Friday, 19 May 2017

Thoughts on voting

Also posted on

For me, I didn't always find it accurate to say that voting was the ultimate way to express a political opinion.

Indeed, before turning the voting age I had attended my full share of political demos and had contributed plenty of dramatic think pieces to the local paper as student correspondent.

However, since turning 18 I have mostly disengaged with voting and elections, partly owing to my lack of confidence in the political structure of the UK, and in the mainstream British parties and candidates.

However, the primary factor for my abstention from voting was my faith.

So as I ask why Muslims haven't made themselves into a strong electoral contingent in the 
UK, I feel that the answer lies in some introspection.

Firstly, my enquiry into the subject of voting in the British Islamic community is rooted in my personal experiences as a non-voter, and now as a registered member of the electorate.

It was during initially the 2010 elections in the United Kingdom that I first came across the non-voting opinion.

As silly as it sounds, I found out that voting could be disallowed through a nasheed rap video. These singers deigned it haram to vote and gave a brief overview of why that was so 
through this song.

Mainly, their argument for voting abstention was that it was haram (forbidden) because legislation belonged to Allah only.

That the Qur'an and Sunnah should source all Law is something that I agree with - as believing in Allah as the sole legislator is a cornerstone of our faith.

I would further argue that since Allah created us and gave us understanding, life, intellect and everything we operate with as human beings - we should then give credence to the guidance that Allah gave to us.

However, we also need to now deal with the life we have in our hands.

I would love to live under a perfect government led by the same humility and faith as the Rashidun Caliphates in the early days of Islam.

However, being born in Western Europe and brought up in the UK, I feel like I have a right and responsibility to engage in my current context.

That is – to acknowledge that it’s good to reflect and discuss the past (hey, I'm a History undergrad as it is) - but also to build and fix for my community’s future, and also its now?

For example, what are we Muslims going actually to do about rising tuition fees? Given that only 20% of the Muslim community in the UK are in full-time employment, where/what are the avenues for investment in our education, and thus our economic lives?

The above is my primary concern. The socio-political and economic disenfranchisement of the Muslim community in Britain is something that only for discussion when framing the issue of integration and assimilation against Muslims. 

Uplifting and enhancing the lives of British Muslims has never been a non-patronising policy concern, which shows that there is a cognitive dissonance from our government and society towards British Muslims.

Yet, the existence of the above quandary is partially and collectively our fault.

Firstly, the British Muslim community needs to unshackle themselves from their apathy toward challenging the status quo outside of their communities - in a reasonable manner.

Another issue I take with is that charity has diverted the political efforts of British Muslims rather than infrastructural change. Ma Sha Allah! 

As far as I know, Muslims are the leading charitable group in the UK.

However, I wish there were more think tanks, more NGOs, more awareness groups that could help to improve the lives of British Muslims strategically.

The above could be a possibility should Labour's Jeremy Corbyn be elected this summer, the leverage on various socio-economic constraints could help British Muslims have an easier movement toward their political and personal goals.

However, we will fall and take some steps back by refusing to vote and dismissing our two million voices in the process.  


  1. this is just not your dilemma, its the concern of nearly every muslim. All arab countries have monarchies and muslims have problems with democracy in mind. our hereos are the peple with naked sword sitting at horse. which is actually not upto the situation. the best case study you can find in favor of voting and electoral system is by understanding the creation of country Pakistan which was new in the world. And its foundation is democrac. After winning the majority seats in united india through electoral process, muslims raiseed their voices for their rights and new country. i think we sometimes confuse voting with democracy. voting could be democracy but democracy is not in voting.



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