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Electing someone to rule by Kufr

Sahl b. Sa’d as-Saa’idi (ra) who said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” It was asked, "Who are those strangers, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied, “Those that correct the people when they become corrupt.” [At-Tabarani in al-Kabeer]

The resurgence of the Islamic Ummah and her demands to return to the Islamic way of life on all her affairs has become apparent for all the people to witness. This has manifest itself in revival of Islam as a political Deen, which seeks to implement itself. In fact the discussion that Islam is political and the need for an Islamic State in order to apply the Islamic rules and laws that have been detailed in the Quran and the Sunnah are foregone conclusions. The revival of Islam started as something “strange” in the new secular world order but is now whole-heartedly adopted by the Muslim Ummah as her cause.

However certain confusions still exist within certain elements of the Muslim Ummah who whilst sincere in their efforts and noble in there goals have failed to understand their error of the path they are upon. They are those who cannot distinguish between the Elections as a process of determining the consent of the masses in its selection of a ruler and Democracy.

Democracy: The Rule of Man versus the Rule of Allah

Democracy in principle means that man has a free hand at determining rules and laws as he pleases and he is in total control of this i.e. he is sovereign master of himself. Hence man can decided to enact a piece of legislation that pleases him, so for example in some Muslim countries (including Indonesia) they closed down the nightclubs for Ramadhan and re-open them after Ramadhan was over! Or there is legislation that is still being considered in Bangladesh as to whether to legalise prostitution. Or in the West they have been having trouble deciding whether to permit Homosexual relationships at sixteen or eighteen, whether to have an unelected chamber that can accept or reject legislation, etc.

The point is the principle that that they feel they have the right to decide whether man should interact with the opposite sex and fornicate freely or not, how to we regulate the rules and laws that Man determines etc. The fundamental principle here being that man possesses the right to legislate and make rules and laws. Practically individuals are appointed in Parliaments and legislative houses to debate, scrutinise and enact law. The basis of legislation is the majority decision of these selected people, who will vote according to their own personal experiences, their party line, their business interests (More often than not) and the like.

This is something that is contradictory to the very foundations of Islam and its basic beliefs i.e. that Allah is the sovereign master and the only one with the right of determining legislation and rules and laws as He pleases and the rest of creation including mankind had no right except to Hear and Obey the orders of Allah.

Allah (swt) says in the holy qu'ran:

إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ
“The right of Rule is solely for Allah.”(Surah Yusuf verse 40).

Establishing clearly that He is the sole legislator. In fact it is a principle of Aqeeda that Allah is the source of all of Ahkam (laws).

Allah (swt) states Surah al Maida verse 44:

وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
“And whosoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed then such are the kafireen (disbelievers) ”

Ibn Abbas (ra) stated in his Tafseer of this verse that anybody who denies a definitive judgement of Allah contained in the Shariah then such a person is a Kafir. Ibn Jarir at Tabari says that this is agreed upon. Ibn Abbas (ra) went on to say that anyone who says that the Rule of Allah does not have to be established then he is a Kafir. The one who says that the rule of man is better than the Rule of Allah then he is a Kafir. The one who states that the rules of man are just as good as the Rule of Allah then he is a Kafir. He also said that the one who does not deny Allah’s (swt) 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 that the rule of Allah is better than the rule that such a person is implementing. However if someone rules by the rules of Kufr i.e. by other than Islam and does not believe in them but rather he hates them and believes what he is doing is a major sin. Then such a person has committed Kufr doon Kufr a Kufr which is less than Kufr i.e. a major sin which is definitely haram but is not a Kafir. This is the soundest position in my view but others have held different positions.

Ibn al-Qayyim said: "The correct view is that ruling according to something other than that which Allah has revealed includes both major and minor Kufr, depending on the position of the judge. If he believes that it is obligatory to rule according to what Allah has revealed in this case, but he turns away from that out of disobedience, whilst acknowledging that he is deserving of punishment, then this is lesser Kufr. But if he believes that it is not obligatory and that the choice is his even though he is certain that this is the ruling of Allah, then this is major Kufr." [Madaarij as-Saaliheen, 1/336-337]

Al Hafidh Ibn Katheer (ra) in his tafseer of verse 151 of Surah an Nisa made reference to the Tarters at his time, “…who put together for them a law book extracted from different laws of the Jews, the Christians and the Deen of Islam. It also contained many rules taken only from their own opinion and desires that later became a system of law followed by the people and given precedence over the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of his Messenger (saw) so the ruler who does that is a Kafir.” [Tafseerul Quran ul Atheeem, Ibn Kathir]

Ibn Taymiyyah said: "Undoubtedly, whoever does not believe that it is obligatory to rule according to that which Allah has revealed to His Messenger is a Kafir, and whoever thinks it is permissible to rule among people according to his own opinions, turning away and not following which Allah has revealed is also a Kafir...So in matters which are common to the Ummah as a whole, it is not permissible to rule or judge according to anything except the Quran and Sunnah. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO MAKE THE PEOPLE FOLLOW THE WORDS OF A SCHOLAR OR AMEER OR SHAYKH OR KING. Whoever believes that he can judge between people according to any such thing, and does not judge between them according to the Quran and Sunnah is a Kafir." [Minhaj as-Sunnah, 5/130-132]

Ash-Shawkani said in one of his essays:
a)That referring for judgement to Taghoot (evil i.e. non Islam) constitutes major Kufr.

b) That referring for judgement to Taghoot is just one of a number of actions of Kufr, each of which in its own is sufficient to condemn the one who does it as a Kafir.

c) He gives examples of Kufr, such as people agreeing to deny women their rights of inheritance and their persisting in co-operating in that, and he states that is major kufr. [Ar-Rasaa'il as-Salafiyah by Ash-Shawkani, pg. 33-34]

Whilst the position that we adopt is not quite as harsh as that adopted by Ibn Katheer it makes it clear that any notion of ruling or supporting a ruler or ruling authority, or voting for political party that will endorse the rules or legislation of other than Islam is something definitely haram.

