way is it "non-notable" that the very organisation responsible for defending Christians and their interests in the Holy Land during the Crusades, should have secretly become worshippers of Muhammad? I would have thought that this is extremely noteworthy. TharkunColl 19:39, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Though probably false, this view is, as you've shown, verifiable, and notable enough to be on Wikipedia, just not in this article. I direct you to Baphomet, where it is already discussed. However, it appears that citations are needed and are being requested for this very subject; your work there should prove valuable.Proabivouac 19:49, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Proabivouac. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:51, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I concur with HighinBC and Proabivouac. Better images exist. --Hojimachongtalkcon 19:53, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Can we please agree not to waste any more time discussing this ridiculous pseudohistory?Itsmejudith 21:29, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Now its not difficult to judge what is the intention to bring such evil accusations. Is this wikipedia or some filthy pound of FFI? Put this picture in article and there goes the credibility of wikipedia flushed into toilet.
Is it a new strategy? If a victim is objecting the smaller false accusation then you bring some bigger one, so that the victim agrees on the smaller one to avoid this new bigger accusation? How nice. Thanks TharkunColl! for fully revealing yourself. VirtualEye 07:42, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Suggestion let's archive this section, for it is irrelevant and brings this mediation into disrepute.Proabivouac 07:30, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't know. I don't think we have enough discussion material to warrent archiving yet.--Sefringle 07:45, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
irrelevant/counter-productive sections usually are archived sooner. i agree with Proabivouac. ITAQALLAH 13:22, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia Policy = No respect for Religion ?

My question is in the context of current issues about picture in the article.

Wikipedia works on the basis of NPOV while respect for a religion means 'not saying the bad things about the religion which might heart the followers', which itself is a POV. How can you keep wikipedia NPOV and POV at the same time? VirtualEye 08:05, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

The answer is that the _texts_ of our articles is follows a NPOV about their subject matter. The policies about making Wikipedia are laden with all kinds of points of view. Why is it good to have a free encyclopedia in the first place? To even edit it is to take a POV about whether editing a free encyclopedia is a worthwhile thing to do. We don't have ads on Wikipedia-- that's another decision which could be laden with POVs. Why are we giving away this encyclopedia for free, when people would pay good money for it? That's another POV. And of couse, the afformentioned "Wikipedia does not censor", which is I think a very strong stance in a oft-debated issue. So, in answer to your question, Wikipedia is not an expression of a NPOV-- the contents of its articles are written from a NPOV towards the subject matter. --Alecmconroy 08:15, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
You know Wikipedia is so free, you can legally create your own copy, database and software. The rules governing Wikipedia apply only to these servers. I am not sure what the nature of your complaint is, I sort of see how maintaining a NPOV is in itself a POV, however the license allows you to get around this by making your own copy. Everything seems to make sense to me. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 12:51, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, NPOV is just a guideline. You can always ignore all rules until an admin bans you for it... but, NPOV isn't some great Truth that gives you the answer of how to write each article. It's a policy/guideline that is supposed to make for better articles. To a great extent we have a good sense of neutrality but we will always have debates about what is "most neutral" and in so doing redefine the term. gren グレン 17:07, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, NPOV is an official policy and a foundation issue. No amount of consensus here or on the policy page can change it, ignore all rules does not apply. This was so from the very beginning, it is one of the guiding principals of Wikipedia. The only way to get around NPOV is forking(copying the database and software and making your own wiki). HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 17:11, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not is also official policy. Tom Harrison Talk 17:40, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Non-contemporaneous pictures of long-dead people

Here's a good example from List of English monarchs, which I know a lot about and helped to edit. Please examine the article, and its pictures, carefully. In line with Wikipedia practice on all historical figures, pictures are provided if any are known to exist, even if those pictures are completely obscure or historically inaccurate. That last point is worth emphasising again - if any picture is known to exist, and Wikipedia has access to it, it is used. Out of all the English monarchs, only one is without a picture (the early and very short-reigned Edgar the Atheling), because no such picture could be found. If a picture of him is found, it will be used. The list starts in the year 871, and many of the earlier images are demonstrably wrong, and date from much, much later. The very first image, a statue of Alfred the Great, is not only inaccurate (he did not wear a beard), but actually dates from the Victorian period, a thousand years after Alfred lived. Many of these early manuscript images date from the 17th century, hundreds of years after the subject lived. And some are so obscure as to be almost unknown. It is only when we get to the 13th century that the images start to become both accurate and contemporary, with the gradual improvement in artistic techniques. The point of all this is that Wikipedia will use an image wherever possible, and if an image exists it will be used. Considerations of accuracy or contemporaneousness are only used to decide between images, not to decide whether to have one at all. TharkunColl 19:05, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree, though it should state in the image caption how realistic the image is known to be. For example "This image was drawn by <artist> in <year> and is an artistic representation of <subject>, it may not be accurate". HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:09, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
No we cannot say those words "artistic representation" and especially "it may not be accurate" unless someone else notable has said that. If that happens then why not tag such WP:OR against just about every religious artefact as most are of dubious providence (including the Bible and the Qu'ran itself). We don't want to go down that road. Ttiotsw 19:21, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Surely we can say that the accuracy is uncertain. I think it is safe to say "artistic representation" if it is a painting made by someone not looking at Muhammad. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:23, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
As long as you find someone notable to say that the accuracy is uncertain. A painting is a painting is a painting; how else we describe it is content that we add thus it must follow that what we add as text is verifiable. Ttiotsw 19:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Fine, we can agree that a painting can be used, assuming a reliable source claims it is the subject, and if someone thinks it is unrealistic then the burden of proof is on them. When they find that proof, a caption can be added demonstrating this information. How does that sound? HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:33, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Ttiotsw. However, I think we also need to show that the image is relevant within the history of the history of the depictions of Muhammad... otherwise it's OR from another angle. gren グレン 19:45, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Unless an image "propose unpublished ideas or arguments" then it is in line with the WP:OR policy. So if a published source says "This is a picture of Muhammad", then it is not OR. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:47, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
You are right. I haven't read NOR in a while and it doesn't mention being representative. That's NPOV. Ooops. gren グレン 20:06, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

