This topic may seem like a controversial Islamic issue but there is a need to discuss the subject in order to understand Islamic context of Muslims voting in elections. Our main reference for this article is the Filipino Society as a country practicing democracy and has unique political dynamics. What will be discussed here may be applicable to other countries or maybe not but our focus is the political system in the Philippines.


The first thing that needs to be considered is that the Philippine political system is not Shariah. Voting in its original form is prohibited. However, Filipino Muslims are living in a non-Muslim country. This situation made Islamic Scholars to lay guidelines to those Muslims living in countries practicing democracy, specifically the Philippines. This is what they called “Mafasid As-Sharia” which is part of the Sharia Objectives.


In this principle, Mujtahids understand or interpret the text of Sharia to derive solutions to contemporary problems faced by Muslims. This concept provides a clear guidance and framework to the process of Ijtihad in solving the issues conforming to the human interest while complying with the will of Allah. From this principles, Muslim Filipino scholars said that voting is essential to the Muslim community because it will benefit them than not participating in the voting process. They reiterated that choosing the right person to govern them is more important than letting the elections be done without doing nothing.


Al-Izz bin Abdul Salam claims that “the greatest of all the objectives of the Qur-an is to facilitate benefits (masalih) and the means that secure them and that the realization of benefit also included the prevention of harm”[1] Al-Ghazali believes that the major purpose of Shariah law is to “safeguard or preserve those essentials, which eventually bring benefit for human life.[2]


This is where Filipino Muslim Scholars and even Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Uthaymeen of Saudi Arabia derived their ruling on the necessity of voting in elections. This is to safeguard and preserve Muslim existence and rights in the Philippines.


Those who accused Filipino Muslims who joined the election as Kafir, be careful of your words, as you do not know their positions and situation. This may even destroy your Iman. It was reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stated, When a person calls his brother (in Islam) a Kafir, one of them will certainly deserve the title. If the addressee is so as he has asserted, the Kufr of the addressee is confirmed, but if it is untrue, it will revert to him (the sayer).


Also, there is another Hadith reported on the authority of Abu Dhar (may Allah be pleased with him), that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) stating, If anyone accuses another of Kufr or calls him the enemy of Allah, such an accusation will revert to the accuser if the accused is innocent.


It was mentioned in Sahih Muslim in the Hadith reported on the authority of Jundub ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stated, A man said, “By Allah! Allah will not forgive so-and-so!” Allah said, “Who is that who takes an oath in My Name that I will not forgive so-and-so? I have forgiven him and rendered your good deeds fruitless.”


Thus, your accusation of Muslims who are safeguarding their rights as Kafir is haram and it may destroy your identity as Muslim. Be careful.


[1] Al-Obeidi, Hammadi (1992). al-Shatibi wa Maqa asid al-Syariah (al-Shatibi and Maqasid alShariah). Tripoli : Mansyurat Kulliyyah ad-Dawa al-Islamiyyah, p. 132.

[2] Al-Ghazali, Op. Cit., vol. 1, pp. 286-7