Elections 2019: Register in Order to Make Your Mark
All praise is due to Allah and may His choicest salutations continue to descend upon our Master and Leader of the worlds.
Say: “O Allah! Lord of Power (And Rule), You grant power to whom You will and You take away power from whom You will; You honour whom You will and you debase whom You will – In Your hand is all good. Verily You have power over all things” (3:26)
The 2019 South African National and Provincial Elections will be held in the month of May to elect a new National Assembly as well as new provincial legislatures in each province. According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the exact date is expected to be announced in due course. It will be the sixth election held since 1994.
Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th January 2019 have been designated as voter registration dates. Voters, who are already registered, will have the opportunity to visit their respective voting stations in order to check their registration and specifically to confirm and update their address details.
Just four months away, we are therefore once again at the cusp of the national elections and may be asking yourself, why register to vote? Government lacks credibility, politicians don’t keep their promises, and money seems to be getting in the way of everything. What difference will my vote make?
Many today complain about politicians not listening to the public. Of course, if we do not bother to vote our voice will not be heard by our elected officials in the first place. Our elected representatives are guided by what we say particularly when we vote. And if we don’t vote we are telling our politicians that we don’t care what they do and that is a dangerous thing to tell them.
- Voting connects citizens with the political process.
- The simple act of marking a ballot tells our leaders what we think about decisions that affect our lives
- Voting connects us to one another as citizens.
- Voting helps to safeguard our freedoms. A democratic community can only survive if its citizens see participation in the political process as a duty and a responsibility.
It may be asked whether by voting for a particular party we are not endorsing all their policies which are based on man-made laws (secular law).
The answer is NO; this is not necessarily the case. No one should imagine that anyone who says that it is OK to vote is thereby expressing approval or support for disbelief. It is done in the interests of the Muslims, not out of love for disbelief.
Our support for a party is therefore a qualified endorsement and not simply a carte blanche sanction of all that a party espouses in its election manifesto. The Muslims rejoiced when the Romans defeated the Persians, as did the Muslims in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) when the Negus defeated those who had challenged his authority. This was not in any way condoning kufr but rather looking at the long term welfare of Muslims. Participation in a non-Islamic system does not necessarily mean participation in disbelief. It depends on the nature of this participation.
Views of Scholars
“…In a situation where there is no worthy candidate (as in non-Muslim countries, where at least the ideologies and beliefs of the relevant parties are contrary to the teachings of Shariah), then the vote should be given to the one who is the better and more trust worthy then the other candidates…
Vote should be given to the candidate that one believes will give people their rights, prevent oppression, and so on… If it is thought that a particular candidate or party will be of benefit to the general public in their day to day affairs, then the vote should be given to him. And by voting a particular party, it will not be considered that one agrees with all their ideologies and beliefs… At times, voting becomes necessary. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (ra) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “If people see an oppressor and don’t prevent him, then it is very likely that Allah will include all of them in the punishment” (Sunan Tirmizi & Sunan Abu Dawud).
Therefore, if you see open oppression and transgression, and despite having the capability of preventing this oppression by giving your vote, you don’t do so, then in the light of this Hadith you will be sinful…”
[Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, Dar al-Iftaa; Darul Uloom; student of Mufti Taqi Usmani]
“All efforts should be made, bearing in mind the political situation of a particular country, to ensure full participation in the political process. This is an absolute necessity. Muslims should not be reticent about their involvement in this regard. Rather, they should make progress in this matter.”
[Maulana Khalilul Rahman Sajjad Nomani Nadwi, Darul Uloom Nadwatul]
“Muslims living under a dominant democratic system which they cannot change in the near future should understand their situation in all its various facets. Muslims believe that ultimate justice, peace and coherence cannot be achieved unless the divine system is dominant. In many cases they are unable to achieve this in the foreseeable future. So what shall they do until they reach this stage? They are living under a kufr system where either party A, B or C will be in power. People have the privilege to choose among these parties. If you do not choose any of them you are not going to change the system since one of them will still be in power. You might say that if all people were not to choose any of them then the system will change. This might be true; however it is almost impossible for this to take place in the foreseeable future in all so called democratic non-Muslims countries. So the question arises that until the system changes, what shall we, the Muslims do? Any sane person would say that abstaining from selecting the least evil option would only leave room for the more evil option to win. It is a very simple and straight forward equation.” (Shaykh Haitham al-Haddad)
The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa therefore urges all eligible voters to exercise this responsibilty, which is both a duty and a right,first by registering and/or verifying details on the voters’ roll, ahead of the polling day in May 2019, in-sha-Allah.
May Allah protect the our community and bless us with leaders who subscribe to the principles of honest, justice and compassion.