Some Thoughts on Muslims and Voting

I was asked the question about how do we know which candidate is the lesser of two evils assuming that voting was Islamicly permissible.

Asalam Alaykum

That’s one view.  I don’t know the answer.  Generally speaking I am against personal ijtihad (jurisprudencial reasoning) but this is one exception.  I suggest that everyone pray istikhara and do what they think is best and not criticize the other for their decision.  There is no reason to divide the Muslims over this.

As for the question, “how do we know?”  The answer is that we don’t know and this is a decision everyone has to think about and decide using the best information that have at the time.  What else is there to do?  Actions are judged by their intentions.  There are very strong arguments on both sides of the issue.  I’ll also add that there are really bad arguments on both sides of the issue as well (see Anwar Awlaki’s blog).

As for the Muslims who believed that Obama would solve every problem on the planet, they need to curb their enthusiasm.  I can easily understand how one would come to the conclusion that Obama (even now) would be better than McCain.  Nevertheless, he still has his share of problems.  That’s just how politics are.  Even during the time when Muslims had a chaliph things were very antagonistic.  It was a chaliph that tortured three of the four Imams.  Between Sayidna Abu Bakr and Sultan Mehmet VI, there have been 101 chaliphs.  I can only name nine really good onces (Sadatuna Abu Bakr, Omar, Uthman, Ali and Ma’wiya, Sayidna Omar ibn Abdul-Aziz, Imam Harun Rashid, Sultan Selim, Sultan Sulayman, and Sultan Abdul-Hamid II.  I challange anyone to add a name to that list).  Going beyond the fact that the chaliph is not necessarily a pancea either, Muslims in America need to deal with the fact that they will not get what they need in politics and, at best, they can only mitigate damage.  In general, turning to the dunya only caused more problems.  Muslims need to have their hearts turn towards Allah and no one else.

Also, everyone should put their trust in Allah.  Allah promised mercy for the believers so it is obligatory to be optimistic about Allah fulfilling His promise.  It will all end out O.K.

Finally, this is not the forum to discuss this and if anyone wants to do so privately, feel free to e-mail me.  People don’t like their in boxes to be flooded with these kinds of things.

And Allah knows best and He is sufficient for us.


-Ibraheem Shakfeh

I also want to add that foreign relations are not the only issue Muslims should focus on.  We should be concerned about the environment, global poverty, healthcare, and the general well-being of all of man-kind.  The proofs from the Quran and prophetic tradition of this are numerous.


2 responses to “Some Thoughts on Muslims and Voting

  1. Salams Ibraheem,

    Hope law school’s going well, you forgot Sultan Mehmet II in that list

  2. Hamdullah. Make dua’ for me. Exams are coming up.
    Sultan Mehmet II was not a chaliph. The Ottomans Sultans became chaliphs when Sultan Selim I defeated the Mamelukes and took it from Sultan Mutawakil III in 1512.

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