See the discussion now ongoing at Talk:Muhammad, please. BYT 19:51, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Can you be more specific? There are always 4-7 discussions about this issue there at any given time. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:52, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion (untainted)

#Suggestion was viewed to be tainted by vagueness / changes in the question. This is a redo:

Would you agree to the following as a compromise:

Include one (for the whole article) representative Persian image, near the bottom, showing Muhammad veiled, while the lead image is representative calligraphy.

Yes (agree to above suggestion)

  • gren グレン 22:09, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • futurebird 22:16, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Hoverfish Talk 22:17, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Aslamt 23:05, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • ITAQALLAH 23:08, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Aminz 00:09, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Accurately reflective of and respectful to the historical tradition. Merzbow 02:21, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • This is a perfect and delicate balance. Anything too much or less pictorial would violate NPOV:Undue weight. Bless sins 04:46, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • VirtualEye 05:23, 20 February 2007 (UTC) Agree.
  • i need same respect to the topics of Jesus also. Jesus Fan 05:29, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • ŇëŧΜǒńğëŗTalk 05:31, 20 February 2007 (UTC) I agree to the above option and I think even the topics of Jesus deserves the same treatment.
  • Zora 05:47, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • JJJamal 17:34, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • ALM 16:24, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

No (not agree to above suggestion)

  • Firm no. Wikipedia is not censored. DavidYork71 02:11, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Violates core policy.Proabivouac 22:15, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Absolutely not. —Chowbok 22:17, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia is not censored. It is not appropriate to delete the lead image of Muhammad just because it violates the religious taboos of some. --Alecmconroy 22:22, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Hojimachongtalkcon 22:35, 19 February 2007 (UTC) (not completely opposed to calligraphy; Inclusion of image at top would not violate a core policy, just possibly a guideline)
  • Definitely not, would diminish the article's value as an encyclopedic reference, undermining Wikipedia's goals of being a serious reference source, and be widely perceived as clearly pandering to the rules of one religious sect. JGHowes 23:06, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No - There is no encyclopedic reason to censor these images. None at all. -- Big Brother 1984 23:08, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No It needs to be at the top, otherwise it is censorship.--Sefringle 23:36, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No but Maybe - why do people choose the most complicated question to gather answers for ?. I agree to the Icon image but we can have the 2 or 3 other images as they are in the article as Wikipedia is not a print encyclopedia. It was only the top image that was edit warred over anyway; the reverts ignored the other images ! Ttiotsw 05:44, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No. The picture should go at the top, as with all other articles about historical figures. Anything less would be censorship. TharkunColl 07:59, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No There is no encyclopedic case for an exception. Arrow740 18:58, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No An unveiled picture should be at the top. I'm not opposed to calligraphy appearing in the article, it just doesn't belong at the top. Frotz661 23:49, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No per above. Briangotts (Talk) (Contrib) 16:08, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No, seems to compromise core censorship principals instead of following scientific rationale. Nonprof. Frinkus 05:12, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No. Per above. - Kittybrewster 10:28, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


  • There is no need to continue debate about the ideal way here. This is meant to be a compromise. It did rather well above and I want a version that isn't as muddled. If there is any necessary comment please keep it short. Anything else can go in another section. gren グレン 22:09, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • It is still unclear: are we discussing only the lead image? If we mean to limit total depictions in the entire article to one "veiled" (i.e. blanked-out) image, please make this explicit. I also object that you label this a "compromise" - it is a proposal heavily weighted towards one side. For example, there will be zero depictions of Muhammad's face.Proabivouac 22:16, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
    • I have made it explicit. It does not change my 'vote' nor do I think it alters that of the other three who edited before I changed. If you question this please ask them instead of marking this poll because... I really don't want to do it again. But, I think it's clear that they would accept it in this form. gren グレン 22:20, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • This seems to be the way most supported by the sources. This is fair. futurebird 22:17, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Proabivouac, which "core" policy? HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 22:18, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
WP:NOT#Wikipedia is not censored. Core policy may not be overridden by consensus.Proabivouac 22:21, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
While you interpret this a censorship, it is clearly a group decision being made, whether it succeeds or not. Censorship is applied from an external source. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 22:23, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
All decisions on Wikipedia are made that way-- if Wikipedia is not censored doesn't apply to those situation, what meaning could it possibly have? I mean, I think it's pretty obvious we're being asked to delete images from the article because a religious minority is offended by them-- examples of censorship don't get much clearer than that. ---Alecmconroy
  • I don't think it can be made any clearer. But I do think this has to be handed over to arbitration soon, as the arguments may go on for ever. Hoverfish Talk 22:26, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The arbitration committee generally does not deal with content disputes.Proabivouac 22:32, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I have a proposal I will share soon which finds a more neutral ground between zero images and a free-for-all, incorporating some of Gren's points (which the proposal above does not) while upholding rather than abrogating policy.Proabivouac 22:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I'll wait to see it. I would rather choose among two or three alternatives than vote up or down. Tom Harrison Talk 22:34, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I might also suggest, while we're talking, that the words "representative" might be a bit vague or value-laden. I think "representative", to gren, translates to "veiled and very small". --Alecmconroy 22:46, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • What about adding a non-veiled image? Would that seem less censored? · AndonicO Talk 00:42, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
    • I certainly would support that without as much reservations as I hold for the current compromise. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 02:24, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
    • It would indeed be less censored.Proabivouac 04:59, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
    • What is wikipedia nd censorship about? Its about its users and editors. And at the moment its users should go for morality and good concensus. Censorship was not an inflexible divine law to herd and abuse the people in the name of law. VirtualEye 05:36, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
"Censorship was not an inflexible divine law to herd and abuse the people in the name of law.". Censorship is the covering up and/or illegalizing of legitimate information that one may not the general public to know, usually in order to further their own aims. Just a definition for you. --Hojimachongtalkcon 05:43, 20 February 2007 (UTC)


split from above since it stopped being about the straw poll
  • I might also suggest, while we're talking, that the words "representative" might be a bit vague or value-laden. I think "representative", to gren, translates to "veiled and very small". --Alecmconroy 22:46, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. Many of the points Gren has brought quite forth are quite valid, but are things which should be decided in a post-mediation environment free from religiously-motivated censorship, not as a fig leaf for the same.Proabivouac 22:54, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Oy! I more or less copied what the originator said. Representative within a range of veiled Persian figures (originator's suggestion) is not a big deal. As for size I am pretty sure we should use |thumb| which allows for user preferences to take affect. I figured that was the least contentious of issues. But, those weren't meant to be big issues in this decision. gren グレン 22:56, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I am sympathetic to your view that depictions should be representative of tradition, although don't believe this can applied absolutely, as for most historical figures there is no particular tradition of representation, yet depictions are still included where they are avaliable - TharkunColl has made an excellent point above. However, I can't see what could defeat the purpose of representation more than having only one depiction, as it would shut every other tradition out completely.Proabivouac 23:05, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The difference is national leaders and others with their portraits for the most part do not have a significant tradition of representation. Therefore official photographs are their tradition of representation. With religious leaders where you have thousand+ years of followers revisiting that person you get varied traditions. The Templar example above is a good example of a split away group... even if you counted it as an intended representation of Muhammad it would place it as less important than Persian iconography... maybe it could be counted as prominant as Ahmadiyya... which itself is a rather marginal tradition. It can't be applied absolutely in the sense that I can't give you a Magic Number of Truth, but it can be applied and it is half-heartedly in the reasons why we choose Muslim images over non-Muslim ones. I admire Tharkun in the sense that he at least is completely ignoring tradition and in so doing remaining relatively consistent. gren グレン 23:52, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The point TharkunColl made which I thought very worthy was this[9], not that stuff about Baphomet. Were the view that the Knights Templar worshipped Muhammad and Baphomet notable enough to merit a paragraph or two in the article, then an image would be appropriate. I agree that the "representational" concept is a useful standard to apply. In this light, a single European image of Muhammad may well appropriately accompany the section which discusses European views of Muhammad. I might also agree that fill the article with depictions as are found on Jesus would constitute a sort of undue weight. However, this is a completely seperate issue from whether depictions must be censored in deference to the religious sensibilities of some Wikipedia editors. What is needed is to establish that the article is not censored, and in light of the controversy surrounding this fact, to enact safeguards to ensure that images and their placement are very carefully examined and considered before inclusion, according to strictly encyclopedic criteria.Proabivouac 01:26, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I find it absolutely bizarre that Gren and I should be accused of religiously-motivated censorship when neither of us is Muslim. Zora 00:02, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

The point is that there is only one reason these depictions are controversial, which is the religious sensibilities of some editors. Whether you share personally share those sensibilities or merely sympathize with those who do is, in this context, a distinction without a difference.Proabivouac 01:30, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, not entirely true, many other points have been raised such as historical accuracy and undue weight. Not saying I agree with those arguments, but religious taboo is not the only argument on the table. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 01:33, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
They are the only reason there exists a table upon which subsequent arguments have been placed.Proabivouac 01:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
That would assume you can tell people's motives, it may be true, I even believe it is true, but I see no evidence of that. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 01:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Simply look at the request for meditation itself and the earliest arguments, which center around the construal of WP:Profanity; the depictions were said to be "uninformative" in support of this construal.Proabivouac 05:15, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Image proposal


The following image has just appeared on Talk:Muhammad as a suggested compromise. Whether this suggestion was serious or not I cannot say. But if it was, then in my opinion it indicates the true nature of the vast unbridgeable gulf between Islam and Western traditions of freedom of speech. To those who created it (if it is genuine), it may have seemed like an acceptable compromise. To Westerners it looks like a bunch of terrorists. And when I pointed this out on Talk:Muhammad, my post ws censored (i.e. deleted). TharkunColl 00:31, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