This should make it clear that voting or taking part in elections in a democratic system for any of the Kufr parties is something that is Haram and Kufr regardless of the benefit (Maslaha) or the perceived fruits of doing so. This is something that in principle is in conflict with the very Aqeeda of the Muslim.

Imam Shatibi (ra) said in his al Muwaffaqaat fee Usul al Ahkam volume page 25, “The Objective behind the Shariah is to liberate the individuals from his 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 to.”


Hence voting for any political party which is going to work within a democratic framework and vote for or against legislation in a parliament regardless of the apparent credentials is haram. As for voting a secular party in the Western systems then regardless of noble goal and the correctness of the intention this is something that contradicts the foundations of what it means to being a Muslim and without shadow of a doubt is something that is Haram.

This does not mean that in principle elections are not permitted but rather election in order to gain the consent of the Ummah or the representation of the Muslims as a whole in selecting the Majlis of the Ummah (the consultative body of the Muslims, which is one element of the ruling framework of Islam) or in the election of the Khaleefah, the leader of the Muslims.

The Bayah tul Harb (the Pledge of War) that instituted the Prophet (saw) in authority in Madinah demonstrates this point.

According to the narration’s in Ibn Hisham as authenticated by Ibn Katheer the Prophet (saw) asked the twelve tribes of the Aws and the Khazraj to, “Bring forth for me twelve representatives from amongst yourselves”.

They then appointed their twelve Nuqabah (representatives) who gave the Prophet their support (Nussrah) and allegiance (saw) on behalf of the rest of the people. So it is a permitted style to utilise elections as a mechanism to appoint the Khaleefah as the leader of the Muslims.

Indeed it would more than likely be one of the mechanisms the Khilafah whose return is imminent insha-Allah, would utilise as it facilitates the expression of the opinion of the masses. Imam Muslim narrates in his Saheeh that Umar ibn al Khattab (ra) when he was the Khaleefah of the Muslims was returning from an expedition when he overheard the Muslims saying that when Umar (ra) passes away that they would appoint such and such to which concerned him. So he called for a gathering of all the Muslims including the Sahabah (ra) in which he stated that the one appoints someone in authority without consulting the Muslims then kill him and kill the one who he appointed!

This was something which all the Muslims including the Sahabah (ra) witnessed yet although he permitted the spillage of Muslim blood they acknowledged the truth of the statement, which demonstrated the Ijma of the Sahabah (Agreement of the companions that the statement was a Shariah rule which the prophet [saw] informed them of). This made it clear that the masses must select the ruler and not the opinion of a minority faction.

Today however we are living without the Khilafah and the right of Muslims in appointing and selecting the Amir of the Mumineen has been taken away and the tyrant rulers have been appointed by the Kuffar who promote the secular democratic and autocratic systems in our land.
So we are required to work to remove them and give Bayah to Khaleefah so that this right of selecting the ruler can be returned to the Ummah.

Imam al Ghazali (ra) when writing of the consequences of losing the Khilafah stated
“The Judges are suspended, the wilayaat (authorities) are nullified, marriages are void, the decrees of those in authority can not be executed and all humans are on the verge of Haram”. [al Iqtisad fil Itiqad page 240]

Allah (swt) says in the Quran:

وَأَنِ احْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ
أَنْ يَفْتِنُوكَ عَنْ بَعْضِ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ
“So rule between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that has come to you”[Al Maidah 5:49]


Abdullah said…
As-selamu aleykum,

akhi who is the author of this article?

Islamic Revival said…
This is an edited version of an article by brother Jalaluddin Patel
abdullah said…
salaam akhie

In some countries participation not participating in the elections is reprimanded by law, like a fine and it can go further. this is the case in Belgium.

I understand it is a shar3i matter we should not dress the issue from a rational perspective.

Is it allowed to perform a blanc vote or an invalid vote. both are not excluded from the counting, they filtered out of it totally.

By doing this I do not vote for any representative and I will not get fined.

What is the hoekm on this issue, does this also fall in the definition of participation.

Jazak allahoe khair
Anonymous said…

What you mentioned about giving a blank vote is permitted. Voting per se is not prohibited voting for someone to legislate by kufr is prohibited. See the following for further details:
Islamic Revival said…

It is unlikely that at the beginning the Muslims who make hijra from the lands you mentioned to the Khilafah will be stopped by their own governments, as in the presently citizens can travel out of their countries freely and cannot be restricted once they have left the country.

Read the following which elaborates the rules of hijra:
buraq said…
Thanks for the article, I have another question concerning Hire purchase,is it allowed in islam. Their are different fatwas by Ulamaa some take it as trade some as riba, plz help on this.


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