What Should a Muslim’s Intentions Be in Voting? [Video]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What should a Muslim’s intentions be in voting?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

Photo: Tom Arthur

Is It Permissible to Vote for a Female Candidate to Lead a Nation?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

Is it permissible to vote for a female candidate to be elected to lead a nation? Is it permissible to vote for someone knowing it is likely that they will commit injustices against believers?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

It would be permitted for one to cast a vote in favor of a candidate who they view as superior to others even if said candidate is a woman. It is also a persons choice to not involve him or herself if they feel this is the best course of action.

As for the possibility and likelihood of a candidate enacting oppressive policies, this is a real concern and to some extent an inescapable reality. However, if one makes a reasonable and sincere decision regarding the candidate they feel is best to lead the country given the limited number of choices available, one would not be held accountable for the negative policies that this candidate implements.

Here, it is important to point out that changing such policy requires effective political mobilization and activity. While voting for someone who is viewed as the lesser of two evils is often times important, it is not enough. Rather, it is simply one course of action to influence the larger political climate. Alongside this, Muslims must begin to fulfill their roles as people who command to good and stand against what is wrong. (3:10)

This means that members of our community need to engage the political process at multiple levels – local, federal, and international – to push for policies that are in the best interest of wider society. This is challenging and requires sustained long-term effort but it needs to be done. Absent such an effort, voting in national elections will always be insufficient as a catalyst for change.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Is Voting Permitted?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I don’t think Muslims are split over whether it’s permitted to vote or not, but over the issue of voting in a democratic system. The democratic system recognizes man as ruler (Al-Hakim) and it is man who governs himself. Surely this is verging on associating partners with Allah (shirk) where man does not recognize Allah Most High as ruler and makes up rules on his own (in other words, he is “playing God!”).
Just think of the sheer insult of this when Muslims support this system by voting. It’s as if we’re saying Allah Most High’s rules aren’t good enough for us… we’ve rejected them and instead have followed our whims and desires to adopt a man-made system. Whatever leads to an obligation (wajib) is an obligation (wajib), and hence, in the absence of Islamic rule, it is an obligation upon a Muslim to establish such a system… not settle for the next best alternative.

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I don’t see the logic in this thinking.

In traditional curriculums, both in the Islamic world and Europe, logic was an important science taught to young adults, for the simple reason that they be able to reason without falling into simple errors.

Without study of logic, or keeping the company of those who think according to the dictates of Sacred Law and reason, arguments like “we were told to eat mangoes, so it is impermissible to eat oranges” arise.

People have to wake up. If you are living in a non-Muslim country, you have accepted the reality that you are not living in a land where the Sacred Law’s public and political laws can be applied (unless, some time in the future, the population chooses to enter Islam), at least at present.

In these situations, Muslims have three main duties:

a) fulfill their personal religious obligations;

b) as a community, fulfill their communal religious obligations; and

c) promote the general good.

Muslims dream of and work towards ideals, but live realities. The only way these three duties can be fulfilled now and in the future is for Muslims to be strong at the individual and community levels, and have strong individual and community presence in society at large, at every level.

As for sitting in London, and saying you are “working towards establishing an Islamic state”, this is folly. No Islamic state can exist without a state of Islam; otherwise, more harm is done than good.

And Allah alone gives success.


Faraz Rabbani