08 November 2003

Fatwah of February 2002, by Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi (you must see below the fatwah for a description of who he is) of Qatar regarding muslim participation in American elections:

America has special conditions that need to be addressed in order to reach a rule in this matter:

1. America is a nation composed by immigrant communities from all over the world. It is not connected to one nation or one culture, in a limited sense where non-Europeans are excluded.
2. It is a young country. Its cultural patterns are still open to Influence from Islam. It also provides Islam with an opportunity to contribute to its growth.
3. It is a country that respects the freedoms of all religions to exist regardless of some shortcomings

Based on the above mentioned, the following conclusions can be reached in terms of Muslims participation in politics in America:

First: It is incumbent upon Muslims to participate in politics effectively in America. They need to involve for the following reasons:
- If Muslims needs to protect their rights they have to involve in politics.
- Supporting their fellow Muslims around the world
- Spreading Islam’s message
- Expressing the universality of Islam

Participating in politics is an obligation not “a right� that they can quit exercising it whenever they wish. It’s a matter of “protecting societal necessities� and the improvement of Muslims conditions in America.

Second: What ever helps in achieving such noble goals takes their rule Islamicaly. This includes:
1. Nominating any able Muslims to public offices in order to promote what is good for the society and for them, as well as preventing what is evil from harming the society and harming them. These offices are mayors, governors, members of the congress, and alike.
2. Individual Muslims nominate themselves, if Muslims did not nominate him
3. Supporting a non-Muslim candidate if he is more beneficial to Muslim’s causes or less harmful than a Muslim.
4. Supporting non Muslim candidates financially
5. Pursuing citizenship in America because it’s the bases of exercising rights
6. Registering for elections and voting. These are two separate but mandatory obligations.

Regulations and limitations:
1. In order for Muslims to gain their rights in this country, and their positive interaction with the native people of this country, it requires from us consultation and agreement on the main principles of Islam, and we should excuse each other on the minor differences. The righteous Companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, set up an example hundreds of years ago when they met to consult each other on the best response to the critical situation during their migration to Abyssinia.

2. Muslims minority in America is in need for strengthening their belief, and enhancing their Islamic culture. Interaction with others should not lead to concessions that hinder their religion. Again the example of Ja'far At-tyar and his refusal to paw for An-Najashi (Negus) King of Abyssinia is the best example.

3. Muslim minority is in need of expressing the facts of Islam in the best manner. Eternal values of Islam, and its humanitarian system should be practiced and reflected in the best way. Exactly as Ja'far did in his speech in front of An-Najashi, when he stated the Principles of Islam and the difference between Islam and darkness. In doing so, Muslims not only gain support and sympathy of others but an encouragement to others to follow the path of Islam.

4. Muslims in America should familiarize themselves with the art of communication and public relations. Again, Ja'far’s example when he ended his speech addressing the kin “we have come to your country’ we have chosen you among kings, we seek our neighborhood, and seek not to be dealt with unjustly.�

About Sheikh al-Qaradawi: The Arab World and Muslim communities in the West regard Qaradawi as the supreme religious authority of the Muslim Brotherhood of our times. His Fatwahs serve as a basis for many major rulings in cardinal issues, including suicide operations against civilians; Islamic economy; immigration; participation of Muslims in the U.S. military forces in Iraq, etc.

courtesy of PRISM