[further explanation of Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 8]
The sense of witness and testimony has become limited to testifying before a judge or committee hearing suits and disputes. But, in the terminology of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the word Shahadah has a much broader sense.
For instance, the medical certificate given to a sick person which states that he is unable to report on duty, or that he should be retired on medical grounds, is also a testimony. If the statement made in it was contrary to the actual condition of the sick person, it will turn into a false evidence and become a grave sin.
Similarly, checking student papers and marking them out during tests and examinations is also an act of testifying. If any increase or decrease in the marks alloted in them was done knowingly or carelessly that too shall be a false evidence, which is unlawful and a grave sin.
Certificates and testimonials awared to successfully graduating students bear a witness that the awardee has the capability of doing what his or her documents say. But, should it be that the person concerns is, in fact not so capable, then everyone who has signed on that certificate or testimonial stands charged with the crime of fake attestation.
Corresspondingly, casting a vote in favor of a candidate seeking election to assemblies, councils and public bodies is also a testimony in which the voter bears witness that, in his or her knowledge and estimation, the particular candidate is worthy of becoming a representative or spokesperson of the country and its people, both in terms of his ability and merits and in terms of his honesty and trustworthiness as well.
It means that anyone who makes a good, true and justified recommendation, then, he too will get a share from the good deed of the person he has recommended. And a person who makes a bad recommendation by favoring someone undeserving and bad to succeed through his recommendation, then he too shall get a share from the bad deeds of the person he has recommended. Thus, when a candidate like this will, during his tenure of office, go on doing what is wrong and impermissible, it is obvious that the curse of his evil doings will fall on the voter as well.
The voter makes the candidate his representative. Voting for a good and deserving person brings great reward the fruits of which are bound to reach the voter. Similarly, voting for someone undeserving and uncouth is false evidence, unjustified recommendation and impermissible advocacy all in one, so the evil fruits of his thoughtless voting shall stand recorded in the voter’s log of deeds.
Therefore, it is the duty of every Muslim man and woman that he or she must fully investigate into the background of the candidate being voted for well before the vote is cast.
[SOURCE: Maroof-ul-Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani]