Whatever your persuasion and conviction, the issue of voting in the American elections has monopolised the media – Muslim or otherwise. One is hard pushed to read much about the flooding in Gaza – but go to almost any Muslim website and you will surely hear about the elections.
Imam Suhaib Webb for example has a banner on his website declaring his voting intentions, not that there is anything wrong with that. But I do wonder how we have done in winning the argument put forward by those who profess that participation in the American elections is of no benefit for Muslims.
This has been articulated by one of my favourite speakers and scholars Imam Anwar Awlaki – of course those of you who know me will know that I disagree with the Shaykh on this matter – however I really do love him for the sake of Allah, he has an uncanny way of explaining things to people which is endearing.
His blog on the American elections had kicked up such a stir that he had to write a second part to the initial blog to respond to comments. Feel free to read what he has to say, but the one thing that caught my eye in his second response is “I would add here the following: Even if you would follow the opinion of those who allow the voting in a disbelieving system when there is a clear lesser evil, in the situation we are facing there is no such clarity. In fact on most of the issues that concern Muslims there is very little difference”.
I cannot help but agree with this – we have seen how Obama made his pledge of allegiance to the “dark-side” at the AIPAC meeting – where most of us would have noticed how he not only cowered to their demands – but the man actually prostrated!
Of course I am still convinced that participation is correct, but my contention is that it should be on our terms, and not on terms set by others. Why allow ourselves to be boxed in by “rules” that are clearly designed to destroy us in this world and the hereafter? These rules are underpinned by the notion of secularism that is followed by immorality and basic deconstruction of the pillars of what a good society should be based on, according to God. This is manifested in almost every Western government’s foreign policy in the guise of spreading democracy. If only they would spread freedom!
Have you not heard of the many “reformers” of Islam who claim that we need to re-read the Qur’an or we need to understand the revelation in our current context? Not an issue for me in general – but I do take offence when this is followed by them stating what is “right” and “wrong” – what is allowed and not allowed – what is acceptable and not and then trying to find a way to make God’s words fit their own interpretation.
There are some Muslims who find the application of the Hadd punishment so dispicabale that they openly reject its usage, and I’m not referring to the ‘QF’ heretics alone! The point here is – Allah alone sets for us what is right and what is wrong, he alone tells us what is allowed and not allowed – not men (or women).
Furthermore, in engaging on terms that are not our own, we allow this malady to infiltrate us to the point where we have to compromise our basic principles, whether that be sexuality, interest (riba) or the application of the Revelation in our daily lives, vis a vis separation of religion from politics.
Imam Awlaki says, “Muslims make dawa to the disbelievers and after they believe in Allah they are told what is halal and what is haram, but not until then.”
I read this and thought, how far removed are we from this? We are so busy telling non-Muslims what is right and wrong that we have forgotten that it is only after they have taken the Shahada!
So what are our terms of engagement, who is discussing this and trying to find some common ground amongst the community and wider society?