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How do I start writing on Islamiqate - is there a beginner's or introduction guide?

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A short guide to writing great answers!

You've decided to write for Islamiqate… now what? You are about to enter a mind-expanding realm of questioning everything you've ever believed and explaining it in a way a lay person would understand. This short guide will help you get up and running.

What does a writer at Islamiqate do?

Our writers work on the simple task of helping others by providing persuasive authoritative answers that will be helpful to any future visitor. They draft original and creative answers, based on reviewing existing scholarly works relating to the question, reviewing the evidences and arguments, and coming up with the best and strongest answer.

The key thing about answers is they should be laid out following one of our templates that helps structure answers well, providing simple formatting and easy to understand prose. You will get to work on a vast array of questions relating to all aspects of Islam, its civilisation and peoples, in your field or related fields targeting a broad audience ranging from undergraduate students to lifelong learners.

So, what are my first steps?

Everything starts with a good question – we have lots of them on our site. If there isn't a question you think you can answer, you can create one that will be helpful to others.

Select an appropriate template to structure your answer from the examples given below – copy and paste it into a Microsoft Word document.

Start your literature review and as you read slot in relevant pieces of information into the template. Continue until the template is completed.

Remember:

  • Answers should be truthful and authentic citing sources for information where relevant so it is verifiable.
  • Answers should provide a clear meaningful explanation, supported with reasoning, with good answers explaining why or how they answer the question.
  • Non-obvious answers are helpful if they acknowledge conventional wisdom before presenting a new perspective.
  • Polish the wording, grammar and phrasing.
  • Well-formatted, clear and well-written answers are more likely to be read, understood and upvoted.
  • Images and video can help make answers helpful, however avoid meme and sexually provocative images and if you are using images only, add captions to explain their relevance or how they answer the question.
  • Improve readability using paragraphs, headings and subheadings to break up large blocks of text and styling via bullet pointing and blockquotes, with bold, italics and underline for emphasis.
  • Review for spelling and grammar. Tools in Microsoft word or Grammarly should be used.


Fiqh Template:

In a Nutshell

Introduction

Assumptions/Misconceptions

Evidences

Jurist views

Analysis

Objections

Conclusion

Example q&a using this template: What is the stance of classical scholarship on triple talaq?

Narratives (eg Tafsir, Qasas, Seerah etc) Template:

In a Nutshell

Introduction

Key Facts

Themes

Symbols and Motifs

Analysis

Conclusion

Example q&a using this template: Why was Surah al-An'am significant to the Prophet Muhammad's (saw) dawa in Mecca?


What happens once I've completed my article?

Review it with fresh eyes – this can be by leaving it for a few hours or overnight. You will be able to add significant improvements by simply doing this. Post the answer for the given question.

You can search for questions in the search box at the top of the screen, or create new ones by clicking on "Ask". Remember to attach an image to any new questions you create.

What is a good answer?

A good answer is one that is genuinely helpful when it is clear, credible and sincerely addresses the question that was asked. Helpful answers seek to:

  • Answer the question that was asked. It considers what the questioner was wondering, what are they confused about and what kind of information they need.
  • Avoid answering related questions – create new questions and answer them. The answer should relate ONLY to the question asked.
  • Provide knowledge that is reusable by anyone interested in the question. A good answer has facts and insights that are general and reusable.
  • Support your answer with evidence. It is helpful to assume the question needs to know "why?" even if it doesn't spell this out. A good answer should include persuasive reasoning, evidence and facts to help explain why the answer is correct.
  • Show credibility and be factual. A good answer is one that is trustworthy by including: reliable sources, good examples and explaining why you have the necessary expertise or experience. You should indicate why you are qualified to answer the question, providing a good bio where relevant. If the answer replies on third-party facts or analysis it can be helpful to provide external links to the source material.
  • Ensure clarity and make it easy to read. Many people skim read the page. Formatting with a clear structure helps emphasise relevant pieces of information along with images or video. Good answers are also usually enjoyable to read, engaging and thought-provoking.

Good answers should become a comprehensive, helpful and trustworthy resource for that question.

Are there any policies I should be familiar with?

These are the main points you should be familiar with when you're writing:

  • Answers should be helpful for people who are interested in the question.
  • Answers challenging premises in the question are allowed as are answers that are humorous and importantly helpful.
  • Answers taking content from other sources should blockquote or reference such content.
  • Answers must adhere to the Be Respectful policy, avoiding personal attacks, insults or hate speech.


Are there any model answers I can look at to see what a good answer looks like?

You'll see a lot of these on the Islamiqate.com landing page which seeks to promote good answers.

Here's some examples by different writers that you should be familiar with – they define fundamental Islamic paradigms that often are not clear with Muslims:


Are there any helpful resources I should be using?

Writers have found the following resources helpful:

Anything else?

Nope – you're good to go.

Happy writing!


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