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Sh Haitham Khutbah: General Elections in the UK 2019

In the Name of Allāh, the most Gracious and most Merciful. All praise belongs to Allāh. May the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon His Final Messenger, Muhammad (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), his family and his companions.

Suggested khutbah

Muslims are a source of goodness and khayr for everyone and everything, wherever they are. They are the Ummah of the final Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), who was sent as a mercy to all created beings. As Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) declares:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. [1]

إِنَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ وَيُبَشِّرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا كَبِيرًا 

Indeed, this Qur’ān guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.  [2]

You are leaders for humanity

Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) created mankind and He chose Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) to be amongst the best of mankind. He (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) has chosen this Ummah to be the best of nations, and this Ummah has been appointed to be in charge of mankind. Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says,

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ

“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allāh.” [3]

As a result, the Ummah always looks for any opportunity to share this khayr with others. The Ummah also looks for any opportunity to increase the good and minimise the evil.

One such opportunity for Muslims to carry out their divine obligation in the UK is in the upcoming election, as it is well known that choosing the right individuals or parties to rule a country is one of the ways of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.

The upcoming British elections

The upcoming British election has been described as one of the most important elections in a generation.

The last few years in the UK have been characterised by polarisation over many pertinent political issues, such as Brexit, the NHS, crime, racist and Islamophobic counter-terrorism policies, and many other things.

In the upcoming elections, we have for the first time more genuine and radically different options on offer to govern the country than ever before in recent history.

Why is it important to vote?

Many Muslim leaders call for political participation by highlighting the problems that Muslims in the UK or Europe are facing. Islamophobia, institutional discrimination, widespread ignorance and xenophobia, Islamic education, halāl facilities, and other such issues are what are often brought to the fore to show why Muslims should become politically active. No doubt, these are important issues, but I feel the need to address the whole issue of Muslim political participation from a proactive angle and one of leadership.

Be proactive

As Muslims, we must not accept being reactionary and defensive all the time. We must not let others dictate our thinking, narratives, and agenda. This not only continually puts us on the back foot, but it forces us into an intellectually and strategically subordinate—even inferior—position of being led all the time. Allāh wants us to be leaders for all humanity and His vicegerents on earth.

In the UK, the way that the Muslims are spread across constituencies means that we have more potential power than our numbers – we have the ability to ‘punch above our weight’. As organisations such as Mend have shown us in their research, Muslims live in large numbers in around 20 marginals seats—some of which were won in the past by only a few dozen votes—where the Muslim vote could be the deciding vote, if we are organised and proactive.

Some misconceptions about voting

The potential for Muslims to make a positive impact is often sapped by doubts and confusion, either from the ruling elite or from misinformed and decontextualised fatāwa from a different time and era.

“Voting for a candidate or a party means endorsing him or the party that might enforce many non-Islamic laws.”

The answer is: voting for one party does not mean endorsing all what this party endorsing. All it means is that this party is more suitable to be in power than the other party. It does not mean that the entire party is correct.

“Abstaining from voting is the safer option in terms of committing a sin or kufr.”

The answer is: in a democratic system, you are actually voting whether you actively vote or do not take part. Abstaining from voting will not change the democratic system and will not stop any one from becoming a prime minister. In reality, not voting is actually voting for the one who manipulates the voting system.

Some people think that abstaining from voting is the best and safer option as they are keeping away from giving votes for some individual to be in power. This is despite British Muslims facing a number of challenges in this country related to the housing crisis, tuition fees, Islamophobia, employment, and other issues. These challenges are faced by everyone in our society. If we are not engaged and involved, we are going to keep losing many opportunities.

“I am just one person, what can I do? The politicians in charge are too powerful to let me make a change.”

The answer is: Allāh is not judging us based on the outcome but by what we do. When Allāh tested the tribe of Banu Isrā’īl with some rulings regarding the Sabbath, and a group of them disobeyed Allāh, the remaining group had a dispute amongst themselves with regards to trying to change those that disobeyed:

وَإِذْ قَالَتْ أُمَّةٌ مِّنْهُمْ لِمَ تَعِظُونَ قَوْمًا ۙ اللَّهُ مُهْلِكُهُمْ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا

And when a community among them said, “Why do you advise [or warn] a people whom Allāh is [about] to destroy or to punish with a severe punishment?”

The reply was something we should all pay close attention to and take as a general principle in life, activism, and da’wah:

قَالُوا مَعْذِرَةً إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

They [the advisors] said, “To be absolved before your Lord and perhaps they may fear Him.”

What is our primary concern?

