Sheikh Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti, Director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas, states: First of all, most political issues are based on personal judgment more than explicit texts. Also, the political action is intended to reinforce the common good to the best of one’s ability within a context of conflict of interests. Therefore, if a Muslim decides to engage in politics, he should approach it with this spirit of practicality.
As we read in the Qur’an, Prophet Yusuf (peace and blessings be upon him) served the common good of the society under the rule of a pagan government. That was a real political involvement and not just participating by voting.
It is true that every Muslim politician has a duty to reinforce Shari`ah and every Muslim voter is to keep this in mind when voting for any candidate. But the Shari`ah is not just restricted to the legal system; it is a complete way of life that encompasses the moral, legal and social values. Politically speaking, the most important aspect of Shari`ah is to have a legitimate leadership for the society that is elected by people and is accountable before them. If this happens, then the legal detains of Shari`ah can be applied.
the problem with Muslim countries today is that people try to put the cart before the horse. They keep on asking for Shari`ah to be applied while there is no legitimate leadership established. The Western societies, on the other hand, understood this part better than we did, for they believe that the rule of law takes precedence over the law itself. That is why Abraham Lincoln said, “nobody is above the law, and nobody is under the law.” So long as the Muslim leaders are above the law, there is no point of demanding the application of Shari`ah, because the law that is not applied on the rulers and the citizens is considered a law.
For those who can read Arabic, I refer them to my article on entitled: Ash-shar`iyyah qabla ash-Shari`ah (legitimacy Before Shari`ah).