Is Voting Really Haram – Face to Face
Channel: Haitham al-Haddad
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Do you think that money is the root of all evil? San Francisco?
Hello viewers today were very fortunate to have Dr. Haitham al Haddad With us to discuss his views about voting Muslims voting in in UK elections and participating in the voting process. Dr. Haytham will her dad is a well known Islamic scholar jurist, and member of which fatwa Council Federal Council of Europe de facto Council of Europe. So without further ado, Dr. Haytham, you have written an article which is available on the face to face website about voting and the issue of whether it's permissible or not permissible, why we should vote. It's in some senses quite a contentious issue for Muslims. Some at least if we open with that you yourself argued that we should participate in
voting and I for some viewers that might actually be quite surprising, given your reputation for being perhaps a radical or an extremist scholar that you actually
espouse a pro voting stance. On the other side, there are some Muslims who actually say no, you've conceded too much. You've actually you've actually reneged on your principles, and by allowing Muslims to vote, we're encouraging them to vote, you've actually told them to disbelieve in Islam, this is against Islam.
What do you like to comment?
On hamdulillah salatu salam ala Rasulillah. I think the discussion should be wider than this. The discussion should not be as simple as this, the discussion is about political participation. In fact, we should look at means of change. How do you change any society?
How do you create a change in any society? And how you make changes in the current climate? Let me summarize it for you. After our longest study, long research, longer discussions with so many people are let me ask you catch up. How, how a change can take place? What do you think there are a number of ways you suggest because we're here, ultimately, to try to get to the bottom of your views? You suggest that one of the ways in which we should do so is it by participating in participating in political parties in the system here? My what I'm trying to Okay, fair enough. Okay. Fair enough. Let us let us have an academic discussion or a semi academic discussion, a very structured, okay,
we'll have to, okay. Be quite quite brief, if possible. So so the first discussion, the first point is through political participation. What, what are the other ways of making a change in any society?
Please, Please enlighten me. Yeah, I'm asking you because I'm asking all the viewers because some people think that okay, political participation, politics, politics, or involvement in politics is dirty, and it is leading to so many other problems, etc, etc. And that's why I always ask them the following question. So what do you suggest? And there is no other suggestion except what the bullet was? Oh, the change the change?
Well, let me if you've asked for my views, let me jump in. Let me jump in then. Yeah, speaking on behalf of because you've you've drawn you, you've done this bipolar distinction between violent violent change, okay, or political participation.
Process, give me another way to change what you'd need to I imagine that a number of people who object to your position would ask you to nuance or to elaborate to to to spell out and unwind what political participation, okay, there's voting, but then there are other ways of participating in political change, lobbying activism, for example, environmental groups, and let's take that at the end of the day after lobbying, et cetera, et cetera, we need to vote to select the leaders not always not always. So how can you influence the debate you can influence the debate and then you can create and then after, after all of this, we will get stuck with what with select with a process?
What is voting? What is political participation? It is a process to select a leader. Okay, well, the point I wanted to get you back okay, let us even even go one step further. political participation, yes, is either is either process to select a leader or a process to select a law. That's it okay. Let us not talk about the process to select a law
Let us talk about a process to select a leader, whatever you have said, Whatever you have presented, you are not going if we're not going to get through the violent way, we will go through the political side to the political way, which is lobbying, etc, etc. And at the end of the day, we need to select a leader. How are we going to select a leader by a process of selection, which is nothing but voting? I think some of the some of the Muslim viewers, some people who who are uncomfortable with your position, so you've been a little bit disingenuous there by by separating out voting into voting to elect a representative and voting or choosing laws, ultimately, their argument would be,
and I wanted to bring you back to this, the theology of voting, the theology of voting is is that when you elect a representative in our system, that Representative goes on to take part in a legislative process. Okay. Okay, for a number of concerned, don't take them for a number of concerned Muslim viewers who I know whose voice who have aired their views. And so we need to, we need to, we need to listen to their views and discuss it here. They suggest that theologically, this is very problematic, because then okay, you have supported somebody who is going to set out laws which go against God's laws, and that is unbelief, that is covered all due respect, this is a very
emotional way of discussing it. I know but I'm done. That's why
That's why That's why those may have an emotional attachment to their feet. Of course, that's why they have to be taught how to do discuss things and how to think what to start with. So what I am saying is that what are the means of change? Let us discuss it all the way from the beginning. What are the means to change? Okay, and I always present the following case. I said, Take the example of the Syrian system. Now imagine they managed to get rid of the of the Syrian regime, Al Assad regime. Yes. And now we have 20 legitimate groups. I'm not talking about the extremists like ISIS and others, okay, no legitimate moderate, acceptable groups. And we have 20 of them. Some of them may be
have secular tendencies, some of them and some others may be have some other views and the 20 people, they got rid of the Assad regime, what are they going to do now in Syria?
They spell out the scenario. So, you please there are two scenarios either they will continue fighting until one of them wins over the others defeat all the others? Yes. Okay. Or the other scenario is that they should say, Oh, let us go we are tired now. Okay, enough is enough. Let us sit and what discuss things. How do we bring that back to the situation when they say this is what I'm saying? Change in general forget about okay. Let us put the UK discussion aside.
Yes, let us understand it from a theological perspective, in order to understand it from a theological perspective, let us understanding from a practical way, a practical example. Okay. And in order to do that, we need to go through it in the reality. So for example, I put to this as an example. Otherwise, it is not the only example. So they have to sit together. And they have to agree on a system in order to agree on a system, they have no choice, but to vote or to have a form of democracy. For example, one group will say we want Islam, but the other secular groups, they will say we don't want Islam. Okay, so what are we going to do? We are going to do know, most of the
people want Islam. So once we say most of the people, we have been engaged in a political tool, we have used the political tool to come up with a conclusion, which is what a form of democracy a form of voting by saying that we most of the people want is enough. Otherwise, if we do not accept this notion, we will end up by fighting again. Yes, as simple as this. So it changed in the world. Let us not oversimplify the discussion. Right? So you've outlined how whoa can happen with one of two ways either the bullet or the palette, as they say, right. So what is what is more legitimate for Muslims is to use the palette and to start with again, and at that point, that is quite important. If what's
wrong, what's wrong? Okay. What's wrong with using
whatever you call it, you call it democracy. You call it Shura, you call it
consultation, whatever we summarize me summarize the views of some people. If you let me, just let me finish this one, what's wrong with using a kind of mechanism to select a leader? Right. Okay. Well, the view of some would certainly be that the mechanism that you're using, right is in some ways legislating by other than what God has revealed, we are missing is about talking about politics, or we are not talking about political engagement to start with or political.
To choose a law right now. Yeah, I would like to talk about using a leader right choosing a leader, I understand that choosing a system to to begin with the initial process, the initial process, that's fine. I want to really move on to practice the practical thought. Concern. Okay, so we've agreed we for argument's sake, let's agree on that. I'm sure that some agree on what on the process, you mentioned, that there is there is a form moving, legitimate or illegitimate and practical form of democracy. And by the way, just before even we moved to Yes, that was used even during the time of the Prophet sallallahu sallam, even during the time of Abu Bakr, Omar, Hassan Ali. In fact, if
someone wants to argue, yes, but we don't have time to argue that that the Sahaba of the Allahu Taala and whom Yes, used it through the hola hola she didn't and that's why in fact that period was called the rightly guided Khalifa is because all of the rightly guided conifers were selected. were selected by the believers. Right? Yeah, okay. Okay, so that's why Abu Bakr Radi Allahu Allah. And I think I think you've made the point when we need to sort of draw this this part to a close you've addressed in your, in your own fashion, how you believe voting is legitimate. Now, I believe this is most of the Muslim scholars. Right. Okay. So we'll come back next to examine some other issues
relating to voting, particularly in the UK situation.
Dr. Hate him in the previous section, we had a discussion which we tackled or looked at, tried to examine and unpick your views on why voting is something or why it's it's an illegitimate process, you believe Islamically? And if you do you think other Muslim scholars share why it's legitimate purchase Islamically if we move beyond that, and when we ask the question, which many will be what is why why should we why should we get into it? Yes, that is an excellent, and, and then will lead on to some issues? Yeah, certainly based on so why I started right. From the beginning, I said, what are the ways to make a change in any society? Okay, and especially in a well established system,
what are the ways to make a change? Yeah. So I was stressing on this point, because if we ask ourselves as Muslims living in the West, right, and the distinction between violent change and non violent, yeah. Which is the political one, we, as you've suggested that non violent equates to political, but
for the moment, okay. Yeah. Right. And that's why I'm asking
for a third alternative, and there is no third of them, right. Let us look at our situation in the West. Okay, European Muslims, or if some people like to say, Muslims in Europe, whatever, I believe that is better, maybe to say European Muslims, how are they going to make a change in their countries? Yeah, the only way for them to be to have a change or to see a change is to be politically active and to be engaged in the political process. Now, voting is one of them. Why not simply disengage and disengage and hope for the best?
