Corruption in Islam:Corruption has a devastating impact on the economy and the society and that is why Islamstrictly prohibits bribery. This is what the Hadith and the Qur‟an have to say about it:"God cursed 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 butreformers!" Qur‟an 2:11"If one of you sees something wrong, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with histongue; if he cannot, then with his heart and that is the minimum required by faith". “HadithFrom reading the second Hadith, it would be hypocritical of us not to speak of the corruptionplaguing the majority of Arab-Muslims countries that represent 20% of the total Muslimcommunity worldwide.Ranking of corruption in Arab Muslim countries:Although Islam strictly prohibits bribery, it is commonplace in most of these countries.According to the reputable site Transparency.org which evaluates corruption in 183 countrieseach year, here is the result for 2011 and the listing of the Arab countries starting from the leastcorrupt:Qatar is ranked #22, United Arab Emirates # 28 (which precedes Israel, Portugal and Spain);Bahrain #46, Oman #50, Kuwait #54, Jordan #56, Saudi Arabia #57, Tunisia #73, Morocco #80,Egypt and Algeria #112, Syria and Lebanon #134, Mauritania #143, Yemen #164, Libya #168,Sudan #177, Iraq #175, Somalia #178.We would like to add these three non-Arab countries which are at majority Muslims: Iran isranked #120, Pakistan #134, Afghanistan #180.Palestine is not on the list because it is still not recognized as a state, but its leaders (former andactual) have diverted millions of dollars in donation money intended for their own people.The Corruption starts at the highest level of these countries:On several occasions, foreign companies wishing to invest in some of these countries (which,would ease the unemployment rate) reported having to pay substantial bribes in order to win thecontract to the highest authorities of these countries (which are installed in power for life) eitherdirectly to the presidency, to the monarchy or to the generals and colonels (for countries withauthoritarian military).To the government employees:In most of these countries, bribes are also common practice among state employees, from thecustoms at the borders, police officers… to the people in charge of delivering administrativedocuments. And when corruption affects the justice system, do not expect a fair trial.Given that these Muslims (the corrupt ones) very well know that according to the Hadith thatGod have cursed the one who pays a bribe, the one who takes it and the mediator between thetwo, here is the phrase they use when paying a bribe: "Consider this as a gift."
Do they really believe that God does not know the contents of their hearts or what theirintentions are? While God says in the Quran: " You shall observe God; God is fully aware of theinnermost thoughts". Quran 5:7And in case they did not know what being cursed means (as described in the Hadith):The curse is a state of calamity insured by God that the cursed person will not receive mercy orforgiveness from God and will be banished from entering Paradise as was Satan when he wascursed and ordered out of paradise forever.According to the Chambers 20th Century Dictionary, corrupt means debased, dishonest, putrid,bribed, tainted etc. Corruption generally means financial irregularities, and bribe is a part of it.The lust for money and the desire to become rich in a short period of time is the main motivebehind it. Overpowered by greed, man loses the sense of good and evil, legitimate andillegitimate and acquiring wealth means success to him. And greed is in every man‟s heart:“And greed is close to hearts.” (Al Nisa: 128)In the present age, corruption has become so common place that it has become a topic of seriousdiscussion on national and international level. Corruption has affected the lives of both thecommon people and the elite and the economy so much that it has given rise to publicmovements and has even become the forerunner of political revolution in many countries of theworld. Corruption in the bureaucracy and the government of the Arab countries was one of thereasons behind the recent revolution and coup there. The unrest due to the high level ofcorruption has taken the shape of public movement in India too.It does not however mean that today only the ruling class --- ministers, political representativesor bureaucrats are corrupt. In fact, every section of the society is neck deep in the mire ofcorruption. Whether it is a doctor, a teacher, a judge, a lawyer, a businessman or a farmer, no onecan claim to be above corruption.If we study the Quran in the context of corruption, we will find that the Quran has not onlypointed out and condemned corruption in the religious belief (idol worship etc.) but is has alsopointed out and opposed social and economic ills. Corruption has existed in every society inevery age. Therefore, the Quran also speaks about corruption. It tells the tales of different nationsthat were exterminated in punishment to their social and moral wrongdoings. The nation of Sabawas destroyed because of their ingratitude to God; the nation of Prophet Louth was exterminatedfor their sexual perversion; the nation of Noah was uprooted for their total disobedience andmischievousness. There was the nation of the Prophet Shuaib. The Quran calls them the residentsof Madian. They would indulge in corruption while weighing or measuring things. While sellingtheir wares they would not give full measure to the buyers or would not weigh things honestly inorder to make more profit. It was the primitive form of corruption. The practice had become sowidespread among them that it had got common acceptance in the same way as bribery hasassumed the status of an indispensible tool. On the one hand, Prophet Shuaib (AS) preached theoneness of God and Namaz and on the other; he started opposing their practice of weighing ormeasuring dishonestly therefore cheating people. He would ask the people to be honest to theirbrethren. The people of Madian, who were already unhappy with Prophet Shuaib‟s opposition ofthe religion of their forefathers, came out into the open in his opposition when his opposition oftheir corrupt practices started affecting their business. They threatened him with stoning to death:
