The Islamic Ruling on Voting for the New Egyptian Constitution .
Shaykh ’Abdur Rahman Al-Barrak.
All praise is due to Allah, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His servant and messenger Muhammad, his descendants and his companions.
The difference of opinion among our brothers from the people of the sunnah in Egypt regarding the question of voting for the proposed new constitution that is about to be put to a referendum has been brought to my attention.
Their difference in the matter is regarding its legal ruling, as to whether voting for the constitution is to be considered prohibited, permissible or even obligatory. It is well known that in this issue, each side has its own reasoning to support the opinion it holds. I have examined the arguments - which are so exhaustive as to almost confound a person and prevent judgement - which I have been able to analyse from both sides and have found them to be well reasoned and compelling as supporting evidence for their respective positions.
The source of this controversy lies in the following causal factors:
- Those clauses of the constitution that amount to disbelief (kufr); which none of our brothers disagree upon with regards to their falsehood or the prohibition of voluntarily including them in the constitution.
- Those clauses of the constitution which are praiseworthy and facilitate ruling by the shari’ah and due to which those who are antagonistic to the shari’ah oppose this constitution.
What has become apparent to me after assessing the various perspectives regarding this issue among our brothers from the sunnah is that voting in favour of this constitution is permissible, if not obligatory. Neither would this amount to condoning/assenting to disbelief (kufr) nor would it entail its acceptance or sanctioning it. To vote for this constitution amounts to merely removing the greater of two harms, or selecting the lesser of two evils. This is because those who ask regarding this issue have no viable option other than this and the alternative is worse as well as unwise from the legal, shari’ah perspective. Moreover, from a purely logical point of view, to relinquish the issue would be to leave the field open for the people of falsehood like the disbelievers and hypocrites to achieve their ends.
There can be no doubt that all those who desire the shari’ah and are eager for its implementation – and that is the objective of every Muslim who believes in Allah and His messenger – irrespective of their difference in this matter are within the bounds of valid scholarly opinions, and their cases vary between attaining the one reward or the two that such differences earn. What is paramount is for them to strive to maintain unity in the face of an enemy that does not want the establishment of Islam in the land.
Moreover, I do not find there to be a significant difference between voting in elections for the president and voting for this constitution as it is a matter of common knowledge for every sane person with even the slightest sense of realism that any elected Muslim president would be significantly limited in his ability to implement the shari’ah, much less implement it to the extent desired by the people of sincerity and piety, due to the power and influence wielded by standard bearers of corruption in the land and due to what is known about how the international community is run by the United Nations under the control of the United States America.
Thus, the elected Egyptian president – may Allah protect him and give him success – does not have anyone in the international community to support him. It is therefore upon you to support him in whatever he is able to implement from the shari’ah and to ratify this constitution while the president is unable to present one better than it.
All of you know well that not voting for this constitution will inevitably gratify the domestic enemy as well as those abroad for all of them are anticipating this from you - So fear Allah and rectify your affairs amongst yourselves.
What is apparent is that none of you would ever accept what would contradict the shari’ah in this constitution nor approve of it, but you would nonetheless ratify it out of necessity and in order to avoid what is worse.
If presented a choice between a Communist or a Christian as a ruler over the land, then the shari’ah as well as common sense would dictate that you choose the one who would cause less harm and harbour less enmity towards the Muslims.
Moreover, it is well known that if an act overwhelms the one obligated to perform it, then it takes the ruling of that which is no longer obligatory.
Know that all of the Muslims are with you with their hearts and actions, so let not the differences between you become a source of distress for them. I ask Allah to guide you and to bring your hearts together.
If we suppose that this difference of opinion continues to remain between you, then you must at least be careful not to prevent others from voting for this constitution and beware of transgressing upon others by excommunicating them from the faith (takfir), accusing them of being traitors or declaring them to be ignorant, for sin is certainly not incurred due to differing in issues where valid scholarly differences exist but is only due to the transgression that we inflict upon others. May Allah always protect you from this, rectify your hearts and intentions, make correct your decisions and give victory to his religion through you.
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His servant and messenger Muhammad, his descendants and his companions.
Dictated by: Abdur Rahman bin Nasir Al-Barrak.
Dated: 28/1/1434 H.
About the Author :
Shaykh ’Abdur Rahman bin Nasir Al-Barrak was born in the town of Bukariyyah in the region of Qasim in the year 1352 H. His father passed away when he was only a year old and at the age of ten he was afflicted with an ailment in his eyes which resulted in the loss of his eyesight.
He completed memorizing the Qur’an by the age of ten and began his pursuit of knowledge at the age of twelve by attending the lessons of various scholars. Some of his teachers include: Shaykh Abdul ’Aziz Bin Baz, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Amin Al-Shanqiti, Shaykh Abdur Razzaq Afifi and many others.
He has held many teaching positions at various institutions throughout his life. He retired as a professor from the College of Usul al-Din (Islamic Theology) at the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University, Riyadh in 1420 H. During this time he taught Aqidah (Islamic Creed) and supervised many graduate theses. He continues to teach the various disciplines of Islam in mosques across Riyadh with most of his lessons being in Masjid Al-Khulayfi.
The Old Constitution under Hosni Mubarak:
The New Proposed Constitution:
See Appendix for links to the old as well as the new constitution of Egypt.