No, no a thousand times no, that is censorship. We don't want a bowdlerized Wikipedia. I would prefer a text link to that. It is incredibly unencyclopedic to alter historic image in that way. Also, that can be just as offensive to some. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 01:28, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I am compelled to observe that such suggestions, along with VirtualEye's since-deleted blurred image, highlight the parallels (albeit unintended) between removal of depictions and outright vandalism.Proabivouac 01:36, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

The usefulness of different images

One thing I've seen in this discussion is the a idea that an article on Muhammad is, necessarily, an article on Islam. It's been claimed that the purpose of our images are to represent, accurately, Islamic art or Islamic views on icons. I think this is misplaced. The purpose of images is to tell us something about Muhammad. We should be free to use absolutely whatever combinatios of pixels will tell us the most about Muhammad. And from that point of view, there are basically two types of images: those that help us, and those that don't.

Images which tell us about Muhammad

These images convey quite a lot of information. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. The images tell us things about Muhammad himself. They're useful. They make this a better article. We should be using as many images of this sort of them as space would permit.

What it tells us
  • Muhammad was a teacher.
  • Muhammad was a leader of his society.
  • Muhammad was greatly revered during his lifetime.
  • Muhammad had a diverse group of followers.
  • Muhammad was male.
  • Muhammad was from a culture that wore robes and turbans, in which men were bearded.
  • Muhammad was regarded as a prophet (or otherwise seen as holy).
Siyer-i Nebi 151b detail.png
  • Muhammad was regarded as a prophet (or otherwise seen as holy).
  • Muhammad was associated with the building known as the Kaaba
  • Muhammad was from a culture that wore robes and turbans.
  • Islamic cultures are aniconicistic, and some depictions of Muhammad show him veiled.
  • Muhammad was viewed as someone who communed with the supernatural or the divine.
Mohammed kaaba 1315.jpg
  • Muhammad was associated with the Black Stone.
  • Muhammad was associated with the Kaaba.
  • Muhammad was from a culture that wore robes and turbans, in which men were bearded.
  • Muhammad is reported to have been involved in this specific event during his life.
  • Muhammad was seen as a peace-maker or mediator who could devise innovative solutions to resolving disputes.

Images which tell us nothing about Muhammad

Now, let's consider the alternatives which have been suggested. They may tell us something about Islam, but they tell us nothing about Muhammad himself and his life.

What it tells us
File:Muhammad callig.png
  • This tells us that Islamic cultures are aniconicistic.
  • This tells us that Islamic cultures use caligraphy.
  • This tells us what the word "Muhammad" looks like when written in arabic.
  • This tells us absolutely nothing about Muhammad himself.
  • This tells us that to the human eye, a tiny thumbnail of an image is basically indistinguishable from a multicolored ink-blot.
  • This tells us absolutely nothing about Muhammad. It gives us no information about his life whatsoever, it does not further the goals of the encyclopedia in any way. It is wasted space.

--Alecmconroy 08:31, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

The article is titled Muhammad, not Muhammad the man. His legacy is just as important, if not more, than the man himself, and that is all encompassed in an article entitled Muhammad. A huge part of that legacy is the Islamic aniconic tradition. If we misrepresent that tradition, we are pushing a political point at the expense of historical accuracy. - Merzbow 08:41, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
If all we're really concerned that our readers somehow will be so confused by our use of images tht they will somehow "miss out" on the fact that Islam is aniconic, that concern can be easily solved by explicitly talking about the tradition in the article. We can talk about that tradition-- we can't embody it. Wikipedia is not aniconicistic. --Alecmconroy 08:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
If our readers should just ignore the pictures anyway and pay attention only to the text, then why have them? As you imply with your section above, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. - Merzbow 08:56, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Of course it's not aniconistic. Neither is it iconistic. What you are claiming is the legitimacy of iconistic traditions as the primary means of representing historical figures. There is nothing in Wikipedia policy which leads me to believe that is the case. Furthermore we have no "real" representations (photographs, contemporary portraits) which could possibly be used to claim that it is above tradition. (I believe that was the case made for Bahá'u'lláh.)
Even if we assume the use of such images, your chart is no real way to choose between which physiognomic images to use. We shouldn't be choosing between images on the basis of what they are showing in great part do to the fact that these are not histories in the contemporary sense. They are religious works and hagiography and with that comes a certain detachment from reality. Even if this mediation's conclusion was 20 non-veiled images we need to find a proper way in which to choose them which which represents their place in tradition. Not just willy-nilly this looks like it's fitting this part of his life. gren グレン 09:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I think you're missing the point. The calligraphy is a big part of Muhammad because Muhammad is someone who is believed to be a Prophet by many Muslims and the calligraphy is part of who Muhammad is to them. The images are meaningless and offensive to many Muslims and therefore, they are much less a part of who Muhammad is. Obviously depictions of Muhammad are part of who he is, and so we should probably not exclude them completely but as they are only a minor portion of who Muhammad is, they should only get limited attention in the article. You do the reader a great disservice but ignoring who Muhammad actual is and instead trying to make Muhammad who you want him to be. Nil Einne 14:19, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Alecmconroy, I thank you for one of the most enlightening posts I've ever seen on Wikipedia.Proabivouac 09:41, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I have to agree with Alecmconroy. Thank-you for the clear post. Nonprof. Frinkus 05:16, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Misleading and Wrong information presented by images

Images which tell us about Muhammad NOTHING (by ALM)

These images misguide views about Muhammad and against tradtion of not drawing it. They give wrong weight to picture which represent a very small % as compare to calligraphy. They are not align with Hadith that describe Muhammad. Picture might says a 1000 words but those word should not be lie and false. A wrong picture can misguide many. Following are few thing.

