Many Muslim clerics wants to get rid Ahok, a christian governor of Jakarta.

They quoted Al Maidah 51. They said that Muslims must pick non Muslim leaders.

That means, they said, Muslims in Jakarta should not vote Ahok.

However, Ahok is a fine governor. Most of our governor were corrupt. Things went better since he became governor. People expect Ahok to win easily on election.

However, his anti corruption stance means many officials with links to the clerics lost a lot of money.

Is this true?

Muslims cannot vote for a non Muslim governor?

Thousands were marching when a governor said they are being lied to by some people by using that quranic verse


  • In short: Yes they can.
    – Kilise
    Nov 15, 2016 at 7:08
  • Any source? What does Al Maidah said? Can you elaborate and turn into answers
    – user21795
    Nov 15, 2016 at 7:09
  • Would anyone please turn that into answers? We got 200k demonstration in Indonesia here
    – user21795
    Nov 15, 2016 at 12:59
  • I don't need authoritey when learning physics. I got a brain on my own. If anything, I am more credible because I have no conflict of interests. Authoriteys are already speaking. However, they simply promote interests as usual. Those who want peace say Ahok is right. Those who hate Ahok because of his anti corruption stance says Ahok commits blasphemy. What would someone with no interests say?
    – user21795
    Nov 15, 2016 at 13:21

2 Answers 2


Before answering one must be aware that voting or not at the end is a private decision!

On the meaning of 5:51

There's a relation between verse 5:51 and verses such as 3:28, 3:118 for the last verse imam al-Qurtobi in his tafsir said that scholars are in consensus that it isn't right to take the disbelievers, Jews, Christians, people following wrong faiths or sects etc. as consultants, so this verse could be considered as the strongest evidence to reject voting for a non-Muslim especially as al-Qurtobi added this hadith and others as a support for his claims. On the whole the meaning of 5:51 or 3:28 is that Muslims shouldn't take a non-Muslims as an allies (when fighting) nor seek their support (we all know that Muslims these days do it!). Of course one could further interpret the verses as supporting an election campaign etc.. But one could also just say Muslims shouldn't have non-Muslim as friends (they rely on).

See also in an extract of tafsir ibn Kathir (qtafsir)the interpretation and read the story of a Christian scribe of abu Musa al-Ash'ary () and Omar ibn al-Khattab () which was also quoted by al-Qurtobi. From this story the main idea one could conclude is one shouldn't totally be dependent on non-Muslims.

Conclusions from some fatwas on the matter

In this Arabic Fatwa taken from the official site of sheikh Abdurrahman Salah al-Mahmood عبد الرحمن بن صالح المحمود the sheikh, where the some Muslims living in France ask whether it is allowed for a Muslim -living in a non-Muslim society- to vote or give alliance to a non-Muslim discusses two cases:

  1. If the country is found on shari'a or Islamic rules then voting is part of the obligation to render trusts. The mufti has based his opinion on verse 4:58 and this sahih hadith.
  2. In case of a country which isn't ruled by shari'a law and where the voting system is of the kind Islam rejects (democracy and communism are quoted) the primarily view is that one shouldn't vote because of verses like 4:140 11:113 and 48:25.
    But if the good scholars and people of knowledge had the opinion that there's an interest (based on shari'a) for Muslims (like if this choice would result in a decrease of a kind of falsehood or show the truth ...) if they push or chose a non-Muslim candidate then that could be an exception and it should be allowed.

You could also read this fatwa on islamqa saying that the verdict for such issues can't be general but differs according to different circumstances and places.

IMO one should either wait and see or if he had governed before see and judge based on what he has done not based on his faith, as faith at the end is a matter of (private) choice:

... "The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." –

If there should be benefit for Muslims they should chose him. If not they can chose a better candidate or still not vote at all.


In short, yes a muslim can vote for a non muslim governor/president.

For a detailed answer continue to read:

The answer here would depend on many factors I'd say.

Now, in your case it seems you live in a muslim majority country (Indonesia). So that would be a very hugh factor in the answer. But I am not going to answer in according to that, because I do not live there and I don't know many important factors that is needed for an answer.

My answer will be more general speaking: can you vote for a non muslim, in a country which is not a muslim majority country? Because that makes it easier to answer.

My answer will be based on this: In a country where there are few muslims, 1 - 10%, how should one vote? Can one vote for a non muslim president?

First we must look at the variables:

  • Are there even muslim candidates?
  • If there are, do they even got a chance? (Consider the muslim population of 1 - 10%, and not all muslims voting one them, their chances must be very small.)
  • Are there other parties that somehow can make life "harder" for muslims or other minorities?
  • Are there parties that are "normal parties", with democratic values, equally treat all "groups" in the country the same and do not disparage any minorities?

Scenario 1

Say, there are no muslim candidates, should I vote? It depends, if it really doesn't matter on who you vote on, it's your choice to vote or not. If you think you might vote on a party that is good and you really feel that they would not make any indirect harm, then do that! There might be difference of opinions about this scenario.

Scenario 2

Let say there are no muslim candidates, and there is a racist partiy or party that really might make life harder for muslim and other miniorites, then you should (or must) vote on the "normal party", which stands for democratic values and treat all as equal. Because if you don't do that, the racist party will earn a higher vote rate, even though you don't vote at all. And if they win, you will be indirectly a reason why life becomes harder for muslims/other miniorites.

Scenario 3

Now, in the same situation as in scenario 2, EVEN THOUGH there are muslim candidates, you should still vote on the other party. Because, wasting your vote on the muslim candidate when they have no chance of winning (because the small number of muslims), will still make the racist party earn a higher vote rate (because the other parties loses your vote). So giving your vote to the other (non muslim, with deomcratic, and equal values) party, their vote rate will get higher, and at the same time the racist party's vote rate will become lower.


So, as I said, everything depends. All situations are different. One should try to look for best of the future. Only God knows the future, but that doesn't mean you should ignore all signs that might be telling where the future is heading.

I could even say, that even in a muslim majority country, one might vote for a non muslim. But as I have stated, all actions are based on many variables, where you try to make the world a better place and avoiding Fitna.

  • This seems like a rationale answer, but could do with some references to the Quraan/Hadith to back-up the claim.
    – Subby
    Nov 16, 2016 at 11:55
  • @Subby There are a lots of references of what I am speaking about in the usul al fiqh studies, maybe I can link to an answer about that in the post somewhere. But a fast Ayah from the Quran would be 3:104: "And from among you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong, and these it is that shall be successful." This answer might be related to your references: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/32558/…
    – Kilise
    Nov 16, 2016 at 12:05
  • 1
    In case of Jakarta, Ahok is the only candidate that's clean from corruption. That being said, some other candidates may put "mild" discrimination in favor of muslims. I don't know. Not openly.
    – user4951
    Nov 21, 2016 at 10:09

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