I must admit that I keep up with what is going on with the election. I have watched a few of the debates (on CNN.com) and listened to the commentary on NPR and BBC. I still am of the mindset that Muslims should not vote in this election.
I can try to put my thoughts into words, but I think that a post that my husband wrote on our forum today really says it well:
There is a lot of difference of opinion about this including among good scholars but this is why I personally am not going to vote.
The system in the US is based on the majority getting what its wants and so is contrary to shar'ia. If I voted I would feel like I was supporting the idea of ruling by other than Allah's subhana wa ta'ala law. This is the main thing and what I base my general understanding that voting in the US is not allowed. So this is my general rule.
Exceptions: A general rule might change for certain circumstances as mentioned with eating food that is not normally halal if not eating would mean starving. So here are some of the things I see as exceptions and how I see them in this election.
1 - If one of the candidates was a Muslim. - apparently not the case although if you ask a Republican they will probably say Obama is. No reason to override the general rule for me.
2 - If one of the candidates promised to make changes that would benefit Muslims. I don't see this as being the case. Neither candidate has promised to make it easier for us to build Masjids or schools or anything else and they both have expressed strong support for Israel. Obama might pull troops out of Iraq sooner than McCain but then Iraq may kick us out before then too. Obama has said he will move troops to Afghanistan though so is there any real positive benefit to that? Not to mention talks of raids into Pakistan. And can we even be sure that pulling troops out is better for Muslims? I think it would be but Allahu Alim, it might trigger an increase in violence, civil war, greater division, we have no way to know. Basically my point is that the difference between the candidates is on issues that we have no way to know whether the impact would be positive or negative for Muslims so I won't consider that a reason to override the general rule.
3 - Some people might say, as many Muslims did in 2000 that we should consider moral issue like abortion, gay marriage, etc. If we did this McCain would appear to be the better choice but since he is not basing this on Shari'a I would say that is not a reason to override the general rule and I don't see anything changing at the federal level with those issues anyway.
So I will not vote in the Presidential election what about locally?
Locally is where I see the chance for Muslims to potentially make a difference. There are several areas of the country where Muslims have a large enough population to affect the local elections and bring about real change. In this case, in my opinion, this could override the general rule because of the great benefit it could have for the community. This is not the case in my community. We are one of maybe 3 or 4 Muslims families in our town so we could not influence the vote so I will not vote in the local elections either.
So what can we do besides voting to make a difference?
Dawah - The more people who come to Islam the more we can bring about change.
Du'a - Ask Allah to make us successful, to bring the Ummah together again and make us strong. We must have a strong Ummah to make a real difference in the world.
InshaAllah change is coming. In parts of Europe and even in Israel within 10-20 years Muslims could be the majority. You see what is happening in France and The Netherlands and of course Israel. They are doing things to suppress Islam because they see the writing on the wall. Change will come, InshaAllah, but it won't be because we pulled one lever instead of another one, Allahu Alim.
I think that this says it all. This is what applies to us as a family and perhaps as a community. It may not work for everyone, but it works for us. Let us all remember that we are Muslims, and our first allegiance is to Islam, not to any political party or candidate.