Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Islam-related articles

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For previous discussions about PBUH please see the archives.


Talk page sub-sections:



Citing standards:


Companions of Mohammed[edit]

I am surprised that the MoS recommends a lower case "C" - this is equivalent of "Founding Fathers" i.e. a specific group who's identity is fixed, and the name therefore is a proper noun. Of course proper nouns are a fuzzy concept, so I all ears for reasons why this is not so. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 19:46, 12 September 2015 (UTC).

The analogy with "Founding Fathers" is a bit strained, in my view. The companions of Muhammad is indeed not a fixed group, but rather open-ended, and even subject to sectarian schism. The Shia wants to limit the term to figures who they consider to have a record of loyalty toward the Ahl al-Bayt, while the Sunnis more liberally includes other Muslims living at the time of Muhammad.--Anders Feder (talk) 20:01, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
@Rich Farmbrough: Literally, all of the Muslims who have met Muhammad can be considered as his companion. From Sunni viewpoint, almost all of them are authentic while from Shia viewpoint only those who have a record of loyalty toward the Ahl al-Bayt are authentic. (List of Sahabah#Shi'a critique of the Sahaba)--Seyyed(t-c) 11:38, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, you have convinced me. Face-smile.svg All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 14:46, 9 November 2015 (UTC).

Proposed standard for quoting Quran and Hadith[edit]

Please take a look here. It deals with the perceived POV of some current templates as noted in this and this AfD. - HyperGaruda (talk) 11:40, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Prophet infoboxes[edit]

Since the individual templates for prophets were deleted some of the articles on prophets have gained new infoboxes (e.g. see Noah in Islam. These include a link to Prophets and messengers in Islam (also linked in the Islamic prophets template) and the name plus the honorific alaihi s-salām - ( عليه السلام ). This seems to be contrary to the policy stating that honorifics should not be used. Would it be reasonable to reduce the top section of these infoboxes to just the name?

Maybe it would be better to merge them somehow with the Islamic prophets template, but that would be a much bigger deal. --☸ Moilleadóir 14:33, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

@Moilleadóir: please do remove such honorifics if you happen to see them. There is a specific guideline for these Islamic honorifics at WP:PBUH, saying that they should alwawys be removed unless they are part of a quotation. You also seem to refer to the header "Islamic prophet"; I think that should move to the parameter |occupation=, instead of |honorific-prefix= - HyperGaruda (talk) 15:59, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

@HyperGaruda: I think the issue with the Islamic prophet link is that there’s already a template included on the pages that links to that article, so just moving it further down the infobox is probably not a good solution as it also pushes the unifying Islamic prophets template further down the page. --☸ Moilleadóir 03:54, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

