Stands >2005 Stands >The Stand of Zu El-Hujja 21 1425H /February 1, 2005 A.D.

Elections and democracy in Islam

Sayyed Fadlullah:Islam wants the people to run their social, political and economic affairs on the basis of justice and responsible freedom, and in accordance with their own development and that of government systems.

Asked in his weekly seminar the following question: How does Islam view taking part in elections and the issue of government in general?

The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said:

Islam has not institutionalized any restrictions to prevent the people from taking part in any political or electoral process that outlines the way to promote their general and specific interests.

Furthermore, Islam wants the people to run their social, political and economic affairs on the basis of justice and responsible freedom, and in accordance with their own development and that of government systems. They should also strive to conform to the principles of Sharia, on the basis of conferring and studying the priorities to adopt the option that leads the nation to maintain the straight path towards the future.

Thus, Islam has left it to the nation to make its own future by means of flexibility in dealing with the new political and economic situations that is accompanied by the intellectual work in the field of jurisprudence that is supposed to follow all novelties.

In this context, the religious principles that deal with the issue of government have emphasized the role of the nation in choosing the ruler and in holding him and the representatives of the people accountable before and after elections. The people have to verify that the former’s attitudes and positions conform with the slogans and agendas that they had proclaimed before the elections.

Based on this, the role the voter plays is, contrary to what some might believe, very important and influential. It certainly affects politics, because it could, when joined with the other voters, decide the destiny of the country, by choosing those who will run its affairs.

Yet there is a big problem concerning what some has named the democratic process. This problem has to do with the fact that many voters are not well informed with the political and social issues of their countries, and consequently they tend to choose on personal basis. As a result, this attitude facilitates the interference of the internal and external forces by trying to incite instinctual stimulants and emotional reactions to try to forge the electoral process.

Moreover, money plays an important role, with wealthy candidates exploiting the poverty of the people to buy their votes, turning the voting process into a problem instead of being a solution.

In addition, we would like to draw the attention to the fact that some Arab and Muslim regimes are trying to play the intelligence or partisan game to pressurize the voter to vote in their favor.

They also try to make the voter understand that voting is a game and not a responsibility, so that they will be able to control the turnover in a way that serves the plans they as well as certain regional and international powers have drawn. But the voters should know that they will be held responsible before Allah, the most Exalted, if they fail to male the right choice that serves the interests of the nation and not that of its enemies. Allah, the most Exalted, says "And stop them, for they shall be questioned".

There is another problem that one should discuss… that is the role of the political parties that no longer care about the national interest, but rather their own partisan shares… That is why we have seen that the efficient and ethical leaders and party members have been back benched, since those who are close to centers of influence are the ones that are put in the limelight.

We need to liberate the voter from all these negative influences and insure that he has the free will to choose those who put the general interest of the country first… Those who could bring down the government and not those whose only role is to vote yes on the bills imposed by the regional and international powers.

Finally, we have to draw the attention to what America is planning in the region concerning the issue of the elections, and to what its president has said about ending tyranny in the world. The C.I.A. wants to coerce the nations that are holding elections, whether in a direct or indirect means, to choose the candidates that support the American occupation on the American project in general. We have to be vigilant, knowing that America does not want to reform the world, but to impose its hegemony over it.

We have to be very careful and aware of the plots that are concealed by the election front, and try to deal with it in a way that benefits us and not that hurt our interests.