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A popular answer style on this site is "here's a fatwa", and these are often sourced from Islam Q&A, probably due to availability probably more than anything else.

If I read any given fatwa, I wouldn't expect the author's authority to be recognized by all Muslims. For example, a Hanafi fatwa would (presumably) only speak for those belonging to the Hanafi madhhab, and maybe only the scholars within this madhhab. I'm wondering who Islam Q&A fatawa speak for.

Question: Who does a typical Islam Q&A fatwa speak for?

As I understand things, Islam Q&A is a Salafi fatwa site, so presumably it speaks only for Salafi Muslims or Salafi scholars.

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    They are often very confident when answering which seems to be the reason why they often do not accept different of opinions that many other sunni scholars hold. They draw fast conclusions and dismisses other possible conclusions because they seem to contradict their. Being very biased and one-sided is a reason of much of the critic they have gotten by other scholars who are trained in a certain school of thought. Personally I will never draw a conclusion when reading an answer in their site because I've come to learn that there always are more information, which they seem not to mention. – Kilise May 11 '17 at 8:58
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This question is likely to draw a number of opinions on the matter. I will try to document the arguments I have come across in chat rooms and debate forums, and leave the judgment to the individual reader. I am trying to respond with extreme caution, and based on my personal observations, with no intention of offending any differing opinions.

Islam Q&A definitely uses views other than Salafi views (with all the different interpretations of Salafi movement: ultra-conservative in Saudi Arabia in the 18th century, or liberal in Egypt around the same time). The reasons for certain groups agreeing or disagreeing with Islam Q&A elaborate on sources other than salafi ones that are used by the site.

The main reasons Islam Q&A is a popular site for a lot of Sunnis are that:

  1. It has been around the longest (since 1996) as a site that provides answers to Muslims' and non-Muslims' questions.

  2. It has the widest range of qualified participants to answer questions (e.g., Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Issuing Fatwas, Dar Al-Ifta in multiple countries, Council of Senior Scholars, etc.).

  3. It uses academic experts to get explanations and clarifications on matters that require definition for ijtihad, for what is called modern jurisprudence (e.g., use of DNA, IVF, etc.).

  4. Availability of translations in multiple languages for a percentage of the answers.

  5. Providing evidence from Qur'an and Sunnah (Sunni sources only) in most fatwas.

There are definitely people who do not accept Islam Q&A as a reference, even among Sunnis and Salafis, citing the following reasons:

  1. It is a salafi site that mainly (but not solely) refers to the teachings of salaf scholars, e.g.,:

    a. Ibn Kathir (not a salaf per se, but a student of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, who followed the Hanbali school and are often called salafis) for the tafsir of the Qur'an.

    b. Al-Bukhari and Muslim for hadith references.

    c. Ibn Hajar and Al-Nawawi for interpretation of hadith, who both learned mainly under Shafe'i and Ash'ari scholars.

    d. Jurisprudence from Abu Hanifa, Malik, Al-Shafi'i, and Ibn Hanbal; as well as ijma' (consensus), qiyas (deduction), and fatwas from scholars like Ibn Taymiyyah. They do not generally accept Ja'fari, Ibadi or Zaidi jurisprudence schools, unless there is an agreement with the Sunni views.

  2. Quoting heterodoxies according to some views (e.g., Ibn Hazm), which typically comes from those called ultra-conservatives.

  3. Differentiation in acceptance of khalaf scholars (opposite of salaf scholars) based on their use of Islamic reliable sources (accepted) vs. using their own logic or philosophy to interpret Islamic scripture (not accepted). For instance, from khalaf scholars, they accept Ibn Baz, Al-Albani, Al-'Uthaymeen, and others. Khalaf scholars who are often referred to as modernists are generally not accepted.

  4. Favoring ultra-conservative views that rely on the strict interpretation of the Hanbali school, often referred to as Wahhabism.

Relying strictly on Sunni sources means their fatwas will not speak for Shi'ite and Sufi views.

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