So there I was, in zen harmony with my Muslim-American (or American-Muslim) identity, choosing to be all that I could be and exercising my right to abstain from voting altogether when my Facebook feed was buzzing with a strange idea (not a fatwa, but an idea) – voting in elections was wajib!

What! Holy moly! If don't vote in the election, I'm allowing bombs to fall on Muslims around the world, I'm ripping apart the threads that make the fabric of my cushy western lifestyle, and Muslim politicos may *gasp* unfriend me!

This means if I don't participate in every local county election, by golly I'm a sinner! If I don't participate in every state referendum, I'm a sinner! If I don't put together my own super-secret super-pac to help shape the agenda of a leaderless western Muslim diaspora, I'm a sinner! And if I ever use diaspora in a sentence, I'm trying to impress you with a vocabulary I don't have (so don't fall for it). Hopefully, that doesn't make me a sinner (at least, not until the academic thought police show up on my door and make excessively verbose SAT-level vocabulary wajib for the good of the Ummah).

Look, I'm all for Muslim minorities engaging the political process if they feel this is the best way to bring about positive change domestically and internationally. There exists loads of support from scholars of all labels, and if you're doing it, go in with guns blazing – hit up the school boards, the county board elections, the state senate elections, get on the board of directors for your home owners association, and above all, lead with proper Islamic manners and ethics.

But I sincerely beg of you, please don't make a mockery of our faith by making it wajib on me to get out and vote to help the Muslim Ummah. There is no consensus on who to vote for, or why, and if I were to vote Romney in this election, I strongly suspect (being fully aware our religion doesn't sanction suspicion of one another) the “must-vote” camp would throw apoplectic fits.

If you think that by voting you're stopping bombings and harm from happening to Muslims, then let's review – Bush Sr (Gulf War), Clinton (8 years of sanctions, 1.5 million Iraqi civilians dead and sanctions + bombs on Afghanistan), Bush Jr (Guantanamo, Gulf War II, Afghanistan again), and Obama (Drone Wars, Kill Lists, re-written rules on the definition of civilian casualties). And I realize the fear is greater with Romney than Obama, but let's not kid ourselves along the way – one way or another, you'll have a butcher of Muslim children and international law, it's really just asking which one is worse.

Vote your conscience and go Green if you like, vote for the lesser of two evils because you feel in practical reality it's a two party system, or vote if you feel a civic duty to help your fellow man (and yes, woman too).  And if you want to stay home, then stay home.  But please, back off on making this thing wajib, it's excessive.

Besides, I'm not a female voter in Ohio.

PS:  As my wife has pointed out in the comments section, I'm still a Canadian citizen and haven't yet applied for my US citizenship (though I've lived here since my elementary school days), but that's more due to laziness than anything else.  Barring that, I'd still be at home.

7 Responses

  1. lailaaa

    I honestly dont think we have a choice. Its either him or romney, and frankly i choose the latter. If Romeny winds itll be 198882392x worse, and thats why i would vote for Obama, i really wish we had more variety to choose from.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  2. Abdullah

    Good article :) it’s been craziness lately. Personally, I went for Gary Johnson, alhamdulillah.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  3. Gibran

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Vote for Obama and you are voting for a man who, while clearly not a hater of Islam or Muslims, drones Muslim children to death.

    I can’t vote like that. It’s just not right. No, I don’t belong to Islamic Awakening forum or anything. But, I do know that when Allah wills, I am going to meet Him.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  4. RCHOUDH

    Assalamu alaikum wr wb,

    Jazakallah ul khair brother for informing us about this development. I’m surprised and disappointed to hear some individuals proclaiming that voting in American elections is now wajib. What evidence do they have to make such a statement? I suspect the evidence is barely existent.

    I would just like to know what issue/s American Muslims are supposed to vote upon in the American presidential race. Do we have any defining issues the way Western women voters have abortion/birth control, gays/lesbians have gay marriage, African-Americans have the continuing fight against institutionalized racism, and Latinos have immigration reform? If Muslims have concerns about foreign policy (particularly in relation to Muslim countries), well it’s been pretty clear for a long time now that both parties are one and the same when it comes to that and their policies are not about to change anytime soon. Drone warfare, CIA involvement, and special ops are still going to continue, not to mention the continuing erosion of human rights under the Patriot Act.

    If like most Americans, Muslims are concerned about the economy, it’s also been pretty clear for awhile now that both parties are for bailing out the banks more than average citizens in debt. And both parties vow to dismantle a lot of the various social programs out there that more and more citizens have come to rely on because unemployment will remain sky-high into the continuing future. The effects of Obama’s healthcare program are at best halfway measures that will somewhat ease the current issues with the system, but not eradicate them for good. So I’m just wondering what I, as a Muslim from America, am supposed to be exactly voting upon?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  5. RCHOUDH

    *I just wanted to add that along with dismantling a lot of important social programs, both parties won’t really do much to pare down the enormous defense budget that is currently creating the massive budget deficit in America.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  6. Mo

    I agree it crazy to say you are guilty just becase you dont vote. What is this guilt by association ??

    Romney was more right wing but his foriegn policy was same as Obama. Maybe healthcare was big difference
    I didnt bother voting but did vote for congress and governor

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  7. Fezz

    Hmm….would voting be wajib if you were say in Egypt? Surely it depends on the understanding of the person and the nature of their local candidates (there are some true dangerous nutters out there)

    Its worth remembering that people have struggled and died to protect the right to vote and along with it the right to free speech and freedom of expression of faith which you are currently enjoying (to some extent).

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.