Peak religious body says not voting or golput ‘forbidden under Islam’

CNN Indonesia – March 25, 2019
Papuan students in Jakarta call for golput – February 17, 2019 (Kumparan)
Papuan students in Jakarta call for golput – February 17, 2019 (Kumparan)

Jakarta – The country’s peek religious body, the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), is calling on the Indonesian public to use their right to vote on voting day in the 2019 presidential and legislative elections on April 17. Taking a position of not voting or golput is haram – forbidden under Islamic law.

“The MUI is asking that the Indonesian public use their right to vote”, said the chairperson of MUI’s foreign affairs and international cooperation division, Muhyiddin Junaidi, at the vice presidential office in Central Jakarta on Monday March 25.

Junaidi said that this has already been stipulated in a 2014 MUI fatwa (edict). “It’s haram. Golput is haram”, he said. Junaidi added that religion also forbids golput because how else can a country elect its leaders.

Junaidi did not deny however that there is no ideal leader in the world including in advanced countries such as China, Russia and the United States. Despite this he is still appealing to the public to use their right to vote for a leader.

“If we don’t use our right to vote and then there is chaos then it’s your fault”, said Junaidi.

Furthermore, he also asked that the electoral preferences of voters in the election not become a platform to create disunity in society.

He said that differences are part of sunatullah – the universal system and order of Allah – and all parties in the contest must be ready to win or lose. “But don’t let it lead to disunity”, he said.

Junaidi said that if the elections create disunity it will only embarrass Indonesia itself.

“If on account of the pilpres [presidential election] there is fighting it would be embarrassing, right. It will be a slap in the face for the Indonesian nation and in particular the Islamic community. We’re said to be the largest Muslim country [in the world], but brawling over electoral differences, that would be a pity”, he said.

“[We] convey to broader society that God willing the MUI will pray for the pilpres to run smoothly, that there will be no brawls, be ready to lose, and ready to win”, added Junaidi.

This is the first time that the presidential and legislative elections are to be held simultaneously. (psp/wis)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “MUI Tegaskan Golput Hukumnya Haram”.]