Sura Al-Maidah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-28

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Correspondingly, casting a vote in favour of a candidate seeking election to assemblies, councils and public bodies is also a testimony in which the voter bears witness that, in his or her knowledge and estimation, the particular candidate is worthy of becoming a representative or spokesperson of the country and its people, both in terms of his ability and merits and in terms of his honesty and trustworthiness as well.

Now, figure out how many of our representatives are there about whom this 'evidence' would prove to be true and correct? But, there is little that can be said about our electorate which seems to take this exercise of voting as some game where one either wins or loses. That, to them, is all there is to it. Yet, the right of vote is sold for money, or cast under pressure, or thrown away for fickle friends and shady promises. Leave others alone, even educated and observing Muslims fail to realize while voting for undeserving people that they were inviting the curse and punishment of Allah by putting their false evidence on record.

There is yet another way of looking at the casting of votes to elect representatives in accordance with the Holy Qur'an. This is called 'Shafa'ah' (recommendation or Sifarish). It means that the voter approves of the candidate of his choice and recommends that he should be elected as a representative. The injunction of the Holy Qur'an relevant to this situation has appeared earlier in the words given below:

مَّن يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً حَسَنَةً يَكُن لَّهُ نَصِيبٌ مِّنْهَا ۖ وَمَن يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً سَيِّئَةً يَكُن لَّهُ كِفْلٌ مِّنْهَا

Whoever makes a good recommendation, there shall be for him a share from it (in the Hereafter). And whoever makes a bad recommendation, there shall be for him a share from it -(4:85).

It means that anyone who makes a good, true and justified recommendation, then, he too will get a share from the good deed of the person he has recommended. And a person who makes a bad recommendation, that is, favours someone undeserving and bad to succeed through his recommendation, then, he too shall get a share from the bad deeds of the person he has recommended. Thus, when a candidate like this will, during his tenure of office, go on doing what is wrong and impermissible, it is obvious that the curse of his evil doings will fall on the voter as well.

The vote has a third status in the sight of the Shari'ah of Islam that of advocacy (Wakalah). This is, as if, the voter makes the candidate his representative and agent on his or her behalf. But, had this agency been connected with one of his personal rights and the gain or loss from it would have affected his person alone, then, he would have been responsible for it personally. However, that situation does not prevail here, because this agency concerns rights which the entire nation shares with him. Therefore, should a person contribute to the success of an undeserving candidate by voting for him as his representative, then, the sin of bulldozing the rights of the entire nation rests on his shoulders.

To recapitulate, our vote has a three-pronged status: Shahadah (evidence),Shafa'ah (Recommendation) and Wakalah (Advocacy or representation in common rights). Under all three conditions, voting for a good and deserving person brings great reward the fruits of which are bound to reach the voter. Similarly, voting for someone undeserving and uncouth is false evidence, unjustified recommendation and impermissible advocacy all in one, so, the evil fruits of his thoughtless voting shall stand recorded in the voter's log of deeds.

Therefore, it is the duty of every Muslim, man and woman, that he or she must fully investigate into the background of the candidate being voted for well before the vote is cast. Let them make sure that the candidate is deserving, capable and honest and not otherwise. Negligence, apathy and heedlessness are poor reasons to go about committing such grave crimes. If done for no reason, it is absurdity at its worst.

Verses 11- 12
[١١]يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ هَمَّ قَوْمٌ أَن يَبْسُطُوا إِلَيْكُمْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ فَكَفَّ أَيْدِيَهُمْ عَنكُمْ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

[١٢]وَلَقَدْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَبَعَثْنَا مِنْهُمُ اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ نَقِيبًا ۖ وَقَالَ اللَّهُ إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ ۖ لَئِنْ أَقَمْتُمُ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَيْتُمُ الزَّكَاةَ وَآمَنتُم بِرُسُلِي وَعَزَّرْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَقْرَضْتُمُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا لَّأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَلَأُدْخِلَنَّكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ فَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ

O those who believe, remember Allah's favour upon you, when some people planned to lay their hands on you, and he kept their hands away from you. And fear Allah. And in Allah the believers should place their trust. [11] And Allah has made the Children of Israel take a pledge. And We appointed twelve chiefs from among them. And Allah said,'I am surely with you. If you establish salah, and pay Zakah, and believe in My Messengers, and hold them in reverence, and advance to Allah a goodly loan, I shall certainly write off your evil deeds and I shall certainly admit you into Gardens beneath which rivers flow. So, whoever from you disbelieves after that has lost the straight path!' [12]

Commentary
In the seventh verse of Surah al-Ma'idah which appeared earlier Allah Almighty has asked Muslims to remember the pledge taken from them to which they professed belief and obedience:

[٧]وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمِيثَاقَهُ الَّذِي وَاثَقَكُم بِهِ إِذْ قُلْتُمْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ

And remember Allah's favour upon you and His Covenant that He has taken from you when you said, "We have listened and obeyed." And fear Allah ...(5:7)

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