Date : 31-12-2009

Question :

What are the qualities that people should look for in an MP?

The Answer :

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds.

The answer to this question relies on our knowledge of the Parliament`s duties. According to those interested in legal matters, the Parliament and the Senate constitute the machinery of the legislative authority. We know that Allah is the Lawmaker and that what He made lawful is lawful and what He made unlawful is unlawful. Scholars and Mujtahids do research to arrive at judgments through reviewing the texts of the Noble Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah, scholarly consensus and analogy.

However, some laws are a matter of religious politics and administrative arrangements. It is permissible for the ruler/scholar to make laws and since they comply with the texts of Sharia, people are required to abide by them.

In our time, there are state bodies that draft bills and present them to the legislative authority for ratification, amendment or rejection.

The other duty of the Parliament is to oversee the performance of the executive power emanating from the principle of helping one another in righteousness and piety. Based on these duties, we conclude that the candidate who is qualified enough to be an MP is the one who has the ability to scrutinize laws, understand various meanings of legal expressions, and know whether they comply with Sharia or not. In fact, violations of Sharia don`t have the same degree. For example, there is a difference between the reprehensible and the forbidden, the desirable and the obligatory. Moreover, only the jurist (Faqih) or one who consults him knows the canons of the jurisprudential maxim "Necessities may permit some forbidden things."

As for overseeing the performance of the executive power, it requires someone who is bold and objective. In other words, a constructive critic; not someone who likes to stand out since there is a world of difference between the two. The former is one who puts himself in the MP`s shoes with respect to duties of the position, material and moral resources, in addition to domestic and international considerations. If this critic finds a better way to do that job, then he should offer his suggestion with sincerity to Allah and keep the nation`s best interest at heart. Otherwise, he should accept the excuse of that MP as he expects others to accept his.

It goes without saying that an MP can`t shoulder all his/her responsibilities without having capable consultants who are well-informed and know how to balance things.

Once all MPs have those qualities, we expect the Parliament to perform the duty for which it was elected in the first place. They are expected to be the mastermind and the watchful eye in this house (Parliament) where the notables of the nation meet and make binding laws. Having said that, it is expected that one would ask about the judgment on bribing citizens to elect a certain candidate or what some call "Political money. This shameful act is a social stigma. What will such corrupt person do when he/she becomes a decision maker? He will definitely try to take back what he/she spent through misusing his/her position, which is a crime punishable by law.

I can assert with certitude that our citizen won`t sell his/her vote or conscience. Therefore, I blame those who depict this irregular conduct as a feature of all our society. And Allah The Almighty Knows Best.