Is it permissible to elect a non be...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Is it permissible to elect a non believer who issues laws against the Islamic Shari’ah in a non Muslim country?


Is it permissible to elect a non believer who issues laws against the Islamic Shari’ah in a non Muslim country?


It is widely known in Islamic Shari’ah that providing benefits and interests and preventing what causes calamities and mischief is part and parcel of the major objectives of the Islamic Shari’ah. Imam al Ghazali in his book (al Mustasfa) defined interest in its original state as bringing goodness and preventing harm which is related to creation and people’s objectives in seeking their best interest. As in Islam, interest is tailored to preserve the five major objectives of Shari’ah which are designed to cater for people’s needs. The five major objectives of Shari’ah to serve creation are meant to preserve their lives, religion, mind, dignity and possessions. Therefore whatever entails preserving these five major objectives is considered an interest and whatever prevents the accomplishment of these five objectives is a harm that should be removed.

As for non Muslim countries, it is known that they are ruled with civil and conventional laws which adopt a philosophy that is solely concerned with worldly benefits. These human made laws which are passed and issued through the legislative branch of the state can work either for or against the benefits of the Muslims. Therefore participating in electing a political party which has an agenda that serves the interests of Muslims could be considered a way of bringing benefits and preventing harm. Thus the Muslim who has the right of citizenship in a non Muslim country has the right to participate in political elections should these elections work out in the best interest of the Muslims such as presenting a positive image on Islam, defending the rights and issues that are pertinent to Muslims, seeking interest of religious minorities and strengthen their political participation and social activism, and conveying the needs and requests of Muslims to the political decision makers to put the Muslims’ demands into consideration.
Sheikh Ibn Taymiyah in his book (al Istiqamah) said that the general ruling is if a matter would bring less benefit and more corruption, then it is deemed a prohibited matter. Therefore this political participation needs to be weighted in terms of benefits and harm. Also the issued fatwas on this realm differ based on differences in people, circumstances, places and times.

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