Why Muslims Should Vote and Be Involved Politically
By Dr.Anwar Hajjaj, President of the American Islamic Information Center
ITMR does not necessarily agree or disagree with the author's standpoint. This article has been featured so we consider all points of view.

Muslims Should Be Active Wherever We Are.
When we as Muslims unite as a community, our chances of being heard regarding the issues that are relevant and important to us are far more significant than when a small number of us are trying to make a difference. By being politically active, we can seek to better the lives of all Muslims living in the United States.

Our involvement within the political system is also a great way to present to the public an accurate image of Islam, and of Muslims as supporting the issues that are important in our lives, and maintaining high morals and standards. For example, we can show our deep concern over the decay of the family system in America by supporting candidates for whom family values is a high priority.

Muslims speaking out, showing up in numbers and being involved in the political process will enable our vote to be sought-after by political nominees. We will then be taken seriously, and considered a vital consituency by candidates of all political parties; thus, requiring them to address issues of great concern to our community. American Muslims are increasing in numbers; hence, we stand to make an increasingly significant difference in the outcome of elections.

We need to become educated about the governing process, and the laws and issues that affect us as this will allow us to understand American political proceedings, and encourage our participation in a vitally important activity that greatly impacts our lives as well as the way we are viewed by non-Muslims.

Being able to vote and participate in the political process is a privilege that no one should forsake. If we as Muslims feel we are not being treated fairly, or that important issues are being neglected, we must exercise our right to participate and vote. We can then progress and make a difference in our lives, and in those of our families and communities.

As Muslims, we must take advantage of our rights, and become involved - as members of school boards, in mayoral offices, on city councils, and running for government positions and offices - while maintaining our duties and obligations to Islam. Imagine the great status this will bring to us, and the great message we can send to others!

Muslims Should Enjoin Good and Forbid Evil. Muslims must strive to be good role models, and not "all talk and no action." Our actions are vital to the image of Muslims worldwide, and they play a key role in opening many fruitful doors. Our upstanding behavior plays an essential role in our gaining the respect and recognition that Muslims deserve in the United States.

We are reminded by All Mighty Allah in the Holy Qur'an to have the best character and speech. The Holy Qur'an states, "O Muhammad, say to My servants that they should only say those things that are best; for Satan doth sow dissension among them; for Satan is to man an avowed enemy." (17:53)

And, "O ye who believe! Fear Allah and always say a word directed to the Right." (33:70)

Also regarding good actions, the Holy Qur'an states, "And verily, the reward of the Hereafter is better for those who believe and fear Allah, and keep their duty to Him (by abstaining from sin and evil deeds, and by performing righteous deeds)." (12:57)

When we as Muslims adhere to our faith and are mindful of our duties and obligations to Allah, we reflect an ideal and model behavior. When we indulge in forbidden activities, we damage the image that we should have and that we should enjoin on others. When we engage in false or idle  speech and inappropriate behavior, we defame the character of other Muslims, and place a strain on the efforts being made by those who are ollowing the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunna.

However, when non-Muslims witness positive values, and moral speech and actions, in us, our status is raised in their eyes and they have a favorable outlook on us. If they are able to admire our high standards and ethics, the barriers that exist between us are removed, our concerns and values are validated, and our presence in this country is recognized as a great asset.

By doing good and refraining from wrong, we gain power and a high rank within society. The public will not only take notice of our presence, but it will acknowledge our truthfulness, and support efforts that address our concerns.

Muslims Should Cooperate With Others to Promote Good for Everyone. Muslims should strive to work with everyone. We must seek to express our views to the public so that others become aware of them. As non-Muslims become more informed about us, they will undoubtedly become more open-minded and sympathetic to our needs, instead of being leery about our motives and behavior. This is a wonderful way to influence the general public in its outlook of Muslims and Islam in general.

Working with non-Muslims lends us high visibility, and an opportunity for us to get to know one another firsthand, and understand each other's concerns. Muslims have been misjudged for years in America; working amongst others will us a prime opportunity to publicize what we represent.

Politics Are a Necessary Part of Life. We Should Not Leave Lawmaking Entirely up to the Politicians, Because They May Neglect Our Needs or Create Legislation That Is Detrimental to Us. Muslims that are not active in voting or participating in political activities may be doing a great disservice to their fellow Muslims. They may be limiting the efforts and weakening the position of the Muslim community. Our concerns need to be directed to political candidates and officeholders to be addressed, so that we as Muslims can determine who is most committed to the welfare of our community. A united voice in support of particular candidates or individuals in the public arena from our community will be more significant than our fragmented support. As a whole, we can make a difference in the laws that are being passed and in the outcome of many situations that effect our lives, and the lives of non-Muslims as well, on a daily basis.

How can we complain if we are not doing our part, politically? How can we dare criticize how this country is run if we don't bother to exercise our rights? It is our obligation to become involved, and not stand idle allowing others to make decisions for us. We, Muslims, count in this society, and we must be considered as vital voters so that we will benefit from America's laws instead of being hurt by them.

We can elect many qualified Muslims to political positions. Prophet Yusuf (PBUH) lived in a non-Muslim country, and asked to be appointed over the public treasury. The Holy Qur'an states, "Yusuf said, 'Set me over the store-houses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge (as a minister of finance in Egypt).' Thus, did We give full authority to Yusuf in the land, to take possession therein, when or where he likes. We bestow of Our Mercy on whom We will, and We make not to be lost the reward of the good doers." (12:55,56)

As Muslims, our numbers are significant enough that we can have a meaningful impact on the political process in this country. Muslims can slowly change the way Americans view, and Insha'Allah, reverse the downward direction in which this country is going.

We can impact how children are being left to fend for themselves, as both their parents pursue the "American dream," which emphasizes material gains over the the family. We can impact the extent of single parenthood, which leaves one parent struggling to make ends meet to support their children.

Insha'Allah, we can change the way taxes are unfairly imposed amongst American citizens, causing great grief and a heavy burden on those that don't have yet are ineligible to use the loop holes that the rich use to escape heavy taxes.

Insha'Allah, we can impact the unfair justice system, which among other injustices, is attempting to legalize the wrongful imprisonment of American citizens, primarily Muslims and Arabs, based on "Secret evidence," and to conduct unfair searches in public places, violating citizens' rights to privacy. We can reduce the incidence of convicted criminals being set free, to further menace our society, because of technicalities or other loopholes in the justice system that lawyers, motivated only by the opportunity to increase their track records for winning cases, use to get them off.

Insha'Allah, we can impact discrimination, and the lack of accommodation for religious attire and practices, in the work place that pose great concerns for Muslims and hinder our ability to practice Islam.

Insha'Allah, we can challenge the principle of the "separation of church and state," which has stigmatized the whole notion of being religious and devout. Look at where it has taken this country.

As involved Muslims, Insha'Allah, we can have a major impact on this country's views regarding education, healthcare, humanitarianism and equal opportunity, abortion, gun control, environmental issues, commerce and trade, and banking and finance practices. We can strive to ensure the enactment of fair and just laws.

As Muslims, we are taught to be fair and just with everyone. We have the best direction and course of action available to humanity. Allah has given us the wisdom and the knowledge we need for the betterment of mankind. We, Muslims, must participate. We must not hold ourselves back, when others are not holding us back, from voting and taking a political stand. We commit a grave waste when we do not exercise our rights, and our obligations, to do so.

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