Fataawa on Voting in Islam
Shaykh Muhammad Nasir-ud-Din Al-Albani on voting in electionsSilsilatul Hudaa wan-Noor (Series of Guidance and Light), tape #284
starting at approx 54 mins. and continuing on tape #285

Questioner: Some students of knowledge issued a verdict permitting
voting for the best of the available Christian candidates based on the
premise that this is from choosing the lesser of two evils. Is this
permissible?

In addition, isn’t this considered to be increasing their numbers
which may in turn have a negative effect on the public’s opinion of
Muslims?

Shaykh: I have been asked this question on more than one occasion, and
I believe that it is incomplete. So if you want to complete this
unfinished question by bringing further clarity [then do so]…

Questioner: What is the permissibility of voting for the best
available candidate, particularly if they are Christian?

Shaykh: This question is incomplete just as it was when presented by
other than you. I will now say what I think is intended by the question.

In the event that there are a number of Christian candidates who are
imposed upon the Muslims, meaning that one of them has to be elected
whether the Muslims like it or not, the previously mentioned principal
is applied: namely, choosing the lesser of two evils. For example,
there are four Christian candidates in a certain country and it is
inevitable that one of them will be the winner (elected).

Hypothetically speaking, if it were only the Muslims voting [for these
candidates] and no one else – not even one other person is voting –
such that if the Muslims refrained from voting they wouldn’t be
elected, then it is not permissible to vote for them.

Is it clear up to here?

Questioner: Yes

Shaykh: However, if the situation is contrary to this, and this is
what I think the question is referring to, then one of them must be
selected due to the electoral process established today. It is upon
you to know that this system is not Islamic in any way whatsoever…[The
Shaykh then begins to explain some of the ills of democracy and the
harm of giving power to someone who requests it, in contrast to the
beauty of the Islamic shooraa]…

Discussing these issues is lengthy. However, the point is that it has
been forced upon the Muslims living in that particular country to
choose a candidate just as it is forced upon them that some of the
elected politicians be Christian. Why? Because there are Christian
citizens. The government takes into account the percentage of
Christian citizens in the country and makes calculations. They
compare, for example, the ratio of Muslims to Christians. Do they
consider the Jewish citizens in this process? I’m not sure. Based on
these calculations they conclude that the country should have, for
instance, two Christian politicians.

If the Muslims do not choose between them, then their own people will
choose. In either case, one of them is going to be elected. But as we
said earlier there may be four or five candidates. The Muslims in that
country must consider it like this: The first candidate is a Baathist
and a non-Muslim, the second is a communist and a non-Muslim, the
third is an atheist and a non-Muslim and so on. The last is a
practicing Christian who does not harbor animosity (enmity) towards
the Muslims. If there is no way around the fact that one or two of
them are going to be elected, then what should the Muslims do? Should
they say, “We are not going to get involved? They are Christians. Let
them fight each other.” No, this is not the case, because two of these
candidates will be elected regardless.

So O Muslims, O you who have sense, is this principle to be applied in
this scenario or not? I say yes, because the Muslims in this case are
between two evils. Similarly, this is the case if the candidates were
Muslims, since amongst the Muslims are Communists, Baathists and so
on. Okay, do we just sit back and watch or should we choose the one
whose harm is less???

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