Short Answer: No, a Muslim should not just look at the religious affiliation of, or their personal connections with, a certain candidate who is running for office, when deciding who to vote for. Rather, one should consider the holistic picture of each candidate, including his religious beliefs, as well as the scale of harm or loss that would occur if one voted for him or her, or didn’t vote at all. But, when a vile and dangerous candidate is running for any kind of office and he or she has made his evil intentions towards Muslims publicly known, it becomes obligatory upon the Muslims to vote for someone else, just to prevent this person from assuming a position of authority.
Asalaamu alaykum, and thank you for sending in your question to our website.
The issue of Muslims voting to elect a leader in secular societies is a multi-faceted one from an Islamic point of view.
In order to answer it, one must keep in mind the local economic, social, and political climate that the particular Muslims find themselves in.
Four Main Factors to Consider
The current conditions of the Muslims around the world is such that, in some countries, where they are an ethnic and religious minority, some are openly discriminated against, making them very weak and vulnerable.
The issue of voting in order to elect a particular leader for a certain position of power and authority in their society, therefore, involves taking into consideration several factors:
- The impact that the Muslims’ votes will have on the final outcome of the voting process.
- The importance of the particular position being voted for, i.e. the scale of influence.
- The religious beliefs and political agenda of each candidate who is running for that position.
- The scale of harm or loss that will be suffered by the Muslims in that area if they do not cast a vote at all.
Warding off Harm
Muslims should be worried about any harms or evils befalling their community in any way.
This is all the more crucial when they are dwelling as an ethnic and/or religious minority in a specific locality, state, or country.
If voting for or against a particular candidate will greatly ensure the warding off of a considerable harm to the Muslims in that area, then voting would become mandatory for all Muslims who are eligible to cast votes.
This is because warding off harm from the Muslim community, and using any power that one possesses in order to do so, is obligatory upon a Muslim.
Choosing the Lesser Evil
In the secular world today, the Muslim citizens of most, if not all, countries and states allot certain voting rights to their people.
Their votes can play a substantial role in preventing potentially evil candidates from occupying positions of authority (whether religious or political) in their organization, locality, city, state, or country.
When a vile and dangerous candidate is running for any kind of office and he or she has made his evil intentions towards Muslims publicly known, it becomes obligatory upon the Muslims to vote for someone else, just to prevent this person from assuming a position of authority.
This action would serve to effectively protect the local Muslim populace (and their future generations) from the harm of that first candidate.
To sum up, the basic answer to your question is that, no, a Muslim should not just look at the religious affiliation of, or their personal connections with, a certain candidate who is running for office, when deciding who to vote for.
Rather, they should primarily consider the four points that I have highlighted above, with respect to the current circumstances of their local Muslim community, when deciding who to vote for, or whether to vote or not.
And Allah knows best. I hope that this answers your question.
Salam. Please stay in touch.