Living The Quran
From Issue: 1064 [Read full issue]
Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 188
"And devour not one another's possessions wrongfully, nor offer them to those who rule, so as to wrongfully and knowingly devour what is owned by others"
Corruption is a serious peril for the relations between the rulers and the ruled, and it can occur in both directions: there may be an attitude from the ruled to corrupt and an attitude from the rulers to be corrupted. These attitudes often develop simultaneously, but sometimes one party may take the initiative and persuade the other to participate in the corruption.
The above verse addresses the ruled who may use corruption to deprive one another of their rights or possessions. A tradition of the Prophet condemns the person who offers a bribe, the person who accepts it and any who mediates between both [reported by Ibn Hanbal]. The same rule applies also to any transgression of public rights or property.
Honesty is a social value that should be observed by the whole society, and any dishonest initiative may start an epidemic. Thus, moral education and God-consciousness should be combined with social justice. Those who enjoy authority, be it political, administrative, judicial or another kind, have to resist any temptation to invite or encourage corruption directly or indirectly, or to receive it. However, the wide masses are more important in maintaining honesty in the society as a whole and guarding those who are in power against any corruption. Yet despite this, it may be remarkable that in any given time and place there are honest have-nots and corrupting and corrupted haves!
"Concepts of the Quran" - Fathi Osman, p. 767