Archive for October 14, 2008

Shawwal 14 – Elections Day + should Muslims vote and for who? + Fund Drive

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

HOST: Omar (GreenKufi)

Discussion: Should Muslims Vote in North American Politics and if so for who?

Dr. Jamal Badawi speaks to on Muslim participation in North American politics

Main points of Dr. Badawi’s discussion:

Islam is a complete way of living, and thus there is no such thing as Political Islam.

Regarding the participation of Muslims in North American politics there are two major opinions:

  • There are some people who oppose it and some even say it is unlawful,
  • There are those who say under some qualification it is permissible.

The common ground that all Muslims should agree upon:

  1. If a Muslim believes that there is any human being who has the right to make laws other than Allah then obviously this is total divergence from the path of Islam.
  2. If a person participates in an activity or process which is completely opposed to the foundations of Islam in its basic beliefs, then of course that would be also totally out.

Other than these two points, the discussion as to whether it is permissible or not, is an area where there is room for different interpretations. It falls within what the Muslim jurists call as Siyassah Sharaiyya which means just to look after the affairs and benefits of the Muslims which are subject to interpretation within the basic boundaries and rules of Islamic law.

A lot of times people keep arguing about small details and magnify the differences without even being clear as to what methodology they are using to come up with this understanding. If you’re asking about methodology my conclusion is that since there is no definitive, direct, underline direct, text in the Quran and Sunnah that does not specifically answer the question of the setting here in North America, there are texts that could be interpreted to relate to that, then the issue is not really an issue of the foundation of faith, it is an issue, like I indicated earlier, of Siyassa Shariah, it’s a matter of running and conducting the affairs of the Muslim Ummah depending on the particular circumstances.

One of the great scholars of Islam, Shaikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyya rahim Allah (may Allah have mercy on him), while some people might consider him to be conservative on some issues, in fact he has been so open-minded.

He said suppose the enemies of Islam invade Muslim lands and rule according to their own law. In other words, they frustrate the application of Shariah, and they’re ruling according to their own secular non-Islamic or maybe anti-Islamic type of laws. And then they go to a Muslim to serve as a judge. Should he accept the position or not? I would not tell you how Ibn Taymiyya answered that question, but I can tell you what some people today might say. What do you think they would say?

They would say how come? If he accepts, he would be a Kaffir. He would be outside of Islam. Why? Because he accepts to be the implementor, as a judge, of a law other than the law of Allah, knowingly. He should refuse.

But do you know what Ibn Taymiyya said? He said that he should accept. Do you know the reason he gave?

He said, under the circumstances, the presence of a Muslim judge who fears Allah, even though he cannot control, of course, the law, that’s beyond his ability, but his presence in his position, is more likely in comparative terms, to bring greater justice because you know any judge can use his own judicial discretion. There is some area of flexibility. He can use his judicial discretion to achieve the greatest amount of justice as compared to a non-Muslim or a person who does not believe in Shariah or does not fear Allah, he could be an oppressive judge following the system fully and wholeheartedly, who would even bring greater harm to people.
In fact, some scholars even refer to an interesting situation at the time of Prophet Joseph alayhis Salam (peace be upon him). You know Prophet Joseph was in Egypt. He was not a lawmaker yet he was the one even who offered to be in charge of the distribution of food supplies before the famine started.

Some scholars comment and say there is no question that Joseph was occupying this high ministerial position in the state position of power under a system that was definitely contrary to the teaching of Allah. There’s no question. He was ruling or taking authority and control in a system where he could not stop, for example, the Pharaoh and other chieftains from getting more than their fair share.

Yet, still, his fear of Allah, his wisdom and the position of power that he occupied enabled him to serve masses of people who otherwise could have starved from not doing that. That’s basically the reasoning given by Shaykh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyya on this issue.

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