@Moilleadóir: @HyperGaruda: I don't think WP:PBUH applies to this infobox parameter. It doesn't use the honorifics, but rather informs the reader what it is in each case. These honorifics are a prominent part of the Islamic tradition, so they constitute part of the encyclopedic content for the article. Unless there is a better place to provide this information, I disagree with their removal from this template. Eperoton (talk) 23:03, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
If you look at, say, a pope, you'll find under the main infobox a second infobox called "popestyles", which lists standard honorifics for him. On pages for royalty, we have similar things discussing their titles and styles. So we're fine if we're stating what the standard honorific is, we're off if we're using that honorific to refer to the subject. --Nat Gertler (talk) 23:26, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
@NatGertler: I'm not sure whether you're arguing for or against the inclusion. Here's the closest guideline on use of honorifics in infoboxes that I can find (Biographies#Honorifics): "The honorific titles Sir, Dame, Lord and Lady are included in the initial reference and infobox heading for the person, but are optional after that." You can see, for instance, honorific suffixes listed in the infoboxes for Elton John and Paul McCartney. Eperoton (talk) 00:34, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Eperoton: There is no template! There used to be one template per prophet (not a good use of a template) and a previous decision lead to most of them being deleted. The words are included separately in each infobox.
The honorific is used at the top of the infobox as part of the name. It does not provide information about usage, it is used. Its usage is already discussed at Peace be upon him (Islam) and there is nothing stopping you adding information about its use to articles.
Your link (Biographies#Honorifics) doesn’t link to anything in the Manual of Style, so it’s a bit mystifying. Anyway, are you saying that a more general policy on honorifics in biographies outweighs the more specific suggestions in WP:PBUH (i.e. this very article)?
Given that this is the English Wikipedia there will always be an inherent imbalance in using honorifics that are usual in English. Furthermore the examples you give are of titles. ʿAlayhi as-salām (عليه السلام) is not a title or a description, but a religious blessing—“Peace be upon him”. It is not in English and conveys little or no information to the average English speaker. Its inclusion is not encyclopaedic and seems against WP:NPOV by i.e. suggesting that Wikipedia expresses a particular religious wish towards these figures.
In the interests of avoiding an edit war, what changes to articles would you agree to? --☸ Moilleadóir 03:46, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Eperoton: Now that I’ve looked more closely at your reversion of one of my edits, I’m concerned that you are writing your own policy—“Tradition-specific article; shouldn't use names from another tradition”. This seems contrary to everything I know about Wikipedia. Because it’s the English Wikipedia it very often must use names from another tradition when talking about non-English subjects. I’m guessing your beef is with the inclusion of Hebrew, which may be touchy in relation to Ishmael (I don’t know), but are you saying that no Jewish prophet can be acknowledged as Jewish in Islamic articles? That seems a little untenable, but if so then we should not be using |native_name= at all.
It seems clear that article names and titles should include the usual English name if there is one.
Your reversion also removes my addition of the Dionysian date (as per Date policy) and a citation needed tag. Is it such an incontrovertible fact that Ishmael was born in 2424 BH? The article itself doesn’t mention a date at all.
Your reversion also removed my change of Palestine to Canaan. As far as I know, the name Palestine wasn’t used for the area until the 5th century BC, long after 1800 BC. Once again, should this be included at all? I don’t know. --☸ Moilleadóir 04:25, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Moilleadóir: Let's take disputes unrelated to MOS to the article talk page. Here's the correct link to the quoted page: Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Biographies#Honorifics. Let's think through the policy issues. Some Islamic honorifics (there is more than one) are grammatically wishes, but they serve the same general purpose as ceremonial titles, by locating the individual in a hierarchy reflecting some form and measure of deference. Religious honorifics obviously aren't exactly the same as Dame/Lady/etc, and if someone can make a policy-based argument based on their differences, I'm open to hearing it. Now, for the interpretation of policy about honorifics in general. The general MOS page mentions only four in reference to infoboxes. One can interpret it either as stating that only those four are allowed in infoboxes or that honorifics in general are allowed there. Only the latter interpretation makes sense to me or is consistent with Wikipedia practice. There are also special policies recommending removal of various Asian honorifics (both religious and non-religious) without mentioning infoboxes. One could interpret this as explicitly forbidding any use of Asian honorifics while allowing British ones. I think this interpretation would be both morally objectionable and contrary to common sense. Those special policies were very likely prompted by the large contingent of editors adding Asian honorifics everywhere in running text, which in my experience does not happen with British honorifics. Those specific policies are meant to discourage this practice, not to discriminate against editors from some parts of the world in usage of infoboxes. Eperoton (talk) 04:55, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Eperoton: I thought I had already made a cogent policy-based argument, but you seem to have ignored it. By the way, it would be helpful if you could use some paragraphs in your replies.

  1. This phrase is not English or intelligible to an English speaker. It contributes no information to the reader (which is the point of Wikipedia). WP:TECHNICAL, WP:UPFRONT
  2. Infoboxes are meant to summarise content of the article, not introduce new information. MOS:INFOBOX
  3. Existing guidelines suggest removing the phrase and do not suggest that infoboxes are exempt.
  4. It is not Wikipedia’s job to maintain hierarchies of deference or to perform religious duties.
  5. It is totally out of step with infoboxes in other articles, e.g. Elizabeth II, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Pope Francis, Dali Lama, Ishmael, Moses, Muhammad, Jesus. None of these include honorifics like “Her Royal Highness”, “His Holiness”, “Christ”, etc. in the top infobox. Moses is not called “Our Leader Moshe, Servant of God, Father of all the Prophets (may his merit shield us, amen)”, though that is mentioned in the article.

Also, I started this discussion and titled it “Prophets infoboxes” so I don’t think it’s totally out-of-line to be discussing other policy-related deficiencies in the infoboxes. It is crystal clear that if other date systems are used, the Dionysian system should follow in parentheses. The fact that so many seem to only have Islamic dates points to another area where these articles are out of step. --☸ Moilleadóir 06:31, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

@Moilleadóir: I'm not ignoring your arguments. I'm disputing their validity. I'll address them in order:
  1. Using the term in the infobox doesn't preclude discussing the honorific in the article text.
  2. The honorific suffixes MBE and CBE aren't readily intelligible either. WP solves this issue not by removing them from the infobox, but by linking them to an article explaining their use;
  3. The fact that the term-specific guidelines you're referring to aren't interpreted as referring to infoboxes is illustrated by WP:SAINT, which states: Saints go by their most common English name, minus the word "Saint". A quick check of Saint Augustine and Saint Joan of Arc shows that the appellation is preserved in the infobox.
  4. If that argument applied here, it would apply to all honorifics.
  5. The articles you refer to can't use honorifics at the top of the box because they either involve time-specific titles which are given further below in the infobox together with dates or they contain information for multiple traditions, each with their own honorifics. The only exceptions are Muhammad and Dalai Lama. In fact, Dalai Lama is an honorific title itself, as is "Duchess of Cornwall".
We can discuss other issues relating to your infobox edits here, but I would rather wait until we reach consensus on this one to avoid distraction. Eperoton (talk) 14:09, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Eperoton: Briefly (it is late here [oh, that was a folorn hope!]), I have doubts that a consensus will be reached or that it will be meaningful. I believe that in regard to WP:PBUH I am only advocating what is the current (& very specific) consensus, so a new consensus between two editors would have limited meaning.
The intelligibility of the acronyms MBE and CBE vary across the English speaking world. To many people in Australia and New Zealand they are perfectly intelligible. A term does not have to be universal to be acceptable English usage.
Your argument about the word ‘Saint’ does not impress me. (BTW the link should be MOS:SAINTS).
Firstly the word ’saint’ is an English word which designates a particular religious status. ʿAlayhi as-salām (عليه السلام) does not designate any particular status, is not English and is not any part of English usage. Not that there really is, but the nearest equivalent to ‘Saint’ in this case would be ‘Prophet’ or ‘Islamic Prophet’. But, as is often the case in English, the lack of a determiner actually underlines the person’s importance. The implication of a single name is that X is THE X.
There is not going to be a perfect symmetry between what might appear in the Arabic Wikipedia and the English Wikipedia. That’s just how it is.
The policy you (mis-)cite also strongly suggests naming pages if possible with just the saint’s name or with some other qualifier, e.g. Augustine of Hippo or Joan of Arc — the actual names (rather than redirects) of the articles you refer to above.
You are correct that the infobox at Joan of Arc is headed “Saint Joan of Arc” but that is an argument from usage, not policy. The guidelines for |name= in {{infobox saint}} say to use the page name and I’ve edited that article to remove the ‘Saint’.
Your arguments about what couldn’t be included in other infoboxes also seems unconvincing. There is no technical reason why we couldn’t use “H.R.H. Elizabeth II” rather than “Elizabeth II”. It’s obviously a choice and one that’s about keeping it simple, neutral and understandable.
If time-specificity is such an important criteria for inclusion in an infobox, logically you must be suggesting that prophets were inherently holy for all time, which is a belief that needs careful explanation in an encyclopaedia. It is not fact and the infobox is definitely a place for simple facts, not explanations.
It’s too late at night for coherent cogitation, so I’ll leave it at that for now. --☸ Moilleadóir 15:24, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
There may be grounds for inclusion of "Islamic prophet", as in the Arabic equivalents Nabi or Rasul, both of which are basically occupational titles. PBUH, SAWS, AS, RA etc. on the other hand are blessings, related to the English use of "God bless his soul". As Moilleadóir stated earlier (03:46, 7 Jan), use of these blessings implies that Wikipedia wishes someone all the best, which is not neutral. WP:PBUH only mentions one exception: quotes, so no, infoboxes are not exempted from the PBUH guidelines. - HyperGaruda (talk) 16:13, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
By the same token, referring to someone as "Saint X" can be said to affirm their sainthood, which is hardly "neutral", and yet there seems to be a long-standing consensus on interpreting WP policy to allow that practice in infoboxes. The argument for that is that the use of honorifics in infoboxes is not declarative but illustrative. If someone would like to challenge this illustrative implementation of honorifics parameters in infoboxes, this should be discussed in a different forum. However, in this case HyperGaruda's comment points to another argument against including "AS" in the infobox. While "nabi" is not an idiomatic prefix or suffix in Arabic, one could argue that the prefix "The Islamic prophet X" used in the infobox is similar to "Saint X" and conveys the same information as "AS", which signals prophethood in the Islamic tradition. Including both would thus be redundant. Frankly, I think there's a stronger argument against the form "Sir X MBE", on several grounds, but this is off topic here. On the disputed point, I've convinced myself.
Moilleadóir, I disagree with the arguments you present in the latest reply, but this is now moot. Per you request, I'll spell out my objections to your other changes in the infoboxes on this page, but in another section and a bit later. Eperoton (talk) 19:16, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Other changes to Islamic prophet infoboxes[edit]

@Moilleadóir: The other issues in your edit [1] will hopefully be more straightforward. I haven't looked closely at your changes to the other Islamic prophet infoboxes, but at glance they seem to involve the same issues, so I'm assuming we'll be addressing them all here. The use of standard English names or inclusion of BCE dates is uncontroversial. However, this article (unlike Ishmael) is about Ishmael in Islam, and the infobox should reflect the view of Ishmael according to that tradition. As far as I know, traditional Islamic sources do not consider Ishmael's "native name" to be the Hebrew name found in the Torah or use the name Canaan. If you have information to the contrary, please source your edit. Eperoton (talk) 00:19, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