How it misguide reader
  • Muhammad used to wear Blue clothes and his Sahabah used to wear red clothes. These colors are not preferred to wear by Muslim male and Muhammad used to wear white/black clothes mostly.[1][2][3] [4] [5]
  • Women used to sit in the crowd of Muslims.
  • Muhammad was male. (Obviously it is a useful information and one has to see picture for it)
  • Muhammad used to have Mustaches. One thing that differentiate Jews from Muslim is that Muslim unlike Jews have no or very small Mustaches. There is a Hadith about it. [6] [7]
  • Muhammad used to sit above people. Wrong, instead he stopped people standing up for him and He used to sit wherever there was a place available in an assembly and never sought a prominent or elevated place. [10]
  • We know not enough about the picture. For example:
    • Which one is Muhammad. Why it is not one sitting down?
    • Who are the people in the picture. They look notable enough people.
    • Who is the women in the picture?
    • What time it represent? One year after Hijra or before Hijra. After conqest of Mecca may be?
Siyer-i Nebi 151b detail.png
  • Muhammad was viewed as someone who communed with the supernatural or the divine. (Wrong). He was just a Human being.
  • Muhammad used to be in some kind of fire.
Mohammed kaaba 1315.jpg
  • Muhammad as a Prophet putting back stone in Kaaba. Wrong. [8]
  • Black stone is fixed near the door of Kaaba. Look like people are picking the door cloth so that it can be fix right there next ot it. Wrong. [9]
  • They all used to wear golden dresses. Mostly Muhammad can be imagine as wearing white/black dress (according to Hadith and traditions). [10] [11] [2]
  • Once again moustaches not allowed to be big. [7].[6]
  • Muhammad had women-like long hair. Wrong.

Alternative choice

Why it is true representation
File:Muhammad callig.png
  • It tells that Muhammad disallowed to picture himself
  • It tells that he was majority of times only represented in calligraphy.
  • There are different kinds of calligraphies and it may tell reader about artist and time.
  • It represent the tradition truly because no mosque has picture of him but only caligraphy.
  • It represent the tradition rightly because mosque, Muslim houses, majority of books have only caligraphies in them.
  • It let people think about Muhammad rightly based on the reading they have. Instead of imagine him wrongly by the mistakes artist have while drawing him.

--- ALM 10:34, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

ALM, this image was created by an editor to Wikipedia. Wouldn't you agree that included images should be notable?Proabivouac 11:00, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
complete agreement. gren グレン 11:01, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree but we can find notable images of calligraphy. If I find one then will you support it in place of picture and should I try to find one? Otherwise you above argument has no value. --- ALM 11:05, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
As for me, I'm okay with letting the notability of the caligraphy slide, provided there's universal agreement that it's a good example of being "in the style of" artwork we see. Obviously, a specific example which was particularly famous would be better, but this gets the job done of conveying the non-iconic depiction of Muhammad. --Alecmconroy 11:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Just some food for thought is here. [11]] --- ALM 11:07, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
See also Image:Opened Qur'an.jpg - again created by an editor to Wikipedia (at best) - for the leeway which is granted to images which, while violating WP:IMAGE, do not violate religious taboos. No one except Gren seems to care about the "informativeness" or "representativeness" of these.Proabivouac 11:08, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Hey, there's nothing wrong with including a small (ideally notable) sample of Muhammad's name in caligraphy when we talk about the whole "depictions of Muhamad" issue. But there's no call to delete all the other good images either. --Alecmconroy 11:25, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
If you have 1 million calligraphies and 100 fake-freaky pictures. The group who cares about you most do not like picture too. And someone write an article about you with one calligraphy and many pictures. Do you think it will be fair to do so? Btw can you imagine me without picture? How? --- ALM 11:38, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Your analogy is poor; the current article has a minority of images of the person. If the article to date had a larger percentage of images of this person then you would have a case. The images are also not fake and unclear (other than you) who calls them "freaky".Ttiotsw 12:52, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I tried never to abuse anyone and find anywhere in wikipedia where I have abuse anyone. However, I will abuse those images as much as I can. Because they WRONGLY reprenting a man I love more than my parents, myself and anyone in the WHOLE world. If I say that he is 99% represented in calligraphy then can you have 99 calligraphies to represent him once in picture. Can you? If you think that he is not 99% represented in calligraphy then we start putting calligraphies on one hand and picture on the other. Because I have visited many many mosque each have only calligraphy and also my very large extended family/friends homes. --- ALM 13:32, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Re the black stone depiction, where does it indicate he is a prophet? I don't believe it does. He has a beard, but there's no other indication of age that I can see. Does it show them placing it in the Kaaba by the door? No, it doesn't.Proabivouac 05:36, 21 February 2007 (UTC)