“And to the people of Madian, we sent their berother Shuaib. He said, O my people serve Allah;you have no deity other than He. Do not give short measure and weight. Though I see you in astate of prosperity, I fear for you the scourge of a day that will encircle you. And O my peoplegive full measure and weight justly and do not defraud of their goods and do not spread mischiefin the land. The residue (after giving full measure) is best for you, if you are believers. Any howI am not a guardian over you. “They replied, O Shuaib, Does your salat teach you this that weshould give up all those deities whom our forefathers worshipped or that we should have no righton our goods to dispense with them as we please. Indeed you are the only generous and righteousman (left in the land).” (Hud: 84-87)When Prophet Shuaib insisted that they should give up their corrupt ways, they said bitterly:“They answered, “O Shuaib, We do not understand much of what you say. Indeed we see thatyou are a powerless man among us. Had it not been for your family, we would have stoned youto death long before this for you are not strong enough to prevail over us.”(Hud: 91)The conversion mentioned above is meaningful in many ways. It shows that the people ofMadian were well-to-do. They indulged in corruption only to make maximum profit. It meansthat the lust for making more money or profit is at the root of corruption. Another point thatbecomes clear from the conversation is that the true Deen (faith) does not only preach theoneness of God but also lays stress on honesty, justice, righteousness and piety as well. Islamwas opposed so vehemently because it did not preach only the oneness of God permitting all theevil practices as was allowed with idol worship but because it wielded a blow to all the socialand economic malpractices at the same time. The Jews of Arab had become the diehard enemiesof Islam because it had declared riba (interest) a major sin and declared it haram. The Jews ofArab ran money lending business at a very high interest rate. Anyone who once borrowed moneyfrom them at interest would be indebted to them for life because of their compound interestrates. The same situation arose when consumption of wine was declared haram by the Quran.The business of liquor collapsed at once.The Quran says that God inspired the invention of the weighing scale and revealed the Quran.The Quran was revealed for correcting the faith of the man while the scale was inspired forhonesty in business transactions.“God is one who sent forth the holy book on the right path and the scale too.” (Al Shoura: 17)The scale is mentioned on yet another occasion:“We sent forth our messengers with clear signs and revealed the book along with them and theweighing scale so that people remain on the right path.” (Al Hadeed: 25)The Quran also says:“And he mounted the skies and put the scale so that you do not do injustice while weighing.” (AlRahman)Some exegetes believe that the scale is only a symbol here. But I believe that it represents thephysical weighing scale. God instructed Noah to build the ark under His inspiration andinstructions. He taught David how to make weapons and tools out of iron. So he also inspired
man to make the weighing scale so that he can do business honestly and justly thus earning bylegitimate means. The weighing scale has been an indispensible tool for weighing andmeasuring. The man of this modern and scientific age has not been able to create an alternativeto this primitive tool. This tool is in the use of man in its original form since its invention.Similarly, the Quran too exists in its original form since its revelation and has been the finalauthority on good and evil. This is the reason God mentions the Quran and the scale in the samevein.“Do not spread mischief on earth” also calls for explanation. To spread „fasad‟ (mischief,corruption) is used in three contexts in the Quran. Firstly, it means causing violence andbloodshed without justification. Secondly, it means introducing corrupt practices and ideas in thefaith. And thirdly, it means violating the natural order. When a milkman mixes water with puremilk, he violates the natural order or spreads „fasad‟ (mischief). When a businessman weighsdishonestly, he spreads fasad; when a farmer uses unnatural or unethical means to increase theproduction of vegetables and fruits, he violates the natural order. The nation of the Prophet Louthdid not cause violence and bloodshed but they were guilty of committing an unnatural actviolating the natural order. When a school teacher exchanges good quality of rice meant for midday meal for children with poor quality of rice with a rice trader for making extra money, hecommits corruption or spreads mischief.“And give unto orphans their property and do not exchange (your) bad things for (their) goodones; and devour not their substance (by adding it) to your substance. Surely, this is a great sin.“(Al Nisa: 2)In this modern age, wealth is not buried under the earth for protection but other safer means areavailable. In the present age, gold and silver are put in bank lockers where they lie uselessly fordecades causing huge loss to the economy. Big industrialists, politicians and rulers deposit theirill-gotten money in Swiss banks where it is difficult to trace them. These safer means of keepingillegitimate wealth have only promoted corruption and people‟s lust for money today knows nobound. Our politicians, rulers and bureaucrats are racing with each other in plundering publicwealth by depriving people of their rightful share. The Quran says about such men:Inventories of questions:Corruption may take place at any stage in the process of tendering for, awarding andperformingPublic contracts for works, supplies or services. Various forms of corruption can be identifiedthroughoutThe four principle stages of the public procurement process:a) Identification of needs.b) Definition of specifications.c) Awarding of the contract.d) Performance of the contract.
