The Claim That The Islamic Shooraa (Counsel) And Democracy And Voting Are Equivalent
Ash-Shaykh Aboo Naasr Muhammad bin ‘Abdillah al-Imaam (hafithahullah) 1
Source: “Tanweer-uth-Thulumaati li-Kashfi Mafaasidi wa Shubuhaat-il-Intikhaabaat” (Illuminating the Darkness in order to uncover the corruptions and doubts concerning Voting) [pages 31-35]
Translated by Aboo ‘Imraan al-Mekseekee
Question: What is the ruling regarding the statement that Democracy and Voting are equivalent to the Islamic Shooraa (Counsel)?
The Answer: By Allah, if we did not fear that the ignorant would be influenced by the likes of these words then it would be obligatory to avoid even responding to this (statement).
But before we delve into an explanation of the recklessness regarding this comparison (between Democracy and Voting alongside the Islamic Shooraa) I would like to remind these people of two great narrations both being statements of the Messenger (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him):
“Whoever says: I am free from Islam, and if he is a liar then he is as he has said, and if he is truthful: he is not considered in Islam to be trustworthy.” [Related by an-Nisaa’ee, Ibn Maajah and al-Haakim from the narration of Buraydah]
And likewise the statement of the Messenger (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him):
“Indeed the servant who speaks without evidence will remain in the Hellfire farther than the distance between the East and the West.” [Agreed upon from the narration of Aboo Hurayrah]
So in these two narrations is an advice to the one who speaks against Allah Mighty & Majestic without either knowledge or guidance nor with an illuminating book.
At any rate Democracy and Voting is not combined with the Islamic Shooraa that Allah has legislated, not in the fundamentals of the religion nor its subsidiary branches, neither in totality nor in part, not in meaning or in foundation, and the evidence for these issues is the following:
First: Who legislated the idea of Democracy? The answer to this would be the disbelievers. Who legislated the Islamic Shooraa? The answer to this would be Allah. Does the created have the right to legislate? The answer to this would be no. Is his legislation accepted (by Allah)? The answer to this would be no.
The legislator of Democracy is the created whereas the Legislator of the Islamic Shooraa is Allah the Glorified. The God of the Islamic Shooraa and its adherents is Allah the Mighty & Majestic while the god of Democracy and its adherents is the disbelievers and their desires. So do we have any other god besides Allah?! Allah Most High says:
“Say: Shall I seek a judge other than Allah?” [Soorat-ul-An’am:114]
“Say: Shall I take as a helper any other than Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth? And it is He Who feeds but is not fed. Say: Verily, I am commanded to be the first of those who submit themselves to Allah (as Muslims). And do not be like the pagans.” [Soorat-ul-An’am:14]
“Say: Shall I seek a lord other than Allah, while He is the Lord of all things?” [Soorat-ul-An’am:164]
This is the complete distinction between Democracy and Voting and between the Islamic Shooraa.
Second: The distinguished Shooraa is that which pertains to the administration and guidance of the Ummah and is established by the People of resolve and structure from amongst the ‘Ulamaa, the Righteous and the Sincere but Democracy (on the other hand) is established by the People of disbelief and crimes and from the ignorant of both men and women, so when the Muslims or the ‘Ulamaa enter alongside with them then it is only to play with the Muslims.
Is it permissible to equate the good, righteous and believing Muslim, the one whom Allah has chosen and selected, alongside the criminal whom Allah has distanced Himself from and detested?!! The Most High says:
“Shall We make the Muslims (comparable) to the criminals? What is the matter with you and how do you judge?” [Soorat-ul-Qalam: 35-36]
And the Glorified says:
“Do those who do evil deeds think that We will make them equal alongside those who believe and do righteous deeds whether dead or alive? Evil is the judgment they hold.” [Soorat-ul-Jathiyah :21]
And the Glorified says:
“Shall We make those who believe and do righteous good deeds as those who commit crimes upon the earth? Or treat the Pious as wicked?”
[Soorah Sad: 28]
Third: The people who make up the general body of the Shooraa do not make the Haraam (the prohibited in Islam) permissible nor do they make the Halaal (the permissible in Islam) impermissible, they do not hold falsehood to be true or hold the truth to be false which is in opposition to the followers of Democracy who allow the Haraam and forbid the Halaal and hold the truth to be false and assist in falsehood. So the people on the Shooraa consult with one another regarding those issues that have occurred from the issues of truth and they implement it, they are followers and people who emulate but they do not come together with rulings that oppose the Rule of Allah. Those who innovate and make falsehood obligatory legislate by other than what Allah has revealed and
Allah the Glorified says:
“Or do they have partners alongside Allah who have legislated for them a religion which Allah has not permitted?” [Soorat-ush-Shura :21]
And the Glorified mentions:
“And if any of them say: I am a god besides Him then that one We will recompense with Hell. Thus We recompense those who do wrong.”
And the Glorified says:
“They have no Protector other than Him, He does not share His Rule alongside anyone.” [Soorat-ul-Kahf :26]
Fourth: The Shooraa is not assembled except in rare instances so whatever Allah has ruled with and His Messenger (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) and that ruling is evident then there is no Shooraa needed. As for Democracy then it opposes the Rulings of Allah, the Most High says:
“Do they desire the judgment from the Days of Ignorance? And who is better in judgment than Allah for a people who have firm Faith.”
And the Glorified says:
“And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then they are disbelievers.” [Soorat-ul-Ma’idah:44]
“And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed then they are wrong doers.” [Soorat-ul-Ma’idah:45]
“And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed then they are the sinful.” [Soorat-u-Ma’idah:47]
Fifth: The Shooraa is not a religious duty nor is it obligatory in every instance; rather it differs based on the various circumstances and conditions. In one instance it may be obligatory and in another it is not. And this is why the Messenger (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) would assemble the Shooraa to set in motion some of the battles and raids and other times he would not, it all differs based on the various conditions.
As for Democracy then it makes it (the setting up of a Shooraa) compulsory on its followers and doesn’t allow any person from the Rulers and Leaders to ever abandon it, and that it must implement it and apply it upon the people, but whosoever has obligated upon the people what Allah has not made compulsory then he has coerced the people and Allah the Most High says:
“Do the disbelievers think that they can take My slaves as protectors besides Me? Indeed We have prepared Hell for those who disbelieve.”
Sixth: Democracy rejects the Divine Islamic legislation and accuses it of deficiency and non-righteousness whereas the Shooraa establishes the strength of Islam and its effectiveness for every time and place.
Seventh: The Shooraa came at the time that Islam was revealed while Democracy came to the Muslim lands just as recently as the last two centuries – the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries after the Hijrah – so does this mean that the Messenger (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) was a Democrat? Likewise what about the Companions and all of the Muslims?
Eighth: The meaning of Democracy is: (the Rule of the people by the people). As for the Shooraa then it means to consult with one another mutually, it does not contain the fabrication of rulings that are not from the fundamentals of the Divine Legislation rather it is to cooperate upon the understanding of truth and refutes the particulars in favour of the majority and the new issues in favour of
the original affairs.