@Eperoton: These are separate issues.
1. {{infobox person}} is really meant for persons whose history is fairly well known. |native_name= implies that we know something about what the person’s name and language was (“The person's name in their own language, if different.”), which in this case may be impossible or non-neutral. Just because the topic is about a particular tradition, we shouldn’t imply that that tradition’s beliefs are fact. It’s more a problem of using a general template for a specific task. As I mentioned in the earlier discussion, it may have been better to merge this info into the {{Islamic prophets}} template when the individual templates were deleted. I’ve fiddled around with templates enough elsewhere to know that it can be a very messy business though, so it would be better done by someone who’s familiar with that template. They may also decide that it would unbalance their design. It would certainly require a rethink.
In any case, the label Native name is misleading so perhaps we could agree to not use it at all for now.
2. I can see how the issue of Canaan vs. Palestine could be viewed as a political choice or a choice coloured by one or other religious tradition, but our purpose here is to use words that reflect facts as far as they can be known and reasonably represented. Realistically we cannot know with any certainly what the inhabitants of the area called it around 1800 BC (or even where/if Ishmael was born), but variations on the word Canaan do seem to be older. At the very least, perhaps both Ishmael pages should show both? In any case, the word Canaan is not the property of a specific tradition and we shouldn’t pollute historical discussion with contemporary politics or nationalist historiography if possible.
Your argument about what name Islamic sources use isn’t relevant in the context of saying where someone was born at least 2424 years before those sources existed. Of course they would use whatever the contemporary word was (not that you offer that for consideration).
You seem to be arguing that the purpose of the article is purely to reflect the Islamic sources, but while Islamic beliefs, arguments and accounts about these figures are essential in an article about those beliefs, we still need to be careful with information summarised in the infobox [& yes, that includes me!] especially if it’s at variance with other articles. We are in danger of encouraging a kind of factionalised knowledge owned by different groups. The article is about Islamic views but it is not for Muslims any more than articles about saints are for Christians. They’re all there for all readers.
Perhaps this could be covered by some caveat, eg. Born       (tradition) 2424 BH Palestine, but that would be a better job for a template.
Once again the infobox is for short, summarised, uncontested information, so another option is to leave it out altogether especially if it’s not covered in the article (infobox is not for new info).
3. Hebrew names. I freely admit I got carried away here, but I still think there is a case for inclusion. The main articles on these people all include the Arabic version of their names, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable that figures acknowledged as prophets by Judaism before the advent of Islam should be recognised as being also connected with that tradition. Where to include this information is another question. Perhaps |Other names= would be more appropriate?
Creating a strictly Hebrew-free zone for articles about prophets who are generally acknowledged as emerging from a Jewish tradition seems a little odd. You could argue, of course, that we don’t definitively know the exact original form of these names or even the language they spoke, but given the absence of that kind of rigour elsewhere it’s a little untenable.
If the intent is to create a space where views about the strict and inherently Muslim nature of these prophets is not just acknowledged and discussed but advocated, then I think we’re drifting into dubious territory. --☸ Moilleadóir 04:51, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
@Moilleadóir: On the first point, I agree with your solution of moving the Arabic name to the top of the box and skipping the confusing native name parameter altogether. On the other two points, the article is a discussion of Islamic beliefs about Ishmael, and historical origin of those beliefs is certainly part of the topic. We should have a section discussing theories about pre-Islamic circulation of stories about Ishmael and Ishmaelites among the Arabs and in the wider Near East, but I hope you'll agree that putting the biblical Hebrew name in the infobox isn't the best way of getting at this complicated and murky subject. I think it makes sense for the infobox in this article to present traditional Islam beliefs rather than modern reconstructions of possible realities of a "historical Ishmael" (which should be left to the main Ishmael article, unless they have some specific relevance to the Islamic tradition). That is why I've been referring to Islamic sources. Marking those entries by the word "tradition" seems reasonable, unless it will clutter the infobox. Eperoton (talk) 05:53, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
An additional comment based on a paper I happened to look at this morning [2]: the name "Palestine" is used even in academic publications on biblical subjects, in this case by an author from Israel. Eperoton (talk) 14:56, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Arabic transliteration is out-dated[edit]

Academics and Historians no longer use the same apostrophe for ʿAyn (Voiced pharyngeal fricative/Voiced epiglottal trill) and Hamza (Glottal stop) in Arabic letter. I would like to change it to improve it Alexis Ivanov (talk) 06:24, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

@Alexis Ivanov: Neither do we use the same apostrophe -at least in strict transliterations- but you should actually discuss this at WP:MOSAR. - HyperGaruda (talk) 07:03, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
Oh my bad then. It goes to details on the page you have provided. Alexis Ivanov (talk) 06:00, 27 February 2016 (UTC)