Our primary concern should be what we say when we stand before Allāh about trying at least to make positive change, however daunting it might be. Accepting defeat is guaranteed to allow injustice to prevail, especially in an election when enough individuals feel disempowered or disenfranchised not to turn out and vote. Remember, there were more people that did not vote in the last election than those who voted for the winning party!

If enough of us strive to oppose injustice and establish justice, it will lead to the desired result, which is why many in power try to reduce our tendency to be involved in politics. It will also—in shā Allāh—reach the primary goal, which is having an excuse before Allāh for what we did within our sphere of influence, however little it may be materially, in order to bring about positive change.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

 مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الْإِيمَانِ

Whoever among you sees an evil/harm, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do even that, then with his heart—and that is the weakest of iman.

There is no fourth option to sit idly by without doing something. None of us in the UK are forced to the extent that we are unable to make our voiced heard at election time, when it counts most in politics.

Next steps

Make sure that you are registered to vote in the UK.

Try to understand the Muslim strategy of voting in your area.

Encourage unity and cooperation with the various Muslim organisations and groups in your constituency to amplify your voice.

Get involved in or organise hustings in your localities where the different candidates can come and argue who is best for your constituency. More importantly, hold the winner to account after the elections, until the next election.

By the grace of Allāh, many good Muslim organisations are highlighting useful guidelines in helping Muslims to participate in the coming general elections. Muslim manifestos have been submitted to political parties and are available to put to prospective candidates in our local areas. [4]

Register by midnight on 26 November to vote in the General Election on 12 December.

Click here to register to vote

Click here to view the candidates competing to be your MP

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’ān 21:107

[2] Al-Qur’ān 17:9

[3] Al-Qur’ān 3:110

[4] http://mend.org.uk/advocacy/

About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Council of Europe as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.

5 comments

  1. A lot has been said, in the English speaking world, over the years regarding democracy, the caliphate and recently Yasir Qadhi’s ‘new’ views on Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (please see my comment in the article on ‘Proposed Ban on Islamic Dress in Indonesia’). We have always known the difference between shura and democracy. We have always known that the establishment of a caliphate will be using a ‘top-down’ approach in which the people of influence will choose a leader who will then work with them to put into place Islamic systems. We have never despaired of this happening especially to the extent that we turn the system upside-down, relegating the caliph to a mere token monarch. It was because such caliphs existed in the past that the rot in the Islamic systems set in, eventually leading to their corruption (such as ‘jihad’ and tax collecting under the Ottomans becoming tyrannical during its later years) and to the downfall of the entire system.

    The view that the scholars in the past interpreted Islam their way and that we should be allowed to do the same (partly under the pretext of using ‘local’ ulemas who understand the context better) is false because we have divine guidance through our beloved prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) telling us that the earliest generations were the best ones. Ustaadh Ali Hammuda wrote an excellent article in 2015 called ‘Who are the Salaf?’ in which he said,

    “To some it may sound strange to posit that we, as Muslims, need to look ‘backwards’ to go forwards! But actually, it is not strange at all. The only reason why ideologies and theories other than Islām need ‘developing’ is because of their deficiency to begin with. With Islām however, the source is Allāh, Who is free from defect and as for the recipient, it was the Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and a community of saints. Thus true progression, advancement and enlightenment is when we retreat to their ways…Poor are those who wish to ‘modernise’ Islām. Not only because they are seen as sell-outs by mainstream Muslims, but because they are at the fingertips of their neo-con masters. Little do they realise that they are in fact selling their afterlife to forward the worldly agenda of someone else. The orthodox Muslim, apart from being scorned at, is inherently seen as principled and resilient. Those who follow the example of the companions are winners in every sense, and in this article we outline just some of their ‘prizes’.”

    I think that what we should remember is that there are no new fatwas regarding any of these things. The arguments that people are bringing forward have been around for many years and have been refuted in Arabic many times. They have now trickled down into the English speaking world but my advice to those who are promoting these false ideas is that you should look inside yourselves to understand why you are publicising these views now when fatwas and evidences have been around for decades, even centuries, but they were not interpreted the way that they are being interpreted now. Shame on anyone who is using our current predicament of having very few scholars who can debate these issues in Arabic or in English, to their advantage.

