By: Muhammad Fathi
Corruption is one of the worst predicaments that haunt many countries around the world. The abuse of power, authority and resources by governments and public servants hinders the progress of nations, alienates ordinary citizens and blocks them from investing in the development of their nations.
The ailment of corruption is something that, unfortunately, plagues many Islamic countries, and one cannot avoid raising this question: Why are these countries associated with corruption? Is it because they are “Islamic” countries? Is there anything in the Islamic culture that nurtures corruption?
The answer is absolutely not. In fact, it is because such “Islamic” countries are NOT adequately faithful to the Islamic teachings that they are plagued by corruption.
The following 15 hadiths are just an example of how Islam fought corruption, made it an individual and a collective responsibility to expose and stop any abuse of power and authority.
Public Service is a Great Responsibility
1. Narrated Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him):
I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) saying:
Every one of you is a guardian, and responsible for what is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a lady is a guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it, and a servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it.”
I heard that from Allah’s Messenger and I think that the Prophet also said,
“A man is a guardian of his father’s property and is responsible for it.” (The Prophet continued,) “So all of you are guardians and responsible for what is under your care.” (Al- Bukhari)
2. Ma`qil ibn Yasar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported from the Prophet that Paradise is forbidden for any person in authority who dies in such a state that he is dishonest in his dealings with those under his rule. (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
3. Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:
I said to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): O Messenger of Allah, will you not appoint me to a public office? He stroked my shoulder with his hand and said:
“Abu Dharr, you are weak and authority is a trust. And on the Day of Judgment it is a cause of humiliation and regret except for one who fulfills its obligations and (properly) discharges the duties.” (Muslim)
Duty of Fighting Corruption is Collective
4. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Whosoever amongst you sees an evil, let him change it with his hands; and if he is not able, then with his tongue; and if he is not able, then let him hate it in his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.“ (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
5. An-Nu`man ibn Basheer narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):
“The example of the person abiding by Allah’s order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them is like the example of those persons who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the others in the lower.
When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water (and that troubled the others), so they said, ‘Let us make a hole in our share of the ship (and get water) saving those who are above us from troubling them.
So, if the people in the upper part left the others do what they had suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe.“ (Al-Bukhari)
6. Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Help your brother whether he is the doer of wrong or wrong is done to him.“
The Companions asked,
“O Messenger of Allah! We can help a man to whom wrong is done, but how could we help him when he is the doer of wrong?”
The Prophet replied, “Hold him back from doing wrong.“ (Al-Bukhari)
No Excuse for Abusing Public Position
7. Abu Humaid ibn Sa`d As-Sa`idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet employed a man from the tribe of Al-Azd named Ibn Al-Lutabiyyahh to collect the Zakah. When he returned (to the Prophet with the collections), he said: “This is for you while this (other wealth) is a gift presented to me. (So, it is mine).”
So, the Messenger of Allah stood on the pulpit, praised Allah, extolled Him and then he said,
“Why does an official whom I send (in a mission) say: ‘This is for you and this has been presented to me as gift’?
Why did he not stay in the house of his father and mother to see whether gifts will be given to him or not?
By (Allah) in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, if any one of you takes anything (wrongfully,) he will bring it on the Day of Resurrection, carrying it on his nick…”
Then he raised his hands till we could see the whiteness of his armpits and repeated twice, “O Allah! Have I conveyed (Your Commandments)?” (Muslim)
8. `Adi ibn `Umairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,
“Whosoever among you is appointed by me to a position and he conceals from us (even) a needle or more, he is acting unfaithfully and will bring it on the Day of Resurrection“.
Upon hearing this, a black man from Al-Ansar stood up and said:
“O Messenger of Allah, take back from me your assignment.”
The Prophet asked, “What happened to you?”
The man replied: “I have heard you saying such and such.”
The Prophet said,
“I say that (again) now: Whosoever from you is appointed by me to a position, he should bring everything (of its revenues), big or small. (Then,) what he is given therefrom, he may take. What he is disallowed to take, he should avoid.” (Muslim)
9. Abu Humaid As-sa`idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Gifts offered to public servants are ill-gotten gains (ghulul).” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
10. Buraidah ibn Al-Husaib (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“When we appoint someone to a (public) post and provide him with an allowance, anything he takes beyond that is an ill-gotten gain. (Abu Dawud and authenticated by Al-Albani)
11. Khaulah bint `Amir (May Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah said,
“Some men abuse Allah’s Property (that is, public money and funds). They will go to Hell on the Day of Resurrection“. (Al- Bukhari)
Serious Warning Against Bribery
12. `Abdullah bin `Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
“The curse of Allah is upon the one who offers a bribe and the one who takes it.” (Ahamd, Ibn Majah and authenticated by Al-Albani)
Fighting Corruption in Judiciary
13. Ibn Buraidah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated from his father that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Judges are of three (types), two of whom will end up in Hell and one will be admitted to Paradise (as follows):
– One who judges according to his desires; he will be in Hell.
– One who judges with no knowledge; he will end up in hell.
– And one who sticks to the truth in his judgments; he will be in Paradise.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
14. `Ubaydullah ibn Abi Bakr said: I heard Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) saying:
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) talked about the major sins, or he was asked about the major sins. Upon this he mentioned: “Associating anyone with Allah, killing of a person, being undutiful to parents.”
He (the Prophet further) said: “Should I not inform you about the gravest of the major sins?” And then he said: “It is false utterance” or he said “false testimony“. Shu`bah said: It was most probably “false testimony”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
15. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:
The people of Quraish worried about the lady from Bani Makhzum who had committed theft. They asked, “Who will intercede for her with Allah’s Messenger?”
Some said, “No one dares to do so except Usamah ibn Zaid the beloved one to Allah’s Messenger.”
When Usamah spoke about that to him, Allah’s Messenger said,
“Do you try to intercede for somebody in a case connected with Allah’s Prescribed Punishments?”
Then he got up and delivered a sermon saying,
“What destroyed the nations preceding you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict Allah’s legal punishment on him.
By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut off her hand.” (Al-Bukhari)