Muslims living in the West are confronted with problems not experienced historically. Questions regarding their roles, purposes and identities abound along with how to engage with society. Nothing has created so much heated debate as political participation in secular democratic systems and voting for non-Islamic political parties. This paper considers voting and political participation in the UK context along with the political forces and influences surrounding the process, critiquing the juristic arguments used to justify or prohibit such practices and concluding on ways for Muslims to effectively and legitimately engage with the political realities.
Muslim presence in Britain has existed since the sixteenth century. The need for labour after World War II saw a migration of Muslims from the subcontinent. More recently they have been joined by Muslims from the Middle East, Europe and local converts to form a diverse community whilst Islamic parties from the Middle East and Asia have also become established.
Initially questions arose regarding the role, responsibilities and relationship of Muslims with their host society, focusing on interests and needs, with little consideration of contributing ideological content. Political participation would usually be synonymous with supporting the Labour party who represented the working class and opposed racism.
A new generation of Muslims, born in Britain, along with a changing global context introduced new challenges. Happenings to Muslims nationally and in other countries began having relevance. A number of events contributed to this changing self-conscience: the 1979 Iranian revolution, 1989 Rushdie Affair, 1991 Gulf War, 1990s Bosnia, 2001 Urban unrest in Oldham, Burnley, Bradford, 2001 9/11 in the US, 2001 War in Afghanistan—continuing, 2003 Iraq War—continuing, 2004 Madrid bombing, 2005 7/7 London bombing, 2005 Danish cartoons and ongoing conflicts in Kashmir and Palestine.
These events initiated debates on long standing and traditional political outlooks. Fataawa such as the Khomeini death sentence on Rushdie or those permitting Muslims to fight with the US military against Muslims caused heated debate. Amongst the most contested and hotly debated issues were those concerning identity, allegiance and loyalty resulting in discussions on political participation, the nature of Islamic politics, what the aims and objectives should be and how international issues should be addressed.
Further complicating the debates were attempts by the government to further its agenda and policies amongst Muslim communities, polarizing and poisoning the debate with politicised terminologies of moderates and extremists and funding for those favourable to government policies.
Two broad approaches to political engagement have become discernable - participation within or activism outside the political system. Aims have varied considerably – from seeking to preserve rights, opposing laws, racism through to preserving the Islamic identity of the community and Proselytisation. Many means have been attempted from creating local political parties, institutions, lobby groups and support of non-Islamic parties, entry into Parliament and grass roots political activism.
Of all the political activities none have been as controversial as political participation through voting and legislative processes.
“Politics is about power and influence, not having MPs in Parliament. Having Muslim representatives at Westminster is not in itself an achievement nor is it likely to increase our influence in Britain. Parliament merely reflects the existing balance of power in society. If we do not have organized power outside Parliament, we will not have influence inside it...”
There is a broad agreement amongst scholars that Islam has a political dimension that requires Islamic political parties, institutions and activism – “Islam cannot but be political.”Democracy as a system and philosophy however has been a contested concept amongst scholars and activists:
“...the general Muslim approach to the question of governance and democracy is to ask whether elements of democracy can be understood as Islamic (ordained by Islamic teachings), non-Islamic (not originating in, but acceptable to Islam) or un-Islamic (against Islam and thus unacceptable). Muslims share the concern over the relationship between creed and structure but differ sharply in their reading of compatibility... Muslim intellectuals and ulama are engaged in protracted and highly contentious disputes on how to respond to the challenge of democracy. Broadly speaking, the positions fall into three categories: traditionalists, modernists and secularists.”
Positions in relation to democracy originated from political discourse in the Muslim world. From the typology of movements, two are worthy of consideration – the modernists and traditionalists. The modernists believed democracy could be reconciled with Islam based on points of commonality whilst traditionalists believed it to be a system of kufr antithetical to Islam. Furthermore, modernists like al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen and Jamati Islami participated in elections and governments in the Middle East and Asia en route to gradually establishing Islamic states. Traditionalists like Hizb ut-Tahrir believed this route to be forbidden as participating in governance violated the methodology of the Prophet(saw) and would never lead to the necessary systemic and core-periphery changes. They focused on creating public opinion amongst the Muslim masses for collective change to remove the entire ruling systems, to usher in Islamic systems of governance and removing neo-colonialist control mechanisms. Though not always transparent, many of the contemporary scholars and organisations in the UK are connected to or influenced by overseas modernist movements, For example, Azam Tamimi, Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Tariq Ramadan are all connected with al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen (the Muslim Brotherhood) whilst Inayat Banglawala, Iqbal Saqrani, Kurshid Ahmed are connected to Jamaati Islami whose discourse has historically encouraged entering democratic systems in the Middle East and South Asia. Others are connected to regimes in the Muslims world, for example Taha al-Alwani studied in Saudi Arabia and received the blessings of King Fahd before undertaking his mission in the West.
These discussions provided the ideological and intellectual frameworks for debates regarding issues for Muslims in Britain. Whether to limit political activity to the seeking of parochial interests, contributing to political reform in the Muslim world, engaging in ideological debate to communicate Islam to the society, to participate or not within the institutions of state, to interact or integrate (assimilate), to be a Muslim or to be a British Muslim, to see Britain as a temporary or permanent home and so on.
The modernists’ argument in relation to voting (and those that have adopted similar theological approaches) tacitly accepts Muslim abodes in the West as being permanent. They believe in the need to combat adverse policies and legislation as well as securing rights and participating in the process of integration - having a voice in parliament being important to this process or to minimize harm to Muslims. If Muslims do not participate, it is argued, they must accept whatever policies and legislation are introduced. Whilst many accept it may be prohibited in principle to enter a non-Islamic system or vote, the situation is seen as exceptional. Some modernists however aim to establish Islamic states or Caliphates in Europe through political participation.
Traditionalists question the assumptions modernists rely on and argue alternative models of engagement in non-Islamic societies. For instance, the assumption of permanency of Muslim abodes in the West is open to critique. With tensions between Islam and secular democracy, Muslims have not integrated like other religious communities. The need to adhere to their religion, the primacy of Sharia laws, a unique intellectual and historic heritage, loyalties to a global ummah and concern for its problems, cultural specificities such as dress and free-mixing amongst other issues highlight the difficulty of adopting a British national identity wholesale. There is an imperative for Muslims to understand their Islamic heritage and identity and convey it to the host society by challenging the secular ideology and order of society - this is the only way to secure both British and Muslim long term security and interests. Otherwise Muslims will always have a fragile existence, subject to the whims and desires of the “tyranny of the majority”, and risk losing their identity in the process. The maintenance of links to their homelands, properties and wealth overseas by large numbers of Muslims are indicative of such fears. This process of conveying Islam cannot be achieved by entering parliament and jointly participating in majority dominated legislation and policy making, when the very political institutions and systems of the country are at fault. Arguments about participating are further questionable when Muslims are not even allowed to introduce their values into parliament and must leave “Islam at the door”. Despite the exaggerated benefits of voting, Muslim demographics mean they can never stop adverse majority driven legislation – a fundamental problem.
Historically all views have been freely debated within the Muslim community with tacit influences from foreign regimes for some groups. The increasing influence of Islamists saw the British government stepping into the debate, favouring a depoliticised, liberal-pluralist integrationist form of Islam - British Islam - and those that promote it, secularists. However due to lack of support for secularism amongst Muslims, modernists who are relatively close to this vision have increasingly been targeted. They have been provided profile through funding, media platforms and opportunities to engage with government and its initiatives.Attempts have been made to marginalise and intimidate opposing views - Blair’s evil ideology speech setting out the agenda.A Guardian article reported on a leaked government document citing extremism meant believing in the Caliphate, Sharia, armed resistance and opposing Israel, believing homosexuality is sinful and failing to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. External pressures also exist with the MAB commenting, "There are also foreign elements which incite against the Muslim Diaspora in Europe. We heard how Sharon has lately incited against the Muslim Diaspora in Europe, and in his footsteps was the State Minister for Foreign Affairs here in Britain who spoke in a colonial spirit and told the Muslim Diaspora of Britain to choose between living in the British style or supporting terrorism." This strategy has been influenced by thinking originating in the USA through think tanks like the Rand organisation that argued the West can counter Islamic extremism through supporting “moderates”.
- In 2008/09 the government funded the Quilliam Foundation with £1 million, The Radical Middle Way with £350,000, British Muslim Forum with £194,000, the Sufi Muslim Council with £82,500, Minab with £75,600 and British Muslims for Secular Democracy with £32,503.
- The Quilliam Foundation argues there is no place in Islam for politics - Islam being a faith and Islamists and Jihadists not even Muslims.
- The British Muslim Forum supported the government’s planned extension of the detention period without charge to 42 days despite widespread opposition amongst British Muslims.
- Minab was created to organise, oversee and “control” mosques across the country.
- The MCB from condemning the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has moved to publishing reports detailing Muslim contribution to the Armed forces and praising British troops.
- The City Circle argued that foreign-imported Imams had no legitimacy if they did not live within and understand the society they are part of – that was a prerequisite of issuing fatwas – and that a theological justification of western democratic structures would be important.
- Muslim scholars have been gathered at Cambridge University to explore what it means to be a Muslim in Britain, funded by the government.
- The media has followed the government’s strategy of not only creating an atmosphere hostile to Islam but intimidating to groups and scholars who speak against the current tide of acceptable opinion. The Dispatches “Undercover Mosque” documentary for instance showed Dr Suhaib Hasan as a preacher of hate – in his subsequent defence he praised democracy, saw little difference between British and Islamic values and said he encouraged voting.
As would be expected, the implications of both approaches in such a charged political atmosphere raise a number of issues: theological, legal social and political. This atmosphere and political forces are reflected the mixture of legal views amongst the scholars who are subject to these forces and how they differ from those in countries who are able to look at the issue with such pressures. Focusing on political participation, it is instructive to consider the Islamic legal positions on voting for non-Islamic political parties and participating in legislation.
Few scholars take exception to the notions of mass elections or subjecting rulers to accountability – some scholars of the Wahabite/Salafite tradition being the notable exception. All object to absolute sovereignty residing with “the people”, believing sovereignty belongs to Allah and an interpretive and executive role for man. None dispute the prohibition of cooperating in sin and delegating someone to sin.
For those who forbid voting they commence with the above premises and argue Muslims could not support or be members of British political parties as their ideologies, values and policies conflict with Islam. Support of such parties to enter parliament through voting would be forbidden as it is neither permitted to cooperate, delegate nor represent someone in sin and that which leads to sin is sinful. They reject secondary principles as unjustified given the existence of primary texts on the matter. They instead advocate political engagement to convey Islam through permitted means: lobbying, demonstrations, conferences, speeches and media engagement. Some even permit Muslims to stand as independent candidates for elections (or via Islamic parties) and to enter parliament for the purposes of admonishing the rulers or calling the establishment to Islam whilst abstaining from legislating or undertaking oaths.
Scholars who legitimise voting utilise three distinct approaches:
- Everything in origin is permitted and there is no clear prohibition of voting.
- A creative hermeneutical interpretation of divine texts where all the detailed rules are seen as means to achieve higher ends (maqasid) and a “utilitarian” style analysis that permits voting.
- Participation in a non-Islamic government is forbidden in origin but voting is permitted through principles like the lesser of two evils or necessity.
The first two approaches do not recognise a problem with voting whilst the third acknowledges its evil nature but legitimises it.Differences also emerge on the Sharia ruling on voting varying from fard, mandub, mubah to waqf (and a number of other permutations). Concerns relating to non-Islamic political parties and collective legislation are generally circumvented through dislocating voting from its effects. In conclusion, Haitham Hadad accepts the possibility voting may be haram and like Hizb ut-Tahrir calls for Muslims to unify to succeed in any political effort:
“I would like to conclude by urging the community to be united in their decision. Such unity is the only way for their voice to be effective. Unity here means following one strategy whether we decide to vote or boycott elections. Once we decide to vote, which in the UK is the decision at least for the moment, we should appoint one main body to lead us in the political process.”
Briefly some of the different views regarding political participation are summarised below with no single position achieving a majority – despite some scholars claiming a near consensus on the issue.
The European Council for Research and Fatwa, Taha Jabir al-Alwani, Haitham al-Haddad, Salman Al-Awdah, Abduljalil Sajid, Ahmad Kutty, Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shinqiti and Aurangzeb Khan are amongst those who argue political participation to be a duty:
“We call this participation a "duty" because we do not consider it merely a "right" that can be abandoned or a "permission" which can be ignored.”
Ibrahim Mogra and Suhaib Hasan argue it is recommended:
“Looking at the situation of the Muslim community and their need to have their interests met, it becomes advisable for the Muslims to achieve this purpose through the available political system...”
Dr Jamal Badawi, Micheal Mumisa, Muhammad ibn Adam, Ibrahim Desai, Sulayman Gani, Ibn Baz, Faisal al-Mawlawi, Ibn Uthaimin, Abu Eesa Niamatullah and al-Zuhaili argue its permissibility:
“…there is nothing wrong with Muslims casting their votes in favour of the less evil candidate.”
Dr Musharraf Hussain ambivalently argues it is both recommended and obligatory:
“Muslims are recommended or even obliged to vote for the party who will be of most benefit on a national and international level...”
Yusuf al-Qaradawi prohibited the participation of Muslims in the Israeli parliamentary elections, however, permits elections in Western countries, including the United States. He argues that the basic principle (al-asl) is that it is forbidden to participate in a non-Islamic government, but that there are certain grounds for exception.
Mohammed al-Salih al-Munajjid’s nuanced approach refrains from a blanket permission, arguing it to be at times prohibited, permitted or even obligatory:
“This is a matter concerning which rulings may differ according to different circumstances in different times and places. There is no absolute ruling that covers all situations, both real and hypothetical. In some cases it is wrong to vote, such as when the matter will have no effect on the Muslims, or when the Muslims have no effect on the outcome of the vote. In this case voting or not voting is all the same. The same applies in cases where all the candidates are equally evil or where they all have the same attitude towards Muslims… It may be the case that the interests of Islam require Muslims to vote so as to ward off the greater evil and to reduce harmful effects, such as where two candidates may be non-Muslims but one of them is less hostile towards Muslims than the other, and Muslims’ votes will have an impact on the outcome of the election...”
With similar caution advanced by Haitham Hadad:
“I would like to mention here that I also advise our brothers who are involved in leading Muslims in terms of politics to be aware that some Muslims might understand that voting means full involvement in the game of politics, a realm that is full of deception and cunning, a fact realised by many non-Muslims themselves. So they should use cautious language when encouraging Muslims to vote. Statements such as “voting is the only way for Muslims in this country”, “voting is the lifeboat”, “voting is part of our belief”, “voting means citizenship” and so on should be avoided. Such emotional and excessive statements lead to contrary statements and reactions that are equally emotional and extreme...
We are not going to get anything by voting while it might be impermissible so it is better to abstain from it. It is not easy to come up with such a conclusion. We need a thorough analytical study that can confirm that all parties are nothing but different faces of one coin. I agree that voting is not the lifeline for Muslims in this country as represented by some Muslims and I have asked parties on both sides of the voting argument to come up with an academic study to prove their points.”
Of the scholars who oppose political participation, all forbid it with some deeming it to be even kufr due to encroachment of legislation which is the right of Allah(swt) alone. Yahya al-Hajoree argues:
“It is from the democratic systems that seek to wipe away Allah's true Laws... There are many dangers that can be found in elections and not one single benefit or advantage for the Muslims.”
Whilst Muhammad ibn Abdullaah al-Raymee states:
“At any rate, democracy and voting is not combined with the Islamic Shura that Allah has legislated, not in the fundamentals of the religion nor its subsidiary branches, neither in totality nor in part, not in meaning or in foundation."
