All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ )
(O ye who believe, fear Allâh as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]
( يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا )
(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh, by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh is ever watching over you.) [An-Nisa: 1].
( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا )
(O you, who believe, fear Allâh and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].
How many a time has the trial of wealth brought down men; they loved it excessively, until it became the focus of their lives and their major concern. The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) spoke the truth when he said, “Indeed there is a trial for every Ummah, and the trial for my Ummah is wealth” (At-Tirmidhi).
How we wish that when they were busy making money they acquired it from the lawful source, but a group of people strayed from the right and went amassing wealth from both lawful and unlawful sources. This is what has been predicted by our Messenger, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), “Certainly a time will come when people will not bother to know from where they earned the money, by lawful means or unlawful means” (Al-Bukhari).
Bribery is among the gates of unlawful wealth, which has spread in the communities and caused a great havoc.
What is this bribery? O believers! Bribery is that which is given to reverse a right, or to realize a wrong.
The briber (Rashi in Arabic) is one, who pays the money for him to attain what is not his right or overturn the right of others. The bribed (Murtashi in Arabic) is one who receives such money, while the fixer (Ra’esh) is the middleman that mediates between the briber and the bribed.
Bribery is prohibited, and its perpetrator is cursed; because of the injustice, and the unjust usurpation of wealth and rights…it involves. Allâh, the Almighty said,
( وَلَا تَأۡكُلُوٓاْ أَمۡوَٲلَكُم بَيۡنَكُم بِٱلۡبَـٰطِلِ وَتُدۡلُواْ بِهَآ إِلَى ٱلۡحُڪَّامِ لِتَأۡڪُلُواْ فَرِيقً۬ا مِّنۡ أَمۡوَٲلِ ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَأَنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ )
And eat up not one another’s property unjustly, nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully [Al-Baqarah: 188].
I.e. “Do not compliment them with it in a way of hypocrisy, nor give it to them as bribery in order for them to deduct for the right of others knowing that such is not legally permissible for you!”.
However, a man may be obliged to give bribe to lift an injustice inflicted upon him, or to get his right, which he found no way to achieve but to do so. The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) has said, “The wealth of a Muslim is unlawful unless he gives it willingly with a cheerful heart”.
The person that gives bribe do not do so with a cheerful heart. He gives it while his heart invokes curse upon the receiver unjustly, who eats (haram) the unlawful. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “Every Muslim’s blood, property and honor are unlawful to be violated by another Muslim” (Muslim).
Such obliged, oppressed and holder of some right, has been permitted by some learned scholars to give out bribe but with certain and specific conditions and the sin will be borne immediately by the bribed alone.
Slaves of Allâh! Bribery remains bribery no matter how many names it is given, call it “token of generosity” or “gratuity” or “sweet” or “appreciation” or “tip” or “gift” or “sweat”. Yes, we maintain: bribery is bribery, no matter how much we decorate and garnish it. In the two most authentic books of Hadith, the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), appointed a man to collect Sadaqa (i.e. authorized him to receive obligatory Zakah from the people on behalf of the State). When he returned (with the collections), he said: This is for you and (this is mine as) it was presented to me as a gift. The narrator said: The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), stood on the pulpit, praised Allâh and extolled Him. Then he said: What about a State official whom I give an assignment and who (comes and) says: This is for you and this has been presented to me as a gift? Why didn’t he remain in the house of his father or the house of his mother so that he could observe whether gifts were presented to him or not. By the Being in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, any one of you will not take anything from it but will bring it on the Day of Judgment, carrying on his neck a camel that will be growling, or a cow that will be bellowing or an ewe that will be bleating.
The man called it a gift, but it was in fact a bribe. The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), has said, “The gifts collected by employees are (Gulul) misappropriation” (Ahmad). Umar bin Abdul Aziz speaks of his time and says, ” At the time of the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) a gift was a gift but today it is a bribe “(Al-Bukhari), let alone our time!
