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Misconceptions of the principle: ‘the lesser of two evils’

Throughout the last election campaign there were frequent discussions amongst Muslims regarding the permissibility of participating in the electoral process. This brief article does not intend to address that specific issue (dealt with by scholars elsewhere), but instead, debunk a current myth amongst many people that one of the principles that was used to justify the permissibility of voting (although not the main argument used which many people do not realise), “the lesser of two evils”, only pertains to matters of life and death and can only be applied in matters of coercion and necessity. Although this misconception is often attributed to laymen, it seems to have also found its place amongst certain callers to Islam (du’at).

In order to understand the reality of the issue one needs to differentiate between two important maxims:

  • ad-Darurah tubeehu al Mahzuraat (Necessity makes the impermissable lawful)
  • ad-Darar al Ashadd Yuzaalu bi-darar al Akhaff (The greater evil is repelled by the lesser evil).[1]

The first maxim is a sub-maxim for general maxim, “Hardship begets facility,” whereas the second is a sub-maxim for a different general maxim: “Harm must be eliminated”. A cursory look at the works al-ashbaah wan-nazaa’ir and al Qawaa’id al Fiqhiyyah would ascertain that the two aforementioned maxims (in bullet points) are not one and the same, but two separate principles dealing with different situations. Therefore, considering them to be the same can be quite detrimental as will be shown.

The principle “Necessity makes the unlawful lawful” is primarily based on the following evidence:

“He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, or transgressing due limits, – then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful.”[2]

Allah also says in another verse:

“Anyone who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters disbelief – except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful penalty.”[3]

Both verses indicate the permissibility of what was initially deemed impermissible due to necessity, which in both cases are related to life and death. However, the principle of lesser of two evils is primarily based on other evidence, such as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. On the 6th year after hijrah the Messenger (peace be upon him) left with his companions from Madinah to perform ‘Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) despite Makkah being ruled by the Quraysh and there being severe enmity between the Muslims and the Polytheists. Naturally, the Polytheists denied access to the Muslims which eventually led to reconciliation talks between the two parties and led to the formation of the famous treaty. Some of the following matters were agreed upon in the treaty:

  • There would be no war between the 2 parties for 10 years.
  • Whoever went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Quraysh without the permission of their parents or guardians must be returned back to Makkah, but whoever went to Quraysh from the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) would not be returned.
  • The Muslims would have to return back to Madinah without performing ‘Umrah but would be allowed to perform it the following year but for only three days.[4]

Such stipulations proved to be difficult for many to accept such as Umar ibn al Khattab given that it involved an apparent harm and evil (mafsadah). However, in order to safeguard the rest of the Muslim inhabitants in Makkah and to ensure that the propagation of Islam would be allowed to spread without any hindrance, the Prophet (peace be upon him) accepted the terms of the treaty. Many scholars have used this incident as a basis for establishing the principle of inclining towards the lesser of two evils. There are two important matters that we can learn from this incident:

  • The Prophet (saw) was not coerced into accepting the treaty.
  • The matter was not one of life and death for the Prophet (saw). He could have easily chosen to abstain away from agreeing with the terms of the treaty and simply walk away, but instead, he (saw) accepted a treaty that contained a stipulation that inevitably lead to harming  some Muslims, although it was simply in order to prevent a greater harm.

Al Nadwi said regarding this incident, “Everything which occurred in the treaty of Hudaibiyah is indicative of this principle since it necessitated adhering to the difficult conditions which seemingly contained much harm for the Muslims. However, it became evidently clear in the end that the treaty was, in essence, a benefit and a means to success through the ‘manifest victory’[5] (al fath al Mubeen).”[6]

The other key incident that is used as a basis for this maxim is the hadith of the bedouin that urinated in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) mosque. Anas ibn Malik narrated that a bedouin once came and urinated in a corner of the mosque. The people begun to reproach him but the Prophet stopped them allowing the bedouin to finish urinating. In another narration the Prophet said after the incident, “You have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult.”[7] Ibn Hajar commented upon this narration and said, “…He ordered them (the Companions) to refrain from preventing the bedouin in order to achieve the greater benefit, which was the prevention of the greater evil by bearing the lesser one (daf’ a’dham al mafsadayn bihtimaal aysarihimaa).[8]

