Moral and financial corruption and the devastating effects of bribery are well-defined in the Quran. In this article, I will highlight this issue. First, let us examine the sections of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that deal with this subject and the causes of its ineffectiveness, and later, we will see how the Quran addresses this issue.
The preamble of the Constitution of our country affirms that the supreme sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah alone, and the authority exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust. Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. They shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, opportunity, and before the law, social, economic, and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, and association, subject to law and public morality. The independence of the judiciary shall be fully secured.
In our Constitution, strict laws have been made for the eradication of financial and moral corruption and bribery. However, despite such laws, corruption in our society is widespread and extends to every sector from government to judiciary, Army, Police, health services, education, and allegedly print and electronic media, and there is no stopping it. As a senior politician, Maulana Qauser Niazi (Late) once said:
“اس ھمام میِں سب ننگے ھیں”
(everyone is naked in this bathhouse).
So, every member of this hamam keeps on sheltering each other. However, the main reason why Pakistan has submerged into corruption is the fundamental lack of justice, along with its proper implementation.
In Islamic society, one of the chief goals of law is justice. An unjust justice is no justice. Justice is also Allah’s attribute (Al Hakam), the giver of justice, and demands from the lawmakers and the implementors to give justice fairly. Allah says in the Quran (4:58), “Allah commands you to deliver trusts to those worthy of them; and when you judge between people, to judge with justice. Excellent is the admonition Allah gives you. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” It means that while doing any act in our lives, we should be conscious that Allah is watching and listening to whatever we do. We will become Muttawaqal in the Quranic term. Taqwa means conscious and aware of God of truth, piety, and fear of God. This is the stage of Momineen. In mystical philosophy, this stage is called “Muqam e Ihsan,” i.e., to spend your entire life as Ibada.
Allah censures through the following verses: (Quran 9:34) “O believers! Indeed, priests and anchorites consume people’s wealth wrongfully and hinder ˹others˺ from the Way of Allah. Give good news of a painful torment to those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s cause.” I am referring to raabis as pseudo ulema and monks as phony dervishes.
(Quran 9:35) The day will come when their treasure will be heated up in the Fire of Hell, and their foreheads, sides, and backs will be branded with it. It will be said to them, “This is the treasure you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste what you hoarded!”
The above two verses contain a serious warning that God’s religion can never be a means for worldly gain. For this reason, it is severely prohibited to attempt to use Islam for ulterior motives. This is especially pertinent to the ruling elite, religious scholars (ulemas), and spiritual masters (dervish) who are expected to represent and convey the teachings of the Quran and sunnah in its purity and to ensure that the ruling elite is managing the state affairs with sincerity.
However, in our so-called Islamic state, the ruling elite, in all areas of state functions, is alleged to have been involved in corrupt practices at the cost of the taxpayers’ money. The tragedy is that the pseudo ulemas and phony dervishes have joined hands with the elite for their ambitious interests for living a life of worldly glamour, its flavors, pleasure, and fame.
Justice and Bribery
The consistent theme and persistent demand of Islam are that one must do good and shun evil, at all costs and in all fields of life. Morality must prevail in society, and affirmative justice must flourish. This is why Allah vehemently mandates in the Quran, as follows:
(Quran 2:188) And do not consume your wealth among yourselves in false ways (in vanities, sins, and crimes such as theft, usurpation, bribery, usury, and gambling); nor proffer it to those in authority so that you may sinfully consume a portion of other people’s goods, and that knowingly. (Ali Unal)
(Quran 4:135) O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, your parents, your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts of your hearts, lest ye swerve, and if ye distort justice or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. (Yusuf Ali).
(Quran 5:8) O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and leave justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah for Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. (Yusuf Ali).
The preamble of our constitution affirms the supreme sovereignty of God, which involves just rulers, just rules, and pure justice as per the commandments of Allah and Sunnah of our Prophet (PBUH).
The state where Islamic laws prevail is termed as the abode of peace (Dar ul Islam). It is the duty of the state rulers, government functionaries, and all those who are at the helm of state affairs to arrange for the betterment of the poor and vulnerable and safeguard individuals’ rights to life, privacy, reputation, freedom of speech (within moral limits), movements, and professions. Simultaneously, it is their duty to punish wrongdoers regardless of their status. Human life is sacred, and no one can deprive a fellow being of this gift of God without proper notice and an opportunity to defend themselves before an impartial judge. It is the duty of the judge to provide justice, keeping in mind that they have to appear before the court of Allah on the Day of Judgment.
It is the sacred duty of an Islamic state to provide a free and fair process of justice, which is not negotiable. No one is above it, and no one is below it. Justice must prevail, even if heaven falls. No judge should be biased, show favoritism, exhibit racism, succumb to influence or political affiliations that stand in the way of justice.
Democratic monarchies, military dictatorships, or dynastic feudalism should not dare to influence prosecutors, magistrates, or judges of any court, no matter what. Such Islamic values may seem alien in our country, but it is the sacred duty of the rulers to establish a justice system where cruel, oppressive, and politically motivated vengeance ceases immediately.
All the stakeholders should conduct their affairs by consultation (Quran 42:38) (Amru-hum shura baina-him). Consultation can be practiced only by those who do not hesitate to deceive both God and people, which is a sin.
I supplicate, “Ya Salamo, you can make the impossible possible. O Allah, the Guider of lost souls, forgive our rulers, government functionaries, and people at the helm of affairs. Guide them to the right path and bless our country with mercy and barakah. Appoint just and God-fearing rulers to govern our Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Ameen Sum Ameen.