You know, do what what we're told to do? Scriptures, yes, and pray and seek help from God? And then what? And then what? And then what there are laws, there are laws that need to be changed, but there are laws that are made against us as Muslims. We need laws in our favor. And those laws are made through a political process. At the end of that political process, there is something called voting on such laws. Yeah, in the parliament, okay. So how are we going to influence that change?
The influence can happen indirectly. I mean, again, you need to be careful those people who say we should disengage completely they're not org I doubt that they're saying that they want laws to be enacted, which are detrimental to them yes. But I'm sure that their line of reasoning would proceed along the lines that okay you because voting is dubious, yeah. Pray put your faith in God, then the influence and how it is required will occur those those non Muslims who are voting on these laws will be guided will be will be influenced by divine power exam.
Islam at the end of the day, those people I mean, in other words, our influence our voices actually minimally influential anyway, there's not much point. So this is something else, whether it is influential or not. But first of all, let us see how can we contribute towards a change, we want MP a to vote for in our suggesting we get our views engaged, so we need to be actively engaged with him. And in order to do that, before we do that, we need to select the right people to represent us in the parliament. Okay, so it is a long process, and just voting is just one part of it. In fact, I look at it as how we view ourselves as European Muslims. If we view ourselves as immigrant Muslims,
then maybe the scenario that you are proposing, which is a very overly simplistic scenario, I'm not proposing okay, maybe I'm speaking on other people's behalf. Other people is a very over simplistic scenario that we just pray and rely on Allah, Allah Allah, and that's it which is which goes against the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu is anyone who can talk about this, but what I am saying is that if we believe that we are truly European Muslims, okay, and we also believe that Allah, Allah, Allah created us, Allah Allah, Allah selected Muslims to be witnesses upon mankind. When Allah Allah Allah, Allah says we're Catholic,
hakuna shahada, Elena, so you will witness before mankind and also that the land belongs to Allah Allah Allah Allah and Allah Allah Allah Allah UD Swami Hashem, anybody, as Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah says in the Quran, the land belongs to Allah, Allah. So any place where I reside, it is my place, it is a country that I could make sure to let me let me finish my point. And if political participation is the way to achieve that, then we should do it. Okay, because this is the land that I'm
very good conclusion to stop you on and say, you've I think, explained from your viewpoint very well, why we should be actively engaged, as opposed to be disengaged.
Further question, then would be people who accept that point, except that Prime Minister, you know, we are here as Muslims to to be part of the process. It's actually part of our Islamic duty in our faith to try to affect a positive change in society. However, engaging in the voting process in of itself is ineffective. Okay. There's no clear strategy involved. And secondly, it actually dissipates or wastes the efforts of those active Muslims. It's leading them up a blind alley. Okay. Right. So they accept your premise. Yeah. But they don't believe it's a successful or a, a, you know, appropriate strategy to achieve the goals that you are off. Okay. Okay. Excellent. So now, we
came up with a conclusion that let us not have a theological discussion about the permissibility will believe political engagement is done. Okay. Now, let us talk about the second part of it, which is, does. Okay. political engagement, create a change or not? Well, I'd like to read more specifically, because not politically, you know, I'd like you to focus mostly on voting here. And please, yes, stick it to the UK example with with the UK voting system. Yeah. Why are you I do with the first pass?
Yeah. Why do you want to focus on voting only because we already said voting is permissible, or we accepted, accepted that it's permissible, but don't work effectively. Yeah. So the discussion is not just voting it the discussion is political engagement. Right. Okay. So if I again, I'm asking you on the behalf of those viewers who accept that political engagement is necessary, and something we should work for. But then if we now unpick, yeah, we separate out what political engagement means. Yeah, you yourself have accepted earlier that there are a number of exactly a number of processes and a number of strategies involved. For you at the end. You said it led to ultimately having to
vote whether the including there was lobbying being active working is one moment of that, right. So at that final, that final endpoint? Yeah. Where, for example, it let's let's take a practical situation we're in. We're in election year. Yep. Okay, we're in we're running up to me. Yeah. Muslims up and down the country. They want practical guidance on what to do. Should they go to the polling station? Right or not go to the polling station. Yeah. If they go to the polling station. That's the first question. Yeah. Secondly, if they go to the polling station, there's a long list of candidates. Yeah. Where do they put their tick? Yeah, do Muslims put their tick and right, if you
can, I'll go over those again, if you can. Third. Do they vote nationally?
