Important Announcement Regarding Participation in the Elections
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Dear Believers in the United States,
May peace be upon you, and the mercy and blessings of God.
As the election season approaches, we are seeing a rise in the number of questions to I.M.A.M. about the position of the supreme religious authority regarding the participation of Muslims in the national, state, and local elections in the United States and who they should vote for. This announcement will serve to address such issues, however, please note from the outset that I.M.A.M. does not and will not endorse any candidate or political entity as it is a religious, non-profit organization.
The right of American citizenship is accompanied by a number of responsibilities toward our nation—a country with many diverse ethnic and religious communities. I.M.A.M. has made clear on many occasions that the position of the supreme religious authority is to encourage the believers to practice their constitutional rights according to the principle of good citizenry and integration while preserving their religious identity and noble culture. The subject of participating in elections, whether as voters or candidates, is an example of this principle. It is also mentioned in ‘A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West’ that, “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” (A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, No. 223).
In the past decade, Islamophobia has been on the rise and is being used to attract votes from ultraconservative groups. Some media outlets, as well as a number of political leaders, have been portraying Islam in a repulsive manner, such that the true face of Islam is being replaced by stereotypes and false characterizations. Accordingly, it is our duty as Muslim-Americans to bring the true face of Islam to our fellow Americans, revealing to the world the true essence of our enlightened and uplifting religion, through involvement in our communities and to make our voices heard in our nation. An effective way to do so is through participation in both local politics and by voting in the general elections.
Nevertheless, voting without a full understanding of the issues and standpoints of politicians on local, national, and international policies can be harmful. As such, community members are strongly encouraged to research candidates and political topics in order to make an informed decision. I.M.A.M. expended its efforts in gathering a number of experienced and trustworthy experts and activists who met with religious scholars and discussed this subject and its various aspects during the 12th annual conference of the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars of North America and provided essential recommendations to the believers. Thus, we deem it important to stress the need for Muslims to understand their role in the future of their homelands(1) ;and fully practice their constitutional rights to contribute to the development of their countries and the advancement of their societies. This subject needs more intense consultation(2); and cooperation(3); amongst members of the community so that every vote counts.
Through true citizenship and real unity, the Muslim-American communities can surely make a huge difference in the present and the future of the United States of America and, indeed, the world.
If you are still not registered to vote, you can register online.
May peace, mercy, and the blessings of God, be upon you.
 It has been reported that Imam al-Sadiq, may peace be upon him, said, “He who is aware of the happenings of his time is not afflicted with confusion.” (Al-Kaafi, V1, Pg. 27, #29)
 The most Glorious says, “and their affairs are by counsel among themselves” (42:38).
 The most Glorious says, “Cooperate in piety and God-wariness” (5:2), and the Leader of the Faithful, Ali, may peace be upon him, said, “I command you to be wary of God and get your [societal] issues in order.” (Nahj al-Balaghah, V4, Pg. 511)