Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils“And whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the disbelievers” (TMQ 5:44)
Ruling by Kufr
Ibn Abbas (ra) stated in his Tafsir of this verse that “anybody who denies a definitive judgement of Allah (swt) contained in the Shariah is a Kafir. Ibn Jarir at Tabari says that this is agreed upon. Ibn Abbas (ra) went on to say that anyone who says that the Rule of Allah (swt) does not have to be established, then he is a Kafir. The one who says that the rule of man is better than the Rule of Allah (swt) is a Kafir. The one who states that the rules of man are just as good as the Rule of Allah (swt) is a Kafir. He (swt) also said that the one who does not deny Allah’s (swt) Hukm, but believes that it is allowed to rule by other than what Allah (swt) has revealed, he is also a Kafir because he is denying that the right of Rule is solely for Allah (swt). This is the case even if he says that the rule of Allah (swt) is better than the rule implemented by man”.
The act of voting itself is halal according to Islamic shariah as long as the matter in consideration is halal. This is because casting a vote simply means to give someone the power of attorney to make a decision on your behalf. It could also indicate approval for a particular decision. There is no problem with showing approval for a halal matter by voting. Voting becomes haram when you deputize someone to do a haram act.
For example, if a group of people hold an election on whether or not to make jummah prayer, participating in this election will be haram. This is because the condition of the election is that all parties will abide by the verdict of the majority. Clearly, any negotiation or compromise regarding the commandments of Allah is prohibited and blameworthy. So it is important to understand the difference between expressing consent through voting, and recognizing that democracy is a system of kufr.
What is the Kufr System
It is important to define a kufr system. A kufr system is any system which does not refer to Allah and His Messenger as the basis of the law. In other words, if the basis of the system is not Islamic, it is considered kufr. So although the US Constitution mentions Islamic virtues of justice, equality, and righteousness, it can not be considered any more Islamic than the Hindu scriptures or Buddhist doctrines that promote the same values. In fact, the Prophet (saw) forbade us from even referring to other sources of law as indicated in the well known hadith when Umar (ra) was flipping through the Taurah to which the Prophet (saw) said:
“O ‘Umar! Are you in doubt? Have I not brought the Message as clear as white? If my brother Musa had been alive, he would have followed me.” Narrated by Ahmed, Ad-Daarimi and others.
The democratic system is a system that gives man a free hand in determining right and wrong. If the majority of representatives in Congress decide that homosexual marriage is legal, it will become legal. If the majority of representatives in Parliament decide to outlaw prayer, it will become the law of the land. This type of ruling system that denies the role of Allah is clearly a system of disbelief and will lead to misery.
Human beings are not capable of legislating rules for themselves. Human beings are limited and unable to produce a system that preserves everyone’s rights fairly and equally. History has shown us that the powerful always create rules that benefit them to the detriment of others. Even people who claim that they want justice cannot produce a just system.
Communism started as a way to end the vicious inequality and systematic poverty of feudal Europe. The Communists believed that distributing wealth equally amongst the entire society. They did away with private ownership and forced an unnatural “equality” on the masses. It was a novel idea, but it contradicted human nature; was against the law of Allah, and led to even more misery and poverty. Human beings are finite and limited and are unable to be truly just without Divine guidance. Indeed, without Divine guidance, we would destroy ourselves.
“If the Truth had been in accord with their desires, truly the heavens and the earth, and all beings therein would have been in confusion and corruption! Nay, We have sent them their admonition, but they turn away from their admonition.” (TMQ 23:71)
This verse proves that if left to their own devices, human beings would cause confusion and corruption on the earth.
When are the Disbelievers Satisfied
“And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians until you follow their way. Say: Surely Allah’s guidance, that is the (true) guidance. And if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you shall have no guardian from Allah, nor any helper” (TMQ 2:120)
These verses clearly indicate the danger of allying ourselves with non-Muslims. Allah (swt) allows us to take non-Muslims as personal friends and acquaintances. He even allows us to marry their women and eat their meat, but these verses refer specifically to allying with the disbelievers as blocks and groups. The Islamic way of life contradicts their way of life, so we can never expect the disbelievers to accept us until we compromise on the principles of our deen.
