The reality of Democratic Elections and Islamic Ruling on it

With just few days to go before the election on 9th August, politicians under the brand of bringing change, are roaming across every corner of country in their vote hunt mission. The race for state house indeed has taken the center stage of conversions in restaurants, streets and gardens  among the common citizens whom majority are destitute. The main question being who among the presidential candidates will emerge victorious. Money has an enormous role to hoodwink the electorates as political campaign rallies are characterized with lies, hatred and insults! Regrettably, is to see Muslims highly engaged in these polls as if it is their vital issue in this world. Scholars are quoting ayat and ahadith issuing fat-was urging Muslims to participate in the democratic elections.

In this article, I do not want to engage myself into the fatwas issued by the government scholars, but I would like to draw a line between what is right and what is wrong, what is lawful and what is unlawful. In order to know the legal judgment in the matter of Democratic elections, first of all, it is important to determine what is known in the Usul; tahqiqil – manat, (the subject of the matter)  either essence of elections in Democratic system. This is so important before we arrive to the divine ruling on any action.  In other words, here we have to explain the reality of elections and what Democracy means and then give us the Islamic ruling on it

Election is all about representation where one elects and delegates someone to perform an act on his/her behalf.   For instance, the believers in a Mosque can use voting to delegate one of the three or four people to fill the vacancy of Imam. When a position of Imam in a Mosque becomes vacant.

Abu Ubaid said the lots were used by the three prophets Peace Be upon them;

Prophet Yunus AS: When the Ship he boarded and faced with a big storm, the people decided to vote three times to throw one person to the sea… Yunus AS was chosen and eventually thrown to the sea. Allah says:

فَسَاهَمَ فَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلْمُدْحَضِين

And he drew lots and was among the losers.

(Swafat: 141)

Prophet Zakaria AS:

ذَلِكَ مِنْ أَنْبَاءِ الْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهِ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا كُنْتَ لَدَيْهِمْ إِذْ يُلْقُونَ أَقْلَامَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ يَكْفُلُ مَرْيَم.

That is the news from the unseen which we reveal to you Oh Muhammad and you were not with them when they cast their pens as to which of them should be responsible for Maryam

[Al-Imran: 43]

Our Beloved Messenger of Allah Muhammad (Sa.w):

 As narrated by Imam Bukhari anD Imam Muslim that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: When the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) wanted to travel, he would cast lots among his wives, and whichever one’s name was picked, he would take her with him. 

Discussing meaning of elections in Democracy, it is important to understand that Democracy is ruling system and not voting. Democracy comes from two Greek words Demos ‘People and Kratos ‘rule’ meaning the rule of the people. This rule means that people have an absolute and supreme authority (sovereignty) to legislate rules that are deemed supreme than the laws of Allah swt. Therefore, In Democracy; Parliament or the senate, representatives or Congress are all rule-making institutions. Democracy takes the method of elections every 5 or 4 years for the people to elect their representatives to make laws on their behalf. Conclusively, Democratic elections are tied in a legislative act which is totally against Islam.

In Islam, the right of making laws is resided to non-other than Allah swt. He Allah SWT is absolute ruler and He is Law- Giver hence any law set by human being is inconsistent and invalid even if it is in line with that of Allah. The fact is the act of making laws is rested to non-other than Allah SWT and not to human being. Islam has made it obligatory to follow and submit to the laws of Allah swt. Allah swt says:

فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُواْ فِىٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيمًا

But no, by your Lord, they do not believe until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement between them and then they do not find any discomfort in their hearts as to what you have decided, and submit in full submission.

[An-Nisai: 65]

This is the reality of the election, so what makes the election illegal or legal is not the election itself, but the action that is tied to it. Conclusively, Democratic elections violate Islamic sharia, and therefore it is haram for Muslims to campaign, support the Democratic parties and participate in its elections.

Shaban Mwalimu

Writer and Media Representative

Hizb ut-Tahrir Kenya


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