Muslim gets precedence over non-Muslim in governance
Fatwa No: 312343

  • Fatwa Date:31-1-2016 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 21, 1437
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Assalaamu alaykum Shaykh. If we have to choose between the two following men for our leader, then who should we choose? 1. A muslim who commited bribery and abuse of power 2. A non-Muslim who seems to be clean of any misconduct. I really would appreciate to get your answer. Wassalaam.


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

The Muslim should be given precedence over the non-Muslim as far as leadership (of the Muslim state) is concerned. Hence, the Muslim candidate should be given priority even if he has some shortcomings; a Muslim is better than a non-Muslim, even if it seems that the non-Muslim is more intelligent and qualified than the Muslim. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {...And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you. Those invite (you) to the Hellfire, but Allaah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember.} [Quran 2:221]

Electing the non-Muslim candidate and giving him precedence over the Muslim in such a case is considered giving the disbelievers over the believers a way (to overcome them), which is prohibited in Islam; Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {...And never will Allaah give the disbelievers over the believers a way (to overcome them).} [Quran 4:141]

This Muslim person to whom you referred in the question must be aided, advised, and reminded of Allaah; hopefully, his affairs will be rectified. It has been narrated on the authority of Tameem Ad-Daari  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “This religion is (built on) an-Naseehah (i.e. sincere advice).” People asked, “To whom, O Messenger of Allaah?” He, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “To Allaah, to His Book, to His Messenger, to the Muslim leaders and to the public at large.” [Muslim]

Allaah knows best.

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