Imran Nazar Hosein posed:
“They should declare the specific conditions in which it would be Halal for believers to vote in national elections. For example, can a believer vote for an idol-worshipping Hindu, or for an enemy of Islam, a liar, a drunkard, a thief, an adulterer, a moneylender, who owns shares in a bank or is a bank director etc.? Can he vote in elections on the basis of racial solidarity or on the basis of a trade: “We will vote for you on the condition that we get such and such from you.” Can he vote for a political party that is committed to supporting the Zionist State of Israel in its continuing occupation of, and oppression in, the Holy Land and Masjid al-Aqsa? Can he vote for a political party that supports the legalization of the lending of money on interest, lottery, homosexuality and abortion?”
Abd al-Qadir Ibn Abd al-Aziz refuting the fatwa of Ibn Baz said:
“I say that this Fatwā is wrong, according to what we have quoted from Al- Ghazālī, that sins do not become permissible by the intention. Besides, the Kufr is the greatest of sins. So as joining the Parliament is Kufr, it will not become permissible by the intention. This is because (of the fact) that the Parliament is the means by which the democratic system is implemented. So knowing the verdict of participating in it or electing (a member) relies on knowing the verdict of democracy, the verdict of which is dependent on knowing its reality.”
Kamal Abu Zahra, Taqi al-Din Nabhani, Abd al-Qadeem Zaloom and Ahmed Daoor of Hizb ut-Tahrir argue:
“Politics is obligatory in Islam as the Prophets used to undertake such matters for their peoples, and post-prophethood, this is a duty on Muslims. Parliament however is a legislature that passes laws based on majority... voting means the voter is delegating authority to an MP to enter parliament and legislate on his behalf, contradicting something categorically forbidden.”
And Badd al-Din said:
“An ideology emerged from Europe and you accepted, you deemed the ideology of the Messenger(saw) deficient! ...Has Islam not taught you how to run the governments? Did not the Messenger(saw) establish an Islamic government within a kingdom of kufr? ...How is it that we accept those things that he(saw) cursed, and we accept the methodology of the enemies of the Messenger(saw)?”
“Democracy in both America and Britain is coming under scrutiny these days. Quite apart from the antics of MPs and congressmen, it is said to be sliding towards oligarchy, with increasing overtones of autocracy. Money and its power over technology are making elections unfair. The military industrial complex is as powerful as ever, having adopted "the menace of global terrorism" as its casus belli. Lobbying and corruption are polluting the government process. In a nutshell, democracy is not in good shape...”
This section considers the reality which opinions of voting rely on. The election process, democracy and voting and their relationships appear not to be well understood by some Muslim scholars, spawning a plethora of views. For this reason a detailed study of these concepts will be undertaken.
The philosophy and resulting systems and institutions of democracy emerged through the European enlightenment in opposition to the feudal systems dominated by King and Church. The theory was developed through the writings of philosophers like Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Montesquieu. Opposing the established theory of political authority originating from God (divine right of kings), they tried to marginalise the divine from political affairs, arguing political sovereignty and authority arises from the collective will of the masses and represents the same – popular sovereignty. This sovereignty is transferred to representatives who legislate. Each institution and political process was moulded by and reflected underlying philosophical outlooks. European societies saw considerable political change with new institutions and processes emerging from these philosophical premises. The transition was not a generally peaceful one, with revolutions occurring around the world - the motto of the French Revolution in 1789 cried, “Hang the last king by the intestines of the last priest.”
Supporters accept democracy is not a perfect system but argue it is better than everything else - Medieval monarchs, Soviet totalitarianism, Nazi Germany Fascism and dictators around the globe. The growing number of countries embracing democracy is cited as proof of its success.
For its critics, from Socrates, Plato, Mills to Jefferson, the concept of mob rule was a real fear. Tocqueville warned against the “tyranny of the majority”. Mills’ radical suggestion was to have proportional representation with extra votes for the rich and the educated to balance out votes of the less educated majority. Jefferson argued, “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine”. Churchill joked the main argument against democracy was a ten-minute conversation with the average voter.
Some modernists like Qaradawi, Hadad and Bashir believe democracy is an intrinsic part of Islam. Qaradawi states that, “Whoever says that democracy is not from Islam, does not understand Islam or democracy” and Hadad argues, “The word democracy was originally coined to mean the rule of the people, however, these days it has various connotations where it can be used to merely mean a selection mechanism.” The argument centres on the alleged contested nature of the term democracy which provides for the possibilities of reconciliation. On closer examination, one finds that the essence of the term is not disputed, just the peripheries and its extent. Despite all the variations, one common theme emerges amongst them all – popular sovereignty – power resting with the people. Such a notion is blasphemous to Islamic sentiment where Allah(swt) is sovereign. Kauser summarised the problem saying, “His [Mawdudi’s] attempt at reformulation of democracy on Islamic principles can neither be justified… because after the reformulation of democracy as Islamic democracy, there is nothing left to say ‘democracy’ in Islam because his concepts of sovereignty for Allah and the viceregency of man give a death- blow to the central concept of democracy – popular sovereignty.”
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen Head of state. It has an uncodified constitution consisting of disparate written sources with Parliament able to perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts. The Prime Minister is the head of government, usually the leader of the largest political party. The Cabinet is traditionally drawn from members of the Prime Minister's party in both legislative houses. Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are formally appointed by the Monarch to form the government, though the Prime Minister chooses the Cabinet and by convention the Queen respects the Prime Minister's choices.
For elections to the House of Commons, the UK is divided into 646 constituencies, each constituency electing one MP by simple plurality. General elections are called by the Monarch when the Prime Minister so advises. The Parliament Act (1911) requires elections to be called within five years. In no constituencies do Muslims comprise a clear majority - the top five rankings comprising Tower Hamlets (36.4%), Newham (24.3%), Blackburn (19.4%), Bradford (16.1%) and Waltham Forest (15.1%).
Parliament has a dual-function, to hold the Executive to account and scrutinise or approve legislation. The vast majority of voters have no direct influence over how their MP behaves in Parliament. The political reality sees the Executive controlling the legislature, the Parliamentary timetable and its day-to-day business. The trend over the last twenty years has seen members of Parliament rarely if ever holding the Executive to account.
Each party carefully selects which members can stand as MPs and operates a whip to ensure control of decision-making processes. The whip uses a series of inducements and punishments for party members which can include expulsion from the party.
The three major British political parties are Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrats. Between them they won around 95% of the seats available in the House of Commons at the 2005 and 2010 elections.
The Labour party grew out of the trade union movement and socialist political parties of the 19th century seeking representation for workers. Since the "New Labour" project, a larger proportion of support came from middle-class voters and business. Historically the party was broadly in favour of socialism, advocating policies such as public ownership of key industries, government intervention in the economy, redistribution of wealth, increased rights for workers, the welfare state, publicly-funded healthcare and education. Since the late-1980s the party began to adopt free market policies. When Blair controversially allied himself with Bush in supporting the “illegal” Iraq War, Labour lost much of its political support.
The Conservative Party is the principal centre-right party descending from the old Tory Party founded in 1678. Known for "free market" economic policies introduced during the Thatcher period, its goal is to reduce the role of the government in the economy supporting cuts in direct taxation, privatisation of nationalised industries and reductions in size and scope of the welfare state. The current party leader acts as the leader of the opposition and heads the shadow cabinet. The Conservative party supported military action in Afghanistan and the Iraq war and strongly supports Israel.
The Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) are a centrist to centre-left social liberal party. Formed in 1988 by a merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party the leader is Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are the third-largest party. There is strong support for constitutional reform, civil liberties and higher taxes for public services. Although the party objects to state limitations on individual rights, it does favour a welfare state that provides for amenities of life. They support multilateral foreign policy thus opposed British unilateral participation in Iraq. They support the war in Afghanistan and strongly support Israel.
The British National Party (BNP) is a far-right party whose leader is Nick Griffin. In its 2005 manifesto it declared its opposition to "globalism, international socialism, laissez-faire capitalism and economic liberalism". It criticises corporatism due to the "mixture of big capitalism and state control", favouring small, privately owned businesses. It proposes to reintroduce corporal punishment and to make capital punishment available for paedophiles, terrorists and murderers. It states that homosexuality in private should be tolerated but believes it "should not be promoted or encouraged". It seeks voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home and the repeal of anti-discrimination legislation. The party states, "The real enemies of the British people are home grown Anglo-Saxon Celtic liberal-leftists ... and the Crescent Horde—the endless wave of Islamics who are flocking to our shores to bring our island nations into the embrace of their barbaric desert religion." It opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and any such future overseas interventions pledging to bring back all British troops as well as opposing attempts to “de-Islamicise” the Muslim world.
Voting has been defined as a formal expression of opinion or choice, either positive or negative, made by an individual or body of individuals, a formal indication of a choice between two or more candidates or courses of action or a formal expression of preference for a candidate for office. Electoral systems are the detailed constitutional arrangements that convert the vote into a political decision. An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses (and removes) an individual to public office, facilitating the filling of offices in the legislature, sometimes in the executive and judiciary, and for regional and local government. By giving officials the authority to make public-policy and legislative decisions, elections legitimize those decisions.
However, these definitions don’t encapsulate the legal-political significance of voting. What does it mean to vote? As some Muslim scholars argue, is it simply an expression of a preference, a non-consequentialist choice, a tick in the box of a survey? Or does it have political or legal significance, transfer of authority/sovereignty, endorsement or delegation?
The feudal system provided a straightforward answer to the questions of sovereignty and the obligation of obedience – the king being divinely appointed by God who obliged obedience from citizens. However the issue is not so simple in democracies. Scholars have debated the issue of voting as part of a wider discussion on how sovereign authority is transferred from society to the rulers, or in other words, why we should obey rulers. To account for the de jure authority of state and the personal obligations of the citizenry, explicit and tacit consent is disputed. However, the idea of transfer of sovereignty through the electoral process is less controversial. A brief review of the history of political thought makes this clear.
• Marsilius in his “Defensor Pacis” (1342) advocated a government entrenching popular sovereignty through elections for rulers – with rulers in office as delegates. As such, those elected, “are not and cannot be the legislator in the absolute sense, but only in a relative sense, and for a particular time in accordance with the authority of the primary legislator”, that is, “the whole body of citizens”.
• Rousseau's famous passage (1762), “Each citizen, in giving his suffrage, states his mind on that question; and the general will is found by counting the votes.”
• Montesquieu argued that legislative powers should reside in the whole body of the people. People should transact this by their representatives as they cannot transact it by themselves.
• Plamenatz and Steinberger argued the individual act of voting or participation in elections by each citizen can be seen as consent or authorisation – as it creates a right in another he would not otherwise have.
• Schumpeter (1942) described the democratic method as, “that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote.”
• Heywood (1999) states, “Liberal democracies are ‘democratic’ in the sense that government rests upon the consent of the governed. This implies a form of representative democracy in which the right to exercise government power is gained by success in regular and competitive elections” and “...in liberal democracies political power is ultimately wielded by votes at election time.”
• Powell argues citizens use elections to choose between competing teams of policymakers, providing the winner with the power to make public policy. 
The vote therefore appears to reflect the transfer of sovereignty from the people to their representatives who will exercise it on their behalf. The representative is selected and receives the rights and authority to legislate through the electoral process.As for those who do not vote, it is disputed as to whether they have any political obligations to the state or not, whether authority and sovereignty transferred from them and the reasons why one may choose not to vote.
This conclusion is what appears to be the general view in Britain of the meaning and implications of elections and voting:
• Prior to the 2010 elections, David Cameron commented, “The Labour government has lost its mandate to govern our country”, and,
• The Guardian reported, “The Conservatives... are expected to remain with just one seat in Scotland, leaving Cameron dangerously exposed to the charge that a Tory government would have no mandate in Scotland.”
What the voters would like done with the mandate (i.e., its type and kind) is open to interpretation.
• The Mirror claimed, “Cameron secured no mandate to unleash an age of austerity on those without cash to buy private education or health”, whilst,
• The FT argued, “Whoever wins this election will not be able to claim they have a mandate to cut the state. That will, in part, be their own fault for choosing silence and short-term electoral advantage over outspoken courage. The public might not like hard truths, but they were barely given a chance to hear any.”
Scholars like Gani dispute voting is an endorsement or delegation of power, whilst Hasan argues it to be intercession, naseehah or tawkeel and Desai argues it to be a testimony. Few seem to have grasped the reality of voting as the above discussion highlights rendering their final opinions suspect. Hadad for instance argues a vote is little more than a survey or a choice where importantly the results are not being endorsed by the vote. Political scientist Verba however differentiates surveys to elections, whilst accepting both are means to express the popular will, in elections people vote and the popular candidate wins whilst in a survey questions are recorded and tabulated and results produced. The winning candidate would be participating in legislative processes believing he has the mandate, right and authority, delivered by the election.
Hadad also argues, “Another important scenario which must be highlighted is when the inhabitants of a country who have the Shari’ah as the dominant system want to choose a leader - they employ elections as a mechanism selection; can we say this is democracy and thus an act of kufr?” Firstly, one has to recognise the conceptual problems that arise by using elections to select a ruler, traditionally highlighted in consent theory - writers like Nabhani favour the use of traditional Islamic devices like the obligatory oath (bayah) that avoid such difficulties. Secondly most political writers do not equate elections with democracy, a mistake Hadad seems to perpetuate, so do not face this problem. Thirdly, elections and voting as selection mechanisms can no doubt be used to express preferences and such usages are found in many commercial and voluntary organisations. However it is a mistake to confuse this usage with their usage in secular democracies. In democracies popular sovereignty must be transferred to representatives before they can exercise authority.
Elections express a preference of representatives as well as transferring sovereignty to rulers.
This section considers some of the prominent legal arguments and evidences in relation to voting. A number of arguments for voting have not been addressed in detail as they are not utilised by most scholars lacking relevancy to the issue. Examples include:
- “The origin of all things is permitted” – this principle is disputed amongst the classical jurists, some arguing the “origin of things is permitted but actions require an evidence”, “origin of things and actions is prohibition” and even “origin of things and actions is cessation”. It is also argued there are texts that prohibit voting rendering the use of this principle void.
- “Commanding good and forbidding evil” – the styles and means of commanding good and forbidding evil must be done in accordance with Sharia and not through prohibited means - this text does not help in determining permitted means.
- “Cooperating in good and not in evil” – this injunction requires the matter in question to be established as good before cooperation can be undertaken.
- “Hilf al-fudul” – the Prophet(saw) had undertaken a pact to help the poor prior to Islam and confirmed it after prophethood. This cannot be extended to voting as it is an agreement to do good that is proven through evidences which voting needs to provide.
- “Actions are according to intentions” – Although legitimate actions can be negated by ill- intentions, prohibited actions can never be legitimised by an intention.
- Lack of criticism of the king at the time of Khidr – Absence of an action does not constitute proof (as per the maxim “No speech is attributed to one who has remained silent.”)
- Courtier of Pharaoh was a Muslim – No details are provided in the verses regarding this courtier’s role or situation, using it as an evidence is little more than speculation. Furthermore, emulation of individuals (non-Prophets) prior to Islam is not permitted.
- “God has promised those who believe and do good deeds he will make them vicegerents on earth...” (Quran 24:55) – This verse has no relevance to voting or legislating – it promises authority to those who believe and do good deeds – one needs to prove deeds like voting are good.
- Pleasure of Muslims at the victory of Najashi – The success of Najashi who was generally a fair and just ruler was the reason for the pleasure of the Muslims however exhibition of pleasure cannot be extended to political participation which is a distinct action and requires relevant evidences.
- Examples from seerah including invitation to a banquet, calling from mount safa etc – None of these examples support entering government or voting – they all support undertaking dawa and inviting rulers to Islam.
The juristic arguments that have been cited in favour of voting rest on secondary principles.
