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The Friday Message - Issue No: 344 - Bite the Ballot Box

Salamun alaykum,

Bite the Ballot Box:

In less than a week’s time the UK General elections are scheduled to be held on Thursday 12th December, 2019. It is the day when you and I, as registered voters, will have the opportunity to exercise our right to vote for one of the candidates to represent us in the House of Commons as the M.P. for one of the UK's 650 Westminster Parliamentary constituencies.

The political parties and candidates have been putting to use all forms of campaign methods such as leafleting, bill boards, television debates, telephone calls, door step canvassing, print and electronic media coverage including social networking sites to seek our votes. As the general election approaches it is tempting to be bored by angry, confusing debates and glossy campaigns. Many develop an attitude of ‘I have nothing to do with it!”

Do I have anything to do with elections?

Yes, indeed. Voting is not a luxury. It is the responsibility of all citizens. Together with fellow Britons, we will be looking for true leadership that unites our country and seeks to represent all people; certainly not scapegoating some communities.

There are indeed a range of issues affecting us as British Muslims. Whether it is the Brexit negotiations, NHS, Education, Social care, Local Government, Foreign policy, Social Justice, Jobs, Anti Muslim /Islamophobic Agenda, Security, Discrimination and much more various other range of issues including constant threat or demonizing Islamic practices such as Hijab and Halal food. These and many more do affect each and every one of us, our families and our communities.
The General Elections is an opportunity to make your voices heard by exercising your obligation, as Muslims, to engage and participate in the political process.

Duty of a Muslim:

“At times the higher interests of the Muslims in non-Muslim countries demand that Muslims seek membership of political parties, enter parliaments, and representative assemblies. In such cases, it is permissible for Muslims to engage in such activities as much as is demanded by the interest [of the Muslim community] that must be identified by consulting the trustworthy experts.” (Marja Taqlid Ayatullah Al Udhama Seyyid Ali Husayn As Sestani in Ruling 223 of the book : A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West).

The Maraji and Ulama not only have permitted participation in the elections in most cases, but some might see it as an obligatory act to preserve the right of Muslims.
In addition, they have emphasised that it is the duty of each and every Muslim to advance the image of Islam and contribute towards creating a better society.

As a Muslim, one of the ways you can be able to discharge this duty is by engaging in the community, having political involvement and participating in the democratic process.
Taking part to vote is the first part of the process of political involvement. This is an important civic duty. As citizens, the ability to vote gives one a right to choose the people who will represent you, to determine who gets to affect your daily life and to say what you want the government to do.
Therefore, you and I need to act on the elections day by casting our votes.

It won’t make a difference:

The common argument repeatedly heard from many people is that,” my single vote won’t make any difference.”
If everyone thinks along these lines, then only the minority who vote has the power to rule over the majority who chose to ignore their right of voting.
By not voting one is equally responsible for having contributed towards some candidates /parties winning elections more easily; and if these candidates /parties happen to have discriminatory policies or attitudes then that would impact the whole society. So, one does definitely shoulder the burden when deciding not to vote. Therefore, undoubtedly participation is vital.

Let us participate:

This process of elections provides us with an occasion to be involved in making a decision of the condition we wish to be in.
"Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (within their own souls)." Sura Ar-Ra’d 13:11

Choose the candidate who offers the best option for the betterment of all in our society and one who shares common ground with our values to merit our endorsement. Let us vote for candidates who will discharge their duty in a spirit of serving the public and seeking the common good for all.

Utilise this opportunity to join hands with fellow Britons to have your say on Thursday 12th December, 2019.
So, it is on this one day that a little piece of paper with your X mark will play a big role in deciding who leads our country.

It’s your vote. Use it. Don’t lose it. Don’t waste it. Use this opportunity to bite the ballot box by casting your vote.

We pray for a peaceful and successful election day that will provide us with leaders upholding justice, fairness, compassion and service without discrimination.
May abundant Divine bounties be showered upon our nation and all its people.

Wa ma tawfiqi illa billah

With Salaams and duas

Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo
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Resident Alim
Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat