Islamic Da’wah Academy, Leicester, UK
Like the rest of the Island, South African Muslim community is gearing up to vote in the next few weeks. The political parties have been campaigning in earnest for some time, outlining their policies and stressing their commitments to the nation. With less than a few days left before polling day, Muslims should be asking themselves what commitments they have made when it comes to casting their votes.
Shaykh MawlÃÂnÃÂ Muhammad Saleem Dhorat Ã¡Â¸Â¥afiÃ¡ÂºâahullÃÂh delivered a lecture to the Muslims of Britain during their election period in May 2007. Containing valuable advice for the Muslim voter the lecture was summarised.
The Secret of Success
Allah Ã¯Ââ° has placed the desire for progress, and the spirit of mutual competitiveness that accompanies it, into the very nature of man. It is natural for individuals and communities to strive to better themselves and achieve progress. As Muslims, we should open the pages of history and discover and adopt those factors which make a nation prosperous, as long as they fall within the bounds of the Sharee‘ah, so that we too can reap the Deeni and worldly benefits of progress.
Our study should commence with trying to ascertain the secret behind the success of the noble Sahaabah Ã¯ÂÂ¹, for they are ideal role models of a community that attracted success in its every endeavour. A thoughtful investigation will reveal three prominent qualities which can be attributed to their success. In this election season every Muslim, no matter what his preferred party, should commit him/herself to observing these three principles in order to secure success and achievement, both on a personal and a communal level.
The First Commitment – Taqwaa
The Sahaabah Ã¯ÂÂ¹ hated all disobedience to Allah Ã¯Ââ°, they neither had a habit of sinning nor were they fond of any sins. Abstention from sins is the essence of taqwaa, and through it Allah Ã¯Ââ° has promised relief from every difficulty.
In dealing with the election issue, we must not say or do anything that displeases Allah Ã¯Ââ°. Of all the sins to beware of, backbiting and slander are major sins which are a particular threat at such times. One inclined towards a particular party should not backbite or slander a supporter of another party, for in doing so the requirements of taqwaa will be compromised; and Divine assistance and blessings cannot be expected in the absence of taqwaa.
The Second Commitment – Ikhlaas
Every decision taken by the Sahaabah Ã¯ÂÂ¹ was for the Pleasure of Allah Ã¯Ââ°, keeping in mind the life hereafter and the good of the Muslim community.
They would be ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of Allah Ã¯Ââ°. Whether standing for election, supporting a party or voting, a Muslim must be pure in his intentions. This intention should be to elect the candidate who will best serve the Muslim community in common and humanity in general. If a Muslim has sincerity then his vote will go to the right candidate, for he will consider that he is voting to please Allah Ã¯Ââ° and therefore he will expend his energies in finding out who the best candidate is.
The Third Commitment – Unity
Unity is a key factor for the success of any nation; a truly united community can withstand any competition. Individuals should have the courtesy of mutual respect despite their political rivalries. Sadly, the Muslim community is a divided one. Every individual has the right to his own opinion and his own preference, within Shar’ee boundaries, but our mutual differences transform into malice and enmity towards each other. Not even our masaajid are free from our feuding. We can only hang our heads in shame when matters reach ahead and TV and press reports announce that political wrangling amongst Muslims has spilled over into fights outside a masjid after Friday prayers.
We go to the extremes; if we like something in a particular person, we praise him to the extreme, whereas if we disagree with someone on one issue, we become blind to all the good qualities he possesses. Our dealings are but a faint shadow of the Islamic concept of brotherhood our beloved Prophet Ã¯ÂÂ¥ taught. True brotherhood demands that whatever our political stripe, we should be able to sit at a table and sacrifice our political allegiances for the sake of Allah and agree to support the candidate who is best for the Muslims in common and the country in general. We should be willing to marginalize our differences in order to progress in a common direction. In fact, if the Muslims of a particular constituency were to unite on a single platform and form a committee, responsible for recommending the best candidate to Muslim voters, every party would turn to the committee and accede to its demands on behalf of the Muslim community. They would realise the importance of securing the Muslim vote. All that is needed to achieve unity is a little sacrifice and the willingness to swallow one’s pride. May Allah Ã¯Ââ° grant us all the longing to strive for taqwaa, ikhlaas and unity. Aameen.
Using Your Vote
- The vote is very important. It is a means of electing the person most beneficial for the Muslim community and our country.
- Voting is a big responsibility. Not voting or voting incorrectly will bring power to the wrong person.
- The best candidate deserves our vote.
- We should become politically aware.
- We should read every party’s manifesto.
- We should study party policies via the internet, radio, newspapers and knowledgeable people in our communities, who possess political acumen.
- We should find out which party offers us the best in all spheres of life; education, housing, health, social issues, international policy etc. Deciding on a party by just looking at one issue does not constitute farsightedness.
- We should think rationally, not make judgements based on emotions.
- Finally, we should make du’aa to Allah Ã¯Ââ°, asking Him to enable us to make the right choice and that may He grant success to those who will serve the country and its citizens without any prejudice or wrong.