Mohammed Al-Hanooti responds to questions about the permissibility of voter registration and participation in elections in the United States:

Religious Authority: 
Muhammad al-Hanooti
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
Mohammed Al-Hanooti responds to questions about the permissibility of voter registration and participation in elections in the United States:

Question: Would it be alright [religiously permissible] for Muslims to register and vote for candidates in the United States? ... Some are writing articles on the net trying to scare us by saying it is shirk (blasphemy) to even register and acknowledge the way of the kuffar (non-believer) or the permissibility of voting for creating laws...



Answer: Absolutely, it is not a matter of black and white. The structure of society in this country is a very complicated and sophisticated one. Unfortunately, we weigh things as if we were in Mecca, Cairo, or Sanaa. Aspirations of people in Muslim countries are always reinstating Islam to rule government and people. This is why people back in Muslim countries believe that any member of Parliament or minister of government should work for enforcing shariah as the only law and sovereignty of that country.



In the U.S., religion is not a priority in politics. On the contrary, politicians are secular in demonstrating what they are targeting. Of that secularism, we have perhaps more than 60% of our welfare and interests to be run through a polling system. Schooling, sanitation, zoning, social services, police, court, medication, finance, business, sports, recreation, etc. are run by people that are elected to office. If you have a vote power, you have the legitimacy to reach and accomplish anything of your needs or goals. Without it, you are a dead battery. Can you tell me where is the Quran or hadith that says to me, "Don't help for these affairs?" Are you going to tell me that I am loyal or giving allegiance to the kuffar (non-Muslims) because I want to lead myself in the way that can get a school for my children, good sanitation for my neighborhood or good cooperation with the police to protect me?



When it comes to making a law by congressman, senators, or any other politician, I should try my best to oppose anything contradictory to shariah. In fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence] and principles of fiqh, we know that it is a big step in the right direction to lessen evil doings. They say in fiqh: "removal of an evildoing is much better than gaining any welfare."