Home Archive Statements Statement of a fatwa that deem political and electoral money haram

political funds, money in Lebanese elections

Responding to Questions about the Conscience-buying in ElectionsFadlullah Prohibits Paying and Receiving Electoral Money
His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlullah, has released a statement responding to a wave of questions on electoral money. He revealed his religious stance towards this money, whether as to the payer or the receiver. The following is the text of the statement/fatwa:

Regrettably, the talk about electoral funds that buy the people's conscience does not provoke any problem in Lebanon, neither in the political nor the religious circles, to the extent that the [culture of] electoral money has become consecrated in the Lebanese social and political customs that have become more sacred than the law.

As we consider this to be a natural reflection of the crisis of values and morals in the political life in general, and a part of the absence of a sense of responsibility in managing the country's affairs among many parties and movements, we would like to point to several issues, inter alia, in order to lift the responsibility placed on us by Allah and people towards their present and future:

First: whoever considers himself the leader of these people is responsible to lift their status so they become able to choose their representatives based on clear criteria that conform to the requirements and conditions of the assumed position, thus promoting the country that would then rely on the standards of competence and loyalty to manage its affairs. However, our leaders contribute to corrupting the mentality of the people and descending their value and cultural level, through accustoming them to hinge on the standards of who pays more and who provides more aid. As such, they are not up to their responsibilities, with them engaging the people in the bazaar of supply and demand over the positions, options and pivotal choices. Consequently, the national willpower is seized by dominant and arrogant forces who seek to manipulate the people for their own interest, whether being local, regional or international ones.

By pursuing this track, the leaders do not respect their people or communities. This track is that of the tyrants and pharaohs who were mentioned in the Holy Quran in a story about the Pharaoh: {Thus did he make fools of his people, and they obeyed him} (Az-Zukhruf: 44).

Second: Just as the leaders should be held responsible for the deviation of the society's mentality, the society, in return, is equally responsible for protecting itself against all those thieves who rob its future and present, and plunder its pride and dignity, and deal with the people only through money or through inciting their fanaticism. Thus, the future of the generations becomes contingent upon personal or factional ambitions that care only about their leaders' own interests at the expense of that of the country, making them deviate to protect their positions and their greed.

Third: the most painful thing is that the same people now beg for their rights at the doors of politicians who assumed their positions to serve those people and give them their rights with pride and dignity, without thinking that these rights are a favor done by these politicians. Today, the services offered during electoral seasons by politicians are viewed as charity, while the people should not "crush" their will and repay these politicians in the ballot boxes, with the assumption that any "ingratitude" on their part will expose them to deprivation and poverty.

We believe that delaying the implementation of the projects pertaining to people's lives and social and economic needs, as well as linking them to the elections, is a betrayal to the responsibility entrusted to the politicians and political corruption, tyranny, and injustice that those responsible of should be held accountable. They should be prosecuted; their ploys and suspension of the implementation of the projects should be uncovered.

People are entitled to be proud of themselves. They should realize that they have the right to call those who deny their rights to account, as well as those who show irresponsibility in managing the public affairs. These figures should be deprived of their positions through elections. Nothing could compensate one's dignity and pride if he humiliates himself. Interpreting the following verse: {But honor belongs to Allah and to His messenger and to the believers} (Al-Munafiqun: 8), Imam Ja'afar Al Sadiq (a.s.) said: "Allah has entrusted the believer with all his affairs, except with humiliating himself."

Fourth: in view of the above mentioned facts, we, from our religious position, prohibit every conscience-buying operation, which has come to be known as the electoral or political funds. This is prohibited for both the payer and the receiver. Almighty God did not ask man to make his living through selling his stances or corrupting his mentality, nor with the establishment of a bad tradition in educating generations. However, God has entrusted the human being with his electoral positions, which should be in accordance with the instructions of God Who will judge the voters on these bases in the Hereafter. Human beings are responsible for what they do, in terms of righteousness and reform in their and others' life. No one is to undermine their positions, because the voter is a partner to the parliamentary representative in all the political and legislative positions of the latter, since his vote contributes to the success of the parliamentary representative.

Finally, we stress the need that the government carries out its duties towards its people. It should not expose its people to hunger or deprivation in order to hinder politicians from manipulating these conditions. Moreover, we call upon all religious leaders that are primarily responsible for protecting the people from the inclinations towards evil and deviation, to carry out their responsibilities in directing people towards the true values relayed by religions and brought by Divine laws, particularly honesty, faithfulness, sincerity and justice, so that their electoral stances please God, raise the level of society, safeguard their future against chaos-makers, and prevent different fanaticisms from crushing their dignity.. We ask God to protect Lebanon from the evil intentions of small and big devils, so that these people ascend to the level of their high mountains that look up to the sky and its pure values that man should adopt on earth to be worthy of being Allah's man who lives the spirit of God in his movement on earth. . .