Bismillah, Alhamdulillah wa-Salaatu wa-Salaam 'ala Rasulillah
As-salaamu 'alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu ya Muslimeen.
Today, it's more apparent than I've ever realized that our Ummah are notionally divided on the issue of voting and participating in democratic elections. The concern and weight on this issue would seem to have elevated as the activism among Muslims in secular politics and elections has increased.
Surely, I've clarified where I stand as regards to voting. And there is a significant number of Muslims who honorably disagree, others who spitefully contest it and yet even another portion who just don't understand why it's such a big deal to begin with.
We have clear consensus that as a minority in secular lands we are only obligated to live peacefully, dealing justly and kindly with everyone, speaking out against injustice and most importantly fulfilling and calling to tawheed to the best of our individual abilities. We are to obey the secular laws; taking advantage of the ones allowing us the things Allah Loves and detesting/avoiding those allowing that which Allah hates. Being that it is not compulsory to participate in the voting process and being that it is a system founded on the premise that a governing body, human beings, has the right to legislate; correspondingly declaring that Allah does NOT have the right to legislate. Needless to say, a forerunner opponent of Allah's Shari'ah that will do all within its power to prevent its fruition, occupying predominately Muslim lands while misplacing thousands to millions of our brothers and sisters, young and old, therein. How then do we justify consciously engaging to further support such a system in its nationalistic efforts that are openly against (what should be) our interest?
We weigh the pros and cons. We consider who will cause less harm to the Ummah and humanity in general. We consider who wants more peace. But do we consider that either way, harm will afflict humanity and our Ummah under their authority? Do we consider, either way, Muslims (whether one hundred or one million) will be killed as a result of orders they approved? And so the question is, are we accountable for that which Allah will hold them to account by simply having an unforced hand in placing them in office?
The arguments proceed back and forth. Each point as compelling and strong as the next. And the question remains, where should we stand on this issue? We know that we must approach this issue the same way we base our actions, within the framework of the Qur'an and Sunnah. We cannot base it on any emotional or superficial reason such as I've heard from some Muslims in defense of their choice to vote: "I'm not voting because of religion, I'm voting because of race." This, of course, is a shallow, short-sighted... just altogether horrible excuse and a justification unacceptable on all levels. Let's keep it in perspective. The one thing that makes us a family, a global community, an Ummah, is the very fact that our Islam takes precedence over every other aspect of ourselves. We do not make the mistakes of followers of prophets of old. We do not assimilate the ways of the disbelievers. We don't divide or assign status among ourselves according to nationality, race, posession, etc. and certainly we are not Secular Muslims (the phrase itself is oxymoronic).
Remember, Allah will not bless our Ummah with the establishment of a khalifah until we prove ourselves ready. Once we're all operating on the same wavelength, Allah, will reward us greatly in this world. Otherwise, the revival of Islam and the Shari'ah is countered against by our own efforts.
Allah tells us what means:
"So set thou thy face STEADILY AND TRULY to the Faith: establish Allah's handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: NO CHANGE let there be in the work wrought by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not." -Surah Al Rum ayah 30
Below, I'll post one of the more respectable, dignified and healthy dialogues revolving about the topic of voting among Muslims that I believe every Muslim should lend their ear. Brother Saad of DawahWorks debates Brother Farhan on this increasingly concerned issue among our Ummah, especially in the West. Thanks to Islam and Friends for organizing and moderating this much needed discussion.