Has it been pointed out yet that the first image, the one currently at the head of the article, is from a book by Al-Biruni, one of the greatest scientists, philosophers, and historians of the Islamic world? Surely this is the best image to use for so many reasons. As for the alleged historical inaccuracies, so what? As I said before, Alfred the Great never had a beard. Doesn't mean we can't use an image of him with one, though. TharkunColl 10:32, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

TharkunColl, as you observe, the image is quite notable.Proabivouac 10:38, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it's an important image but for what purpose and in what context? gren グレン 10:56, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't understand the point of your question. It's a historical image of Muhammad. Moreover, it comes from a book by one of the greatest Islamic scholars of all time. By any reasonable standard, unbiased by religious taboos, it deserves to be the lead picture. TharkunColl 12:01, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
He was scientist. But how you think he is a one of the greatest Islamic scholars of all time. If you can prove this then we can think any further. You think he is as good as Al-Bukhari, Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir and others. I think he was nothing as compared to them. --- ALM 12:09, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Oh he was not even list in the list Islamic_scholars. --- ALM 12:11, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
We are not here to debate the relative merits of Islamic scientists - which is surely just another attempt to muddy the waters about something that has already been decided on religious grounds alone. He was a famous scholar, that's all we need to know. Whether he was the best, I don't know and I really don't care. TharkunColl 12:15, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
You said one of the greatest Islamic scholars of all time. Now you think that does not matter and you will have picture any way. That means you do not stand by your words. --- ALM 12:16, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
"One of the greatest" means exactly the same thing as "among the greatest". He has a crater of the moon named after him, so he must be pretty famous. Please read his article. But I really don't care if other scientists are regarded as better. It makes no difference to whether we use his picture. This is a blatant attempt to divert us from the real issue, religious censorship, and I shall not pursue this argument any further. TharkunColl 12:21, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Cannot you differetiate between scientist and religious scholar. No one is saying that he was not a good scientist but problem is that he was not even a notable religious scholar. Hence drawing Muhammad by him is not important. --- ALM 12:33, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm, let me guess - perhaps, after careful examination of all the pictures of Muhammad in existence, you will conclude that every single one of them is unsuitable in some way. Well that's not how Wikipedia works I'm afraid - and we certainly don't come up with an endless series of specious arguments to defend what has already been dictated to us by a religious taboo. If a picture of a historical figure exists, we use it. TharkunColl 12:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Five points for Thark. :) [12]. See, this is why Wikipedia is not Censored is such a cornerstone policy. There will always be an infinite number of reasons someone can come up with to justify their desire to remove material they find objectionable. The reasons people can come up with are limited only by their own zeal and creativity, but at the end of the day, the real issue is about enforcing censorship rules on the rest of us. Or perhaps I'm being cynical-- maybe there really is an image of the prophet that would be acceptable to ALM, if only we could find one that had just the right combination of garment farbic, color palette, and moustache thickness. --Alecmconroy 13:10, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Ah, the The Emperor's New Clothes perhaps ?. Ttiotsw 13:19, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I have been observing that every other user is mentioning 'censorship policy'. The question of censorship comes when something is:

  • a reality being used in Mainstream
  • OR, if not being used in mainstream then it has to be a 100% fact to mention.

I will be a wicked attempt to force non-significant, non-traditional, not-representing image which is neighther being used in the mainstream nor is it according to the facts about Muhammad. There is NO QUESTION OF CESORSHIP.

When we talk about Muhammad in the article, then it should be realized that Muhammad was not someone supernatural but a human like others. What makes him notable and makes him one of the most prominent personlities of history is NOT how he looked but WHAT HE DID. Muhammad stands for Islam, not for blue dress, not for moustaches, not for men and women sitting together.

Here point is to be noted that even if there would be a real image of Muhammad, even then it would be more important about WHAT HE DID AND WHAT NOT. But the case here is that:

  • There is no mainstream image existing.
  • There is no factual image existing.

So both the reasons 1- Mainstream 2- Factual Accuracy are invalide. Now please tell me, who is denying wikipedia censorship? Did anybody talk about censorship policy to lift? Bring a mainstream image or factually accurate image and I am right here to put at 100 places in the wikipedia.

You are talking about Muhammad, What Muhammad did what not, What Muhammad said what not, How did he bring one of the biggest revolutions, Is it about how he looked? (And instead in current images case) Is it about how he did not look?

There is censorship policy applied for every correct image. I ask, is there any policy in wikipedia which prohibits the factually incorrect and non-representing image in the article about the majority, mainstream and representation????

