Election in Islamic and Western thought

Dr. Muhammad Malekzade

The Privilege of the Islamic Republic of Iran, among all existing political systems, is its two characteristics of being “God-centered” and “people-centered”. The Islamic Republic, from the beginning, defined its goals according to divine standards and values, while identifying its identity and manifestation with the presence of the people and their opinions. Since the Islamic Republic of Iran is a religious and popular system, its stability and authority depends on the widespread presence and participation of people through public domains, such as elections. Accordingly, the two most important principles of this system, namely “Islamization” and “people-centeredness”, are of much importance and cannot be separated from each other at all.

Comparing the two Islamic and Western systems, the criterion for the legitimacy of the political system and its difference in the theory of religious democracy with western democracy are crucial to be examined:

According to the Western theory of the democratic system, the legitimacy of a political system is merely dependent on the will of its people; so, if the people do not want a government, it is considered illegitimate. But in the meantime, the real will of the people is overshadowed by the demands of the capitalists and the owners of power and wealth, and is distorted by all kinds of deceptive advertising. An American philosopher writes in his critical examination of the effects of capitalism on Western cultural political sovereignty:

“Our rulers, either at election time, either at other, instead of using wisdom and rational reasoning, resort to worthless emotions, prejudices and personal interests to make people follow them… even our best politicians do things that are not based on the wit, just because they want to get the votes of this or that group, get elected and stay on power. These rulers do not hesitate to exterminate innocent people in order to stay in power … and this is because our political criteria have been declined to a condemned level. All of this stems from the fact that our democracy, as our opponents say, rather than rationality is largely governed by greed and self-interest…”

Unfair discrimination, freedom without any commitment, lack of social justice, creating war and violence, deceit and so on are among the hallmarks of Western civilization that have led the above author and many other Western scholars to admit vices of liberal-democratic culture and government and criticize it. Thus, if we consider the outcome of a democratic government as a manifestation of the will of the majority, the realization of such a claim is in fact a matter that even Western political theorists have serious doubts about. In the West today, no one can prove that the liberal democracy really cares for the will of the community or tries to realize the will of the majority as it is. The fact is that since the establishment of the first so-called democratic governments, which is lasting for nearly two centuries, the realization of a majority government has remained a dream that has always been unattainable. The experience of so-called democratic governments, especially in the contemporary era, shows that democracy, instead of being ruled by the majority, has been in effect ruled by a group of professional politicians, and of course the interests of the group and the party are of the most importance; interests that are gained in the form of free elections (?!). People vote in seemingly free elections, but the key decision makers are owners of wealth and power. Power is always in the hands of a handful of minorities. Hence Robert Dahl, a theorist of political science notes about power, emphasizing the formal nature of elections in the United States: “In America many choices are easily made by leaders (business and political) to make their own choices from among all choices. It is achieved since the pattern of public opinion democracy becomes the equivalent of a totalitarian model of domination. In his book “Political Parties, Robert Michels also speaks of this fact in the form of “Iron Party oligarchy” and defines the political party as a means for continuing the rule of some technocrats and professional politicians.

A review of the political history of the last several decades in many Western countries has shown that these societies have been in small numbers for many years. The continuation of government in the two closed Democratic and Republican parties in America, the long rule of certain parties in France, the long reign of Margaret Thatcher in England; the many years of rule without rival Helmut the former chancellor of Germany, etc. all indicate the fact that in The Western democratic term has always been a few political activists who have relied on power for many years and have remained in it for as long as capitalists and influencers have supported it. In the meantime, the majority, rather than ruling, is actually deceitfully interfering with the government. A glance at what is going on in democratic societies and claiming the rule of democracy shows that in these societies no one is able to declare his candidacy. Various Western societies have come up with various strategies to prevent the French, as the political paratroopers suddenly appear in the sky of politics, and to run the affairs of those who do not approve of the liberal democracy system favored by Western rulers. Adoption of such measures is precisely the key to the continuity and survival of governments in these societies, and the existence of such mechanisms has prevented the outcome of the elections from becoming a new revolution and the power of an alien flow of power, even if freedom in its true sense – as Liberal Democrats claim – there was, it was no clear outcome of the election in these societies a change of political regime.

Another form of law that has been raised by many law and political schools in Western democracy is that they can never claim that people elected to be in the government – whether members of the legislature or other government officials – are elected by all members of society. Even if we do not consider the negative and influential aspects of advertising, those who are elected are the majority of the electorate and the voters of their choice. Therefore, if government officials do something, they do so not as part of their community but as part of the whole community. The serious question now arises as to what is required of others to accept and be bound by their own officers or results of work? In what law and custom do lawyers allow their non-clients to intervene and exert power over those who have not chosen them? Is it not that the supporters of democracy see it as worthy of the people to be elected by society? So why not pay attention to the votes of the people who have chosen this person?!

Moreover, the practice of so-called democratic governments is that a few people are responsible for the billionaire people in a society. Assuming these representatives are the true electors of the whole society, who can claim that their views are the same with the general public? to claim that people’s vote and opinion are democratic, is in itself a false claim.


Another form of non-positivism is that democracy is assumed to be fully respected, unless all people are aware of the real interests and interests of their country and society that determine it. Let them? And what is the guarantee that the electorate will not strive for personal and party interests, not for the sake of genuine national interests?

But the more fundamental flaws raised by theologians are that the law and the universal commandments are essentially that of God as the creator of the universe and of the universe, and that he alone is in the best interests of all human beings and the creatures of the universe. No human being alone can distinguish between his real interests or that of society. Neglecting the divine resources in this field and entrusting all affairs to mankind will have no consequence other than greater losses. These numerous flaws and forms of democracy show that, whether intra-religious or extra-religious, democracy itself has no intrinsic value, let alone democracy as the source of legitimacy of social and human values! Whereas in the theory of religious democracy, democracy is accepted in the Islamic form. In this theory, the criterion of legitimacy is not at all dependent on the vote of the people to be simply abused. In this theory, the criterion of the legitimacy of the state is first and foremost the divine consent. Religious democracy theory recognizes God as the absolute ruler and owner of everything, and if God appoints anyone to execute divine rulings, he will have the right to rule as the legitimacy of the rule of the Prophet (PBUH) is with God Almighty. The role of the people in the Islamic system is not to legitimize but to consolidate the possibility of establishing an Islamic state. According to the theory of religious democracy, the same legitimacy was conferred to the infallible Imams and it is obligatory to obey them as the infallible leaders. However, this divine sovereignty and legitimacy has never been a factor in denying people’s political participation, both in absentia and after of the advent. People’s Political Participation From the beginning of Islam and the beginning of the mission of the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered the political life of Muslims and Islamic society. If in the age of the innocent presence of political participation and the people’s vote expressed in the form of allegiance, played a role in the political life, and in the era of absence, which is at the head of the government, but the Comprehensive Jurisprudence of Conditions, this participation manifests itself through tools such as elections. It is important in strengthening the political system.