The essence of Islam is that Allah is the only One worthy of worship and obedience, and it is this very concept that shook the foundations of the Quraish in Makkah. Even today, the American system goes to great lengths to keep any talk of God, religion, or spirituality out of the realm of politics and daily affairs. It relegates it to the churches, monasteries, and temples and ensures that religion has no role in politics, economics, or social relations.
Secular democracy directly opposes the Islamic concept of tawheed (Oneness of Allah) by compromising the very principles of Islam; making rivals with Allah and ignoring the guidance of His Messenger. This system promotes Islam solely as an individual practice, but urges us to denounce Islam as a complete way of life. Allah gives a very harsh warning about the intentions of the kuffar:
“And surely they had purposed to turn you away from that which We have revealed to you, that you should forge against Us other than that, and then they would certainly have taken you for a friend. And had we not given you the strength, you would certainly have been near to incline to them a little. In that case We would certainly have made you to taste a double (punishment) in this life and a double (punishment) after death, then you would not have found any helper against Us” (TMQ 17:73-75)
How strange for the one claiming Islam, then he equalizes between Islam and kufr, between atheism (ilhad) and trinity and tawheed, between the denier of the Prophethood of Muhammad (saw) and the believer in it, between permitting riba and forbidding it, between the worship of Allah (swt) and worshiping creatures, between fornication and marriage, between permitting homosexuality and forbidding lesbianism and homosexuality, between the pig and dates.
It is even more strange; the one who remains silent and says nothing about preference and does not prefer tawheed to polytheism, halal to haram, the Shar’a to At-Taghut, the believer to the kafir, revelation to man-made, Islam to the remaining deens, the Qur`an to the distorted Books, worshiping the Creator to worshiping the sun, the cow and the stars. May Allah save us from fitnah!
We have the best example in the Prophet (saw). Quraish made an offer to him to compromise where he would rule by Islam for one year and they would rule by kufr the next. They came offering him ruler-ship, wealth, and women on the condition that he compromises his call. He could have sought conditioned ruler-ship under the excuse of benefiting Islam, but he refused and his famous response was:
“Oh my Uncle, By Allah, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand on condition that I abandon this matter (Islam), until Allah has made victorious or I perish, I will not abandon it.”
Not only is voting in un-Islamic elections is haram because you’re giving someone the authority to make laws, but it is quite ineffective. Despite the rhetoric from both political parties, they differ very little when it comes to implementing policy.
Muslims who understand their responsibilities of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil must be politically aware, and have to be involved in political work to revive Islam, and this can be done in many ways other than voting.
Holding Public Officials Accountable: Muslims are obliged to enjoin the good and forbid the evil.
When the Messenger of Allah (saw) was asked:
“What is the best Jihad?” He (saw) replied: ‘A word of truth uttered before a tyrant man of authority.’”
“No by Allah, you shall command what is right and forbid what is evil, and you shall hold the hand of the oppressor and you shall curb him and confine him to following the truth.”
“Nay, by Allah, you have to enjoin the good and forbid the wrong, and restrain the hand of the tyrant, and to force him on the truth and to confine him to the truth, otherwise Allah will be about to strike the hearts of some of you against others, then He will curse you as He cursed the Children of Israel”.
These ahadith clearly demonstrate the obligation of holding rulers accountable and demanding rights from them. In this day and age, the Muslims should point out how the disobedience of Allah’s law causes modern-day problems. The global financial crisis is a prime opportunity to critique the fiat currency and rampant interest (riba) that were the root causes on the crisis. The social problems of poverty, fatherless children, and violence, particularly in the inner cities is a result of a breakdown of the family structure and widespread fornication. The killings in the streets of Chicago this past summer can be explained in the Prophet’s (saw) hadith
“When fatherless children become common, beware the wrath of Allah”.
As for the interests of the Muslims such as opening masajid, schools, businesses, etc. Muslims should do their best to present Islam in the most beautiful manner possible, to encourage people embrace Islam. But when Muslims are mistreated, abused, or oppressed, they should stand up for themselves and demand fair treatment.