Similarly, Al Nawawi commented on the incident saying, “In this narration is (i.e. benefits to learn) to repel the greater of two harms by bearing the lesser of the two (daf’ a’dham ad-dararayn bihtimaal akhaffihimaa).[9] Both Ibn Hajr and Al Nawawi stated that by preventing the Companions from forbidding this munkar two greater harms were avoided. The first was that the sudden prevention of one urinating could physically harm the individual. Secondly, it would most likely lead to the bedouin soiling his clothes and contaminating other areas of the mosque. Thus, the greater evil was prevented by committing the lesser one, which in this case was allowing the bedouin to complete urinating. This is another clear proof that the principle ‘the lesser of the two evils’ is not merely restricted to issues pertaining to matters of life and death.

Another example of the application of this principle can be found in the narration where the Prophet said to Mu’adh ibn Jabal, “Whoever meets Allah without associating any partners with him will enter paradise.” Mu’adh said, “Should I not give glad tidings to the people and inform them of this?” The Prophet replied, “No, for I fear that they may become lax.”[10]  Withholding knowledge is a great sin in the sight of Allah, however, if narrating such knowledge leads to a greater evil then spreading it must be prevented as in the case above. Hence, by committing the lesser evil (which in this case would be withholding certain knowledge the greater evil was prevented.

Ibn Hajar also mentions in Fat’h Al Bari that Imam Ahmed did not narrate the ahaadeeth of khurooj (rebellion) against the rulers to certain people out of the fear that they may misunderstand the texts and create a greater difficulty. He likewise mentioned how Imam Malik disliked narrating ahaadeeth of the attributes of Allah to some people out of the fear that they may liken Allah to his creation. From one perspective their actions were somewhat questionable since it seems that they were withholding Islamic knowledge. However, these great Imams, in keeping with their vast knowledge knew that they were doing such in the interests of this religion, even if it meant committing apparent ‘evils’.

Given the plethora of examples used by Islamic jurists, it can be concluded that the principle ‘the lesser of two evils’ can be applied in both coercive and non-coercive situations, as well as those that pertain to life and death. To assume otherwise is to incorrectly assimilate one maxim into another which will inevitably lead an individual to a flawed conclusion.

 

 

Notes: this article has been reposted

Source: www.islam21c.com

[1] This principle has been expressed in a number of different ways.
[2] Surah Al Baqarah 2:173; verses which hold similar meanings are also found in the elsewhere Qur’an, see: 5:3, 6:145, 16:115, 6:119.
[3] Al Nahl 16:106
[4] Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad: 4/325. According to Dr. D. al ‘Umari it is graded hasan (acceptable). See: al ‘Umari: 2:443. It was also declared Hasan by al Arna’ut in his checking of the musnad (31/225) hadith number: 18910.
[5] This is in reference to the verse: 48:1
[6] Al Nadwi: 278.
[7] Al Bukhari
[8] Ibn Hajar: 1/388.
[9] An-Nawawi: 1/191
[10] Al Bukhari

 

About Sheikh Alomgir Ali

Ustdah Alomgir has a BA in Arabic & English language and has studied Arabic and Islamic studies in Cairo. He is currently pursuing a degree in Shariah at al Azhar University in Cairo. He has translated a number of books and holds weekly Tafseer classes in London and is a regular Khateeb in a number of mosques in London. He also taught Arabic and Islamic studies at the Tayyibun Institute in London and is currently an instructor for the Sabeel retreats and seminars.

15 comments

  1. Islam Pakhtoon

    Marshallah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jaheda Jesmin

      Asalamualaikum,

      What about lobbying the MP’s instead of voting? I know about whips but we still have to try.

      Also with regards to the ayah about uttering disbelief in compulsion, does anybody know is that a threat of death or torture? Because death is pre-written and unchangeable right? So we don’t have to utter disbelief cause if we are going to die at that point we would die anyway? Torture of course is not pre-destined so is the ayah talking about torture? Does anyone know what context it was revealed in.

