A prominent Islamic body has issued a decree asking Muslims to exercise their franchise but said one should not vote for a party or leader just on the basis of religion. "The vote should not be kept back," leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband said in a fatwa in response to a question whether Muslims should vote in the elections.
"One should vote for the party and the leader that is better and works in favour of Muslims and the country," the fatwa said, adding "India is a democratic and secular country. Hence it is out of place to look at its politics in Islamic perspective and test the parties and political leaders on Islamic principles." Deoband seminary's Darul Ifta, which issues fatwa or religious decrees on different issues, declined to favour any particualar party or candidate and left it to the people to decide whom to vote.
"The status of vote is as testimony and witness; so it is the responsibility of every Muslim to utilise it as much as possible correctly," the fatwa said. Echoing similar views, Jamiat Ulema-e Hind spokesman Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani said "Everyone, who has a voting right, must come out to vote."