Reference: Recording done with the Shaykh’s permission on January 24th, 2007 (5 Muharram 1428)
The following question, from America, is about voting for those it is believed will benefit the Muslims. We are not asking about a Muslim entering into an election as a candidate, nor are we concerned about Federal elections. Rather, the question is about voting in local elections for those who have the authority to delegate plots of land to the Muslims, abandoned buildings, and other such benefits. If the Muslims don’t vote for them, other groups will and, therefore, acquire these benefits. So, may Allah reward you well dear Shaykh, do you have any advice in this matter?
Shaykh: That which appears correct to me, insha’Allah, is that if some good is anticipated as a result of voting, then we vote. We vote for the candidate as long as he is presently benefiting the Muslims or promises to benefit the Muslims in the future, even if he is not a Muslim. It would be inappropriate for the Muslims to refrain from voting for this individual, especially if the leader of the Muslims can dictate terms, conditions, and other stipulations on him as a result of the Muslims voting. For example, the leader of the Muslims says, “We will vote for you on the condition that you support our interests, mention them to your superiors, etc.” And this applies in any country where the Muslims are a minority, not just in America.
By voting the Muslims may gain needed influence over politicians and other authorities. In return, these politicians and authorities may do something that will benefit Islam and the Muslims. This is especially the case in local elections where, as you have mentioned, the one who wins may have the authority to give away plots of lands on which schools can be built. I am familiar with this because it is even practiced in India. In this instance, it is not befitting in the least for the Muslims to hesitate or delay voting for these candidates.
The Muslims should not hesitate to vote because withholding their votes will not harm these candidates in the least. They will win by the votes of non-Muslims regardless if the Muslims vote or not. For this reason, the Muslims should use their vote as a favor to these candidates. As a result, the Muslims will be placed in an advantageous position of influence over these candidates. When they feel that they are indebted to the Muslims, the Muslims can benefit from their empathy and their sympathetic views and understanding of Muslim causes. This is a general Islamic benefit required by the Islamic public interests. This is our belief.
This is also the verdict given by our Shaykhs in India. Even Shaykh Bin Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him), from what we have heard, used to rule with the permissibility of participating in elections. And for this, insha’Allah, we hope from Allah a good future for the Muslims in every land. If this affair brings good to the Muslims then it’s not befitting to hesitate.
Questioner: May Allah reward you with good. In order to bring about further benefit, dear Shaykh, for those who say that this action includes assisting one who rules by other than what Allah revealed…
Shaykh: This doesn’t assist the one ruling by other than what Allah has revealed in view of the fact that if we don’t vote, the [non-Muslims] will win by their own votes. They will be elected without a doubt. They will come into power by their own accord whether or not we isolate ourselves from them or from the entire world… Thus, this does not assist them in establishing non-Islamic laws. They are the rulers and the ones in authority in those lands whether we vote for them or not. As a result, we should make an effort to influence them in a way that will be beneficial to Islam and the Muslims, insha’Allah.
Questioner: May Allah reward you with good dear Shaykh. Please excuse us for taking so much of your time.
Shaykh: May Allah reward you with good. I mention this with a clear conscience because we have heard our shaykhs give this verdict, especially when it benefits the Muslims. This is also the case in India; some of the idol worshipers in the Parliament speak on behalf of the Muslims and their interests…and it is possible that Allah will aid the deen by using a disbeliever.
For further clarification, refer to the article entitled Confusion about Voting? https://www.madeenah.com/notes.cfm?id=1002