This principle is generally agreed upon by most scholars its proper title being, “If one is overcome by two evils, one should choose the lesser of the two”. It has been derived from general guidelines found in the Quran and Sunnah:
“So fear Allah as much as you can.” (Quran 64:16)
“They ask you concerning fighting in the prohibited month. Say: Fighting therein is a grave (offence), but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the sacred Mosque and drive out its members. Tumult and oppression are worse than killing.” (Quran 2:217)
On the subject, Ibn Taymiyyah said,
"Its (shariah) aim is to produce the best possible scenario from two good options if both cannot be achieved together, and to ward off the worst of two evils if both evils cannot be prevented."
Ibn Nujaym provided a number of examples illustrating the correct use of this principle:
If one was wounded in a way that if he performed prostration (sajda) in prayer, blood would come out and flow. However, if prostration was avoided, it would not come out. In this situation, he will be ordered to offer his Salat sitting down with gestures, as leaving the Sajda is a lesser evil than offering the prayer in the state of ritual impurity. Leaving the Sajda is permissible in optional prayers unconditionally, whereas Salat can never be offered in the state of ritual impurity.
An old and ill person is incapable of reciting (in prayer) whilst standing, but is able to do so in the posture of sitting. The ruling in such a case will be that he must offer his Salat sitting down and make the recitation, as offering Salat whilst sitting is a less of an evil than omitting the recitation.
If one is forced to eat by necessity either dead meat or the wealth of another person, then he should eat the dead and unlawful meat, as eating dead meat is lesser of an evil from the two.
Faisal Mawlawi utilises this principle and cites al-Izz ibn Abdus-Salam:
“Suppose a non-Muslim power rules over a given country and this country chooses a Muslim to assume the position of a judge. It is to be kept in mind that this person is expected to protect the public interests of Muslims there. Because a Muslim should promote all that which may protect the public interest and contribute to reforming society, it is more proper then to allow such a person to take that position. As a matter of fact, the Lawgiver is so merciful and flexible that he removes all the obstacles that prevent people from achieving their interests and never imposes a difficulty on them.” Hence, it is not logical for Muslims to endure a difficulty and refuse to deal with the person in charge who can remove it, because the ruler who appointed him is unjust.
“In his argument, this great scholar seems to be discussing our contemporary reality; he further said, If all rulers are equal in their disobedience to Allah, we should choose the lesser evil. In case we choose a greater evil, we may miss the fulfillment (sic) of the basic Muslim interests, and this is not allowed in Islam, unless it is unavoidable. In this regard, Almighty Allah says, (Therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah as much as you can.)” (At-Taghabun 64:16) Moreover, Ibn `Abdus-Salam concluded his speech saying, “It is even permissible for Muslims to fight on the side of their disobedient ruler to protect his rule, if it is feared that another one who is more disobedient to Allah may assume power in the event the ruler gets toppled.”
The first problem with the citation of Izz al-Din is that his discussion relates to Muslim rulers ruling by Islam with violations of Sharia to a lesser or greater extent – a reality which is far removed from Western Europe causing the citation to lack relevancy. Secondly, Izz al-Din stands or falls according to the applicability of his evidences to the problem at hand – which again is suspect. Thirdly, Mawlawi omits to mention a number of prominent classical scholars who distanced themselves from rulers who they believed to be oppressive, Abu Hanifah being a well known case. There is little dispute amongst those opposing voting that one can be an administrative employee or judge with such rulers and even in a non-Islamic system. Judges however must abide by Sharia in their judgements and Izz al-Din does not suggest a judge can judge other than by Islam. Furthermore, there is no dispute in accepting a lesser evil ruler to a more evil ruler where those are the only two choices. However it is incorrect to attempt to use Izz al-Din to justify one can through choice commit a forbidden act to support a non-Muslim ruler – fighting for an unjust Muslim ruler who applies Sharia with elements of injustice cannot be conflated with the reality of fighting for a non-Islamic system ideology and way of life.
Hadad and Green take a different approach. They argue one must choose the lesser of the two evils, voting or not voting. Not voting means voting as it will allow some to use the abstention to come to power. The use of this principle rests on the premise that voting and not voting are both evils. Voting means selecting “evil” members of “evil” non-Islamic parties who will go on to legislate. Not voting it is argued either allows one of the said parties to power because of one’s silence or suffering consequences of laws with no say in their development.
The first problem with the argument is the premise that “not voting” is somehow equal to voting by allowing a party into power. On the face of it, it appears an obvious assertion - however it contains flaws. Firstly, voting is delegating and providing the right to candidates to legislate. This is not done by those who do not participate in voting. Secondly, there is no research to say what would happen should the non-voter vote. If the pattern of those voting was followed, there would be no change in the results (as well as a host of other possible permutations). Thirdly, for any given individual, voting would not make any difference whatsoever - unlike directed collective votes of passive voters. However, this latter case would require imposing the obligation of coordination of voting which most scholars do not do – Hadad and Gani are in the minority when they say: “Once we decide to vote, which in the UK is the decision at least for the moment, we should appoint one main body to lead us in the political process”and, “This cannot be achieved unless the Muslims agree on one voice or one strategy by which they can influence other parties. If this is missing, then they will have no weight and no such influence. So if this is the case, the whole objective in voting is lost and there is then no benefit in participating in voting.”
Regarding the premise of lesser of two evils, it is not obvious that “not voting” is any different to voting. No serious analysis has been presented to show a difference raising problems with the resulting fataawa.
It is also questionable whether Muslims can do anything about the evils they allegedly face – if this is not proven the use of this principle becomes problematic. The highest percentage of Muslims is in the Tower Hamlets constituency of London at 36.4%, a minority unable to elect their own candidate. In around half of constituencies in the country the mainstream parties have safe seats which Muslims would struggle to change. In marginal seats, tactical voting could theoretically have an impact between candidates, however most Muslims live in traditional Labour strongholds. Not only that, in the marginal seats, Muslims are competing against other groups who can also “single handedly” change the election result – a point which is never mentioned.
The assumption that those labelled “Muslims” have a homogenous socio-political Islamic outlook and voting habits is dangerous. Voting fragmentation occurs for a mixture of reasons varying from religious, self interest, party lines, friends, relatives, community interests, media influence etc. Many will not vote regardless of the number of fataawa issued and those who do vote tend to vote Labour with the rest fragmented across other parties and candidates. Even if an MP is selected, MPs are controlled through their party whips. The most rebellious MP, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, opposed the whip in only one in eight votes with one in thirteen for the next highest rebel. Paxman commented, “For the average backbencher, the whip is the street-corner thug they need to get past on their way home from school. Treat him with respect, and life will be fine. If you cross him, watch out.” MP for Bassetlaw, Joe Ashton, recalled the lengths whips will go to:
“I remember the famous case of Leslie Spriggs, the then member for St Helens. We had a tied vote and he was brought to the House in an ambulance having suffered a severe heart attack. The two whips went out to look in the ambulance and there was Leslie Spriggs laid there as though he was dead. I believe that John Stradling Thomas said to Joe Harper, “how do we know that he is alive?” So he leaned forward, turned the knob on the heart machine, the green light went around and he said, “there – you've lost, it's 311.” That is an absolutely true story. It is the sort of nonsense that used to happen.”
Scholars are reticent to provide guidance for determining the “lesser” evil amongst parties/candidates. Gani’s advice is amongst most detailed despite its limited nature:
“It is clear that there is not much difference between voting for Labour party and the Conservatives which means in this case abstinence might be the best act. However, in certain constituencies we are presented with more obvious choices, such as George Galloway (Respect party) in Bethnal Green & Bow. When it comes to Politicians and what they promise pre-election, we should not look at what they are going to do as much as what they have done in the past. This is to ensure that we do not fall into the ever-common trap of Politicians renegading on their promise. Politicians like George Galloway have a clear long history for standing for just causes backed by prominent Muslims like Anas Altikriti, Yvonne Ridley and Salma Yaqoob.”
The decision is not a trivial one and it is left to laypeople to make without any guidance. To illustrate, Muslims backed George Bush in the 2000 US Elections and Obama in 2008 and Labour in the UK elections – all involved in the war in Afghanistan and provided staunch support for Israel. Muslims selected four Muslim MPs all presenting no differently to their counterparts.
Curiously, selecting on the basis of the lesser of two evils should mean Muslims should be encouraged to vote for those opposed to killing of Muslims (and British troops) as Islam values life over all other matters. Gani makes this very point, “Those who promote an anti-war stance will obviously benefit the Muslims through cessation of hostile actions against innocent people as part of a foreign policy. The saving and preserving of even one innocent life is an almost unimaginably virtuous action.” However neither scholars nor activists utilising this principle advocate the faithful to vote for the BNP – a distasteful proposition – but a party nonetheless committed to pulling troops from Muslim countries. This raises credibility issues for the use of this principle.
The final stumbling block for this principle is the possibility to avert harm to the Muslim community without the “evil of voting”. Through a number of political styles and means Muslims can seek to influence political incumbents against adverse policies. Political activists have historically achieved political goals without participating in voting, global warming being a case in question.
As such, there are a number of problems with the use of the principle of “lesser of two evils” rendering its use seriously questionable.
There is a consensus that principles like utilitarianism have no place in Islam as the basis for moral judgements:
If the truth were to follow their whims and desires, the heavens and the earth and everyone in them would have been brought to ruin." (Quran 23:71)
"But no, by your Lord, they can have no real faith until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions..." (Quran 4:65)
In this vein Ghazali’s condemnation of the Maliki istihsan is reflective of this:
"We know absolutely that the consensus of the community is that the scholar cannot judge by his whim and penchant without examining the evidence of proofs, and istihsan without looking into the evidence of the Sharia is judgement by pure whim."
A number of jurists historically proposed a theory based on considering interests (masalih) and purposes of the Sharia (maqasid) where Sharia had no explicit legislation. Masalih al-mutabara were fixed interests and purposes having been legislated by Sharia (religion, life, mind, lineage and wealth), masalih al-mulgha were interests forbidden to be pursued (e.g., surrender to an enemy). Masalih al-mursala were interests not explicitly legislated – these could be considered according to the purposes of the Sharia. One of the proponents of this theory, Abu Ishaaq al-Shatibi however did voice caution in the use of the principle:
“The Objective behind the Shariah is to liberate individuals from desires in order to be a true slave of Allah and that is the legitimate Maslaha (benefit)… Violating the Shariah under the pretext of following the basic objectives or values (maqasid) of the Shariah is like the one who cares about the spirit without the body, and since the body without the spirit is useless, therefore the spirit without the body is useless too.”
The principle however was controversial and did not find widespread acceptance. Of those who accepted it albeit with conditions, Ghazali and Juwayni considered the use of benefit which has no testimony or indications from the Lawgiver (in a text) was judging by whim and that judgements would differ with different individuals and did not permit it. Razi, Amidi and Ibn Hajib held similar views.
The scholars Webb, Badawi, Mawlawi, Mumisa and Alwani argue Islam prevents harm and brings benefit. Given there is no text to prohibit voting Muslims are permitted to vote and seek their interests.
The first problem is with the theory itself which suffers a number of criticisms as touched on above – it creates a number of legal causes (illaal) through considering the effects of many Sharia laws (ahkaam). The two are distinct and it is incorrect to equate causes of ahkaam with descriptions of their effects – a category error.
Secondly, this principle is problematic for scholars who believe that voting is originally forbidden as it cannot be used to permit a prohibited matter or seek benefit in a prohibited matter as that would fall into the category of masalih al-mulgha and not masalih al-mursala. For the remainder, there is a need to explain the evidences that prohibit voting otherwise they too are in the category of masalih al-mulgha. Strangely some scholars like Mumisa categorically deny any evidences prohibiting voting despite scholars proposing texts that appear to prohibit the practice - minimally, acknowledgement and refutations would have been expected.
Thirdly, there appears little or no analysis of the violation of the maqasid when permitting voting and political participation in the system. For example, most political parties support abortion laws, wars in Iraq/ Afghanistan and Israel violating “protection of life”, extra-marital relations violating “protection of lineage”, alcohol violating “protection of the intellect”, anti-terror laws including freezing of assets violating “protection of wealth” and detention without charge violating “justice”.
Fourthly, the harms are not clearly articulated nor their relationship to voting detailed. Aside from vague assertions of being left out of the legislation process, adverse legislation and the rise of extremist parties, there is no serious analysis of any actual harm that will befall Muslims if they do not vote at any given election. Comprising a tiny percentage of the population, even if Muslims voted as a bloc, in the best possible case scenario, they would not muster more than a few percent of the six hundred and forty or so MPs in Parliament. It is unrealistic to argue a small number of MPs could prevent adverse legislation. The “BNP threat” has been posed historically but it is unrealistic to believe the BNP would ever achieve MPs let alone a significant number to pose a threat to Muslims.
Fifthly, the interests that can be achieved through voting for mainstream political parties or Muslim MPs are questionable – if not wildly exaggerated. The nature of the electoral system in the UK is the first-past-the-post system which works against any third party. Labour or Conservatives form governments according to marginal seats. Out of over 600 seats in Parliament, research by the Electoral Reform Society estimates over 350 seats to be ‘safe’. Dr Ken Ritchie, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, wrote:
“A hearty congratulations to all our new MPs for a hard fought campaign. Having won the backing of their party members, they can now pack their bags for Westminster.
These winners will take their seats in Britain’s Safe Parliament. Voters will never be able to boot these MPs out under our present system... Most will leave office on conditions of their own choosing after careers measuring into decades. They are likely to include our future Prime Ministers, our future leaders of the opposition, and all the great office holders of state. They form a class of MPs that are, quite simply, elected for life.
2010 offers a tale of two elections – and two electorates. One that matters, and one that doesn’t. And for over 25 Million of us, who just happen to live in safe seats, this contest is already over.
...And for any naive enough to think the [expenses] crisis might trigger a political earthquake, remember these seats are earthquake-proof thanks to our antique voting system.”
Out of a population of over 60 million, Muslims constitute less than 3%, dispersed throughout the UK; they do not form a majority in any given constituency making it inconceivable to bring direct influence to bear on either of the main parties or the outcome of a general election.
The label “Muslim” is problematic for analytical use in understanding voting and related phenomena – despite many professing Islam, the varying significance of Islam in their identity and in their political decision making means using such general statistics and building arguments according to them is highly speculative. A typology is necessary to identify those that consider Islam in their decision making – no researcher or scholar appears to have proposed anything nor undertaken any form of serious analysis.
Forced to work with mainstream parties, each party’s whip system ensures party interests and objectives are secured even tolerating some MPs voting against their motions. However, where there is a danger of that not happening further action can result – destroying MPs careers. The decision to go to war in Iraq generated a number of such political casualties. Clare Short and Robin Cook both resigned the whip in protest and George Galloway had the whip withdrawn. Jeremy Corbyn has rebelled the most in Labour over the last five years opposing the party whip one in eight votes, and one in thirteen for the next highest rebel – raising questions about the use of the term rebel let alone how far non-Muslim MPs would go to further Muslim interests.
Maybe Muslim MPs in the mainstream parties may provide the sought for benefits. Unfortunately, it is arguable they have collectively done more harm to the Muslim cause in Britain than benefit. All four MPs presided over the Afghanistan, Israel and Iraq wars and the most recent Israeli sanctions on Gaza. Their voting records indicate that Muslim interests, or even constituent interests, came second to party loyalty and interests. All have been implicated in expense scandals whilst some have been implicated in other forms of immorality. A critical summary of each MP is reproduced below:
- Sadiq Khan was a Labour cabinet member for transport. His voting record at Parliament since 2005 includes supporting anti-terrorism laws (power to detain without charge, control orders for terrorist suspects), equal gay rights, ID cards and renewing nuclear weapons. He opposed an investigation of the Iraq war and laws to stop climate change. He rarely rebels against his party. An open letter condemning British foreign policy was justified by Khan not as being morally wrong but, "Whether we like it or not such a sense of injustice plays into the hands of extremists. As moderates we will do all we can to fight extremism." His controversial views include, “sending children to Koranic studies lessons after school for two hours a day 'must have some impact on educational standards'”, “I would be very concerned about sharia courts applying in the UK. I don't think there is that level of sophistication that there is in Jewish law”, “It is important for integration that Muslims rejected the narrative that Western foreign policy is a 'war on Islam'” and “women could be 'abused' by sharia courts, which may give unequal bargaining power to the sexes.”  Following a complaint from a resident in Tooting, Khan accepted he should not have claimed for birthday, Eid and Diwali cards and agreed to return £2,550.
