OUTLOOK — By Majed Al Sulaimany —
• God curses the one who pays a bribe, the one who takes it and the mediator between the two — Hadith
• And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they say, “We are but reformers! — Quran 2:11
• If one of you sees something wrong, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart and that is the minimum required by faith. — Hadith
If you go read the Quran and the Hadith (Islamic narrations) — in essence — Islam frowns upon bribery and corruption. It is definitely a sinful act. All benefits derived from sinful activities are definitely unlawful. The act is considered as stealing things and properties that do not belong to you. To this applies the famous Hadith that states that the flesh that grows out of unlawful income has no place in the hereafter but hell.
After all, we are all accountable to Allah in every action that we do. A famous Hadith has it that Allah will call us to account on how we spend our life, our youth, our wealth and our knowledge.
Abdul Rahman Ibn Auf — the richest companion among the famous ten whom the Holy Prophet PBUH had predicted will enter paradise — will have to account for all his wealth, the way he got and spent them, before being allowed to approach the gate of heaven. The other nine would have little wealth to account for and hence will speedily reach heaven. God knows best.
A long time ago when the old man was still alive, he overheard us children having heated discussions about corruption and bribery at the different places we used to work and who was taking bribes and who was not and who among those taking bribes were doing it secretly through middle men or foreign agents. Our late father then warned us about the aforementioned in taking bribes and in corruption. Do not take bribes; do not give bribes and do not get into corruption. Remain poor and satisfied but do not take anything that does not belong to you, he would always advise us.
The old man never asked anyone for money, but it will shock you to know how knowledgeable and smart he was. He knew well — despite appearances — of what was going on around him. One day a family member came to the house and offered poor dad a substantial amount of money for giving alms to the poor and the needy in the places that we grew up in East Africa.
After he left my father asked me if I needed some money for any particular reason? I politely declined because the traffic should be the other way to him and not from him? Then I asked him why but the poor man refused to disclose. A few weeks later when I was bit better off I offered him the usual thing from son to a father — he asked me if I could add a few more Rials to the amount. This surprised me a lot because it was quite unlike him to do so.
He would prefer to starve to death than ask money from anyone. He was that type of person till his death. You give him he will accept but he will never ask you for it. It surprised me why he was giving away this money he was given to send to the poor. I thought it was wrong for him to do so. He should have otherwise have refused to accept that money from that relative — if he was going not to send it.
When he saw the surprise and worry on my face he then told me the person who gave him the money is a very highly corrupt person and whatever he gives he will not get anything in return from the Good Lord! That is why I want to send the money you are giving me now as the same amount I used that I had received from that person. In short he was cutting out the middle man because ‘his money is not worth to send even to the poor’! It was a great learning experience to me and what I learnt from my late father — peace be upon him!
In many of my articles (and books — www.myown-ebooks.com) I have touched on my life’s experiences and encounters on corruption and bribery in the offices. Truthfully bribery and corruption is everywhere — even in my first jobs outside and before I came to Oman. I returned to Oman with my family in 1972.
My senior area manager one day walked into my office and being in charge of depot and marketing told me (blinking!) that we have run out of extra (Super) Petrol. He kept hinting to me to agree with him. I looked outside the window and saw the huge tank full of the stuff.
The customer with him was from the opposition — where he was told that Super Petrol was out and had to be rationed! He came to us in desperation! I soon came to realise what ‘creating artificial shortages’ meant and was about.
One has to be very careful in reporting such cases because you may find a big truck run into your car or your body dead in a ditch! On the day I left I reported this in my exit interview to the top marketing man. He told me: Thank you for taking me in your confidence. I really appreciate it!
I thought I did my part and my conscience was clear! It was only when I came to Oman and saw this ex-peer who told me: You made them all have a hearty laugh. You really cheered them on because with the exception of the few top guys the rest were all in this marketing sham of ‘creating artificial shortages’!
As one of my good Indian friends used to tease: There goes a real honest person but who will always remain behind and poor!