‘If you don’t vote, then don’t complain in future’ – SAMNET

Voting is an important part of being an active citizen, and your vote for the right people to represent the area you live in is an important Islamic duty, writes an Al-Qalam Reporter.

If you don’t make the effort to vote in the upcoming Municipal Elections then you only make it easier for the “incompetent and corrupt to remain in place – to be replaced by people just like them,” said Dr Faisel Suleman, chairperson of the South African Muslim Network (SAMNET).

Dr Suleman urged the Muslim community to go out and vote in large numbers on November 1.

He cited the Quranic ayah where the Almighty commanded the Ummah to “Enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil”

He said if people cannot make the effort to improve the quality of life of our society, then they should NOT complain when things go wrong.

He said that the South African Municipal Elections affords us the opportunity to choose leaders who will best represent our interests and influence the policies which govern our country.

“Islam makes it incumbent upon Muslims to ‘enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil”, hence it is our responsibility as Muslims to seek justice, equality, morality and the protection of human rights. Our participation in the Municipal Elections is vital to bring about progressive changes in society.

“We need to be wise in electing leaders based on service delivery, municipal maintenance, accountability, honesty and development. We have the opportunity to choose those who are committed to justice, integrity and ethics so that we may effect change and make the effort to fix the issues caused by oversight and negligence over the years.

“It is our civic duty and responsibility as Muslims to ensure the welfare of ALL human beings and improve the policies of South Africa for the better, thus voting as a Muslim is essential.

“We cannot remain outside of political participation and then complain about the results. If you have been affected by corruption, poor service delivery, high crime, bad roads, escalating rates and tariffs, etc. this is your chance to choose who speaks for you.

“Voting is an important part of being an active citizen, and your vote for people to represent the area you live in is an important Islamic duty!” Dr Suleman said.

Democracy

Meanwhile, well-known academic and Islamic scholar, Dr Imam Rashied Omar, pointed out that in terms of the Islamic ethico-legal position, there is no explicit textual evidence (nass) either from the Qur’an or Sunna (prophetic tradition) that can be used to substantiate the view that Muslims should vote only for so-called Islamic parties or any other party. “It is therefore my considered view that Muslims should be encouraged to participate in the municipal elections and vote for a political party of their choice”.

However, he added, that if any political party is found to be overtly and unequivocally hostile to Islam, it would not be in the best interests of Muslims to vote for such a political party.

Dr Omar said it was his considered view that local government elections was as important, if not more than national elections, since they facilitate the process of taking democracy down to the grassroots level.

“For Muslims, democracy should not merely mean casting ones vote periodically but more importantly, shura or participatory democracy in Islam demands the building of consultative and transparent institutions that will root out endemic corruption and address the needs of the poor. The only real guarantee for healthy democracy is that of a strong civil society that can hold those in power accountable for their moral and political mandate. Voters should further insist on accountability from their political parties and ensure that they make good their electoral promises”.

“May Allah guide us to cast our votes for the best candidates and parties that will not only serve the interests of Muslims but of all the poor and marginalised citizens in our country. We pray and make du’a that Allah, the Sublime, will guide our country to convene a peaceful municipal election, and that it will result in the best possible outcome”. Allahumma Amin.

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