- Muhammad Sarwar had been a Labour MP since 1997 (before stepping down at the 2010 election). He was charged with election offences in 1997 but acquitted after a court trial. Sarwar has estimated assets of £16 million, mainly from the family wholesale cash and carry business. In 2007 his son was convicted of an £850,000 missing trader fraud in a company of which Sarwar was a remunerated Managing Director. His voting record shows support for anti-terrorism laws (power to detain without charge, control orders for terrorist suspects), ID cards and gay rights whilst opposing an investigation into the Iraq war and laws to prevent climate change. He rarely rebels against his party. He believes in equality for women, praises leaders like Thatcher and Benazir Bhutto however opposes forced niqabs and marriages. His 2008/09 staff travel and staying away from home costs were the highest in the UK coming at 1st place as were his overall expenses totalling £192,987, triple his annual salary of £64,766. In 2006 he was asked to repay expenses after an audit of his claims discovered he had submitted claims twice. In 2010 he was asked for further claims paid twice to be repaid.
- Shahid Malik was a Dewsbury Labour MP since 2005 (before losing the 2010 election). He voted very strongly for ID cards, anti-terrorism laws, replacing Trident, gay rights and very strongly against an investigation in the Iraq war and laws against climate change. He hardly ever votes against his party. His maiden speech was peppered by heroes including Sir Owen Richardson, Tom Kilburn, the Brontes, Betty Boothroyd and Martin Luther King. He believes in tolerance for the Satanic Verses however not for Muslim public holidays stating, “the call for special public holidays for Muslims was unnecessary, impracticable and divisive” and “if Muslims wanted sharia they should go and live somewhere where they have it”. He argued Muslims are required to obey the law of the land, “It is narrated in the Koran that the prophet Muhammad(pbuh) said: ‘It is necessary upon a Muslim to listen to and obey the ruler, as long as one is not ordered to carry out a sin’” – citing a hadith which referred to obedience of Muslim rulers. Malik has claimed the maximum amount allowable for a second home, amounting to £66,827 over three years, the highest for any MP. He has also claimed £2,600 for a home cinema system — which was cut in half by officials. In 2009 Malik was investigated by a panel requiring repayment of money in respect of claims for Council Tax, television and chair. He appealed but his appeal was rejected. In April 2010 another inquiry into Malik was reported in respect to claims for insurance for his wife's jewellery.
- Khalid Mahmood has been a Birmingham Labour MP since 2001. He voted in support of anti-terror laws (power to detain for 42 days without charge, control orders for terror suspects), gay rights, profiling at airports, replacing trident, ID cards and against an investigation into the Iraq war, a transparent parliament and laws to stop climate change. He does not rebel against his party. Appearing on Channel 4 he argued that Muslim grievances about the goings on in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine were false grievances, “Muslims have no right to be angry about Britain’s foreign policy”, openly supported the war in Afghanistan and opposed an arms embargo on Israel. He has made many controversial comments, “blamed Hamas for Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza”, “Muslims should be profiled at airports”, “if Muslims don’t like British foreign policy they should leave the country” and “the people of Birmingham will find the idea of sharia law very offensive.” In his maiden speech he spoke of his admiration for Lord Hattersley and Sir Richard Knowles and his desire to emulate them and hopes of achieving a fraction of what they achieved. In November 2001, an Observer article was published under his name, supportive of the war in Afghanistan, headlined “The Five Myths Muslims Must Deny”. It was subsequently revealed the article had been written by a Labour Friends of Israel Policy Council member, Denis MacShane. Mahmood agreed to put his name to the article after Lord Ahmed of Rotherham refused. His actions were condemned by the Muslim Council of Britain, "MacShane then found Mahmood – universally regarded as being not exactly the brightest spark in parliament – to be a more willing instrument for his scheme." The Guardian awarded him the stupidest MP bronze award.Mahmood sparked expenses controversy after claiming for nights with a girlfriend, a parliamentary assistant Elaina Cohen, at a hotel in Kensington over a four-week period. Miss Cohen later accused Mahmood of not supporting her attempts to become a fellow Birmingham city councillor because she was “too white and too Jewish”.Mahmood was the only Muslim MP refusing to sign an open letter to Tony Blair advising him of the problems of foreign policy.
There is widespread and considerable criticism about Muslim MPs. A Respect Party press release reads:
[George Galloway said] "We are reminded that there are four Pakistani MPs in Parliament. A fact I nearly forgot as none of them has raised a finger or voice against the US-led attack on Pakistan. They're just there to be reeled in when their political leaders want to justify an attack on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or Pakistan."
Muslim MPs have not delivered even the lowest of expectations – or maybe expectations were over-stated in the first place. Scholars like Mohammed al-Salih al-Munajjid who have permitted voting have voiced concern in the legitimacy of participation where benefits are not achievable. Having reviewed the benefits and harms, this concern does not appear out of place. The use of a disputed legal principle and its questionable application raises more questions than it answers, including the paradox of Muslims assisting corrupt politicians into power.
Scholars generally agree on the principle “necessity permits the forbidden” (al-darurah tubih al-mahdhurat). Where one is forced to choose a forbidden path otherwise suffer loss of life or limb one can do so. The evidence to support this principle comprises:
“But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these meats), surely, Allah is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Quran 5:3)
“And why should you not eat of that (meat) on which Allah’s Name has been pronounced, while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under necessity?” (Quran 6:119)
Examples would include eating dead meat for one who cannot find anything else and fears that he will die of hunger and use of force when warding off an aggressor even if it leads to killing him.
Sharia however governs all affairs and Allah will include general hardships to test the believers. As such, general hardships should be expected in life and resolved through adherence to the Sharia and patience:
"And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to al-Sabirin (the patient ones.)." (Quran 155-157)
This understanding has been endorsed by a number of jurists:
al-Razi al-Jassas says: "Here the meaning of necessity purports the fear for life and limb when someone avoids foods (that are in essence forbidden) ..."
Suyuti says: "Eating the flesh of the dead in times of necessity takes precedence over taking someone else's money (to purchase food)."
Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdasi says: "If it has become established, then the necessity that is expedient is the type that leads to starvation if the food is left... The reason for the allowance of is the need to preserve the self from destruction because this Maslaha is more beneficial than the benefit of avoiding the impure..."
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali says: "As for necessity we imply the state that probably will lead to the person's destruction, If, for example he does not eat and similarly if he fears that an illness would lead to death..."
Ibn Jauzi says: "...As for necessity it is the fear of death and it is not conditional that someone is patient to such an extent that he witnesses his own death."
Shady al-Suleiman argues that pork is haram but can be halal in particular cases to prevent harm and encourage benefit extending this to elections. The use of this principle implies that voting is forbidden as the principle legitimises something originally forbidden.
The first problem is necessity can only exceptionally be used in acute situations and not for general difficulties. There is no acute situation in Britain that those permitting voting are able to cite. The threats of BNP taking over are more imaginary than real. Muslims receive the same rights as other citizens - they are permitted to build mosques, schools, proselytize, dress, marry and worship freely. These rights were afforded without the need of entering elections or voting.
Secondly, even if a hardship is identified, the principle requires there be no alternative route to alleviate the hardship. Influencing government policies and decisions can be achieved through a number of political styles and means that are legitimate in the Sharia. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has shown it is able to raise grievances and concerns at the highest levels of government. More recently the government has been proactively seeking wider engagement with the Muslim community outside of elections.
Thirdly, those advocating voting have yet to show how the demographics of Muslims and their voting habits and tactics are able to alleviate the adverse hardships. When considering this principle in relation to the one dying of thirst, classical scholars differed on whether alcohol can be drunk. Shafii thought alcohol makes the thirst worse whilst others did not consider it a sin if one refused anything forbidden.
Fourthly, around half the seats in the country are safe seats, immune to voting tactics raising the question why it would be permitted to vote in these seats when nothing can be achieved. The ruling here would violate a second maxim on necessity that declares: “Necessity is measured in accordance with its true proportions” (al-daruratu tuqdaru bi-qadriha). Thus, if the court orders the sale of assets of a negligent debtor to pay his creditors, it must begin with the sale of his movable goods if this would suffice to clear the debt, before selling his real property.
Finally, one may legitimately ask, if there was such a great necessity, one would have expected scholars to oblige (fard kifayah) Muslims to relocate to viable marginal seats so as to gain sufficient representation to be able to address political necessities. The absence of such rulings imply the hardship is not acute.
The following fatwa from India illustrates the use of this principle in a potentially acute reality:
“Normally it is not permissible to vote for a political party in even a Muslim country. All governments in this era are agents of kufr, shirk, immorality and oppression. All governments promulgate laws which are in total conflict with the Shariah. It is not permissible for Muslims to participate in the law-making processes of these countries. It is haraam to vote for any political party, whether in a Muslim or non-Muslim country. This is the normal and straightforward ruling of the Shariah. However, in abnormal situations, the ruling changes... Recently in India, it had become almost Waajib to vote for the Congress Party in view of the fact that the Hindu verkrampte party had resolved to eliminate Islam and all its vestiges from India. Voting for the secular party therefore became imperative. While voting for such reasons will be valid, Muslims are not permitted to become part of the law-making process.”
As such it is difficult to accept that voting is permitted through the use of necessity.
Scholars like Shanqiti and Mogra invoke the principle “Sharia of previous Prophets is part of our Sharia”:
“...this shows that Prophet Yusuf did not pay heed to the fact that the king was a disbeliever or despotic. His main concern was the general welfare of the people and their need for a man as knowledgeable and clever as he was to care for them.”
A number of scholars have historically rejected this principle citing verses, "For each Messenger I sent a Sharia and way of life" (Quran 5:48). However some have accepted it, stipulating a previous Sharia mentioned in Quran can be followed so long it does not contradict that brought by Muhammad(saw).
The first problem with this principle is voting and participation in non-Islamic governance has been addressed by Mohammed(saw) – precluding the use of previous Sharias. Mohammed(saw) rejected a number of overtures made by Quraish to join their Meccan rule as well as offers from tribes from whom he sought leadership due to unacceptable conditions attached as well as prohibiting legislating and delegating in matters of sin.
Secondly, despite its relevance, the apolitical experience of the Muslim minority in Abyssinia during the Meccan phase or those Muslims who remained as a minority in Mecca after Hijrah are glanced over.
Thirdly, Musa(as) like Mohammed(saw) also opposed the political establishment of his time. His non-participation is interesting as it was available to him having grown up in the king’s household. Additionally, the king was oppressing the people of Musa(as), akin to the oppression of countries like Britain against Muslims – seen in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and military, economic and political support of Israel. By selecting the story of Yusuf(as) when the story of Musa(as) is potentially more proximate to the contemporary realities of Muslims, Shanqiti and Mogra open themselves up to allegations of Selectivism.
Fourthly, despite these serious reservations, the details of the story of Yusuf(as) expose further issues:
"Appoint me over the granaries of the land”, (he said) I Shall be a knowledgeable keeper. Thus did we give full authority to Yusuf in the land, to take possession therein, as, when or where he likes." (Quran 12:56)
"Then when they entered unto him (Yusuf), they said, 'Oh Ruler Of The Land! A hard time has hit us and our family, and we have brought but poor capital, so pay us full measure and be charitable to us...'" (Quran 12:88)
There are a number of variant views as to Yusuf’s(as) and the king’s roles and authority:
- Ibn Kathir and Shuaybah ibn Nuama argue his role was one of administration and not legislating.
- Nasafi argues the king was placed subordinate to Yusuf(as) and could not issue any judgement without his authorisation as Yusuf(as) had full authority of the entire land. Nasafi argued this ayah proves it is allowed for one to request a tyrant ruler to hand over authority to one who is just.
- Tabari reports al-Suddi and Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd as saying Yusuf(as) was given authority “to do whatever he wants therein.”
- Qurtubi said Ibn Abbas narrated, “He sat on his bed and the king entered his home with his women and the authority of Egypt was granted to him... And when the king gave the authority of Egypt to Yusuf, he was generous to the people and called them to Islam until they believed in him and he established the justice amongst them... Wahb and As-Suddi and Ibn Abbas and others narrated the saying of the king to Yusuf, when he saw his wisdom in ruling and spreading justice: 'I give you the authority, so do whatever you will. And we are merely your followers and I am not one to refuse being your subject and obeying you and I am no more than one of your subjects.' ”
- Baghawi said, “Mujahid and others said, ‘Yusuf(as) did not stop calling the king to Islam while being kind to him, until he and many people entered Islam.’” Tabari quotes Mujahid of being of this view.
- Ibn Taymiyyah said it was mentioned Yusuf(as) did the best of justice and good as in al-hisbah, meaning complete supervision over execution of various works. It is known through the description of Yusuf’s(as) work: "He did his best in justice and good. He called them to the belief as much as he could" and "But he did the possible of the justice and the doing of good."
To assert Yusuf(as) implemented anything other than revelation appears to contradict his statement to his companions in prison which is recorded in the Quran:
"The rule (judgment) is for none but Allah. He commands that you worship none but Him, that is the straight Deen, but most men know not." (Quran 12:40)
Ibn Kathir describes whoever does not follow this straight Deen as a Mushrik (idolater):
"'That is the straight Deen,’ means this Tawheed of Allah and directing all acts of worship at Him alone… is the right, straight Deen that Allah has ordained and for which He has revealed what He wills of proofs and evidences. 'But most men know not' … is why most of them are Mushrikeen”
Furthermore, the Quran mentions that Yusuf(as) did not judge his brother by the law of the king i.e., the king had a deen and Yusuf(as) had another deen:
"He could not take his brother by the Deen (law) of the king (as a slave) except that Allah willed it" (Quran 12: 76)
Nasafi, Ibn Kathir and Shawkani argue this ayah means Yusuf(as) judged his brother by Yaqub’s Sharia.
In conclusion, Yusuf’s(as) narrative is open to interpretation – which is glossed over by the scholars citing this evidence. Furthermore, there is no explanation as why one interpretation is taken over others. To assert his role, the nature of the system and the nature of his decision making to support voting is tenuous at best, speculative at worst.
Najashi the Christian king of Habashah (Abyssinia) is reported to have accepted Islam when the Prophet(saw) prayed the salat al-janaza for him on his death in his absence. Some scholars argue that Najashi had not given up ruling as a king, this allows participation in non-Islamic systems through elections.
Before discussing the areas of contention, it is useful to provide an outline of what is generally agreed. The Prophet(saw) praised the ruler of Habashah when sending some of his companions there for refuge. During their stay there, the ruler was asked to deport the Muslims back to Mecca - as part of the ensuing discussion he praised Islam. At some point there was a challenge to his rule which he successfully defeated. Later the Prophet(saw) sent a letter inviting rulers to Islam including the ruler of Habashah. At the death of the ruler the Prophet(saw) prayed the funeral for him in absentia.
There are varying views amongst the scholars in the details due to authentic and inauthentic sources being utilised, (books of hadith and history). There even appears confusion over the term “Najashi”. The narratives in books of history cannot be relied on for law, despite the information value they hold for historical purposes, as they have not been authenticated. The hadith literature however has a number of authenticated traditions that provide some clarity. The term Najashi is not a proper noun for a specific person but a title (laqab) given to rulers who ruled Habashah – as such the use of the term in the sources can refer to more than one ruler who ruled Habashah during the life of the Prophet(saw).
