Can Muslims living in Europe participate in elections, can they give their vote to non-Muslim political parties?
To understand the above-mentioned problem, there is a need to understand few basic things.
1. What is the religious status of vote?
2. What is the religious decree for casting a vote?
3. What it is to work for the betterment of the collective well being of the nation according to Quran and Sunnah?
Religious status of vote?
Vote is the word derived from English language. Its Arabic alternate is “intekhab”. In democratic nations to elect the representatives for, parliament, assembly, council and local government depends on vote. Because of the fact that this is anew term, performing of such function to form a government was not in practice in the era of the Holy Prophet PBUH therefore, it is not mentioned explicitly in Quran or Sunnah. But in its meaning and in principle, there are many guidelines in Quran and Sunnah. To vote for any candidate, there are fewconditions in Quran and Sunnah.
1. First condition is to certify which means that voter is certifying that to whom vote has been given is worthy of it.
2. Second condition is of testimony which means that voter is testifying the representation of the candidate.
3. Third condition is of advocating which means that voter is giving responsibility of representation to the candidate and this advocacy is directly related to collective rights of the populace.
In short, vote has three conditionalities: to certify, to testify and to advocate. According to the Holy Quran true certification,right testimony and just advocation is of great reward and full of benefits. Likewise, false certification, dishonest testimony and wrongful advocation is of great sin.
Keeping in mind the status of vote, the directive of casting a vote can easily be determined, that is to say to vote for a person who don’t deserve it, or who is barbaric or unjust is of great sin. Likewise, to vote for a just, upright and honest person is a religious duty for all the Muslims. Just as the Holy Quran discourages the idea of wrong certification similarly, it encourages true certification and makes it compulsory(wajib). In Quran it is mentioned explicitly that it is incumbent on all the Muslims to not conceal the right certification. To stand for just certification is absolute necessary according to the Scriptures(surah at talaq verse no 2). According to a decree issued by the grand Mufti of Pakistan, Mufti Muhammad Shafi, not also it is impermissible for anyone to not vote for a candidate but it is tantamount to the oppression of the whole nation if he is found to be honest and upright.
The constitution of European countries allows its citizens to give vote, to partake in election process as a candidate and to participate in the whole election process irrespective of their ethnic and linguistic inclinations. And it insures the provision of basic human rights. Similarly, it stresses on social formation based on equality and brotherhood. It does not place any hindrance on religious freedom and to perform their religious duties according to them believes. Therefore, in such an inclusive environment, because of the democratic and electoral process, the abstention of Muslims from the electoral exercise is not reasonable. for Muslims of Europe to struggle for the peoples’ right along with their compatriots is according to the Sunnah of the Holy prophet and of great virtue. Our beloved Holy Prophet worked tirelessly along with humanist, non- Muslim countrymen for the betterment of their nation therefore, in the accord of Hilful fadul, the formation of constitution of medina (Meesaq e Madina) and the directives of Quran are some of the incontrovertible evidences.
The prophet of Islam in his youth played a significant role in theconstitution of the accord of “Halful Fadul”. The prime purpose of it was the well being of the common folk. He strived to end tyranny and injustice by working with his Humanitarian Non- Muslim compatriots. And on the occasion his stay in the state of Medina, He proudly discussed about this accord with his companions. He said “I was the participant of an accord in the days of ignorance on the house of Abdullah Bin Judaan, if I were presented with red camels as a substitute for this accord I would not have accepted those and if I am invited for such an agreement yet again, I would definitely participate in it”(Al Bidaya wal Nihaya volume no. 2 page no. 355). During the formation of the state of Medina, the prophet of Islam unified all the non-Muslims and Muslims, the primary purpose of which was the establishment of a system where basic human rights are ensured and to indiscriminately end the tyranny and division amongst the ranks.
Prophet joseph who was the glorious prophet revered by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike worked as a finance advisor in the cabinet of a king who had a different religious believe (chapter 12 verse 55).
Muslims living in Europe should participate in their electoral process so that along with the overall welfare work they also pave way for the better future of the Muslims living in those countries. Similarly, they should refrain from every activity which encourages extremism and sectarianism.