, by ABU BAKER
In this Section
Corruption is one of the evil acts practised by human beings out of selfish motives. It not only creates negative impact on economy of the country but, indirectly, destroys the balance of the social order also. It involves injustice as well as display of might or administrative connections. The Holy Qur’ān warns mankind of the consequence of injustice and violence, and states: “Do not do mischief on the land.” Allah asks mankind: “Who is more criminal than those who do injustice?”
Corruption, defined as decomposition, moral deterioration, use of corrupt practices, is an evil spread throughout the world. It takes place at administrative level as in the case of Gujarat and Karnataka as well as individual level as in the case of former Union Minister like A. Raja. It is a kind of exploitation denying the right of a person and accumulating public finance or others’ wealth or property forcibly.
Corruption is a ‘white collar’ crime, as in the definition of a crime by Edwin Sutherland in 1840 as a crime committed by people of high social position in the course of their occupation. Hugan and Parker (1985) say, “White-collar criminals use their powerful occupational offices to enrich themselves or others illegally often causing significant public harm in the process.” Sociologists call this crime ‘crime in the suites’ as opposed to ‘crimes in the streets’. White-collar crimes are done individually and collectively-organised.
In history we come across the rise and fall of civilizations. A civilizations occurs after the establishment of a moral base by a prophet or messenger of God. It lasts till the majority of people stick to the rules. The Holy Qur’ān recalls the destiny of people like A’ad, Samud, the people of prophet Lut and even Bani Israel people. Bani Israeli people were corrupt; the Bible also speaks of the same. We come across the downfall of civilizations like Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Aegean, Indus Valley, Chinese, Greek, Egyptian, Persian and so on. On a close study of its history we could know that some kinds of corruption cause downfall of the civilization.
Political parties of Tamil Nadu like DMK and AIDMK have promised many perks like TV, refrigerator and such costly items to people if they are voted to power. AIDMK was overthrown by DMK due to corruption of the former. However, people totally forgot the issue till DMK persons were involved in recent illegal financial issues. In Uttar Pradesh, many illegal dealings were charged against the Chief Minister. People make a lot of hue and cry at the time of any issue, and later forget it.
In the present Indian situation, Anna Hazare, who was supported by a fascist organisation at the beginning, does not sound impartial, since he aims only at the Congress government and does not target corruptions in Gujarat and Karnataka that directly support anti-social elements. Another satyagrahi, yoga guru Ramdev, born poor but now immensely rich, never revealed his source of income before his agitation against the government. Certain people have a wrong belief that whatever they do illegal acts they are ‘right’ and what ‘others’ do are wrong even if it is constitutionally not wrong.
In the famous book titled I am OK you are OK Thomas A Harris says that certain people are not satisfied with their deeds and feel that they are ‘not OK’ and feel that others are ‘OK’. In the case of Mr. Ramdev, he feels that he is ‘double Ok’ and others are ‘not OK’. The stage set up for his ‘agitation’ itself was an expression of corrupt means.
Lokpal Bill proposed by Team Anna would not be followed by the fascists who once had declared that they would not accept court verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case if it is against their interest. Only poor people would be caught by the law.
Every human being can acquire wealth or property by his/her effort or work. It is true that few people earn money or make wealth more than others by hard work and devotion. However, no one can make money without his effort or work. Even getting commission for certain dealings in his authority or power is also illegal.
In the history of mankind we can come across corrupt practices of individuals as well as rulers or officials. Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir stopped all corrupt practices for which he was criticised by anti-social elements. The Wodayar ruling family of Mysore lost its authority when its finance minister, Nanjaraja, and his company become corrupt. Chikka Krishna Raja Wodayar (CE 1734-1766) was a weak ruler, and administration was in the hands of finance minister. It was Hyder Ali Khan’s progressive vision that helped Mysore from disintegration.
On the social side, social order would be disordered if wealth is accumulated by a few. The world works on certain definite formulae and principles. If any portion gets damaged, it cannot be repaired by human beings, as it is divine work. The Holy Qur’ān condemns secret dealings and says: “In most of their secret talks there is no good.” (4:114).
On the economic side of corruption, we understand that the economy or public finance when occupied by a few causes harm to a large section of people. During the Muslim rule across the world economy was stable and even the people progressed. In the Cambridge History of India edited by PM Holt and others it is recorded: “As soon as Anatolia became a part of the Muslim world and the obstacles which hindered its trade were removed and period of economic development began.” (P. 258). Contrary to our imagination that the British rule had been more progressive than the previous rules, Lajpat Rai in England’s Debt to India writes: “Till the death of Aurangzeb in CE1707, India was economically better off than she was under the British rule.” (P. XIV).