  2. Reality check

    Sorry last point, there is a anti Muslim bias out there, no one is denying that, but in general we as Muslims in the UK are able to participate in society, hold jobs and earn money for our family, have a roof over our heads and pray in our masjids.
    We have good access to our own media platforms and have advocates from all walks of life articulating our concerns.
    Therefore the khutbah is slightly disingenuous with it’s portrayal of Muslims in general being down trodden.
    The issue for the Muslims in the UK is foreign policy and corruption of society as well as a host population angry that Muslims are not assimilating and asking for special privileges. (Irony is that it is usually labour or lib dems councillors whom arbitrarily impose rules such as banning Xmas plays etc as it may offend Muslims, white van man reads this and then a few idiots take it out on visible targets such as sisters in hijaab.
    None of the political parties are endorsing Islamaphobia. The issue for Muslims is do we want phase two of this liberalism forced on to our children ?
    Children as young as five taught relationship studies and all that liberal stuff.
    Abortion of a foetus up to 24 weeks.
    Relaxed drug laws ?
    High debt for students ?
    The NHS and welfare.
    Too many Labour Mps wishing to see a huge EU State with it’s own army.

  3. Reality check

    I respect shaykh haitham Al hadad and agree with him on a number of issues. There are others I completely disagree with him on.
    He is not out and out saying vote LABOUR,but he doesn’t need to…. Labour and the Lib dems will for the foreseeable future always garnor more Muslim votes then the perceived Islamaphobic Tory Party.
    That’s why it was best for the brother to either explain clearly in detail whom he is backing with the appropriate broadcast caveats and balance to allay any sanctions. Or to have simply stayed quite on such a complex matter.
    Does he know that STELLA CREASEY the MP for Labour in Walthamstow has now sneakily helped a d extended Abortion Rights to Northern Ireland in the Absence of power in Stormont.
    This means babies in their mothers wombs can be terminated as late as 24 weeks gestation.
    The hypocracy of this lady knows no bounds.
    Jess Phillips smeared the Muslim parents in Birmingham protesting against their children , some as young as five being taught relationship studies including same sex relationships.
    The parents had legitimate questions but were smeared as homophobic when in reality they just wanted their children to maintain their childhood and innocence.
    Imagine these people emboldened with a victory, what will they do next in their Nanny state?
    The EU wants a army for defence, reality is any peace keeping and defence mission could easily become a offensive mission. Most likely in Africa and middle east, regardless of where though it will mean more civilian deaths by mercenaries whom are following orders.

  4. Reality check

    Not voting doesn’t help the incumbent. In any event which party is truly the lesser of two evils.
    But the strangest part I couldn’t understand was when the 3 levels of Iman are mentioned and the inadmissible 4th level. We all agree that, but there isn’t a need for a 4th in this case as the 3rd option suffices.
    The danger is people are assuming Jeremy Corbyn has leadership over his party when in reality his belief is to let everyone have their say. This has led him to flip-flop and allow others from within his party to direct him as they please.
    He had to withdraw his attack on the war criminal Blair following the Chilcott inquiry as he faced a massive rebellion from his own shadow cabinet with mass resignations.
    I personally most probably won’t vote, but pray that the Lib Dems and Labour don’t win.
    They have messed up 2 whole generations of society with their liberalising of Alcohol and Gambling Licenses. Attempts to decriminalize Cannabis (labour changed its classification).
    Look at the “Khair” of society now ? Communism denies Allah and believes we should rule ourselves. We are reaping what we are sowing as a society.
    No deterrent for Murderers and Thieves, soft sentences and and so called rehabilitation schemes and educational training programs for the offenders usually run by private firms making millions from government funds.(Cronyism and political sleaze).
    In short a lab/lib Dems would lead to a more decadent and disfuntional society.
    People following whims and desires not content, living empty and sad lives with high anxiety and suicide rates.
    No hikmah.
    In Islam your own body has rights, thus why we do not have tattoos and piercings which go against the fitrah.
    Our body is given to us as a trust, which is why it has a right over us to be treated with respect.
    This is the reason why euthanasia and suicide is Haraam in Islam, but this concept of the body and soul being separate entities blessed and gifted to us by our Lord and Creator for a apportioned time is lost on these so called liberal experts whom have no idea about the bonds of society and the greater good.
    They prefer individual rights at the expense of the many.
    How many people commit murder and death by dangerous driving whilst under the influence of Alcohol and Drugs ? Yet these people think the solution is to encourage and open up more establishments serving alcohol.
    Turning a blind eye to the youth off their heads on skunk and other drugs.

  5. This is a opinion of sheikh I disagree fully who are you going to vote for conservatives labour both support sodomites infact labour have opinions which are worse then conservatives likewise so do conservatives
    If you say choose lesser of the 2 evils I can accept to a certain extent
    Even non muslim many are saying all parties are evil there is no point on voting any of them
    But to say we must vote without vote nothing can be done I fully disagree

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