The first point to note is the hadith of Anas ibn Malik which states the Najashi who embraced Islam was not the same Najashi who was the king of Habashah:
“The Prophet(saw) wrote to the Kisra, Qaysar, Najashi and every tyrant, inviting them to Allah(swt). But he was not the Najashi for whom the Prophet(saw) made the prayer.” (Muslim)
Contrasting this with the narrative of Umm Salamah, the Prophet’s(saw) wife who was one of the emigrants to Habashah, she did not mention the ruler had embraced Islam whilst she had been in Abyssinia:
“When we arrived in the land of Habashah, we had the best neighbour, the Najashi. We felt safe in regards of our deen, worshipped Allah(swt) without being harmed and did not hear anything we might hate… We were in such a state, until a man emerged in the Habashah who challenged his authority... We did not ever know a sadness such as happened to us at that time, fearing that man might defeat the Najashi, and hence another man might come who does not recognise of our right, as the Najashi did... After Allah gave victory to the Najashi against his enemy, and strengthened him in his land, by Allah, we never knew a delight as we had then... The Najashi returned (from the battlefield) when Allah destroyed his enemy and strengthened him in his land, and the affair of al-Habashah put in good order. So we remained in his neighbourhood, in the best home until we arrived to the Messenger of Allah (saw) while he was in Mecca.” (Ibn Hisham)
The Najashi who embraced Islam appears to have taken power in the seventh year as the Prophet(saw) sent his messengers to the rulers after his return from Hudaybiyah at the end of the sixth year of the Hijrah. This Najashi would have died in the seventh year, in which the Najashi who had embraced Islam assumed power, and he appears to be the one for whom the Messenger(saw) prayed the salat al-janazah, and whose death was before the conquest of Mecca in the eighth year of the Hijrah:
Abu Huraira narrated “The Messenger(saw) informed them of the death of Najashi, the ruler of Habashah, on the day that he died.” (Bukhari)
Jabir narrated, “The Messenger(saw) said when the Najashi died: ‘Today a pious man has died. So stand and pray for your brother Ashimah.’” (Bukhari)
Nawawi concludes the Najashi to whom the Prophet(saw) sent a letter inviting him to Islam was not the Najashi for whom he prayed the janazah. Najashi appears to have secretly embraced Islam, with the Prophet(saw) having been informed by revelation on the day he died. The short period of time he spent as a Muslim did not enable him to know the rules of Islam. The Prophet’s (saw) lack of knowledge of this meant that he did not write to him about what he should do.
Those who argue it is the same person refer to two letters Najashi sent to the Prophet(saw), one in Mecca and one in Medina, in which he stated his conversion to Islam and his readiness to come to the Prophet(saw). However neither appear in the sound books of hadith, making it problematic to use them for law. Furthermore, they contradict the hadith of Anas as reported by Muslim and the narration of Umm Salamah and the Muhajireen in Habashah of whom the last was Jafar who also did not mention Najashi embraced Islam. Jafar returned to the Prophet(saw) in the seventh year, after the conquest of Khaybar, and after the Prophet(saw) sent letters to the rulers. 
It appears some scholars mistakenly assume it is the same Najashi due to the Prophet’s(saw) praise:
“He is a King, under whom no one is oppressed, and his land is a land of truth.” (Ibn Hisham)
And because of the Najashi’s comment when he asked him about what the Prophet(saw) had brought;
“Indeed this matter and what ‘Isa has brought emanate from the one lamp”, and, “By Allah, Isa bin Maryam did not exceed what you said more than (the width of) this stick” (Ibn Hisham)
Even if it was the same Najashi, there are still problems with the argument. Ibn Taymiyyah argues the sources indicate Najashi faced duress where he could not pray, fast, wage jihad, perform hajj or pay zakat. This makes it difficult to extend this example beyond matters other than duress. It would seem to support the case of an influential keeping his Islam secret until he mustered enough support to change the system, indicated by one of Najashi’s communications to the Prophet(saw) saying, "my support in Habashah is so small, leave me until I gain more support and soften the hearts (to Islam)."
In conclusion, the example of Najashi is disputed and does not seem to support the voting argument.
Those who argue against voting for non-Islamic parties in the UK argue that it is prohibited:
- To participate in the legislation process as legislation is for Allah(swt) alone,
- To form non-Islamic political parties (though Islamic political parties and activism are encouraged),
- To support non-Islamic parties or become members thereof,
- To vote for candidates of such parties who will enter parliament and participate in legislating
The strongest criticism of those that permit voting is their reliance on secondary sources and principles when the primary sources provide a ruling – Ghazali, Amidi and Ibn Haajib are cited as having reported an ijma that no general evidence can be used for an issue without first looking for specific evidences.
It is argued that many Quranic texts ascribe Allah(swt) the attribute of “Legislator” (Hakim) and the obligation of man to interpret and execute legislation. Those who violate this are described as engaging in shirk and kufr. The argument is then that if any individual, party or government asks for one to vote for them, so that when they attain power they will legislate, voting for them is haram as one is not permitted to assist, delegate or cooperate in sin.
There is no dispute amongst classical and contemporary scholarship that Allah is the legislator and not man. Quranic texts are decisive on this point:
"But no, by your Lord, they can have no real faith until they make you judge in all disputes between them..." (Quran 4:65)
“Whosoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed such are the disbelievers...” (Quran 4:44)
“The command (Hukm) rests with none but Allah…” (Quran 6:57, 12:40, 12:67)
“He does not share his Command (Hukm) with anyone...” (Quran 18:26)
Some commentators have suggested these texts were revealed to Muslims and do not apply to non-Muslims. The difficulty with this argument is that a number of Quranic texts state that revelation is addressed to all mankind and is not exclusive to Muslims. Furthermore, Muslims are ordered not to follow those who legislate or sin and distance themselves from them:
“And incline (or accept) not to those who do wrong, or the Fire will seize you; and you have no protectors other than Allah, nor shall you be helped” (Quran 11:113)
“They took their Priests and Rabbis as Gods beside Allah...” (Quran 9:31)
Adey bin Hatim said, `O Messenger(saw) of Allah(swt), we never took them as lords. He said, `Yes (you did). Did not they legislate for you that which Allah(swt) forbade you and you obeyed it?' I said, `Yes indeed'. He said, `That is worshipping them.' ” (Ahmed and Tirmidhi)
The Messenger(saw) said: “Ameers will be appointed over you, you will recognise some of what they do and you will disown some. Whoever recognised (that) he is absolved from blame. Whoever disapproved (of their bad deeds) he is safe; but whoever consented and followed them (he is doomed).” (Muslim)
Less persuasively, scholars like Ahmed bin Yahya and Ubaid al-Jaabiree invoke the argument of bid’ah:
“Elections are not from the Sunnah (the way of the Prophet) that is known by the Muslims and that which the Salaf traversed upon from the time of the Companions and the Imams of the Tabi’een, and those who came after them. But rather it is a newly invented matter in Islam, so it is a Bid’ah (innovation), and if it is a Bid’ah (innovation) then it is Muharram (impermissible).”
Whilst Yahya al-Hajorree argues the prohibition of emulating the disbelievers:
“They are from the democratic laws that seek to destroy Allah's true legislation. They are also considered imitation of the disbelievers, and imitating them is not permissible. There is much harm present in them, and there is neither benefit nor gain for the Muslims (in them).”
Voting is thus forbidden on the basis that as a process it comprises delegating (tawkeel) authority and sovereignty to candidates following which they have the right (mandate) to legislate as a representative of the electorate. The MP is thus authorised to propose, debate, vote on, help to draft, amend and defend legislation on behalf of the delegator. The concept of tawkeel does not allow delegation of prohibited matters thus voting is forbidden. Those who permit voting have not responded to this point in any substantive or convincing manner.
Although it appears to forbid legislative processes and participation therein, it does not preclude the possibility of specification (takhsees) through the use of principles such as necessity – a real life case has yet to be made for this though. Mawlawi argues Muslims can participate in legislative processes so long as the intention is to try ensuring laws that are produced are consistent with Islam – however this argument problematically relies on the intention of the actor rather than providing legitimacy for the action.
The argument that in origin no group or party can adopt or propagate any basis, value or view opposed to Islam is one that is generally accepted by classical and contemporary scholarship and substantiated by the following texts:
“Let there arise from amongst you a group inviting to all that is good, commanding the good and forbidding the evil and they are the successful ones.” (Quran 3:104)
“This is my straight path, so follow it and not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you so you may become Al-Muttaqoon” (Quran 6:153)
“Nor should the Believers all go forth together: if a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion, and admonish the people when they return to them, that they (may learn) to guard themselves.” (Quran 9:122)
It is argued that British political parties are antithetic to lslam in their political philosophies, laws and policies. All are nationalistic, adopt secular liberal ideologies, and promote laws and policies contrary to Islam. Joining such parties necessitates one not just to pay lip service to achieve pragmatic results but “accept and conform to the constitution, programme, principles and policy of the party”.
- The ideology of the Labour party (which defines its aims and values) is democratic socialism. The Party was involved in the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and strongly supports Israel, with Gordon Brown telling Labour Friends of Israel, “one of the great influences on the whole of the Labour movement... I will continue to do what I can both to defend Israel and to protect the security of Israel’s borders... I count myself not only a friend of Israel but someone who wants to support the future of Israel ... we will do everything that we can to work with Israel.”Blair’s speech identified a new evil ideology post-communism where, “They demand the elimination of Israel... the establishment of effectively Taleban states and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one caliphate of all Muslim nations.”
- The Conservative party’s ideology is conservatism and economic liberalism. It supported military action in Afghanistan and Iraq - Michael Howard has gone on record to say that he too would have gone to war even without the WMDs. As a staunch supporter of Israel, the majority of Conservative MPs and MEPs are Friends of Israel with David Cameron commenting, “The belief I have in Israel is indestructible – and you need to know that if I become prime minister, Israel has a friend who will never turn his back on Israel.” In his speech to the Foreign Policy Centre he stated, “During the last century a strain of Islamist thinking has developed which, like other totalitarianisms, such as Nazi-ism and Communism, offers its followers a form of redemption through violence”and “Those who seek a sharia state, or special treatment and a separate law for British Muslims are, in many ways, the mirror image of the BNP.” Boris Johnson added some comments on the Quran stating, “To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia – fear of Islam – seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture – to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques – it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers.”
- The Liberal Democrat party’s ideology is a mix of social and market liberalism. They opposed British participation in Iraq as it was unilateral. They support the war in Afghanistan and strongly support Israel. The Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (LDFI) website states that its first aim is to maximize support for the State of Israel within the party and Parliament. Mr Clegg has said Faith schools should be legally obliged to teach that homosexuality is “normal and harmless” and gay civil partnerships should be replaced by true marriage and regarding the burka, “There is no mention in the Qur’an of the burka and it is a style of dress used principally in those countries where women are treated as mere chattels of men. I believe that it does not belong in 21st century Britain.” When Jenny Tonge (ex-spokeswoman on Children’s affairs) voiced her opinions on why she could see why suicide bombers from Palestine existed she was duly sacked for her comments.
Muslims are no doubt required to stand for the truth and justice, individually and collectively, adhere to revelation and oppose evil and falsehood. Non-Islamic groups contradict this and are thus prohibited.
Scholars like Darsh and Alwani who permit membership of such parties utilise arguments such as utilising parties as means to achieve Muslim interests and protect their rights. The problem with this argument is that arguments that rest on non-Islamic principles such as “the ends justify the means” are not acceptable to Muslim jurists. Means must be permitted as well as the ends that are sought.
There is little disputing these arguments as political parties in Britain do not assume the Islamic ideology nor its values or laws. Islamic parties appear to be the way forward.
The Prophetic example in Mecca as a minority group is used to argue against involvement in voting and parliamentary participation. The Muslim minority of the time suffered numerous violations of their basic rights, were oppressed, tortured and even killed. Despite a number of opportunities to come to an agreement with the Meccan rulers, the Muslims refused to participate in the Meccan political system. Their priority and focus remained the conveyance of the Islamic ideology to the society:
“Out of this mess emerge those Muslim "Uncle Toms" who are trying to get Muslims to join the systems of kufr. Muslim lobbies have popped up in Washington DC and other western cities, advising the Muslim public to join kufr political organizations and parties in America and Europe! ...In the absence of a Seerah culture, almost anything goes. And so we have "Islamists" who tilt with the highest bidder. Some of them will say in private that they are out-foxing the fox, outsmarting the enemy, and bedevilling the devil. They cannot find any reference for this in the Qur'an and Sunnah lest the Muslims wake up and spoil their courtship of the kuffar - so they prefer to draw confidence from popular sources and place it squarely with the elites. Never was the Prophet(saw) beholden to the elites of his time; but you wouldn't know it (it would not even occur to you to think about it) as this whole chapter in the Prophet's struggle for an Islamic authority, government and state are off-limits.”
This is contrasted with the situation of Muslims in the US and Britain who receive the same rights as other non-Muslim citizens - they are permitted to build mosques, schools, and open centres of propagation without hindrance or opposition. Muslims can openly call to Islam in publications, radio broadcasts, the internet and in public forums. All of these rights are afforded without the need to enter elections or vote yet there is little collective effort to carry the ideology of Islam to the society - instead Muslims try joining secular political parties and participating in the political systems.
Following the media reporting of IFE’s attempts at infiltrating political parties in London, Abdul Wahid of Hizb ut-Tahrir wrote:
“All of this proves something we have said for years – in order to achieve ANY influence in the political system in the UK, a Muslim is expected to abandon his values and sell his principles, and adopt the western secular values of the corrupt political parties. This should not be a surprise to any observer of British politics. Many mainstream MPs, who might even have started life with good intentions, have been shown to be corrupted by the political process, wrongfully claiming thousands of pounds in expenses… Over the coming weeks Hizb ut-Tahrir will be holding gatherings and discussions in different parts of the country, and we hope to meet in order to discuss things further.”
The evidences generally cited include Quranic verses and the offers of political involvement made by the leaders of Quraish to the Prophet(saw):
“And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends (allies) one of another” (Quran 9:71)
“And incline (or accept) not to those who do wrong, or the Fire will seize you; and you have no protectors other than Allah, nor shall you be helped” (Quran 11:113)
“One day some of the important men of Makkah gathered in the enclosure of al-Kabah, and Utbah bin Rabia, a chief among them, offered to approach the Prophet(saw) and contract a bargain with him whereby they give him whatever worldly wealth he asks for, on condition that he keep silent and no longer proclaim his new faith. The people of Quraish endorsed his proposal and requested him to undertake that task. Utbah came closer to the Prophet(saw) and addressed him in the following words: ‘We have seen no other man of Arabia who has brought so great a calamity to a nation as you have done. You have outraged our gods and religion and taxed our forefathers and wise men with impiety and error and created strife amongst us. You have left no stone unturned to estrange relations with us. If you are doing all this with a view to getting wealth, we will join together to give you greater riches than any Quraishite has possessed. If ambition moves you, we will make you our chief. If you desire kingship, we will readily offer you that. If you are under the power of an evil spirit which seems to haunt and dominate you so that we cannot shake it off its yoke, then we shall call in the skilful physicians to cure you.’ ‘Have you said all?’ asked Muhammad (pbuh) and hearing that all had been said, he recited Quran (41:1-5). Utbah sat and listened attentively with his hand behind his back to support him. When the Messenger reached the verse that required prostration, he prostrated himself. After that, he turned to Utbah saying: "Well Abu Al-Waleed! You have heard my reply, you are now free to do whatever you please.”
