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DEMOCRACY AND THE VOTE HARAM SCHOLARS (2)– Abdulkadir Salaudeen

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We must continue to expose the dangers inherent in theologization of democracy—especially in Nigeria—before the evil consequences of that dangerous ideology consume all of us. While the Vote Haram scholars are entitled to their opinion, we shall not allow them to cajole, or rather hoodwink, the unsuspecting masses into submission due to their threat of Hell which they did not create, or have they created one? The masses are, of course, attached to religion. And any threat of God’s punishment may make them do what they ought not to do or jettison what they ought to do. I will explain.

One of these Vote Haram scholars said voters will end up in Hell and reside therein, specifically, with the likes of Abu Lahb. Another one averred that when a Muslim elects a leader, all the atrocities committed by the elected leader will be adjudged to have been committed by those who elected him. This is serious! For instance, the electorate who elected the current leadership in Nigeria will be punished for all the killings, kidnappings, rape, injustices, lootings, and atrocities committed under the watch of the leaders they elected.
No single progeny of Adam (AS) should accept this logic except perhaps there is an element of truth in Darwinism—a theory of biological evolution—where Homo sapien (intelligent man) was said to have developed from Homo erectus—an ape-like creature. Factually, this is a bogus theory but it is surprising that some scholars, in an attempt to give democracy a bad name, put on thinking caps that are only appropriate for apes.

They hypnotized and continue to hypnotize, by means of indoctrination, the uncritical audience who listen to them and who are easily carried away by their hypnotizing lectures because they speak in the name Allah. The opium effect which religion has on the masses, as Karl Marx argues, is radically taking a toll on the few masses and ‘intelligentsias’ who listen to them and get hypnotized by them. We will not allow this thought to germinate. Its germination in the Muslim community is superlatively dangerous. Here is why.

The 11th century jurist, philosopher, and theologian, Hujjatul Islam Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazali (RA), captures this reality when he asserts that the sultan (political power) “is necessary for the good ordering of this world, and the good ordering of this world is necessary for the good ordering of religion, and the good ordering of religion is necessary for the acquisition of happiness in the Hereafter.” How do you practice Islam, in Nigeria for that matter, if you are powerless (politically speaking)? The late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi (RA) understands this reality better. I will come to it later.

If the spread of this Vote Haram pernicious doctrine is not curtailed—if we allow it to germinate—a time is coming where Nigerian Muslims will have to hide their Muslim names to be treated in hospitals or admitted into schools. This had happened before in the South West and that history should not be allowed to repeat itself. It is very unfortunate that the ‘intellectual’ vanguards of this ghetto ideology—such that should sound primitive even to the people of the Stone Age—are from the South West of Nigeria. I gave their description in my article titled “You Will Go to Hell Fire If You Participate in the Upcoming Elections.”

I quoted Al-Ghazali’s emphasis on the necessity of political power above. But these wrongly indoctrinated so-called Salafists might tell you there is a problem in Ghazali’s creed and thus should not be listened to. I would have quoted the opinion of Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi (RA), the moving encyclopedia, but I will not. This is because the fine works of Qaradawi, in their entirety, are said to be viruses—suitable only for the trash can—which should not be read! Nevertheless, Qaradawi wrote a brilliant book titled “Min fiqh al-dawlah fi al-Islam” on this subject. I abbreviate the long title.
The late famous Jordanian author and Professor of Islamic Law, Umar Sulaiman Ashkar (RA), wrote an excellent book titled “Hukmul Musharakah fil wizarati wal majalisin niyabiyah.” In this book, Ashkar does an academic justice to this topic by analyzing the evidences of the Vote Haram scholars and those who permit voting, among others. I don’t know if it is permissible to read Ashkar’s books in the Manhaj (methodology) of these so-called Salafists. I also don’t know if the late Ashkar was on the list of scholars they tagged infamous. What I know is that Ashkar quotes views of many modern leading Sunni scholars who permit participation in electoral democracy.

Among those from whose fatwas he quotes permissibility are Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Shakir, Sheikh Abdul ‘Aziz bn Baaz, Sheikh Muhammad Salih Uthaymin, and Sheikh Nasiruddeen al-Albani. These scholars were indeed bookish, cerebral and widely read (may Allah have mercy on them) but they did not allow their bookishness to cocoon them from the happenings in the real world on the issue of democracy. They understand what it means to live in the real world. That is pragmatism. One should expect these Hell Admission Officers to admit these scholars immediately into their Hell for heresy and/or innovation on their fatwas of permissibility to vote. I am not aware that they did.

The great al-Albani, as iconoclastic as some think he is, saw the advancement and protection of Muslims’ interests in participation. Despite the asceticism of the ascetic ibn Uthaymin and his near isolation from the real world that the Muslims lived—having lived the whole of his life in Saudi Arabia—, he could not but allowed participation. He even went further to say Muslims’ participation in elections is not only permissible but obligatory. This is not because these scholars were not aware that democracy is not Shari’a or that the latter is God’s system and even better, it is because of their foresightedness and their ability to confront realism with idealism. And you know what that means? There must be some soft-pedalling; not necessarily a compromise.

Before ibn Uthaymin, our own Nigerian scholar and author of the Tafseer “Radd al-adhhan ila ma’ani al-qur’an”, the late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, proclaimed publicly that there could be a period when politics is more important than the five daily prayers. This sounds very strange and outrageous right? The late Gumi should, if possible in his grave, thank God that he died three decades ago. If he were to be alive and repeat what he said, these Hell Registration Officers would have registered him compulsorily in their Hell.

And do not think it is a slip of the tongue, the late Gumi said it time and again: “politics is as important as prayer” to highlight the importance of Nigerian Muslims’ participation in elections. Gumi might not be wrong, let’s paint a scenario. Vote on a bill on gay marriage coincides with the time for prayer. Your single vote could block the passage of the bill. Is that when you go to pray? In that context and at that point in time, it is wise to postpone prayer and prioritize politics.

If you relate Gumi’s assertion to al-Ghazali’s and Uthaymin’s position of obligatoriness of Muslims’ participation in elections, you will understand that memorizing the Qur’an and a million Hadith (though commendable and highly rewarding) is one thing and understanding the workings of modern democracy is another thing. Since they could not fault or reject the fatwas of these scholars because they respect them, they fired another missile that the fatwas were manipulated. I listened to video clips of some of these ‘Salafists’ who claimed these scholars’ fatwas are being manipulated. That their reference is not to democracy in Nigeria. It is to democracy in other climes. OMG!

Anyway, I shall turn to this in my next column; God willing.
To be continued.

Abdulkadir Salaudeen
salahuddeenabdulkadir@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/abdulkadir.salaudeen.3

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