When Muhammad did not wear luxury blue dress, When Muhammad did not have big moustaches, When Muhammad did not sit at such high places like kings, When Muhammad did not wear such turbans, When Muhammad did not even allow the men to watch women or sit with women, When Muhammad did not allow people to wear red dress,

Then Where comes this censorship weeping? Bring a: MAINSTREAM OR FACTUALLY ACCURATE image. VirtualEye 14:45, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

There are very few people in history who are more important for what they looked like, than what they did. Muhammad is no exception. But this doesn't stop Wikipedia using pictures of them in their articles, if pictures are available. And these pictures don't have to be either "mainstream" or "accurate", they just have to exist. This simple fact keeps being explained to you over and over again, but you still repeat the same irrelevant objections. So, yet again, I shall direct you to Alfred the Great. The statue shown at the top of his article was made about a thousand years after Alfred lived, and is also inaccurate (the real Alfred had no beard). Yet it is still a perfectly good picture to use on Wikipedia. And the same applies to all historical figures. If an image exists, no matter how obscure, it is used if no others are available. To decide not to do so based on a religious taboo is censorship. TharkunColl 16:10, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Virtual-- you're trying to impose a higher standard for images of Muhhamad than exist for images of other individuals. Are the images 100% historical? No, nor are they required to be. Are the specific images chosen overwhelmingly famous? No, nor are they required to be. See Jesus, Gautama Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Abraham, Zoroaster for how Wikipedia typically deals with these articles. If anything, we need to find more, even better pictures of Muhammad-- we really only have 2 or 3 good ones. If you think the images should be improved, then you should try to find other images that are even better to add to the encyclopedia. Many people object, on historical groups, to the images of Jesus which show him as appearing to be of European descent-- the solution is to add other depictions, not delete the depctions you disagree with.
Well, I can joust with you longer if you want about why we shouldn't delete the images of Muhammad from the article, but I can already tell you-- deletion isn't going to happen. You can argue for a day, a week, or a year, but I pretty certain you'll find that the community isn't going to be swayed into agreeing with you that the images of Muhammad should be deleted from the article. There are many times to compromise for compromise sake, but I think this is one of those instances where you really just have to learn to live with the fact that the internet in general, and wikipedia in paricular, aren't going to purge images that you personally find offensive. People can accept that today, and we can all go back to editing. People can try for months to convince everyone we should start deleting images, but I can tell you, it's not going to work. Or people can go the "outlaw" route and try to to just delete them from the article itself-- but it will just lead to the page being locked for longer and longer periods.
--Alecmconroy 17:30, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

References Related to Misleading and Wrong information presented by images (see section above)

  1. ^ About silk/golden clothes, The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I do not ride on purple, or wear a garment dyed with saffron*, or wear shirt hemmed with silk, Hadith - Sunan of Abu Dawood #4037, Narrated Imran ibn Husayn
  2. ^ a b About colored clothes, Hadith - Sunan of Abu Dawood #4055, Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As, We came down with the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) from a turning of a valley. He turned his attention to me and I was wearing a garment dyed with a reddish yellow dye. He asked: What is this garment over you? I recognised what he disliked. I then came to my family who were burning their oven. I threw it (the garment) in it and came to him the next day. He asked: Abdullah, what have you done with the garment? I informed him about it. He said: Why did you not give it to one of your family to wear, for there is no harm in it for women.
  3. ^ Hadith - Sunan of Abu Dawood, #4041, Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin, r.a. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) once prayed wearing a garment having marks. He looked at its marks. When he saluted, he said: Take this garment of mine to AbuJahm, for it turned my attention just now in my prayer, and bring a simple garment without marks.
  4. ^ Wearing white clothes: Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi 4623, Narrated 'Aisha, r.a., Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was questioned about Waraqah and Khadijah said to him, "He believed in you, but died before you appeared as a prophet." Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) then said, "I was shown him in a dream, wearing white clothes, and if he had been one of the inhabitants of Hell he would have been wearing different clothing."[Ahmad and Tirmidhi transmitted it]
  5. ^ RED and silk Clothes are forbidden, From al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib (may Allah be pleased with him): "The Prophet (saaws) forbade us to use soft red mattresses and qasiy – garments with woven stripes of silk." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5390)"
  6. ^ a b About Moustaches, Hadith - Bukhari 7:781, Narrated Ibn 'Umar, Allah's Apostle said, "Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard (as it is). "
  7. ^ a b About Moustaches Narrated Nafi' (Radhiallaahu Án) "Ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Án) said, The Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, "Do the opposite of what the pagans do. Keep the beards and cut the moustaches short." Whenever Ibn 'Umar performed the Hajj or 'Umra, he used to hold his beard with his hand and cut whatever moustaches. Ibn Umar used to cut his moustache so short that the whiteness of his skin (above the upper lip) was visible, and he used to cut (the hair) between his moustaches and his beard
  8. ^ Early chroniclers say that the Kaaba was rebuilt during Muhammad's youth, and that there was some contention among the Quraysh, Mecca's ruling clan, as to who should have the honor of raising the Black Stone to its place in the new structure. Muhammad is said to have suggested that the Stone be placed on a cloak and that the various clan heads jointly lift the cloak and put the Stone into place.
  9. ^ See the door of Kaab, Can you see black stone there?
  10. ^ Against Silk (Golden) clothes, Hadith - Sahih Al-Bukhari 7.693, Narrated Uqba bin Amir A silken Farruj was presented to Allah's Apostle and he put it on and offered the prayer in it. When he finished the prayer, he took it off violently as if he disliked it and said, "This (garment) does not befit those who fear Allah!"
  11. '^ No red and Gold, From Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said: “I was forbidden (to wear) red garments and gold rings, and to recite Qur’aan in rukoo’.” (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, no. 5171. Imam Albaani said: its isnaad is sahih. Saheeh Sunan al-Nasaa’i, 1068).