O Muslims! The briber and the bribed should think that they will escape the torment of Allâh, but they will be punished and some of their punishments include the following:
- Their (dua) invocations will not be answered. Abu Hurairah (May Allâh be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) made a mention of the person who travels for a long period of time, his hair are disheveled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky and thus makes the supplication: ‘My Lord! My Lord!’ But his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful, how can then his supplication be accepted? “(Muslim). They both eat the unlawful. The bribed eats bribery, while the briber eats a right that is not his, and he could not have achieved it without the offering of bribe.
- They are cursed and driven away from the mercy of Allâh, the Almighty: The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “The curse of Allâh is upon the one who offers a bribe and the one who takes it” (Ibn Majah).
- The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) invoked curse upon them saying, ” O Allâh, whoever (happens to) acquire some kind of control over the affairs of my people and is hard upon them, be hard upon him, and whoever (happens to) acquire some kind of control over the affairs of my people and is kind to them, be kind to him” (Muslim).
Therefore, anybody that refuses to solve the needs of the Muslims except after taking a bribe is extremely hard upon them! Likewise, he that plunders the rights of the people by offering bribe is also hard upon them.
- The torment of Hell, May Allâh safeguard against it. The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “Everybody that is nourished from haram (unlawful) has no other place but the Hell-Fire” (Al-Bayhaqi in As-Shu’ab). Moreover, in Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, ” Indeed, some people misappropriate (acquire or spend wrongfully) Allâh’s Property (meaning Muslims’ property). These people will be cast in Hell on the Day of Resurrection “.
Do they think that unlawful wealth will be of any benefit to them?! No, By Allâh, unlawful wealth does not benefit even if it seems to them otherwise. Give glad tidings of immediate penalties to those involved in giving and receiving bribes, Penalties in form of domination of diseases in themselves and their families, descent of calamities, and disappearance of blessing from the wealth. Give them glad tidings of future penalties of doom and expulsion from the mercy of Allâh.
O Muslims! Just ask; Why all these great penalties for the briber and the bribed? That is due to the severity and magnitude of the corruption, destruction and injustice bribery causes in the communities. Through bribe, morons and fools are given authorities while the qualified and intelligent ones are relegated! This is a waste of the trust, which is one of the signs of the Last Hour. The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “When the trust is lost, then wait for the Last Hour.” It was asked, “How will the trust be lost, O Allâh’s Messenger (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him)?” He said, “When authority is given to those who do not deserve it, then wait for the Last Hour” (Al-Bukhari).
Through bribery the liar and traitor is given precedence while the truthful and trustworthy is excluded just as expected and predicted by the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), when he said, “There will come to the people years of treachery, when the liar will be regarded as honest, and the honest man will be regarded as a liar; the traitor will be regarded as faithful, and the faithful man will be regarded as a traitor; and the Ruwaibidah will decide matters.’ It was said: ‘Who are the Ruwaibidah?’ He said: ‘Vile and base men who control the affairs of the people” (Ibn Majah).
Because of bribery, the rightful person is deprived of his right, while it is unlawfully given to one, who does not deserve it! Hence, the spread of mutual hatred, bickering, boycott, and grievances in the community! The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “May that nation not be cleansed (of sin) among whom the weak cannot get their rights without trouble” (Ibn Majah).
That is without undergoing stress and hardship to get their rights.
Bribery is a sign of corruption of communities. So if you see a society in which corruption has spread know that in this community rights are lost, grievances multiply, and unfit people take the reins of affairs … It behooves such a society that its ship shall wreck.
