Date: 17th April 2015; 27th Jumādá ath-Thāniyah 1436
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One of the realities of our world is that most of its governments are chosen by democracy. The election for the Mayor Council is arriving soon (in Bangladesh) so this week’s Khutbah is dedicated towards how Islam view Democracy and the Voting System.
In lights of the Quran and the Sunnah, democracy is not supported. It is against Islam and there are a lot of reasons behind it.
Firstly, democracy and the voting system was invented by the Western Civilization. What does democracy actually say? It tells us to choose the leader who gets the maximum vote from the people. It tells us that the mass’s decision is better than the minority. If we take this to be right then we are making the gravest mistake. In this word, the majority are the disbelievers, the Muslims are the minority, if you just want to take into account the “true Muslims”. The Quran teaches us this.
Say, “Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you.” So fear Allah , O you of understanding, that you may be successful.
Surah Al-Maidah, Ayah 100 (5:100) Translation: Sahih International
From this ayah it is evident that the majority of the people will always remain evil, if we enjoin goodness and forbid evil, we are always going to be the minority. Through democracy, the evil will outweigh the good and so the nation will be branded into a society filled with turmoil and chaos. In democracy everyone gets a chance to give their opinion and give their choice, if the majority is ineligible to give proper opinion then how can we state that their opinion gets to be right?
Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was made the Caliph of his Muslim Ummah during his time and he was chosen directly by Allah without any election or vote from the people. If Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was selected through election to be the Caliph of Mecca and Medina, he would have never been a Caliph in the first place as the number of Kafirs further outweighed than that of the Muslims. The Quran says:
And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie.
Surah Al-Anam, Ayah 116 (6:116) Translation: Muhsin Khan
The Caliph system is ideal for any country. The country will be governed by a just ruler following the rules and regulations as mentioned in the Quran and the Hadiths.
All Prophets of Allah were Caliphs of their time because they were directly selected by Allah to be the leaders of their Ummah. When Allah created Adam (Alayhi As-Salām), He made this statement to His Angels:
And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.”
Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 30 (2:30) Translation: Muhsin Khan
Allah has clearly mentioned the word “khaleefatan” in this ayah, depicting Adam (Alayhi As-Salām) to be the first Caliph of this world and his authority was needed to be inherited through succession. From Adam (Alayhi As-Salām) to Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) the representatives were directly selected by Allah. After the Prophets passed away it is our duty to see to what the Sahabis did in the past in order to choose their worthy Caliph because they are the best Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and we are expected to follow their ways.
The first way a Caliph can be selected is by choosing the most worthy among the Muslim Ummah selected by some eligible people. The first Caliph Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu), was nominated by Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) and then was accepted by a small gathering of Muslims. All Muslims present at the election were not allowed to later change their allegiance, and all Muslims not present and those who did not have a say were forced to accept the legitimacy of Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu) as the Caliph.
The second way a Caliph can be selected is through the appointment by the previous Caliph before his retirement or death. The second Caliph Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) was appointed directly by Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu) before his death.
The third technique is done through discussion among some possible candidates originally selected by the Caliph regarding who is to be their next Caliph. The third Caliph Uthman (Radi Allahu Anhu) was elected in a unique way devised by the second Caliph Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu). Five candidates (originally six) chosen by Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) were placed in a room to discuss who among them should be the next Caliph.
There is a lot of problems in our election system. Some of them have already been discussed but there are others as well. Candidates who stand for election tend to praise themselves relentlessly and also criticize their rival groups shamelessly. Undoubtedly, that goes against our Islamic teachings. Hadiths say:
The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Hide your good deed like you hide your evil deed, and do not be amazed with your own action, for you do not know whether you are happy or wretched (in the Hereafter)”
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) defined backbiting when he said: “Do you know what is meant by backbiting?” They (the Sahabis) said, “Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) know best.” He said, “To say something about your brother which he dislikes.” One asked, “Even if what I say is true about my brother?” He replied, “If such defects you say are true about him, then you have backbitten him, and if he doesn’t have what you say, then you have committed slander against him.”
References: Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood & Jami At-Tirmidhi
Even worse, in order to win the election candidates make a lot of promises to their people. In Islam if we make promises, we must keep it. Hadith say:
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “There are three signs of a munafiq: When he speaks he lies; when he promises, he breaks his promise and when he is entrusted, he embezzles.”
References: Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Jami At-Tirmidhi
Those who are voting, they are also voting based on their personal interest and relations. They don’t look at the eligibility of the candidate. By doing so we are not only being irresponsible towards our society but also being undutiful towards Allah. A lot of money is also involved in promoting the candidates, this is not ideal in terms of the Islamic Shariah. An eligible individual is always acknowledged by his society based on his efforts and dedication, not by how much money he pours to buy his votes. Money should be spent in the ways of Allah, not for any personal achievement.
Now that we have a society which supports election, what should we do? Do we vote according to our will or just leave our votes unmarked? It is distinguishable that we are in a havoc for not following the orders of Allah and also for disposing the Sunnah ways. In such circumstance, one should not forget his duty towards his society. Since election has become an obligatory part of our society, the best we can do is by selecting the best candidate among the lot.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (Rahmatullah Allaih) was asked about the ruling on elections, and he replied: I think that elections are obligatory; we should appoint the one who we think is good, because if the good people abstain, who will take their place? Evil people will take their place, or neutral people in whom there is neither good nor evil, but they follow everyone who makes noise. So we have no choice but to choose those who we think are fit.
Voting is a form of intercession. We are marking someone as our leader and based on our votes we are stating whether that person is eligible. If we are negligent upon our duties by deliberately voting for someone who is incapable of running the society then we are in a way giving a false witness on behalf of that person. It is one of the greatest major sin. Hadith says:
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Shall I not tell you of the greatest of major sins?” We (Sahabis) said, “Yes indeed, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Associating others with Allah (shirk) and disobedience towards parents.” He was reclining, but then he sat up and said, “And false speech and false witness, and false speech and false witness,” and he kept on saying it until I thought he would never stop.
References: Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 5631 & Sahih Muslim, Hadith 87
If we vote for someone who is ineligible and if he does evil to his society then a portion of his evil deeds will be transferred to the ones who have voted him. If people choose a just ruler then a portion of his good deeds will be transferred to his voters, then the society will be a better place. At the end of the day it is our decision which will affect our present life and for all the decisions we make in this Dunya we need to give our accounts to Allah on the Day of Judgement.