Lajpat Rai points out the honesty and truthfulness of Muslim rulers unlike the British who exploited the wealth of India and stole it to their country. He writes: “The first Muhammadan dynasty began its rule at Delhi in 1206 CE and from that time on, Muhammadan rulers of India spent whatever they acquired from India within the country itself.” (P. 8).
Quoting Moorland, historian, Lajpat Rai writes that during Emperor Shajhan’s time people were better than those in the British rule and ‘lower classes were better off as consumers’. Most of the Muslim rulers took stern measures against corruption. During the British rule in India the authorities showed partiality in dealing with corruption.
In Islam, actions and deeds are controlled by intention or Niyath. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said: “Actions are judged by motives, and a man shall have what he intends.” The Holy Qur’ān warns mankind in these words: “Do not speak which you do not do.” The Blessed Prophet was the living example of this statement, and this is the reason why Thomas Carlyle wrote: “A man of truth and fidelity, true in what he did, in what he spoke and thought. The word of such a man is a voice direct from Nature’s own heart.”
All the historians who studied the history of Arabia, Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) have agreed unanimously that Islamic rule (C.E.630 to 664) established by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) and continued by Caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar bin Khattab, Usman bin Affan and Ali bin Abu Talib was free of corruption and best rule the world has ever witnessed. Even during the time of Usman bin Affan there was corruption among the relatives of the Caliph. Historians opine that this created adverse effect on the purity of Islamic administration followed by Usman.
In Islam, wealth is a blessing which should be utilised for our livelihood and helping fellow humans. Otherwise, it is a curse. It is a test from God, and those who are successful will have a blessed life in the next world. The Holy Qur’ān states: “Woe to every (kind of) scandal-monger and backbiter, who layeth it by, thinking that his wealth would make him last forever” (94:2-3). In its introduction, Abdullah Yusuf Ali says: “Woe to the miser who blocks up the channels of use and service and dams up his wealth.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said that on the Day of Judgment God will ask every person how he had utilised his wealth.
Wealth includes money, land, property, buildings, and ornaments of different category and so on. Wealth can make our life dignified and comfortable as well as it can destroy our soul.
The Holy Qur’ān warns mankind: “And let not those who covetously withhold of the gifts which God hath given them of His Grace. Think that it is good for them: Nay, it will be the worse for them: soon shall the things which they covetously withheld be tied to their necks like a twisted collar, on the Day of Judgment” (3:180). One the Day of Judgment, human beings will be asked regarding their wealth. Wealth should be utilised properly. It should be utilised for human welfare, progress and development. On analysing the attitude of non-believers towards wealth, Allah states: “And verily, he (man) is violent in love of wealth”. (100:8).
The Holy Qur’ān says: “All extravagant people are brothers of Satan and Satan is a rebel against God.”
The Holy Qur’ān warns mankind regarding evil acts, and states: “Do no evil normischief on the face of the earth” (11:60). It also insists mankind to “forbid one another the perpetration of evil” (5:79).
Islam, with its wide range of economic policy, never allows public money to be exploited by an undeserved few. The Holy Qur’ān warns people of accumulating illegal wealth. It warns them against capturing the wealth of orphans and the destitute. Moreover, Islam never permits a man to hoard wealth without circulation.
Public administration in Islam is based on the welfare and security of the citizens of a nation. It is not the policy of the government to create criminals and punish them. Islamic principles are aimed at eradicating evil deeds which cause crime.
The income of the state, share of the poor, safety of the weaker sections, etc. are to be protected by the authorities. The officials are supposed to be service minded and harbour no pre-occupied decisions. All are equal before the law. Communications, revenue collections, distribution of welfare funds, rendering help to the poor, etc. are to be done with an open mind, and no discrimination should be made.
A letter written to Abdullah by his father Thabit ibn Hussain on the former’s appointment as governor of Egyptian regions is an important document of public administration, and it is a guide to public administrators.
A few extracts from it are given here:
“It is obligation on your part to be faithful and devoted to Allah. Be free from the wrath of Allah.
“Always think of the welfare of your subjects.
“You must show mercy to your subjects as Allah has given blessings to you.
“Do justice to your subjects. You must not forget to protect your subjects from onslaught of cruel persons.”
Caliph Umar bin Khattab showed the best example for eradicating corruption. While he was discussing official matters with a person, the speaker turned his discussion to personal matters. Immediately Umar put off the light saying that public finance should not be utilised for private matters.