Ibn Kathir mentions that the Quraish once sought a compromise with the Messenger (swt) and proposed he should prostrate himself before their gods in return for their prostration to his God, and that he should cease denouncing their gods and their manner of worship in reciprocation for whatever he demanded of them. The Quraish thought that the gulf between them and Muhammad(saw) was not unbridgeable. They thought an agreement was somehow possible by allowing the two camps to co-exist in the region and by granting him some personal concessions. To cut all arguments short and firmly distinguish between one form of doctrine and worship and the other, Surah Kafiroon was revealed.
These incidents it is argued show that participation in a non-Islamic system through sharing power or compromising on any Sharia matter is prohibited.
Some scholars have responded by stating the Prophet(saw) may have accepted the proposal had it not been preconditioned with prohibited conditions such as not proclaiming his faith or joining in worships with them which current political systems do not do. This argument suffers from a number of problems. The first being that there were a number of proposals made by the Quraysh with varying conditions. In Ibn Kathir's authenticated narration of Utba bin Rabia's approach of the Prophet(saw) with the Quraysh's offers, no objectionable conditions are stipulated (pp. 363-6) - stating they wanted to come to a compromise with Mohammed(saw) so he would leave them alone. Thus to argue the Prophet(saw) rejected the offers of becoming a leader due to conditions stopping him from worship or conveying his call is disputable. It is also noted that the Quraysh had no issue with his conveying the faith which is seen in the first three years of the Prophet's(saw) dawa. It was when the Prophet(saw) began criticising the social practices, the system and the leaders that the Quraysh began opposing him, which is confirmed in their requests to him to desist from attacking their forefathers, worships, rulers and practices. Secondly, as these scholars argue prohibited matters can be made permitted by principles of necessity or the lesser of the two evils, the Prophet’s(saw) companions were suffering significant hardship (far more than anything seen by Muslims of Britain) so by their reasoning he should have accepted and legitimised the evil. Thirdly, from the argument of benefit/harm, it is arguable that removal of the harm of oppression and opening avenues for dawa to the Quraysh leaders and society were arguably beneficial – it should have “obliged” him to take a path where he temporarily ceased attacking their way of life publicly and restrained himself. Both of these approaches however appear to be overridden by revelation ordaining another route invalidating the use of such principles.
More worryingly for the proponents of voting, there are a number of instances where offers of power were made to the Prophet(saw) with minimalistic conditions, conditions that did not go against the basis of faith, yet the Prophet(saw) did not accept them.
The tribes of Amir bin Sasa’a and Kinda said they would support his leadership but wanted leadership after he passed away in return for their support - the Prophet(saw) rejected their requests:
“Al-Zuhri related to me that he went to the Banu Amur bun Sasa’a and called them to the path of God, offering himself to them. One of their men, named Bayhara bin Firas, replied to him, ‘I swear, if I were to have this brave man of Quraysh, I could eat up the Arabs with him.’ He then said to him, ‘If we were to follow your orders and then God gave you victory against those opposing you, would we have power after you were gone?’ He replied, ‘God controls power and places it where He wishes.’ Bayhara commented in reply, ‘Are we to present our throats to the Arabs in you defence and then, if God gave you victory, see power go elsewhere than to us? We’ll have nothing to do with you!’ And so they refused him.”
“Kinda replied to him (the Prophet(SAAS)), ‘If you are successful, will you grant us power after yourself?’ The Messenger of God(SAAS) replied, ‘Power rests with God; He places it where He wishes.’ They responded, ‘We don’t need what you bring.’ Al-Kalbi went on to state, ‘And they (Kinda) said, ‘have you come to us to keep us from our gods and have us go to war with the Arabs? Remain with your people. We have no need of you!’’ “
He also rejected the offer of Shayban bin Thalaba when they agreed to protect the Prophet(saw) against the Arabs but refused to offer any protection against the Persians:
“ ‘We would be reneging on a pact that Chosroe has placed upon us to the effect that we would not cause an incident and not give sanctuary to a troublemaker. This policy you suggest for us is such a one that kings would dislike. As for those areas bordering Arab lands, the blame of those so acting would be forgiven and excuses for them be accepted, but for those areas next to Persia, those so acting would not be forgiven and no such excuses would be accepted. If you want us to help and protect you from whatever relates to Arab territories alone, we should do so.’ The Messenger of God(SAAS) replied, ‘Your reply is in no way bad, for you have spoken eloquently and truthfully. (But) God’s religion can only be engaged in by those who encompass it from all sides.’ “
All of these conditions were arguably minor, even acknowledged by the Prophet(saw) in the case of Shayban bin Thalaba. As such, it is difficult to see why the example of Mecca, with texts relating to offers of political power are not considered sufficient to prohibit voting and political participation in non-Islamic systems.
Those opposing the participation in parliamentary elections, Hb ut-Tahrir in particular, advocate an alternative approach based on the experiences of the Prophet(saw) and his companions in Mecca – resting between isolationism and integration, namely, interaction. In summary it advocates a strategic approach to winning over society to the Islamic ideology through political engagement, debate and discussion at all levels in society.
“Furthermore in the West, instead of foolishly following this failed system we have to find ways to build our communities and engage with society independent of these corrupt politicians and parties – not voting for them or becoming part of them. A united community, that is not dependent on them for handouts, can engage and present its ideas and viewpoints to all of society with more credibility and effectiveness.
We must work to prevent our own community becoming engulfed by the secular capitalist values that promote individualism, greed and excess. Instead, we must actively promote the noble Islamic values – including consciousness of Allah (swt), decent morals and strong families and communities - amongst ourselves, and to the wider society.
For now, more than ever, the world is looking for an alternative to the disaster of Capitalism’s economic, political and social system. It is the Muslim community that needs to show them this alternative, and invite people to this.”
It is argued that the Prophet(saw) from the early stages in Mecca delivered a message that Islam was to be the dominant system and ideology for the entire world. This was mocked by the Quraish who found it amusing that he could do this with so few followers. Numerous verses however criticised the socio-economic and political systems of Mecca:
"Woe to every slanderer and backbiter who has gathered wealth and counted it." (Quran 104:1-4)
"Woe to the defrauders, those who, when they receive measure, demand full measure, and when they have to give measure, give less than due." (Quran 83:1-3)
“Mutual rivalry for piling up worldly things diverts you, until you visit the graves." (Quran 102:1-3)
"And that which you give in Usury that it may increase has no increase with Allah." (Quran 30:39)
"Nay! But you treat not the orphans with kindness and generosity! And urge not the feeding of the poor! And you devour inheritance - all with greed." (Quran 89:17-23)
The chiefs of Mecca, including Al-Walid ibn al-Mughira, Utbah bin Rabiah, Shaibah bin Rabiah, Abu Jahl, Ummayah bin Khalaf, Abu Sufyan and others were subject of a number of verses:
"Leave Me (to deal) with him whom I created lonely. And then bestowed upon him ample means. And sons abiding in his presence. And made (life) smooth for him." (Quran 74:11-14)
"So (Mohammed) obey not the deniers. They wish that you should compromise. And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless - a slanderer, going about with calumnies, hinderer of the good, transgressor, sinful, cruel, and after all that Zaneem (son of a whore). (He was so) because he had wealth and children." (Quran 68:8-16)
The Prophet(saw) did not participate in the political establishment, instead desiring to dismantle it and replace the entire system. In response to this struggle, the Meccans killed some Muslims, tortured others, severed social and economic relations with the Prophet(saw) and his companions and attacked him with verbal and psychological abuse. The Prophet(saw) in response continued with his call without changing or altering his approach.
The Prophet(saw) was offered compromises by the Quraysh leadership, including open invitations for political participation, all of which he rejected despite the difficult situation he and his companions faced. Furthermore, the Muslims were desperate to acquire material support, but rejected support from a number of tribes, on what was on the face of it minor conditions. Support finally came from Medina where the Muslims established the first Islamic state.
Within this framework is the solution for Muslims in Britain – the need to win over society to Islam. This has been the historical experience of Muslims as they grew beyond the Arabian peninsula into Africa and Asia. It ensured that host societies benefited from Islam and Muslim minorities enjoyed permanent peace and security. It is due to this strategic approach that such societies are Muslims today. Political engagement is necessary for Muslim communities at all levels utilising all styles and means that the Sharia permits – however it excludes the route of participating in and promoting the system itself – keeping its call and solutions distinct and clear with the overall objective of benefiting society.
A number of scholars including Mawlawi confirms the Prophet’s(saw) work in Mecca was based on Proselytization:
“Maybe the political objective of Islamists in Muslim countries, after the decline of the Muslim rule, is to apply Islamic laws perfectly. However, it is not necessary for all other Muslims in other places on the globe to have the same political objective. For example, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had only one political objective when he was at Makkah: to call people to Allah's way.”
The main critique advanced for this approach is the long timeframe it envisages. Many of the historical societies adopted Islam over decades if not centuries. However in its favour it is the only solution that addresses the perennial problem that Muslims face in the West, as do all minorities, that of the majority turning against them.
After 7/7 the Muslim community in Britain has come under focus and pressure like never before. The establishment pointed the finger of accusation at Muslims and Islam – who in turn were prohibited at blaming foreign policy. Imposing an imperative to adopt a British Islam, integrate and marginalise “extremism”, many Muslim scholars, groups and institutions have begun to internalise such accusations and conform - participating in controversial PVE projects, repeating government mantra and becoming increasingly silent on foreign policy discussions. There is little denying political undercurrents and forces attempting to steer juristic debates surrounding voting. It is also unsurprising increasing numbers of scholars have begun to become more vocal to “fit into the system”.
Considering the juristic arguments, what does one make of them? Few have documented any considered analysis of the reality of voting. Assumptions and assertions abound making opinions suspect from the outset. Having analysed the notion of voting, it is widely understood it provides the mandate to enter parliament and assume the role of legislator. In Britain there appear to be no overriding or necessitating causal factors, so voting does appear to be haram. To delegate non-Islamic political parties (or their members) powers to legislate is not condonable regardless of the resultant benefits, as the Sharia works on the basis of imperatives and not causal results. Modernists have historically argued for political participation in non-Islamic systems across the Muslim world to Islamicise the systems. The assumption being some Islamic laws exist and the rulers were Muslim. However this assumption is hardly arguable in Britain and it is difficult to see why the Prophetic example does not apply.
For those who pursue the voting route, the aims for most appear not to Islamicise the system or provide ideological solutions, but prevent adverse legislation or protect rights. Despite its tenuous legal reasoning, could voting provide a solution to even these modest aims? Voting alone has yet to prove such a case. There is little analysis of what adverse policies and legislation is to be combated or can be combated let alone what rights are in danger and need to be preserved. A decade of terrorism legislation has eroded most civil rights with no advantage having been seen from voting whatsoever. Voting appears to be ephemeral and overrated. Muslim demographics and voting habits are not conducive to a first past the post electoral system – leaving tactical voting as the only viable approach. With half of all constituencies containing safe seats for the main parties, immune to tactical voting, voting can at best deliver a small number of party affiliated MPs in marginal seats. Marginal seats however provide opportunities for other groups to use tactical voting as well reducing the scope for Muslims. Furthermore, party affiliated MPs suffer from stringent selection processes that filter out “undesirables”, party and colleague pressures to conform and onerous whip systems that deal with miscreants. Rebels tend to be MPs with histories and strong constituent support – not unknown MPs elected on the basis of party brand. Thus MPs tend to end up being influenced instead of influencing even to the point of corruption – as seen in the cases of Muslim MPs. Even if all of these hurdles and obstacles are overcome, a small number of voices in a parliament of over six hundred MPs cannot hope to prevent adverse legislation (except in the most unusual of scenarios). The reality and benefits of voting presented to jurists is at best misleading.
The jurists who have provided permissions to “limit damage” by utilising principles to do what is necessary in matters forbidden, have not questioned the advocates of voting sufficiently, nor based their views on analytical research. Thus instead of limiting damage, the results to date have arguably increased damage rather than limiting it. Furthermore, they have inadvertently allowed their views to be used by all political persuasions for all forms of means and ends. From areas where political parties have been entrenched and Muslim votes will make no difference through to campaigns to enter the political system and subvert it all have taken the fataawa to support their actions. As one reader commented:
“So whereas you might be in a situation where you need to eat a bacon sarnie to survive, one should be warned that 1) eat only enough to survive and 2) do your best to find your way out of the situation so that you don't have to do it anymore. Because if you don't provide this warning label, an individual may say bismillaah, slaughter the pig, stick it on a roast and gorge himself silly...”
In an alarming twist, illustrating the law of unintended consequences, increasingly researchers, politicians and journalists are becoming vocal and influential critics of the integrationist politics of Islamists entering the political system, arguing their embracement of liberal pluralism is insincere. Kepel for instance states that Islamist organisations and intellectuals are pursuing a ‘Trojan’ horse strategy to insert themselves into the body politic. In a six-month investigation by The Telegraph newspaper and Channel 4’s Dispatches, involving weeks of covert filming by the programme’s reporters, IFE activists boasted to undercover reporters they had consolidated “a lot of influence and power” over Tower Hamlets, a London borough council with a billion pound budget.
So what has been the reaction from the Muslim community? As the issue of to-vote-or-not-to-vote debate continues every election time, the collective failure is obvious. There has been a lack of a unified response – only half of Muslims vote and most are not politically active. There has been a lack of accountability of the major parties and personalities for endorsing wars, for contributing to a rising tide of Islamophobia with adverse comments or for tabling draconian laws. The unified approach to the Rushdie affair, the Iraq war and the Danish cartoons had an impact on the establishment. The nature of party politics and the focus on voting has left the community divided and impotent.
The Muslim community needs to understand their role in Britain. The rise in Islamophobia driven by political and media figures is a rising existential danger. As a community that is fundamentally ideological in outlook, there is a need to communicate its views and values to society. To bring about substantive and real political change necessitates questioning the secular ideologies, institutions, policies, laws and processes of modern Britain. Problems of broken Britain, corrupt politicians and the credit crisis are reflective of fundamental problems with social, moral, economic and institutional structures and processes. Muslims need to consider the spectrum of available political action rather than being content with a vote every five years. Significant political events occur between elections which require responses. Muslims need to become ideological in their thinking, political in their actions and participate in society nationally and in a coordinated manner to have an impact. Socio-political change does not come about through one mode of action such as voting or one mode of thinking such as pragmatism – a constellation of legitimate, carefully considered strategies and activities need to be developed.
The success or failure of what Muslims in Britain do at this critical juncture in time will determine the trajectory for future generations of Muslims in Britain and the butterfly effect on Muslims around the world.
 D Hussain, Muslim Political Participation in Britain and the 'Europeanisation' of Fiqh, Die Welt des Islams, Vol. 44, Issue 3, Sharia in Europe, 2004, p. 376
 Jamaati Islami, Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islami, al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen, FOSIS, Tableegh Jamaat etc.
 Some authors use Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” to explain this initial focus on “deficiency needs” and the more sophisticated “growth needs” coming once these needs are met – ibid p. 396
 M Anwar, Muslims in Western States: The British Experience and the Way Forward, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 1, April 2008
 B M Nafi, Fatwa and War: On the Allegiance of the American Muslim Soldiers in the Aftermath of September 11, Islamic Law and Society, Vol. 11, No. 1, BRILL, 2004, p. 78
 D Hussain, op cit p. 378
 The terms “political participation” are broad in their purport, however, they will be used to mean participation within the political institutions and processes of state – specifically in relation to voting processes for members of parliament and participating in legislative processes.
 J Mohammed, And why you should not, Q News, 14 March 1997: 27, p. 255–259
 Y al-Qaradawi, Min Fiqh al-Dawla Fi al-Islam (On the fiqh of the Islamic state), Dar al-Shoruk, 2001; M S al-Aawa, On the Political System of the Islamic State, Dar al-Shoruk, 1989; T al-Qadri, The Islamic State; T A al-Nabhani, Shaksiyya Islamiyya; M al-Ghazali, Islam and Political Dictatorship, Dar al-Kotob al-Islamia; M al-Khalidi, Naqdh Al-Nizzam al-Democratyya (Criticism of the democratic system), Dar al-Jeel, 1984.