1. Mechanisms used during the identification of needs:It has been observed that before a contract is put out to tender, during the phase of determiningproject needs, two methods may be used to favor one candidate over another. The first is todistort or falsify. Needs so that projects can be launched which are unnecessary or bigger thanplanned. The second method is to commission onerous or unjustified studies.Modified or falsified needs:Changing or falsifying needs is a way of justifying purchases, works or services that are oftenUnnecessary or disproportionate to actual needs. The initiators of the project outline thejustifications of needs in an explanatory report. In many cases these project officials can only bereprimanded for benign "mistakes" such as wrongly estimating stocks, replacing equipment thatcould have been repaired or failing to look for alternative solutions. However, these justificationscan conceal corruption.Unnecessary, falsified or subjective studies:Studies are often essential in order to identify needs, but can also be used for corrupt ends.Examples include small-scale studies commissioned from a favored firm withoutconsultation or studies that are commissioned but never delivered or claimed, even thoughadvances have been paid. In some cases, several organizations submit identical studies,simultaneously or over a period of time. For example, an initial study is commissioned from acompetent organization. The results of the initial study are then passed on to fictitious firms thatplagiaries them, generating very substantial margins that can be shared with the decision-makerthrough a slush fund, using false invoices Instead of commissioning studies from independentorganisations, the decision-maker can have them carried out in-house. Internal units may biastheir studies. Deliberate omissions can then be used later to justify an award of contracts. Usuallythis leads to a negotiated procedure, which is generally unpublicized and is without competitivetendering.2. Mechanisms used during the definition of specifications:It has been determined that there are many ways of concealing corruption in the process ofdrawing up specifications. However, they are not easy to identify, particularly when controllersare not familiar with the technical aspects of a given project. Claims, especially those made byunsuccessful bidders, must be checked quickly and thoroughly so as to ensure that controllers arenot used unknowingly to eliminate a chosen candidate.Misevaluated project estimate:The project estimate is a crucial and often complex element in the procurement process. In themost complex cases, the project is estimated in two stages: a summary estimate formulated at thesame time as the initial study and a final estimate, drawn up together with the specifications. Acontract estimate can be deliberately under- or overstated. Underestimation is frequent and canunduly facilitate the authorization to begin a project. The necessary supplements willsubsequently inflate the initial cost, because the winner of the initial contract will inevitablybe the beneficiary of the supplements, which are rarely negotiable, enervating substantialmargins that facilitate corruption. Purchases or works may be overestimated when the decision
maker is certain that a contract will be awarded. The awardees of the contract will thus have acomfortable margin, part of which may be returned to the decision-maker without increasing theinitial cost. The decision-maker may even be perceived as a good manager and re-elected foranother term, since the project required neither re-evaluation nor supplemental costs.Preference for a single supplier:A single supplier may be favored for a contract. Two methods are frequently used to justifyawarding a contract to a given firm: choosing services covered by an exclusive right; orcommissioning studies or specifications from an operator linked to a group, another of whosesubsidiaries will then bid for the contract. In the second case, the subsidiary has exclusive accessto inform motion that other bidders do not have.Inaccurate data:The intentional use of inaccurate data can conceal corruption. In this case, a favored firm is toldabout incomplete or inaccurate information deliberately included in the specifications. The firmma y discount a particularly onerous condition in its estimate and win the contract by making abid that is lower than other bids but provides for a higher margin nevertheless. In anotherexample, a firm makes a low overall bid to win the contract but charges high unit prices for thegoods or services needed to continue the work, without a new tender. The additional work,carried out by the contractor and paid at the stated unit price, generates a substantial profit.Excessive specifications:Imposing specifications that are much more rigorous than general standards can be anothermethod to disguise corruption. In this technique, the official responsible for certifying the workis an accomplice. The official states that the work is in conformity with specifications, when infact it is not. As long as the work meets generally accepted standards, safety certificationagencies do not conduct further inspections.Imposed requirements for maintenance:Some equipment and material need maintenance that can be provided only by an installerwith an exclusive right. In such cases the purchase contract is negotiated on particularlyadvantageous terms, but the maintenance is later carried out under conditions imposed bythe supplier. This technique is encountered particularly in contracts involving computers andoffice equipment. Another technique along similar lines is the purchase of state-of-the-artequipment that is incompatible with the decision-makers existing equipment. At some point,the decision-maker will be obliged either to make expensive modifications to make existingequipment compatible or to replace it completely.3. Mechanisms used in the awarding of the contract:The most frequent offences in the awarding of contracts involve circumventing theapplication of regulations. The main techniques to conceal corruption are splitting contracts,reducing publicity, misusing procedure and skewing selection criteria.