I refer you once again to Alfred the Great. In real life Alfred did not have a beard, but the Victorian statue shows him with one. Does this mean that we cannot use it as an image in Wikipedia? No, of course not. TharkunColl 12:59, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Question for ALM, VirtualEye, et al

Just out of curiosity... suppose archaelogists unearthed tomorrow an indisputibly accurate picture of Muhammad (say, from a 630 copy of the Mecca Gazette). Would you be in favor of adding that image to the top of the article, even though it still violates Islamic laws? —Chowbok 16:23, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes I will support it even if I do not like it. Do you have any? How will they get it because the coins never used to have his pictures on it. --- ALM 16:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
With modern technology we could reconstruct his facial features from the shape of his skull, which is presumably still in his tomb. Do you think the Saudis would agree to allow his exhumation? TharkunColl 16:52, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Go and ask then, may be they will. In that case obviosly you can place it here. --- ALM 16:54, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
And in the meantime we'll just have to make do with a picture. TharkunColl 16:57, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
If the picture will tell lies about the person I love more than my life then no. Simply no. --- ALM 18:32, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Are you opposed to the inclusion of black and white photographs of people? Tom Harrison Talk 18:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
It is lying! That person has pink skin, not gray! HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 18:54, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Which picture? dear HighInBC I have provided all the references you wish for (by wasting my work time) even then above post ... -:( ? Not fair! -:( --- ALM 18:57, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for the references. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:06, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
And we can be sure that Muhammad was not two inches tall, like he is in the picture. TharkunColl 18:59, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes please have your fun. Enjoy. --- ALM 19:03, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
It's called reductio ad absurdam, and is a perfectly valid form of philosophical argument. TharkunColl 19:06, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Neat article. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:08, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Not trying to pick on you, just adding a bit of humor along with a good point. We often use picture on Wikipedia that are not absolutely accurate. We have false colors, artistic representations, and all sorts of stuff. It is only important that the image is presented as what is it(like in the caption). HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:05, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Please have cartoon picture and Baphomet picture on the very top of the article. It will solve the problem seriously. Because of following.

  • Those picture are much more notable. We have cartoon controversy. Right?
  • All the Muslim editors will leave or stop editing in Muhammad at least. (or if you put in Islam too then the problem will be solved)
  • New reader will not be misguided with picture wrongly representing Muhammad because they will know what these picture are about.

--- ALM 19:14, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Why would we want Muslim editors to leave? I think you are not being entirely sincere with that last posting. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 19:16, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
If everyone is the world know that wikipedia is a bad source regarding Islam and no one look at it if he wish to learn Islam. Then I have no problem. I (and many other Muslims) only edit here because I think that if someone want to know about Islam then he does not end up getting wrong information. There are two solution to this problem. Either we improve wikipedia to give right contents. Like if Muslim do not have picture mostly then we follow the tradition rightly. Otherwise, we make it really bad by putting cartoon picture on top of every article. In both case I will be happy that now chances of someone getting misguide is small. So either make it perfect or worse. Hence I will support only putting Baphomet and cartoon picture on the top. --- ALM 19:22, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
So you would prefer to put nonsense which the consensus is to not place in the article (the consensus is that the Baphomet and the recent cartoons wouldn't be appropriate) rather than the consensus view ? That the Wikipedia consensus view is to include verifiable and reliably sourced content on Islam that has not been edited away by well-meaning but pro-Islam editors would make Wikipedia a more reliable source at least as a reference from which you can springboard to other sources. One of those other sources should be any critiques from notable sources on the images. So far we have simply had lots and lots of talk about fake, misleading, hadiths and the like but no one else has said this; it is plain and simple original research. Find those notable sources that agree with you. According to Islamic traditions, Muhammad began receiving revelations from God. As an atheist, to me this is utter nonsense but I'm happy to allow this both in this article and across the many other articles which present foundation myths as we have primary sources which others use to present this is as it is. I do not say that it must be proven true first before inclusion but that it is said by someone notable in the field of endeavour that we are describing. Ttiotsw 20:11, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes I am a vandal as your edit summary says. The most athentic books of Sunni Sahahi-Bukari and others have fake hadith. Thank you. Continue your abuse please. I am not Christian but should I turn my other cheek for you to slap? --- ALM 20:29, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
My point, which I guess got lost in more of the Baphomet nonsense, is that a black-and-white picture is not representative (or only partially representative) of real people. No picture is fully representative. Any yet, most biographies have pictures and nobody has a problem with it. This criterion of 'not representative' is only applied to this page. It makes people think the real reason is that devout Muslims oppose having a picture of Muhammad for religious reason, but want to present a plausible non-religious reason for not including pictures. But since such a standard is not applied anywhere else, that argument is not persuasive. It's like this idea that to have pictures in a biography is to somehow non-neutrally privilege graphic representations over calligraphic representations, and presumably over auditory representations, animated representations, gray-scales and who knows what others. It's as if someone would suddenly say that vertical scrolling pages were non-neutral, and some sections should side-scroll to make it fair. At least, that's how it seems to me. And I would like to add that I am certain ALM is working in good faith to improve the article, and it would be great if we could hear no more of Baphomet. Tom Harrison Talk 21:05, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Of course I'd support including a real photograph, just not right at the top of the page, for all of the reasons we've been through 500000 times. futurebird 21:26, 20 February 2007 (UTC)