I have recently been in a state of confusion because of some friends of mine. I have been brought up and raised to look upto the Ulama and also supoort and practice the work of Tabligh. Due to my interest in this I have read many stories about the Ulama of Deoband and their past. It was very inspiritional for me and it made me realise that I am on the straight path insha allah.
But recently a few of my friends have turned away from Tabligh and also have lost faith in Deobandi Ulama. One of these friends has also been like me,looking upto Ulama and practising tabligh. Now he has doubts about the Deobandi Ulama.
His main reasons for these doubts are because of the political ideas of the Ulama. My friend strongly beleives it is haraam to vote. He goes a step further to say that it is not only haraam but shirk to vote. He says Allah SWT is AlHaakim and the law giver, so by voting for any other law it tantamounts to shirk. He said that this is not a matter of difference of opinion because this a matter of Aqeedah.
Similarly he feels deaobandi Ulama in India have praised democracy publicly on the Deoband website and he feels disgusted to hear this. I am sorry to say that he has even gone a step further and has changed his madhab partially. He now follows Imam Shafi RA in his salaah and follows Imam Abu Hanifa in all other matters. He says that Imam Abu Hanifah himself said that if there is a stronger opinion then we should follow that stronger opinion instead of his. I tried arguing this point by saying that Imam Abu Hanifah RA was addressing his students which were all mujtahids and there are no mujtahids today. He says there is no evidence to say that he only meant this for mujtahids and he also questioned saying that “Where does it say the doors of ijtihaad are closed?”
Dear respected mufti sahib i am not in a position to make my friend see sense due to my lack of knowlege and weakness in imaan, therefore to safeguard myself from further doubts i will not be discussing with my friend. But for my own reassurance i need to clarification in the things he has said. Are they true? I am asking you as a student asking a teacher, and still have faith in the knowlege of the Ulama.
Please help me in removing these doubts from my mind and my heart, because it hurts me to hear Ulama being criticised in such a way, people that I have looked upto all my life. This has made me very emotional and I do not kno what to think. In the back of my mind i have full conviction that The Ulama are on the right path, but it is now clouded with all of my friends comments.
It appears that your friend is caught up in the Salafi mess. I am fully aware of these objections which have originated from the Salafi mindset and philosophy. I will discuss the objections very briefly.
If the Ulama of Deoband blindly support democracy, why would they play an integral role in opposing British rule in India? Why would they endervour to establish an independent Islamic rule in Pakistan? Nevertheless, what should Muslim minorities around the world do? Should they just live under unIslamic governments and submit to their rule without making any effort for Muslim representation on Islam among them? That is complacence in Islam and a major sin. People with such a philosophy should never live in a non-Muslim state. Muslims living in a non-Muslim state should endervour to practice and propagate Islam with wisdom. They should interact with all responsible people to explain Islam and facilitate for Muslims. How can this be easily and practically achieved without interacting with responsible people or Muslims themselves being on responsible and official positions? There will surely be practical difficulties.
The purpose of voting in a democratic dispensation is not to promote the entire democratic values. It is to use the mechanism of democracy to promote one’s own values as democracy allows freedom of religion. What do you think will be the condition of Muslims and Islam if we do not have dedicated Muslim politicians? It will be interesting to conduct a survey to study the services towards Islam of Muslim politicians. It is also mind boggling that those Muslims who claim that voting is Kufr and Shirk are citizens of democratic states in which they are required to swear an oath of submission to the constitution and values of democracy and the state. Such people do not have the right to raise such an objection. They should honestly abandon their citizenship and go and live in a purely Islamic state if there is any.
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai