First Published: 2012-11-05

 

American, Muslim, Voter

 

One of the most important ways to affect change as an American citizen is to get involved politically, and that means -- at the very least -- voting in every election, stresses Hesham Hassaballa.

 

Middle East Online

I must admit, I am getting weary of the election season. I am tired of the constant barrage of television ads, intrusive and unwanted telephone calls, and the endless stream of political mailers and flyers. Although I am anxious over the outcome of Tuesday's election, I cannot deny that I will be glad when it is all over. That said, the weariness I have over politics -- one that, I am sure, is shared by many -- did not tamp my enthusiasm to participate in the political process.

With my six-year-old daughter in tow, I voted early in this year's election, on November 1. It was an honor for me to do so, and I wanted to share that honor with my daughter, to help encourage her to do the same when she is old enough. Yet, for me, voting is more than just an honor: It is a sacred, religious duty.

As an American Muslim, it is my duty to enjoin good and forbid evil, to work as much as I can towards the common good. The Quran states that: "You are indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] humanity: you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in God." (3:110). In the same vein, the Prophet Muhammad told us that, if we see something wrong, we should try to change it ourselves.

One of the most important ways to affect change as an American citizen is to get involved politically, and that means -- at the very least -- voting in every election. Not everyone is able or willing to muster a political campaign; not everyone is able or willing to endure a life in politics; not everyone is able or willing to dedicate their life to public service and take all the difficulties that may entail. Yet, theoretically, everyone is able to vote and make their voices heard at the ballot box.

And I believe, as an American Muslim, my faith demands so of me. Yet, more than just affecting change, the right to vote was not always take for granted as it is now by most Americans. At the founding of our great nation, not everyone was given the right to vote or even counted as a full human being -- such as women and African slaves, respectively.

Those rights -- of women to make their voices heard politically; of African Americans to vote and live free of discrimination -- had to be fought for, and many died in this effort. Our very political system is being protected -- right now as I write this -- by fellow Americans who have put their lives and families on the line to serve in the military. They sacrifice so much -- and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice -- so that my daughter and I can vote freely at a polling place in the local mall, that I can live and worship in freedom and safety.

As a Muslim who loves his God, as an American who loves his country, there is no way I can be ungrateful to those sacrifices and not vote. As a Muslim and an American, there is no way I can be truly grateful to my Lord if I sit an election out and not participate. My faith demands that I be a faithful servant of God; my faith demands that I be an active citizen. Therefore I vote. There can be no other way.

Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago-based doctor and writer. His latest book is Noble Brother: The Story of the Last Prophet in Poetry (Faithful Word Press).

Copyright © 2012 Hesham A. Hassaballa -- distributed by Agence Global

 

France carries out first air strike in Iraq

Iran, six powers return to negotiating table

Airlines suspend flights to Sanaa for 24 hours

Jihadists to change tactics to avoid air strikes

Saudi Arabia to restore Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque

Turkey opens border to desperate Syrian Kurds

US accuses Assad of breaking pact on chemical weapons

‘Concerned’ US urges Iran to cooperate in UN nuclear probe

Syrian children given anaesthesia not measles vaccination

France ready to provide ‘aerial support’ in Iraq

Tunisia denies existence of plot to assassinate Beji Caid Essebsi

Majority of Americans believe Obama mishandled terror threats

‘Islamic State’ releases video of captive British journalist

Libya cannot take more than 10 ministers

France approves bill to crack down on jihadists

Assassination of Libya ex-air force chief in Benghazi

14 Bahraini Shiites sentenced to life in prison for bombing

IS jihadists close in on Syria third largest Kurdish town

Yemen rebels clash with Sunni Islamists

New Turkish safety law costs 5,000 coal miners jobs

Bahrain slams Qatar for offering citizenship to Sunni nationals

Libya PM presents new cabinet in Tobruk

US House gives green light to plan to arm Syria rebels

Davutoglu denounces ruling against Turkey’s religion courses

South Sudan to revoke expulsion of foreign workers

Algeria to tighten grip on imam training

Libya Islamists unleash another offensive on Benghazi airport

Iraqi bishop: Operations against IS in Iraq came very late

French parliament approves new anti-terror bill

World Bank calls for sweeping reforms in Tunisia

Obama to meet with generals planning IS assault

UN brokers Israeli-Palestinian deal on Gaza reconstruction

Iraq parliament votes down PM's security nominees

Qaeda branches urge jihadists to unite against US

Despite war, South Sudan replaces foreign workers with locals

IS jihadists shoot down Syria warplane

Renegade former general claims air raid on Libya militia position

Six Egypt policemen in Sinai bomb attack

Erdogan: Turkey would welcome exiled Brotherhood leaders

US warplanes carry out first strikes on IS near Baghdad

UEFA urged not to award 2020 European Championship to Israel

Israel sees future war with Hezbollah

Germany tries first 'Islamic State jihadist'

Egypt court bails top 2011 revolt activist

Iran rejected US request to cooperate against IS