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Stands >2005 Stands >The Stand of Rabi' II 22 1426H /May 31, 2005 A.D.

 

The Islamic view towards elections

Sayyed Fadlullah: We are about to witness major challenges and we should strive to achieve an independent and united state through open dialogue before the country falls prey to American designs.

Asked in his weekly seminar the following question : People are going to the polls in Lebanon and in other places in the region, what is the Islamic view towards participation in this process?

The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said:

The electoral process is a missionary one, since it defines the basic policies and strategies of a nation. Islam, thus, did not take a negative attitude towards choosing the nation's representatives, considering it a kind of application of the shoura (conferring) principle that he called for.

But Islam insisted that any leader in any sphere, including the religious one, should be held accountable and put under constant questioning to determine if he has committed himself to his agenda. Imam Ali say: "Do not stop saying what you believe is right, or giving advice based on justice" for I too make mistakes.

Elections are a missionary duty, since it might determine the fate of the nation. Thus, they could not be taken lightly. In addition to not selling our vote, or turning elections into a tradeoff, we should understand that the election process is meant to produce a political elite that is both responsible and capable of maturing the society and raising the level of the nation. This is where the responsibility of the voter lies; choosing haphazardly will lead to the emergence of a class of politicians of the same kind of those who are already present, which would lead, as the current politicians oppose change, to the persistence of the current stagnant situation, preventing the country from getting out of the political and economic crisis it suffers form.

That is why we have always said that the voter should do his best to learn all about the candidates, their qualifications, their honesty, their political awareness, their openness on all the religious and political spectrum… etc. The voter should not let the tribal and partisan considerations dominate his choice, since what the candidates would do after being elected, especially if it turns out to be costly and even destructive, would be his responsibility.

Thus, the role of the voter is fundamental. He ought to be very careful in his choice trying not to let it be affected by whims, interests or offers. One of the big prohibitions is selling one’s stand or vote. Furthermore, it is one of the major indictors of political fall.

What is surprising in Lebanon that most people complain about the political class and the MPS, but they reelect them under the impact of certain incidents or the general political atmosphere.

The problem lies, in most cases, in the fact that the political party or class has taught its social base to cheer for it without the public understanding the purpose of such an act. They did not teach the people to continue to criticize in a way which would lead to political development. When the voter votes, he bases his choice on slogans or accumulations, while they should learn to choose the representatives that best serve a cause.

As for the debate about the voter's age, we believe, based on our religious capacity and our juristic judgment, that it is the right of every human being that has become mature to vote. It is ironic that they all talk about the role of the youth but they hinder this role when it comes to the youth expressing their views in the political, social and economic issues through elections.

How could the youth be held responsible before the law when they reach the age of 18, but are dined the right to vote?

How could they be asked to do their duties and not given obvious rights.

It has been planed for these elections to lay the foundation for certain plots that might endanger the Lebanese unity…We are about to witness major challenges, and we should strive to achieve an independent and united state through open dialogue before the country falls prey to American designs.