The context is of democracy in the Muslim world however the citation has implications for those engaging with it in the West - M A Fattah and J Butterfield, Muslim Cultural Entrepreneurs and the Democracy Debate, Critical Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 15, No. 1, Spring 2006, p. 50
 Those who oppose democracy and participation therein have cited the following: Dr Asrar Ahmed (Pakistan), Hamood bin Uqlaa ash-Shuaibee (Saudi Arabia), Ahmed Muhammad Shaakir (Egypt), Muhammad Qutb (Egypt), Bakr Abu Zayd (Saudi Arabia), Jafar bin Muhammad al-Kataanee (Morocco), Umar Abdur Rahman (Egypt), Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen al-Albanee (Syria), Muhammad bin Ibraaheem Aal-(Saudi Arabia), Abdur Raazaq Afeefee (Egypt), Muhammad Ameen ash-Shanqeetee (Morocco), Muhammad Haamid al-Faqee (Egypt), Muhammad Khaleel Haraas (Egypt), Muqbil bin Haadee al-Waadee (Yemen), Ali bin Khudar al-Khudayr (Saudi Arabia), Abdul Qaadir bin Abdul Azeez (Sayid Imaam ash-Shareef) (Egypt), Abdur Raheem at-Tahaan (Syria), Abdul Hafeedh al-Doosaree (Saudi Arabia), Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisee (Jordan), Ahmed bin Hamood al-Khaalidee (Saudi Arabia), Rifaaee Suroor (Egypt), Mustafa Shaamiyaah (Egypt), Abdul Kareem bin Saalih al-Hameed (Saudi Arabia), Omar Bakri Mohammed (UK/Lebanon), Abdul Hakeem Hasaan (Egypt), Ahmed as-Sabeyahee (Egypt), Haamid bin Abdullah al-Alee (Kuwait), Naasir bin Fahd al-Umar (Saudi Arabia), Hamid bin Abdullah al-Hameedee (Saudi Arabia), Yusuf al-Uyayree (Saudi Arabia), Abdul Azeez bin Saalam al-Umar (Saudi Arabia), Ahmed bin Saalih as-Sanaanee (Saudi Arabia), Hamid bin Hameed ar-Ras (Saudi Arabia), Abdullah al-Ghunaymaan (Saudi Arabia), Muhammad Abdus Salaam Faraj (Egypt), Umar Mahmood Abu Umar (Palestine), Muhammad Ismaaeel al-Maqdam (Egypt), Sayid Saeed al-Ghabaashee (Egypt), Abdul Aakhar Hamaad (Egypt), Muhammad al-Ghazaazee (Morocco), Muhammad Mustafa al-Muqree (Egypt), Haanee as-Sabaaee (Egypt), Muhammad bin Sulaymaan al-Sameyaee (Egypt), Saalih al-Awfee (Saudi Arabia), Abu Hafs al-Mureetaanee (Mauritania), Khaalid Fakree (Egypt), Ahmed Yusuf (Egypt), Abd al-Majeed al-Shaadhalee (Egypt), Abdul Majeed al-Faqee (Egypt), Khaalid al-Faqee (Egypt), Muhammad Taamir (Egypt), Muhammad Sharif (Egypt), Ahmed an-Najaar (Egypt), Jamaal Abdul Haadee (Egypt), Usaamah Mansoor (Egypt), Abdul Munim Haleemah (Syria), Abul Hasan al-Qaaree (Egypt), Mujadee Kamaal (Egypt), Muhammad Jameel Ghaazee (Egypt), Mustafa al-Adwee (Egypt), Usaamah Abdul Adheem (Egypt), Mustafa Kaamal (Egypt), Usaamah Haafidh (Egypt), Fawzee as-Saeed (Egypt), Shareef Hazaae (Egypt), Jafar Idris (Sudan), Saeed bin Zuayr (Saudi Arabia), Abdullah ar-Rashood (Saudi Arabia), Taqi al-Din al-Nabahaanee (Palestine), Abd al-Qadeem Zaloom (Palestine), Ahmed ad-Daoor (Jordan), Ustaadh Mahmood Abd al-Kareem al-Hasan (Lebanon), Ahmed al-Qasos (Lebanon), Ali Saeed Abul Hasan (Sudan), Haafidh Saalih (Jordan), Ataaa Khaleel (Jordan), Isaam Ameerah (Palestine), Imam Anwar al Awlaki (Yeman), Abdullah Khaatar (Saudi Arabia), Abdur Razaaq bin Muhammad al-Hamid (Kuwait), Taariq Abdul Haleem (Egypt), Ahmed Fareed (Egypt), Muhammad Yaaqoot (Egypt), Abdul Qaadir Arnaoot (Syria), Shuaib Arnaoot (Syria), Abu Abdullah Abdul Fataah al-Afreeqee (Nigeria), Abd al-Azeez al-Badree (Iraq), Imran Nazar Hosein (Trinidad), Abd al-Qaadir ibn Abd al-Azeez, Badee al-din, Ubayd al-Jaabiree, Yahya al-Hajoree, Ahmed bin Yahya al-Najmee, Abd al-Azeez Buree, Saalih al-Fawzaan, Abdullaah al-Ghudayaan, Abu Nasr Muhammed ibn Abdullah al-Raymee, Badiuddin Shah al-Sindhi, Imran Nazar Hosein, Rabee, Muqbil bin Haadee, Fez Mohammed, Ustaadh Kamal Abu Zahra (UK) and Shahrul Hussain al-Azhari (UK).
 Other similar ideologues included Rashid al-Ghanouchi of Tunisia and Hasan al-Turabi of Sudan
 http://islamicsystem.blogspot.com/2007/08/ruling-by-kufr-is-haraam-by-prof.html; Hizb ut-Tahrir, Hamla Dawah tul-Islam wajibat wa sifaat (The way to carry the call – its obligations & characteristics)", 2001
 S Taji-Farouki, Fundamental Quest: Hizb Al-Tahrir and the Search for the Islamic Caliphate, Grey Seal Books
 N Hopkins and V Kahani-Hopkins, The antecedents of identification: A rhetorical analysis of British Muslim activists constructions of community and identity, British Journal of Social Psychology, 2004, 43, pp. 41–57; P Mandaville, Muslim Transnational Identity and State Responses in Europe and the UK after 9/11: Political Community, Ideology and Authority, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 35, No. 3, March 2009, pp. 497-502
 http://www.alhramain.com/text/alraseed/958/qazaya/2.htm, (originally from Al-Sharq al-Awsat, 18 January 2000)
 Tariq Ramadan discusses such notions in his “To be a European Muslim”
 Alwani argues, “It is the duty of American Muslims to participate constructively in the political process, if only to protect their rights, and give support to views and causes they favour...”
Banglawala of the MCB argued, “However, the solution to combating warmongering policies, racism, discrimination, bigotry and the eroding of our civil liberties cannot be to withdraw in disgust due to the actions of some corrupt politicians but to increase our participation and work with other like-minded people to help make our elected officials more accountable to us.”http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/mar/11/muslims-know-value-democratic-engagement
 Yusuf al-Qaradawi argues the basic principle (al-asl) is it is forbidden to participate in a non-Islamic government, but there are grounds for exception: reducing evil and injustice to the extent one can, the lesser of two evils... The conditions Qaradawi imposes are illuminating including: (a) there be some responsibility, independence and authority, rather than merely being the executor of another’s will; (b) the regime not be characterized by injustice and tyranny, and known for its antagonism to human rights; (c) the right to oppose everything which contradicts Islam or at least to refrain from it – Y al-Qaradawi, Min ﬁqh al-dawla fil-Islam, Dar al-Shuruq, 1997, 180, pp. 184-5.
 IFE and Muhammad Rassoul of Germany
 M Rassoul, Das deutsche Kalifat, 1994, Islamische Bibliothek; M Rassoul, Der deutsche Mufti, 1997, Islamische Bibliothek
 In 1990 Kalim Siddiqui proposed a “Muslim Parliament” to counter the Westminster assembly. It was to “consolidate the Muslim population in Britain into an organized community in pursuit of the goals set by Islam.” Siddiqui blamed secularization for “disorders of the mind, body and soul” afflicting Western civilization saying Muslims have a duty to convert non-believers to Islam, warning “this will only happen if [Muslims] succeed in arresting the ‘integration’ and ‘assimilation’ of Muslims into the corrupt bogland of Western culture” – R Carle, Islamists in the “Rainbow” Coalition, Society; Mar/Apr2008, Vol. 45 Issue 2, p. 186
 The Sunday Telegraph exposed Muslims attempting to introduce Islamic values into the political system. Dr Wahid of Hizb ut-Tahrir argued: "All of this proves something we have said for years – in order to achieve ANY influence in the political system in the UK, a Muslim is expected to abandon his values and sell his principles, and adopt the western secular values of the corrupt political parties. This should not be a surprise to any observer of British politics. Many mainstream MPs, who might even have started life with good intentions, have been shown to be corrupted by the political process, wrongfully claiming thousands of pounds in expenses…"
 The Role of Muslim Identity Politics in Radicalisation (a study in progress),http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/pdf/452628.pdf;
Contextualising Islam In Britain: Exploratory Perspectives -http://www.cis.cam.ac.uk/CIBPReportWeb.pdf
 P Mandaville, op cit, pp. 503-4;T Abbas, Muslim Minorities in Britain: Integration, Multiculturalism and Radicalism in the Post-7/7 Period, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol. 28, No. 3, August 2007, p. 296
 Interview with Mohammed Sawalha, President of the Muslim Association in Britain, al-Jazeera, 22:50 Pm (Gmt +2), Dec 03, 2003 (www.fnsmiddleeast.com)
The report can be downloaded from:http://www.cis.cam.ac.uk/CIBPReportWeb.pdf
 Dr Ahmed, Nabhani, Daur, Zaloom, Hosein, Raymee, Abu Zahra etc
 For example, Taqi al-Din al-Nabhani, Ahmed al-Daur, Abd al-Qadeem Zaloom
 Michael Mumisa being an advocate of this approach
 Including penal laws, inheritance laws etc – Suhail Webb being one who advocates this approach
 al-Qaradawi argues that the basic principle (al-asl) is it is forbidden to participate in a non-Islamic government, but there are certain grounds for exception: (a) reducing evil and injustice to the extent that one can, (b) committing the lesser of two evils (akhaff al-ḍararayn), and (c) descending from the higher example to the lower reality. These three grounds are linked to certain legal maxims, including: “necessity makes the forbidden permissible”; “hardship brings about relief”; “do no injury nor reciprocate an injury”; and “relieve hardship”. The conditions Qaradawi imposes include: (a) there be some responsibility, independence and authority, rather than merely being the executor of another’s will; (b) the regime not be characterized by injustice and tyranny, and known for its antagonism to human rights. A Muslim may not participate in dictatorial regimes which tyrannize their populations, and (c) There be the right to oppose everything which contradicts Islam in a clear way, or at least to refrain from it. - al-Qaradawi, Min fiqh al-dawla fil-Islam Dar al-Shuruq, 1997, pp. 184-5.
 A number of researchers have noted that there appears to be an acknowledge prima facie case for a prohibition on voting – N Hopkins and V Kahani-Hopkins, Identity construction and British Muslims’political activity: Beyond rational actor theory, British Journal of Social Psychology (2004), 43, 2004, p. 348
 The evolution of views regarding voting seems to have started with it being permissible or recommended and more recently obligatory.
 Though some attempt to utilise arguments of majority, it is noteworthy that such arguments have no value. As a number of classical scholars have pointed out, truth is not with the number but with the argument.
 Abu Eesa Niamatullah argues, “...they are going up against an almost scholarly consensus of our time that ‘to vote with an intention to improve one’s conditions is permissible.’”http://www.ummah2.com/archives/blogs/1639-uk-general-election-2010-the-big-voting-debate-abu-eesa-niamatullah.html
 Though it should be noted the Mumisa also argues it can be a duty of sufficiency (fard kifaya)
 al-Qaradawi, Min ﬁqh al-dawla fil-Islam, Dar al-Shuruq, 1997, 180, pp. 184-5.
 The scholars include Abd al-Qaadir ibn Abd al-Azeez, Badee al-din, Shahrul Hussain al-Azhari, Ubayd al-Jaabiree, Yahya al-Hajoree, Ahmed bin Yahya al-Najmee, Abd al-Azeez Buree, Saalih al-Fawzaan, Abdullaah al-Ghudayaan, Abu Nasr Muhammed ibn Abdullah al-Raymee, Badiuddin Shah al-Sindhi, Imran Nazar Hosein, Rabee, Muqbil bin Haadee, Fez Mohammed, Taqi al-Din al-Nabhani, Abd al-Qadeem Zaloom, Ahmed Daoor, Shahrul Hussain al-Azhari and Ustaadh Kamal Abu Zahra
 Al-Mabadee al-Mufeedah fi al-Tawheed wa al-Fiqh wa al-Aqeedah - Basic Principles regarding Tawheed, Islamic Jurisprudence and Belief, pp. 29-48
 Muhammad al-Imaam, Tanweerudh-Dhulamaat bi Kashf Mafaasid wa Shubahaat al-Intikhabaat (Illuminating the Darkness in order to uncover the corruptions and doubts concerning Voting), pp. 31-35
 Liwa al-Islam Magazine, Issue No. 11, 1409 H, p. 7
 Simon Jenkins, Guardian, 8th April 2010
 Mawlawi states, “we are not against secularism in Europe, because it was the solution available for the problems of European societies. Unlike many Muslim countries, European countries adopted secularism to replace the dictatorship of priests, not to replace Islam.”http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&pagename=Zone-English-Living_Shariah%2FLSELayout&cid=1248188089986; Ibrahim Desai believes, “voting is a testimony (giving Shahadah)...”
http://www.iacn.org.uk/iacnfol/viewpoint/scholars_voting.htm; Suhaib Hasan argues, “The vote can be treated either as a good intercession... or as Naseehah... or it can be treated as Tawkeel (deputising someone on your behalf to achieve a certain task).”http://www.salaam.co.uk/themeofthemonth/september03_index.php?l=53; Sulayman Gani argues “It needs to be clearly understood that voting for a candidate or party who rules according to man-made law does not necessitate approval or acceptance for his method.”http://www.cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=6142
Hadad likens voting to a survey where one is presented with a list of options of what one would like. From this he concludes it is not an endorsement of legislation as what one is doing is answering a question that is presented. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56sRaj2EkQE
 Y al-Qaradawi, Fiqh al-Dawla fi al-Islam, 1997, Dar al-Shuruq, p. 140
 B Holden, Understanding Liberal Democracy, 1988, Philip Allan, pp. 4-5
 Z Kauser, Mawdudi on Democracy: A Critical Appreciation, The Islamic Quarterly, vol. XLVII, No.4, 2003, p.322
 J. Martine and C. Turner, Constitutional & Administrative Law, 2nd ed., 2006, Hodder Arnold; J. Goldsworthy, The Sovereignty of Parliament: History and Philosophy, 2001, Clarendon Press
 “...if in the case of a sitting MP a referral from the Whips office is received, there should, however, be an endorsement interview in each case before a recommendation is made to the NEC.”
