• democracy ≠ shuraa •

Shaikh Muhammad bin ‘Abdillah al-Imaam

from the book, Tanweerudh Dhulumaat bi Kashf Mafaasid wa Shubuhaatil Intikhaabaat

[Illuminating the Darkness by Uncovering the Corruptions and Doubts Concerning Voting] pp 31-35

Question: What is the ruling regarding the statement that Democracy and Voting are equivalent to the Islamic Shuraa?

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


But before we delve into an explanation of the recklessness regarding this comparison [between democracy and voting alongside the Islamic shuraa] I would like to remind these people of two great narrations both being statements of the Messenger: ‘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 will never return to Islam completely.’ [Related by an-Nisaa’ee, Ibn Maajah and al-Haakim from the narration of Buraydah]

And likewise the statement of the Messenger: 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 Abu Hurayrah]

So in these two narrations is an advice to the one who speaks against Allah, Mighty and Majestic, without either knowledge or guidance, nor with an illuminating book.

At any rate, democracy and voting can not be combined with the Islamic shuraa 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 shuraa? 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 shuraa is Allah the Exalted. The God of the Islamic shuraa and its adherents is Allah, Mighty and 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? [Al-An’aam : 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.
[al-An’aam : 14]

Say: Shall I seek a lord other than Allah, while He is the Lord of all things? [Al-An’aam : 164]

This is the complete distinction between democracy and voting and between the Islamic shuraa.

Second: The distinguished shuraa 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 ‘ulemaa, the righteous and the sincere, whereas 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
? [al-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.
[al-Jaathiyah : 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?
[Saad : 28]

Third: The people who make up the general body of the shuraa do not make the haraam permissible nor do they make the halaal 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 in the shuraa 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. Allah, the Exalted, says:

Or do they have partners alongside Allah who have legislated for them a religion which Allah has not permitted
? [ash-Shuraa : 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
. [al-Anbiyaa : 29]

And the Glorified says:

They have no Protector other than Him, He does not share His Rule alongside anyone
. [al-Kahf : 26]

Fourth: The shuraa is not assembled except in rare instances so in the case of a clear evident ruling that Allah and His Messenger ruled with, then there is no shuraa 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. [al-Maa’idah : 50]

And the Glorified says:

And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then they are disbelievers
. [al-Maa’idah : 44]

And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed then they are wrong doers
. [al-Maa’idah : 45]

And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed then they are the sinful
. [al-Maa’idah : 47]

Fifth: The shuraa 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 would assemble the shuraa 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 shuraa] compulsory on its followers and doesn’t allow any person from the rulers and leaders to abandon it, and they 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. [al-Kahf : 102]

Sixth: Democracy rejects the Divine Islamic legislation and accuses it of deficiency and non-righteousness whereas the shuraa establishes the strength of Islam and its effectiveness for every time and place.

Seventh: The Shuraa 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 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 shuraa, 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 it refutes the particulars in favor of the majority and the new issues in favor of the original affairs.


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