for one particular party so Muslims everywhere vote for let's, for example, let's say the Tory party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, or do they vote constituency by constituency? Okay, I think most of our viewers are UK viewers. Yeah. If so, if we could if you could elaborate on those three points. Yeah. Okay. Now see the three points they should they should be discussed in a separate episode, because this is all about his strategic voting and how we are strategically get into the political process, okay. And the topic of the discussion is an actor that
will step back, step back and think is either we should be engaged or we should not be engaged. And now once we say that we should be engaged, then the Muslim leaders in the UK or in any other European country should come together and discuss what is what should be the best strategy. For example, in the UK, the strategy so far is to vote for constituency, irrespective of the party. And the logic behind it is, yeah, the Muslim leaders so far, they said that we need the right candidates to the present us as MPs in the parliament again, once again, whether whether they belong to the Labour Party or the 2d or whatever. Yeah, we need the right people to be in the parliament. That is
the strategic Dr. Haytham. The the concern again, that people who have accepted your theological argument. Yep. Okay, but are unconvinced by the practical case you make is to again challenge this idea. They say okay, for let's say, yeah, the candidate list Yeah, we pick a candidate. The way that the UK parliamentary whipping system works, is once you pick your your candidate, Mr. X, okay, John Smith, for the candidate is the candidate for whichever constituency, who in all the constituency meetings, has said that he's against foreign wars in Muslim lands, and he doesn't want to test your ideas. He sounds very pro Muslim. Once he gets into Parliament and the whip is applied, he goes with
his government party line, which is to implement harsher anti terror laws, it's to get engaged in foreign wars. I mean, he goes back on everything he says. And this, by the way, is something that they will say, yeah, those who object to your strategy, that fireman again, has happened. Yeah. Do you reply? First of all, the work doesn't work in everything, every single thing. Okay, we know that. We know that there are certain things certain laws that are passed without the whip, and the party does allow the MPs, okay, his MPs to vote for whatever they want. This is one thing. The other thing, even if we say that there is the whip system works against us, at the end of the day, there
is there are certain many certain other laws, so many certain laws that are discussed in the Parliament, and we need the right representative to view at least to project our views in the parliament. This is another point also, we need, maybe at after a particular point, we need to have our own party, maybe we need to have our own independent representatives. Maybe also, we need to get into the process. So we'll learn how it works. Yes, and the tricks of of politics. So there are a number of benefits is not just jumping into the end, and we say that or it doesn't work because of the whip system. And that's why we should be disengaged, more disengaged, or saying or maybe taking
leaving out the final voting part, but I let carry on. And the other thing, the other thing, that it is a very important concept in democracy. Whether you vote or you don't vote actively, you are in fact, voting. Okay, and let me explain this in a very simplistic way, but it is. The truth is that it is the reality. Imagine that we have 10 people in a room. And there are two parties UK running for election. Party a and party B party a got four votes, party B got three votes. Yeah. So we have three votes. If I could press you to to wrap up on the city votes who are not voting for a or b, right? A because A wants to win. He will encourage you the three people not to vote for anyone
because he's winning. That's understood. Yeah. So the three people by not voting actively, in fact they have voted for a yes. So whether we are whether we like it or not, because we are part of the system. We are voting
That's a very, very apt and useful point to finish on Dr. Haytham. Well, her dad you left us with this very intriguing possibility of Muslims themselves, forming political parties and and getting involved in parliamentary elections, which are having their own independent MPs opens up a completely different can of worms for a future debate and future discussion. Does. Dr. Hickman had that for coming in? Does that color fair to the viewers for following us today in this really insightful discussion? It was very, very fascinating to listen to Dr. Haytham. He elaborated on why theologically he views that it's Islamically correct and acceptable to vote. Not only that, but why
we should engage in disengagement is detrimental to Muslims, that Muslims must participate in the process. It's part of their faith to do so. And lastly, why strategically it is actually a successful process which ultimately you are unavoidably engaged in anyway. It was, as I said, really enlightening discussion. For further information. Please go back and read Dr. Hate 100 article on voting on the face to face website. There are also many other articles that are well hopefully grab your intention as well. Some of those will form the basis of future discussions of future episodes, which I hope you will come back and join us for which is Ocula Salam aleikum, Allah
said Francis Francisco