 There are three categories of whips that are issued on particular bills: Single Line Whip is a guide to what the party's policy would indicate, and notification of when the vote is expected to take place; this is non-binding for attendance or voting, Two Line Whip is an instruction to attend and vote in a particular way; attendance is required unless prior permission is given by the whip, Three Line Whip is a strict instruction to attend and vote in a particular way, breach of which could have serious consequences including expulsion from the parliamentary political group and the party -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whip_%28politics%29#United_Kingdom
 Most of the remaining seats were won by parties that contest elections in parts of the UK: Scottish National Party (Scotland), Plaid Cymru (Wales) and Democratic Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Fein.
 as set out in Clause Four of the original party constitution
 M E Hawkesworth and M Kogan, Encyclopedia of government and politics, Vol. 1
 C V Wedgwood, The King's Peace, 1956, p. 63
 E A Harris, From Social Contract to Hypothetical Agreement: Consent and the Obligation to Obey the Law, Columbia Law Review, Vol. 92, No. 3, Apr 1992, pp. 651-683
 J Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Allen and Unwin, 1976
 A Heywood, Political Theory, Second Edition, Palgrave, 1999
 G B Powell, Elections as instruments of democracy: majoritarian and proportional visions, 2000
 M A Riff, Dictionary of modern political ideologies, 1990, MUP, pp. 171-5; R S Katz, Democracy and elections, 1997, Oxford University Press, p. 44; T B McAffee, Inherent rights, the Written Constitution, and Popular Sovereignty, 2000, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 14; J Kis, Constitutional democracy, 2003, Central European University Press, p. 153; S S Nagel, Handbook of global political policy, 2000, CRC Press, p. 157
 On election MPs are required to swear the following oath: “I ………. swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”
 D Miller, Deliberative Democracy and Social Choice, Political Studies, 1992, XL, Special Issue, p. 55; T Lewis, Electing Not to Vote: Christian Reflections on Reasons for Not Voting, 2008, Cascade Books
 Cameron says Labour have 'lost mandate'http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8666737.stm;
George Howarth, a Labour minister, said, “We have not got a mandate for a Labour government; we have not got a mandate for a Labour government supported by the Liberal Democrats.”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7702764/Hung-parliament-Gordon-Brown-under-pressure-to-stand-down-as-Prime-Minister.html
The Labour Prime Minister Brown most resembles James Callaghan... Neither secured a personal mandate from a general election.http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/may/15/history-will-praise-gordon-brown
Cameron, for example, could have had his mandate had he stuck by his promise to hold a referendum on Europe.http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/christopherhope/100039808/ten-reasons-to-be-cheerful-about-britains-new-coalition-government/;
Britain's Mandate For Moderationhttp://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/pl_20100515_4622.php;
Comment: Anyone who watched any of Labours election broadcasts will be in know doubt as to which is the nasty party of British politics. It’s the one which has rightly lost it’s mandate to govern and gone to opposition.http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/maryriddell/100039519/a-libdem-con-woe-betide-labour-if-it-mocks-the-coalition/
 Election latest: Tactical voting in Scotland may deny Tories mandate -http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/07/scotland-tactical-voting-conservatives-mandate;
 Clegg will use strong poll result as mandate for electoral reform.http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/clegg-will-use-strong-poll-result-as-mandate-for-electoral-reform-1962531.html
What kind of a mandate do you need to be elected as an MP?http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/05/13/what-kind-of-a-mandate-do-you-need-to-be-elected-as-an-mp/
In a poll, 75% said David Cameron’s alliance has a mandate to govern but 57% reckoned Mr Clegg should not be in his new role.http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/view/135482/Young-voters-think-coalition-will-work-/
Sulayman Gani: http://www.cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=6142
Haitham Hadad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56sRaj2EkQE
 A survey is an investigation of the opinions or experience of a group of people, based on a series of questions -http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/survey?view=uk
 Those participating in elections are those most likely to take an interest in voting, capturing the voters’ will. Surveys however are administered to random people capturing the people’s will. Surveys appear to be a more accurate reflection of popular will than elections - S Verba, “The Citizen as Respondent: Sample Surveys and American Democracy”, American Political Science Assoc., 1995, American Political Science Review, 90, March 1996, pp. 1-7
 Op Cit, M A Riff, p. 171; Op Cit, R S Katz; Op Cit, J Kis, p. 153
 For this reason the baya process is obligatory as advocated by scholars like Nabhani and Zaloom – T A Nabhani, The Ruling System, Khilafah Publications; E A Harris, From Social Contract to Hypothetical Agreement: Consent and the Obligation to Obey the Law, Columbia Law Review, Vol. 92, No. 3, Apr 1992, pp. 651-83, Columbia Law Review Assoc.
 Op Cit, M A Riff, p. 171; Op Cit, R S Katz; Op Cit, J Kis, p. 153; Op Cit S S Nagel, p. 157
 Ghazali said, "Therefore his saying, “Actions are based on intentions” is restricted, as far as the three categories are concerned, to obediences and permitted things but not to sins. This is because an obedience can be turned into a sin by the (the wrong) intention. Also the permitted action can be turned into a sin or obedience by the intention. In contrast, a sin can never be turned into obedience by the (good) intention. Yes, the intention could have an interference in it (i.e. the sin); and that is when evil intentions are added to it, and which would increase its burden and its great evil result.” – Ghazali, Ihya Ulum al-Din, Vol. 4, pp. 388-391
 “la yunsabu lis-saakiti qawl”
 Muslims produced a eulogy exhibiting pleasure at Mutim ibn Adi who provided protection to the Prophet(saw) when he died as a disbeliever – it does not condone disbelief but a good action of Mutim’s.
 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu al-Fatawa Vol. 20; Ibn al-Qayyim, Ilam; al-Shatibi, Muwafaqat; Ibn Abd al-Salam, Qawaid Fiqhiyya.
 A hadith narrates a Bedouin having accepted Islam urinated in a mosque out of ignorance. The Prophet(saw) let him finish and explained the inappropriateness of urinating in a mosque. The Prophet(saw) tolerated a lesser evil by letting him finish urinating and prevented a greater evil of stopping him causing him to run and polluting the mosque.
 Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Fatawa, Vol. 23, p. 343
 Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah
 http://www.forum.uwisoc.co.uk/showthread.php?p=72776;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUKQJwYvzUQ&feature=PlayList&p=9C38EF89CBAB196D&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1; http://islam21c.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18367:advice-to-british-muslims-regarding-the-coming-elections&catid=39&Itemid=83;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56sRaj2EkQE
 J Plamenatz, Consent, Freedom, and Political Obligation, 2nd edition, 1968, Oxford University Press; C Pateman, The problem of political obligation: a critique of liberal theory, John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 1985, p. 89; P Steinberger , The Idea of the State, 2004, Cambridge University Press.
 P Mandaville, Muslim Transnational Identity and State Responses in Europe and the UK after 9/11: Political Community, Ideology and Authority, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 35, No. 3, March 2009, pp. 492-3
 R Carle, op cit, pp. 181-2
 J Paxman, The Political Animal – An Anatomy, 2002
 The BNP's Statement
The British National Party bears no animosity towards individual members of the Muslim faith. There are probably many issues that we as Nationalists agree with the Muslim peoples of the world. For example, we have consistently condemned the west's attacks on Muslim counties such as Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not believe that our country should be trying to force Muslim countries to adopt western systems of democracy by force of arms. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims have been killed by the British and American governments. We believe that in this country, Islam should take issue with the main party's bloody policies in the Middle East, which the British National Party had nothing to do with. We see these wars as merely attempts to secure the Middle East oil and protect Israeli Interests.
We believe in keeping Britain an overwhelmingly Christian country, and do not believe Islam should become a dominating religion within our Land. Would any Muslim country in the world accept Christianity taking over as a dominating religion? In many Muslim countries Christians are persecuted and murdered by Muslims for practicing their faith.
We believe the Muslim Council of Britain should put its own extremists in order before having the audacity to accuse the British National party of extremism for merely wishing to put the host Christian population first.
However we do recognize that British born Muslim extremists have been further radicalized due to British foreign policy in the Middle East and uncontrolled immigration from counties sending radicalized Muslim clerics to preach hate on our land.
Regards, John Walker, BNP Press Officehttp://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1243824944605&pagename=Zone-English-Euro_Muslims%2FEMELayout#ixzz0lUNeVFtZ
 Ghazali, al-Mustasfa, pt. 1, p. 275
 Shatibi, al-Muwafaqat fee Usul al-Ahkam, p. 25
 M K Masud, Shatibi’s Philosophy of Islamic Law, 1995, Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University Islamabad, pp. 135-151, The Principle of al-Masalih al-Mursala (Considerations of Public Interest), http://www.iiu.edu.my/deed/lawbase/maliki_fiqh/usul10.html
 Like Sohail Webb
 Mumisa unusually argues that Muslims should not expect but accept the lack of morality from secular states - despite the thrust in the UK in recent years for the moral acceptance of gay lifestyles and other loose sexual morality.
 Despite this reality, some scholars still repeat this myth – Abu Eesa Niamatullah argued for the 2010 elections, “Yes, let’s all not vote and allow the BNP and UKIP to rule our local schools and Masajid with the proud manifesto of their poster boy Wilders, “Close all Islamic Schools, ban burkahs and the Quran, stop Islamification. Enough is enough.”http://www.ummah2.com/archives/blogs/1639-uk-general-election-2010-the-big-voting-debate-abu-eesa-niamatullah.html
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:hxb6H48zX58J:www.revolts.co.uk/The%2520Usual%2520Suspects.pdf+jeremy+corbyn+rebel+not+expelled&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiHs0xtsT3DI0C7tnfzT9u_vM8CkjgEwME6jCz50-KTMbJDGyzIyFkL_zFDsblqo9LEz28gI-o5Auhf_Ert9XhAzTOEJTa2OI2AEkvCROQx4usz20cC7zByAWYP_heHDeYafd97&sig=AHIEtbRKanpTbMT9x3cQBm6Q3hGzp16iqA How does one explain such phenomena? All parties allow some MPs to vote against the whip from time to time. It maintains the appearance that MPs represent their constituents and allows MPs some discretion. According to some political commentators it is the same reason corporate media keep writers like John Pilger, George Monbiot etc. The Liberal Democrats on whipped votes are almost monolithic in their uniformity. The number of occasions on which a Liberal Democrat MP has voted against their party on a three line whip is almost nil. Philip Cowley wrote “Liberal Democrat cohesion on whipped votes is astonishing”.
 http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/sadiq_khan/tooting, reviewed 24/04/10
 "Internal Exile" for Sarwar, BBC - politics 97, 1997,http://www.bbc.co.uk/politics97/news/06/0625/sarwar.shtml; "MP cleared of bribery". BBC News Online. 25 March 1999.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/303647.stm.
 "MP's son guilty of huge cash scam", BBC News Online,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/6687889.stm.; Kelly Fiveash (24 May 2007), MP's son guilty of VAT carousel fraud, The Register,
Register of Members' Interests, House of Commons,
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Mahmood; B Inayat (26 November 2008). "Supping with the devil - We're still discovering exactly how politicians and the media colluded to deceive us over Afghanistan and Iraq". The Guardian.http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/26/iraqandthemedia-islam.
 Including Shatibi, Ghazali and Ibn Taymiyya
 Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashya wa’l-Nazaair, p. 85
 Ahkam al-Quran, Vol. 1, p. 159
 Ashbah wa al-Nadhair, p. 63
 Al Mughni, Vol. 9, p. 331
 Wasit, Vol. 7, p. 168
 Al-Quanin al Fiqhia, p. 116
 A K Zaydan, Majmuat al Buuth al Fiqhia, pp. 141-214
 Generally the Shafiites, Mutazilites and Asharites - M H Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, 1991, Islamic Texts Society, p. 233
 Notably from the Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali schools – Ibid., p. 232
 “…responsible for the harvest storehouses, in which they would collect produce for the years of drought which he told them would come. He wanted to be the guard, so that he could dispense the harvest in the wisest, best and most beneficial way...” - Ibn Katheer v5, 179
 Symbolised by the most important aspect of the system, finance, a common linguistic device in Arabic
 al-Tabari, v16, pp. 151-2
 al-Qurtubi, al-Jami Li-Ahkam al-Quran, Vol. 9, p. 215
 al-Tabari, Jami al-Bayan An Tawil Ay al-Quran, Vol. 9, p. 217
 Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo al-Fatwa: part 28, p. 68
 Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo al-Fatwa: part 20, p. 56
 ibn Kathir v5, p. 168
 Some scholars claim Mafhoom al-Mukhalafa (opposite meaning) implies he judged others by the law of the king. Mafhoom al-Mukhalafa is problematic in this case as opposite meanings do not generally hold when applied to nouns or names. Shawkani states those who use this type of reasoning have no excuse, whether it is linguistic, legal or rational saying, "It is known from the tongue of the Arabs that whoever says: I saw Zayd, will not be implying that he did not see other than Zayd, but if there is indication in the text that this meaning is correct then the evidence is by the indication."
 The scholars generally accept he was a Muslim – Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Qudamah, Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Hajar, al-Munajjid etc.
 Six ahadith are usually cited for this even, reported by al-Bukhari. Three of them have been narrated by Jaabir b. Abdullah al-Ansari and the other three by Abu Hurayra.
 Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim, vol. 2; Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, al-Isaabah, vol. 3
 A similar narration has been compiled by Ahmed.
 al-Bayhaqi, Dalaail al-Nubuwwah
 Al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim, vol. twelve
 M Hamidullah, Political documents of the Prophetic Era.
 Tabari, Qalqashandi, Ibn Kathir etc
 With some like ibn Hazm arguing they were two different people
 Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo al-Fatawa
 A Khan, The Fiqh of Minorities – The New Fiqh to Subvert Minorities, 2004, Khilafah Publications
 In his Tafseer of this verse Ibn Abbas(ra) stated that anybody who denies a definitive judgement of Allah contained in the Shariah is a Kafir. Tabari says this is agreed upon. Ibn Abbas(ra) went on to say that anyone who says the Rule of Allah does not have to be established is a Kafir. The one who says the rule of man is better than the Rule of Allah is a Kafir. The one who states the rules of man are as good as the Rule of Allah is a Kafir. He also said that the one who does not deny Allah’s Hukm but believes that it is allowed to rule by other than what Allah has revealed then he is a Kafir because he is denying that the right of Rule is solely for Allah. This is the case even if he says the rule of Allah is better than the rule such a person is implementing.
 Yahya Al Hajoree, Al-Mabadee al-Mufeedah fi al-Tawheed wa al-Fiqh wa al-Aqeedah - Basic Priniciples regarding Tawheed, Islamic Jurisprudence, and Belief- new Arabic print pp. 29-48
 It is agreed amongst the classical scholars including al-Maqdisi, al-Kasani and al-Quraafi etc. those who delegate in prohibited matters will share the sin and punishment.
Likewise the same notions apply to trusteeship for those that consider the MP to vacillate between delegate and trustee.
 Socialism, capitalism, liberalism, conservatism etc
 Permissibility of alcohol, sexual promiscuity, abortion laws, same sex marriages etc
 Foreign policy, taxation, integration, education etc
 Clause IV - Ibid.
 Interaction on matters that do not contradict Islam is generally seen as acceptable
 S M Darsh, Questions and Answers about Islam, 1997, Ta-Ha Publishers
 T A Nabhani, The Islamic State, al-Khilafah Publications
 Safi-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, Al-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) - The Biography of Allah's Beloved Messenger(saw), Islamic University of Madinah
 Ibn Kathir, The life of the Prophet Muhammed, Vol II, 1998, Garnet Publishing, pp. 105-106; al-Tabari, Vol III, p. 1205; S Numani, Sirat-Un-Nabi, Vol I, 1979, Kazi Publications, p. 226; Ibn Hisham, Sira Nabawiya, 2003, Maktaba al-Maward, pp. 46-47
Op Cit., Ibn Kathir, p. 106
 Ibid., p. 113
 O Roy, Globalised Islam: the Search for a New Ummah, 2004, Hurst and Company
 G Kepel, The War for Muslim Minds, Islam and the West, 2004, Harvard University Press