      Also something else I find confusing is what about the hadeeth that says the pen has been lifted and the ink is dry, so does that mean everything is pre-destined and we only haVe to follow Hukum.

      JazakhAllah khair.

  2. part of the other side of the argument
    found this brief explanation of the maxim from the other point of view – appears more convincing IMO

    “7. Voting for certain candidates to prevent others from coming in, is the lesser of two evil:

    The principle “lesser of two evils” is a sub-principle of the principle “Harm is to be lifted”[4] and is only applicable when the Shari’ah has defined the two evils, and defined which is the lesser of the two, such as the example given by al-Zayla`i and quoted by Ibn Nujaym in Ashbah wa’l-Naza’ir: “An example is that of a man who has a wound where if he were to prostrate in the Prayer the blood will flow from the wound but if he did not, then it would not flow. In this case, he must sit and pray indicating his act of bowing and prostrating because to leave the act of prostration is less evil (ahwan) than praying in a state of impurity. Is it not the case that leaving the prostration is permitted in certain conditions where one can choose not to do it like in the case of offering optional prayers while on a riding animal whereas being in a state of impurity and praying is not permitted at all…”[5] Another example Ibn Nujaym quotes is: “Likewise is the case of an elderly person who is unable to recite the Qur’an in the prayer while standing but is able to do so in a sitting posture. If this is so, he prays in a sitting posture because it is permitted to either sit or not to sit in optional prayers whereas it is not permitted to abandon the recitation in the Prayer in any circumstances…”[6]

    Here, the mind is not used to outweigh the lesser of the two evils or to decide what action to take but the text and its indications. Other examples include the difficult situation of a mother giving birth and where both are in danger of losing their lives, who then ought to be saved. Thus, the examples are connected with inevitable evils and not in cases where options to avoid the evil exist.

    Therefore, it is wholly inapplicable to apply the principle of the “lesser of the two evils” as a default premise because it forbidden to commit a haram in origin and the principle is invalidated whenever a third option exists that does not require one to commit an evil. In the case of voting for mainstream political parties, no coercion, compulsion or necessity exists. The third option is a permitted one which is to abstain and warn others from doing it. It is also not possible to tell which is the “lesser” or “greater” evil in a given situation especially when voting for these major political parties and it inevitably becomes a case of voting for who brings personal benefit. For example, in these elections none of the major parties in Britain are against the war in Afghanistan, while the xenophobic BNP is. So which is the lesser evil – increased prejudice against Muslims in the UK, or the killing of Muslims in Afghanistan? Whoever you vote for – you share responsibility in their actions since you actively empowered them.

    Some claim that by not voting you have an impact upon the result and therefore you are intrinsically involved in the action. Such a claim is demonstrably false, since its parallel would be the claim that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) should have participated in the ruling in Mecca, a position he was capable of given his position and stature amongst his people, since if he didn’t participate others would in his place and impose harsher laws upon him.”

    found it on the iculture website

    wasalam

  3. Muhammed Al-Arabi

    Question
    assa lamu ali kum,

    the reference, 1/388 for hafiz ibn hajar, is this volume 1-hadith 388 of فتح البارى. Also, if you have a good ebook version please share ia.

    Wal akum assa lam

  4. Abrahamic Father

    Systematic retort 3
    Your third comment puts you firmly into Rashids camp – not only have you failed to comprehend shaikh Abu Qutaybah’s point, but you then misrepresent it with some drivel that I fear I have yet to make complete sense of. To break down HIS argument for you in a simple way, let’s explain the entire context of the article:

    Shaikh Abu Qutaybah tells us that he isnt talking about elections but would like to discuss the arguments used increasingly by du’at when they opine that voting is accepted by the sharia. He then goes on to assert (along with good arguemnts for it) that du’at have incorrectly been using the “Necessity makes the impermissable lawful” when in fact the legal maxim they SHOULD be using is “The greater evil is repelled by the lesser evil”.

    They should not use the first maxim as it only pertains to life and death situations of which voting is NOT one (they misapply the maxim). The second maxim is the one most relevant to voting (even if they ultimately disagreed with the use of the second maxim, all would logically agree the second is MOST RELEVANT to elections when COMPARING the two).

    Your point about whether the ‘asl (origin or default position) of voting is halal or haram doesnt make any sense. Both maxims (and this is where I respectfully disagree with Shaikh Alomgir) discuss the asl being haram but the lesser one. As a result of the manifestation of a choice (between a greater and lesser haram, the lesser haram is deemed acceptable). Thus your claim that it is an apparent contradiction only serves to demonstrate your inability to understand the basic argument put forward by the shaikh. Perhaps it would behoove you to acquire some critical reasoning skills before you present a tirade that lacks any hallmark of rational method.

    I’m very sorry to all those who feel my response to be somewhat brutish, I’m sick of the stagnation of Muslims in the UK which I feel has a lot to do with the laity assuming pseudo-scholarship. I know that I have haven’t offered any substantial discourse on voting, but my aim was merely to highlight the lack of ability in reasoning amongst those who easily shout down others with kufr and shirk. Its old, completely inaccurate, and frustrating.

  5. Abrahamic Father

    Systematic retort 2
    Naveed, the way in which you commence your rant is offensive to say the least – anyone who knows shaikh Abu Qutaybah knows that he is staunch in his opposition to secularism and a strong advocate of the sharia, indeed he spends most of his days teaching it!

    You claim that there is a clear understanding of the subject matter, yet your entire ramble on what democracy and elections are makes it patently obvious that you have failed to read the most introductory text on political theory. Before you primitively retort that one only needs the sharia, remember that you assert the desire to elucidate the subject matter which is a correct understanding of democracy and elections, concepts deeply rooted in the study of political theory. Your entire analyses is not only specious but given that you articulate such shallowness in order to posit a stark conclusion, it is also dangerous. I don’t plan to actually get into a discussion about democracy, and you will undoubtedly offer me the time-honoured tradition of defining a modern political concept in accordance with its Greek etymology, but I suffice it to put it to you that your very first argument, that voting in a secular democratic context symbolises an explicit will and an explicit desire in support for a candidate who represents a particular philosophy and a particular set of manifesto commitments, is utter nonsense. Agreeing to help politician x get into a position where he can help to cease the killing of innocent people and support the Muslims community (whatever his motives are) is not the same as my supporting him for everything he believes. That is surely common sense. Further, you veering in a nd out of theory and practice show you have no consistent argument, for where in theory you see a weakness in your argument you alter the discussion to political practice, where in practice you see a weakness in your argument you revert to theory.

    As for endorsing the system, let us extend your logic to everything else. Merely by choosing to live in the UK you ‘endorse’ everything you deem kufr and shirk. Surely the taxes you pay (whether income or VAT), the law you abide by (your intentions play no part in it – as you argue with voting), or every evil you see and fail to proscribe is, in accordance with your method of reasoning, ‘endorsing the system’. Surely you can see how inept and clumsy your analytical method is!

    Of course it CAN be argued that by not voting we legitimise a candidate who comes to power in our constituency, it was our inaction that plays a part in the bigger puzzle. Furthermore, many people use the shallow argument that politicians change their manifestos after they are elected. The truth of the matter is not whether they implement them (as that’s not in their hands) but whether they argue FOR them. Besides the rhetoric and misinformation that abounds the Muslim community, the reality is that politicians DO GENERALLY work to advance their manifestos, whether they are successful or not is another story. What we have amongst Muslims is that in the extremely small number of cases (and I mean miniscule) SOME politicians have gone back on their pledges out of political expediency (other politicians do so merely realising certain economic, social etc pledges are actually not workable and that they had been a bit naive), but that is not a fair or accurate point ever to make. (Perhaps an extensive reading and analyses of political science would help in this regard).

    As for your second posting, there are certain things that are inevitable, such as the fact that SOMEONE is going to win the election. So if two parties are running, say Green and BNP, and Green loses, BNP will definately secure the seat and implement within local government policies that strongly discriminate against ethnic minorities, Muslims, jews etc). Have you understood the difference between local government and national government as well as the elections work in forming government?

  6. Abrahamic Father

    Systematic retort
    Assalamu alaikum,

    The whole discussion about democracy, voting, and whatever else people find to waste their time with has not only been dealt with, but is also getting extremely boring. As many people have reiterated, if you do not want to vote then fine, but do not impose your ignorance on those who in all sincerity wish to benefit the Muslims. Lodge the takfir fighting its way out somewhere at the back of your throat and go about your daily business (I’m not saying anyone made takfir but the will is self-evident). Leave intellectual matters for those who appropriate their lives to it. As a point to note, there has been no reputable/notable individual of Islamic learning in the UK that has argued that it is completely haram to vote in elections. (Of course if you’re part of the numerous sects that make up those who disavow themselves from the body of Muslims then you’re probably argue that either there are no scholar or that they’re all sellouts.)

    To begin with, I’d like to work backwards thru the comments merely to raise the nature of ignorance and inanity very clearly displayed. I am not Abu Qutaybah (Alomgir Ali) but I do know him, at least relatively.

    Abu Maryam aksed, is Alomgir a scholar? Well let me throw that one back at you, what is the definition of a scholar? Undoubtedly, you dont know (as don’t most people) nor will you be able to offer us anything more substantial than your own subjective ramblings. Without doubt it can be said that Abu Qutaybah is no layman, nor liberal, but an orthodox individual and has dedicated most if not all of his time and efforts to the Islamic cause, most notably learning and teaching. If you can bring half a CV to the table then perhaps you would have SOME right to question his ‘authority’. Secondly, the way in which you have derived a denotation from a general point he makes on which there exists Ijma’ (scholarly consensus) lucidly demonstrates your inanity. The hadith as narrated by Anas in al-Bukhari and Muslim clearly outlines that the Prophet told Mu’adh not to spread such news due to it causing people to rely on mediocre religious observance; the narration goes on to state that Mu’adh merely narrated the hadith on his deathbed so as not to be sinful (for concealing a prophetic statement). So does this mean, as your rudimentary method of interpretation suggests, that the Prophet peace be upon him encouraged Mu’adh to sin? I suggest you take up your qualm with al-Bukhari and other Imams of the salaf rather than shaikh Alomgir. Further, if you see Naveed’s arguments as ‘crucial’, then the compounded ignorance (jahl murakkab) you seem to have embraced necessitates I engage with you no further.

    Shafiq, jazakallahu khairan – I admire your retort although I disagree that it could have been worded better. The fact of the matter is that the ignorant can always be counted on to find a non-issue to ‘refute’, only that they instead expose their own incongruence.

    Shahid, grow up and stop using sanctified statements as some ultimately decisive proof in a sophisticated matter. In fact, it only indicates to us how simple minded you’re being (or possibly are). The entire pupose of shaikh Abu Qutaybah’s article is to show that there is no shubhah (grey area) in the matter, so presentation of this hadith is completely uncontextual – wrong discussion mate.

    Nazmul, you make a valid and rational point, may Allah increase you in good. As you point out, perhaps the discussion we should be engaged in is how to create political unity amongst Muslims so as to use those tools at our disposal in efficient ways for the sake of Allah. I welcome the discussion.

    I’ll leave Naveed till last given the numerous points he has made.

    Rashid, whilst the treaty of hudaibiyah was ordained by Allah, it does negate the fact that the Messenger and his actions are both an uswah and qudwah fo us, for if we extended your reasoning to the entire seerah we could argue that it is un-implementable as it came directly from Allah to the Prophet. Furthermore, the point being made is that elections do not contravene Allah’s law given the principles under discussion, so clearly, on the most basic level you’ve failed to fully grasp Shaikh Abu Qutaybah’s point. Perhaps you should without offering the same half-baked retorts that have been used numerous times before you. As for Musharraf, I fail to see how your point is at all useful. The Khawarij misapplied the verse “There is no hukm except for Allah” – does that mean we now negate the principle (of hukm only for Allah) which itself still stands? According to your system of reasoning we would have to do so.

  7. Re Abu Maryam
    السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
    It’s worth saying, I think, that you may have misunderstood what the brother who wrote the article was saying. And perhaps also the sentence by the author could have been worded better. He was in no way saying that the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had committed an evil. He was saying that the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had done GOOD by averting a greater evil.

    Similarly in any case where the lesser of two evils is chosen, then person has actually done good by averting the greater evil.

  8. Dont vote
    “On the authority of Abu Abdullah al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (may Allah be pleased with them both) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say, ‘That which is lawful is clear, and that which is unlawful is clear, and between the two of them are doubtful [or ambiguous] matters about which not many people are knowledgeable. Thus, he who avoids these doubtful matters certainly clears himself in regard to his religion and honour. But he who falls into the doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like a shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Verily every king has a sanctuary and Allah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions. In the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be sound, all of the body is sound and which, if it be diseased, all of the body is diseased. This part of the body is the heart.” (Recorded in Bukhari and Muslim)

  9. What willthe harm be If Muslims dont vote
    According to the 2 principles they should only be applied if there is a harm/evil so to avoid the greater harm/evil you allow the lesser harm/evil.

    But what will be the harm if Muslims dont vote?

    Not just that the people who say to vote they dont say who to vote for. For the sake of argument lets say theres a greater harm which will occur if we dont vote, but how will we avoid that greater harm of we are not united on who to vote for?

  10. This article
    Is brother Alomgir Ali a scholar?

    HE SAID
    “ad-Darar al Ashadd Yuzaalu bi-darar al Akhaff (The greater evil is repelled by the lesser evil).[1]

    …Another example of the application of this principle can be found in the narration where the Prophet said to Mu’adh ibn Jabal, “Whoever meets Allah without associating any partners with him will enter paradise.” Mu’adh said, “Should I not give glad tidings to the people and inform them of this?” The Prophet replied, “No, for I fear that they may become lax.”[10] Withholding knowledge is a great sin in the sight of Allah, however, if narrating such knowledge leads to a greater evil then spreading it must be prevented as in the case above. Hence, by committing the lesser evil (which in this case would be withholding certain knowledge the greater evil was prevented.”

    SO, BASICALLY YOU HAVE SAID, THE PROPHET(pbuh) HAD COMMITTED AN EVIL BY TELLING MU’ADH NOT TO DISCLOSE THIS HADITH (BECAUSE OF HIS WISDOM THAT THEY WILL LAX). WOW – WHAT AN ACCUSATION TO MAKE AGAINST THE FINAL MESSENGER (pbuh) ! WHY DID HE (pbuh) TELL MU’ADH BUT TOLD HIM TO NOT TELL OTHERS. IS THERE MORE TO THIS HADITH THAN MEETS THEY? WHAT DOES THIS GENERAL STATEMENT MEAN??

    BROTHER, YOU TALK ABOUT PEOPLE, LAYPEOPLE AND DA’EES GETTING FLAWED CONCLUSIONS FROM THE “Lesser of two evils” ARGUMENT, BUT YOU, YOURSELF HAVE SHOWN YOU SEEM TO HAVE FLAWED CONCLUSIONS!

    PLEASE REPLY TO BROTHER NAVEEDS CRUCIAL OBJECTIONS

  11. Salaams

    Just another point the article states, ‘This brief article does not intend to address that specific issue (dealt with by scholars elsewhere), but instead, debunk a current myth amongst many people that one of the principles that was used to justify the permissibility of voting (although not the main argument used which many people do not realise), “the lesser of two evils”, only pertains to matters of life and death and can only be applied in matters of coercion and necessity. Although this misconception is often attributed to laymen…’

    the article then states that there are two different principles.

    ‘ad-Darurah tubeehu al Mahzuraat (Necessity makes the impermissable lawful)
    ad-Darar al Ashadd Yuzaalu bi-darar al Akhaff (The greater evil is repelled by the lesser evil).[1]’

    You said the first principle is ‘related to life and death.’

    The question is which principle is being used to justify voting for secular parties. If we believe that voting for secular parties is haram in origin then according to what you have written you’d be forced to justify voting due to life and death and thus compulsion. This means that your original point about criticising some ‘lay’ ppl for claiming that the ruksaa requires necessity ie related to life and death becomes utterly redundant.

    Apparently the only way you could justify voting for secular parties according to the second principle is by arguing that it is mubah in origin. This is what I’ve read according to your article.

    Any comments to this apparent contradiction in your article?

  12. Salams

    just another point. Warding off a greater evil with a lesser evil indicates that two actions are inevitable and the two results from those acts are inevitable.

    There’s nothing inevitable in voting for secular parties except that you’d be perceived as supporting kufr.

  13. Salaams

    perhaps based on the above article scholars should refrain from givig fatwa for ppl to vote for kufr secular parties. However I am glad that some pro secular voters are engaging with the arguments rather than pretending there is some sort of ‘ijma’ on the issue to silence any critique.

    There are two things that seem to be lacking in these discussions on pro secular voting firstly is a clear understanding of the subject matter under question and secondly the ability to correctly apply Islamic shariah principles to the given subject.

    Let’s take the first matter voting in a secular democratic context symbolises an explicit will and an explicit desire in support for a candidate who represents a particular philosophy and a particular set of manifesto commitments. Manifestos are a set of proposed laws that a party decides on which it would seek to implement. By voting them means your explicit support for them. As for ppl who claim that they are tactically voting to prevent another party from coming to power or who claim they vote for them but with an intention other than supporting their policies and their secular (kufr) philosophy then this is not how the democratic process works in theory even if ppl may do this in practise. This is because a thousand votes for one party is perceived as a thousand ppl supporting that party. Hence the democratic process doesn’t discriminate between the differing intentions and only takes into account one intention ie the support of the party.

    Similarly voting is also seen as an endorsement of the system hence the importance secular thinkers give to voter turnout. That’s because by voting gives confidence to the party that does get the overall majority that it has achieved a mandate from the ppl to rule. If the voter turnout is 30% and a party achieves 28% that government will face difficult questions on whether it has achieved a mandate to rule. If however the turnout was 80% and the ruling party got 28% then no such problems of confidence of that government would be seen even though it achieved the same overall majority.

    So voting in a democratic process gives support to the system and expresses your will on whch candidate/party you desire to implement their proposed policies and philosophies (even if they have no chance of coming to power).

    On this understanding voting for one party who wishes to rule by kufr indicates (accordingto the democratic system) your support for democracy and your desire to see a party come to power to rule by kufr.

    Therefore the argument for legitimising pro secular voting is an argument that seeks to legitimise engaging in a process in which your vote indicates your desire to see the implementation of kufr. How then does any variant of the principle of lesser of two evils apply here? This is because the haram act is legitmised as halal even when a halal option remains ie not voting. It can’t be argued that by not voting we are already legitimising a candidate who comes to power in our constituency. This is a separate issue and relates to matters of living in daral kufr and in particular a democratic society. If we argue that by merely living here we are ‘represented’ by a kafir to implement kufr then it would be incumbent for us to leave this country. Secondly even in the uk not voting is perceived as a rejection of the system hence the reason why politicians like former justice secretary jack straw argued for the possible introduction to compulsory voting. He believed it was a possible measure
    to ensure the maintenance of democracy.

    As for ppl legitimising voting due to the presence of saving lives quote clearly voting for kufr is haram and can possibly lead to shirk. The results of voting are uncertain with candidates going back on manifesto pledges or not getting the party one desires into power. Hence how can something uncertain be used to justify a clear violation of the Nass?

    More can and should be said. My final point if secular Muslims who wish to see te secularisatipn of Islam and if kafir politicians who have an agenda against Islam and Muslims wish to see Muslims vote for secular parties then the ulema Shouldnt fall into the trap of trying to legitimise it. Hence they should take the stance of imam Malik and ibn hajr in withholding this type of fatwa for fearthe Muslims may inadvertently fall into sin and kufr by believing in a kufr political process.

  14. Rashid
    Salam alaykum

    I don’t know why you are over complicating things here brother.

    The treaty of Hudaibiyah was subject to revelation and the Prophet SAW unlike the UK elections obviously never contradicted any Islamic rules or obligations in this even if it was unpopular at the start. Please explain which Islamic obligations this treaty contradicted if you disagree.

    I remember Pervez Musharraf abusing the incident of the treaty of Hudaibiyah to justify supporting the US crusade in Afghanistan.

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