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Are Elections Haram?
Says Who? And Based on What?
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(4) Muslim Rejectionism in the East
- Question of Sovereignty
- Soft Rejectionism
- Da’wah vs. Demonstration
- Cooperation is Key
- Living Culture
- Attitude Change
- A Throwback to Khairul Quroon
- Rejectionism and Islam Don’t Really Mix
- Impacting the Environment
(5) Muslim Rejectionism in the West
- Stopping Evil
- Another Example
- Scared of Words
(6) Qur’an and Hadith in the Election Fatwa Crossfire
- Who Should Govern Us?
- Underlying Absurdities
(7) Voting and Elections May Be Fard, Do You Think?
- From three to 3 million
- Islamic Way
- Contribution to Civilization
- Human Rights
- Democracy and Political Freedom
- Reading and Literacy
- The Pen
- Clean Living
- Human Equality
- A Matter of Commonsense
- Shortage of Qualified People
- West’s Problem
- Flawed Understanding
4. Muslim Rejectionism in the East
Dealing with Muslim rejectionism is not a new thing for me. My experience goes back decades. It goes back to the unlikely times when Jama’at Islami Hind, one of the strongest, best organized and most effective Muslim organizations in India, and in the world, used to hold a somewhat rejectionist attitude with regard to Muslim participation in elections.
Jama’at people were – Allah bless them! – among the most wonderful people in the world at that time. They were some of the wisest, most moderate, balanced, deliberate and thoughtful of people anywhere.
They barely said anything without supporting it with logic and evidence as well as with Qur’an and Hadith. They were God-fearing people of unimpeachable honesty and integrity – humble, truthful, sincere and forbiddingly hardworking and dedicated.
And yet they believed it was wrong to participate in elections in secular Hindu India. In a sense, they were waiting for their Darul Islam to arrive, I suppose, before they could become politically active and engaged.
Evidently, like a lot of good Muslims, they wanted Khilafah and would take nothing less. To them, obviously, the only legitimate system of government was the Islamic system and everything else was at best a distraction.
As a result, while practicing voting and elections internally to elect their own Amir or leader, they were unable to extend that practice to the larger sphere of life around them that they saw as being based mostly on non-Islam.
Question of Sovereignty:
So, the Jama’at’s position evidently was, yes, elections was the way to go, provided the overall sociopolitical system was informed and guided by the higher principles of Islam. And provided it was not based so much on human whim, self-interest, intrigue and raw politics, if not blatant corruption and falsehood, that characterized much of the status quo and modus operandi in most places.
And then there always was the question of ultimate sovereignty: whether it resided in the people, an assumption which formed the basis of a democracy, or belonged to God Almighty, which was the core belief in Islam. That means, in political matters, where did the buck really stop: with people and their elected representatives or with God and his divine revelation?
But to me it was still rejectionism of sorts, even though it was gentle, benign, soft and well-meaning rejectionism – pretty much like everything else that the Jama’at did those days.
It was rejectionism based on regret, sorrow, pain and helplessness rather than on anger, hate or contempt. Knowing them as I did, those were the ultimate opposites and oxymorons – I mean Jama’at stalwarts on the one hand and hate, anger and contempt on the other hand.
Da’wah vs. Demonstration:
Muslims are often long on Da’wah and short on practical demonstration. As a result, by and large, the Jama’at’s focus was on inviting people to Allah – and of course to Islam. What the Jama’at did not seem to grasp fully in a practical, everyday sense – just as many others did not at that time – was the fact that Islam meant life in all its richness and practical complexities: right here and now.
And that power and politics – like labor, wages, money, ownership, management, education, hygiene and medicine – were vital to the complex process of life on earth, as Allah had designed it for human beings, even though the Jama’at seemed to have no difficulty in dealing with this issue at a more abstract and theoretical level.
Cooperation is Key:
And that interacting and cooperating in a constructive and productive manner with a non-Muslim or un-Islamic system and its representatives was an essential requirement designed for survival and success in this world for Muslims as well as for Islam.
Besides, it was also in the interests of the survival and better functioning of the society and the world as a whole.
The Qur’an says:
Ta’awanoo ‘Alal Birri Wat-Taqwa wa Laa Ta’awanoo ‘Alal Ithmi wal-‘Udwan.
Cooperate based on virtue and fear of God and do not cooperate based on sin and aggression.
That means, according to the Qur’an, cooperation was key to success in human life at all levels. The only question was how and based on what. The Aayat throws the door wide open for Muslims to cooperate with everyone on matters considered to be of mutual concern and importance.
However, what the Aayat does at the same time is to establish certain clear cut guidelines and parameters on the basis of which any projected cooperation must occur.
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