Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)
If you are Muslim, you must vote. There are no ifs or buts about it. As Muslim, you have no choice but to vote. For, Islam means voting. And it means elections. Others may get away by not voting, but as Muslim you cannot. God Almighty, the maker and master of this world, will hold you accountable. So, if you do not vote, you will be answerable to Him. So also, you will answer to God if you cast the wrong vote. Your vote is wrong:
If you vote solely on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or gender.
Or if you vote solely on the basis of party affiliation.
Or if you vote solely on the basis of some other marker of personal affinity, loyalty or relationship.
So, if you are Muslim, don’t forget to vote on Election Day. And make sure you vote right.
Your vote is right if you voted for a candidate based on any or all of the following criteria:
Because that candidate is the best in the field no matter how you look at it.
Because that candidate is the most honest, upright and incorruptible.
Because that candidate is the most able and talented.
Because that candidate is the most dependable.
Don’t forget, people get elected in two ways. They get elected when people vote and they get elected when people don’t vote.
By your not voting, you will only make it that much easier for the wrong people to get elected. Then you will carry on your shoulders the burden of their misdeeds in office.
But when you vote and cast the most rational, considered, honest, smart, conscientious and God-fearing vote you are capable of, you will not only help the right people to get elected, you will also bring the blessings of God Almighty on these elections.
As for thinking that your vote may not count, and that it may not really make a difference, don’t worry about that. Once you have done your duty of casting your vote, Allah’s Grace takes over. It is all up to him now – as it always was and is – to do with your vote, and with everyone else’s vote, what he wants.
You do what you must as a patriot and as a Citizen Participant in whatever society you live, Allah will do what he pleases and wills as the maker and master of this world. Once you vote, both your intention and your act of voting are entered in the Divine Register, and that is really what matters.
As for mixing violence of any kind with elections, whether it is verbal or physical violence, or even communication violence in the form of lies and baseless propaganda, it is most unfortunate whenever and wherever it occurs. It is a sad and deplorable reflection on our democracy and on the state of our world.
And violence, in all its manifestations, is totally anathema to Islam. For, Islam means love, justice and peaceful discussion and persuasion.
Islam has nothing to do with violence in any form or fashion. In fact, God sent Islam into the world to wipe out all senseless violence, coercion and intimidation from the face of the earth.
And, by the way, don’t forget to say “Bismillah!” when you cast your vote!
And yes, if you are not Muslim, still please join your Muslim brothers and sisters in saying “Bismillah!” as you cast your vote. And make sure you cast the most honest, intelligent and conscientious vote you possibly can.
Don’t forget that God Almighty is watching every move you make and reading every thought you think. Muslim or non-Muslim, don’t for one minute doubt that it is to him that you will answer for your vote – or non-vote.
God bless you and God bless elections in which free human beings everywhere can cast their votes without fear or favor to choose leaders from “among themselves,” as Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, put it, to govern them and run their affairs!
That is also Islam in a nutshell.