Views of the scholars
Sheikh Suhaib Hasan
Sheikh Michael Mumisa
Muslim legal theorists and pragmatists have always agreed that the Qur'an is not prescriptive in the sense that it provides detailed instructions on how laws should be applied or executed in society. Instead, it tends to be general providing only general principles and guidelines. The Muslim jurists such as Abu Hanifa, al-Shafi'i, Ja'afar al-Sadiq, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Malik, to name just a few, developed a means of deducing the law through a complex hermeneutical theory, whereby they were able to interpret the Qur'an and sunna in as extensive a manner as was possible, thereby making the limited legal verses of the Qur'an useful in providing answers to the new questions…. For the purpose of my argument, I will only discuss how the theories of maqasid (purpose of law in Islam), masalih (public interest), and kulliyyat al-ahkam (general and universal principles of law) can be applied in our attempt to explain why Muslims should vote in British elections. What is of particular interest to me is how Muslim legal classicists such as the great Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi (died. 1388) interpreted these theories.
….. With the concept of maqasid al-shari'a (intent and motive of Islamic Law), it becomes possible to apply the Qur'an to changing times and changing conditions in society, so that the data revelata remain dynamic and creative, always applicable and always invigorating society. Unfortunately, due to the development of legalism in Islam, the focus has shifted from the kulliyat to the juz'iyyat. Under correct interpretations of law in Islam, the change and the modification of juz'iyyat is acceptable in order to meet social change as long as such change does not undermine the kulliyat.
Therefore, any political and legal system that fulfils the kulliyat is acceptable and considered as fulfilling the requirements of the Shari'a. The question is, does the British and political systems fulfil the kulliyat as required under Islam? It is my opinion that the British legal and political systems as they stand at the moment meet the goals of the Shari'a. I am aware that there are still points of conflict with regard to certain 'moral' issues. Islamic law requires that we overlook such differences and focus on masalih (public interests) and universal principles (maqasid) such as justice, respect and protection of a person's beliefs, protection of life, protection of sanity and intellect, preservation of lineage, and protection of a person's property or wealth, among others. Link: http://www.mcb.org.uk/Mumisa_Muslims_Elections.pdf
Sheikh Muhammad ibn Al-Mukhtar Ash-Shanqiti
You see, when An-Najashi's nephew rebelled against him and tried to elbow him out, the Muslim migrants in Abyssinia did not stand as onlookers; they didn't stay idle because An-Najashi was a Christian and so was the enemy. Rather, they made du`a' to Allah to give An-Najashi victory over his enemy. They also sent a man from among them to collect information about the battle, and if they had anything more to do, they would have willingly offered it.
That is the way that Muslims living in non-Muslim countries in the West should look upon participation in the political life there. In this context, taking part in [the US] elections is required, so that goodness may overcome evil and justice would prevail. It is not a sign of affiliation to the polytheists, nor is it a kind of support for the oppressors.
Dr Musharraf Hussain
Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra
Sayyiduna Yusuf (as) put himself forward in the political process of Egypt - the rest is history! [Refer to Quran 12:55]. He saved countless lives, united people with God and showed how rulers ought to rule. Are Muslims in our country saying they do not want to unite people with God and save them from eternal doom? Do we want to remain "slaves" under the dominion of others without power of any sort? Or do we want to become masters; just, caring and merciful? The right to vote is one of Allah's blessings over us which we can use to benefit society. There are many in the world who do not have this blessing. Allah says in the Quran:
"Allah presents an example: a slave (who is) owned and unable to do a thing and he to whom We have provided from Us good provision so he spends from it secretly and publicly. Can they be equal? Praise be to Allah! But most of them do not know." [Quran 16:75]
So get up and use that blessing!