Split contracts:This method consists of splitting a large contract into several smaller ones that are notsubject to public procurement regulations. The same firm does all the work but the billsare submitted under different company names. In the case of several companies taken over by acompetitor, this is very easy, as acquired companies maintain their own distinct identity.Reduced publicity:Splitting contracts can also reduce competition, especially from foreign firms by circumventingthe requirement for publication of calls for tender (in the Official Journal of the European Union,for example). Fraudulent operators can reduce publicity in other ways, such as publication in ajournal with limited circulation or in domestic journals only or by making false claims ofurgency that requires a shorter tender period. Wrongdoers can eliminate publicity entirely byusing as justification spurious legal grounds such as state secrecy, exclusive rights, research orexperimental work or additional supplies.Misuse of procedure:There are two types of misuse of procedure that deserve particular attention: an open butinconclusive call for tenders and a restricted call for tenders. Given that it is difficult to know theoutcome of an open call for tenders, and in order to reduce the risk of an unknown bidder beatinga favorite, the tender procedure is replace end by a negotiated procedure. The reason generallyput forward for not awarding a contract on completion of the tender procedure is that the biddersprices exceed the total envelope available. A restricted call for tenders is justified in principle bythe technical complexity of the operation or by the existence of patents or exclusive processes.However, the procedure may be misused in order to eliminate rivals, since in some caseswork is sub-contracted to firms that do not have the required qualifications.This proceduremay also give rise to conspiracies between candidates on a list of possible renderers. It is a realdanger, since mergers and acquisitions have reduced the number of specialists, whether forworks, supplies or services. It can also be noted that it may be perilous to try to break up aconspiracy, since the claimed "victims" can bring a complaint against the decision-maker forfavoritism.Biased criteria:Some of the bid selection criteria contained in public procurement regulations may bedeliberately chosen for their subjective nature, enabling the classification of bids to be changed.This is the case, for example, with the "architectural aspect" or "environmental appropriateness"of a project. The criteria may also be revised by the members of the awarding commission whenthe bids are opened, for example by creating or modifying weightings allocated to each criterionor by adding further criteria.Inability or failure to apply penalties:In certain cases it may prove impossible to sanction failure to comply withspecifications, either because the necessary clauses have been removed from the contract orbecause the decision-maker does not enforce them.
Omission of mandatory clauses:Mandatory clauses are sometimes inexplicably omitted from the specifications orcontractual documents, especially the general administrative terms. They are often penaltyclauses for non-compliance with terms or conditions of the contract, such as misseddeadlines, modification of equipment between order and delivery, obvious computationalerrors, etc. These omissions cannot be mere oversight, because the master documents used todraw up the contract contain all these clauses; and several deliberate steps must be taken in orderto eliminate them.Non-enforcement of penalty clauses:Where penalty clauses do exist, fraudulent intent may be revealed by the contractingauthoritys failure to take action against contractual non-compliance. If the amount of workhas been wrongly estimated or essential services have not been provided, the fault generally lieswith the contractor, design firm, technical controller, etc. and not with the contracting authority.Yet no steps are taken to sanction the initiators, despite the contractors claims and the needfor supplements to t he initial contract. On the contrary, as the initiators‟ profits areproportionate to the volume of work, they are actually rewarded for their faults.