Virtuous Brothers! Though, a lot of people were quick to eat bribe, but there are yet some people who rejected it, and here are some models:
- First: Suleiman, peace be upon him. The Queen of Sheba had wanted to bribe him to discourage him from inviting her and her people to Islam or otherwise war, but he rejected it and returned it to her. Allâh the Almighty narrates this incident thus:
( وَإِنِّى مُرۡسِلَةٌ إِلَيۡہِم بِهَدِيَّةٍ۬ فَنَاظِرَةُۢ بِمَ يَرۡجِعُ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلُونَ * فَلَمَّا جَآءَ سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ قَالَ أَتُمِدُّونَنِ بِمَالٍ۬ فَمَآ ءَاتَٮٰنِۦَ ٱللَّهُ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّمَّآ ءَاتَٮٰكُم بَلۡ أَنتُم بِہَدِيَّتِكُمۡ تَفۡرَحُونَ * ٱرۡجِعۡ إِلَيۡہِمۡ فَلَنَأۡتِيَنَّهُم بِجُنُودٍ۬ لَّا قِبَلَ لَهُم بِہَا وَلَنُخۡرِجَنَّہُم مِّنۡہَآ أَذِلَّةً۬ وَهُمۡ صَـٰغِرُونَ )
“But verily! I am going to send him a present, and see with what (answer) the messengers return.” (35) So when (the messengers with the present) came to Sulaimân (Solomon), he said: “Will you help me in wealth? What Allâh has given me is better than that which He has given you! Nay, you rejoice in your gift!” (36) [Then Sulaimân (Solomon) said to the chief of her messengers who brought the present]: “Go back to them. We verily shall come to them with hosts that they cannot resist, and we shall drive them out from there in disgrace, and they will be abased [An-Naml: 35-37].
- Second: Abdullah bin Rawahah. Sulaiman bin Yasar reported that the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), sent Abdullah bin Rawahah, may Allâh be pleased with him, to the people of Khaibar to evaluate the Zakah due on them in their crops. When he came to them, they received him with gifts. He said, ” I am not in need of your gifts; you know, O Assemblies of Jews, Allâh did not create a people more detestable to me than you are, and Allâh did not create a people more beloved to me than the people from whom I came, and by Allâh! My love for them and my hatred for you will not sway me from treating you justly and equally. “The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), had given them the date palms to irrigate and take half of their produce. So Abdullah bin Rawahah evaluated them and said, “You have a choice, if you like you take it according to my evaluation, or otherwise we will take it,” Thereupon, they said, “this is justice, by this the heavens and the earth were established”.
- This is the set model of the believers, Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him). The people of Makkah wanted to bribe him, saying, If Muhammad wants to be king over us we shall crown him a king and if he wants to be the richest among us, we will amass wealth for him to become the richest of us, but he (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) answered them firmly: “I am not more capable of forsaking that (the message to which he invites them) than you are not capable of fetching me a blazing flame from the Sun” (Al-Bazzaar).
All praise is due and belongs to Allâh alone. May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon the final Prophet.
O believers! When Islam forbade giving and taking bribes to meet one’s needs, it opened another gate for this, which is the intercession for a good cause and exhortation to meet people’s needs. Abu Musa narrated that whenever a beggar or a person in need came to the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), the Prophet would say “Help and recommend him and you will receive the reward for it, and Allâh will bring about what he wills through His Prophet’s tongue “(Agreed upon).
The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) further said exhorting to meet and protect the interests of Muslims, “The most beloved of people to Allâh are the most beneficial of them to the people, the most beloved deed to Allâh is happiness you bring upon a Muslim or distress you relieve him of, or pay his debt, or expel starvation from him. And for me to go out with my brother to solve a need is dearer to me than to observe i’tikaaf (seclusion) in this mosque- meaning the mosque of Madinah- for a month”(At-Tabarani).
However, this intercession is regulated by a certain condition, we do understand when we hear the words of the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), ” If anyone intercedes for his brother and he presents a gift to him for it and he accepts it, he approaches a great door of the doors of usury” (Abu Dawud).
When Ibn Mas’ud was asked about (As-Suht) unlawful wealth, he said, “Unlawful wealth is for you to ask a need for your brother but when it is granted he gives you a gift, and you accept it from him!” Beware of receiving something in return for an intercession you make for someone.
O Muslim brother! Beware! Beware of taking or giving a bribe, or being an intermediary between them, for you would lose this worldly and the next! Strive to meet the needs of the needy –for the sake of Allâh, you will attain in the sight of Allâh, that which is the best and the greatest.
Invoke prayers and blessings of Allâh upon the one you have been commanded to pray for when Allâh the Most Exalted and Glorified said,
( إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا )
Allâh sends His Salah (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels too (ask Allâh to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salah on (ask Allâh to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting [Al-Ahzab: 56].