And do not eat up one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, deceiving), nor give bribery to the rulers that you may knowingly eat up part of the property of others sinfully (2:188)
Bribery is one way of consuming Harām (unlawful income).
A bribe refers to anything offered to anyone in authority to obtain a decision in one’s favour, or against a rival. Usually, this means that a bribe is given to expedite some matter or to delay that of one’s competitor.
Islam has prohibited Muslims from bribing government officials, their subordinates or anyone else in an authoritative position. It has also prohibited the latter to accept it and forbids that any third party should arrange matters between the givers and takers of bribes.
- Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “Allah’s curse is on the one who offers bribes and on the judge who accepts it.”
- Hadhrat Thawbān رضي الله عنه said: Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم cursed the one who offers bribes, the one who receives it, and the one who arranges it.
- Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn al-’Ās رضي الله عنه has narrated that he heard Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم saying, “Fornication will not appear among any people without their being punished by famine, and bribery will not appear among any people without their being punished by terror.”
- Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم sent ‘Abdullah Ibn Rawāhah رضي الله عنه to the Jews to estimate what they owed as tax on their date cultivation. The Jews offered him some money. He told them, “What you have offered as a bribe is HARAAM and we do not accept it.”
It is not surprising that Islam has prohibited bribery. The escalation of bribery in society leads to corruption and oppression, unjust decisions are made and just ones are ignored and undeserving persons are promoted and deserving ones are deprived. All this will eventually breed greed and cruelty.
Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over US $ 1-trillion annually. (Wikipedia)
Here follows some examples of how bribery takes place.
- We are in a long queue, several places behind, and we simply offer a few extra Rands to a mediator who can get our work done quicker.
- The government announces a new housing scheme where homes are to be allocated to the public. However, we find that the majority of the people get their homes quickly, without any hassle whatsoever. How? By bribing government officials.
- Candidates are ready to pay large sums of money to get a particular job, irrespective of being qualified or not. The person qualified for the position thus ends up jobless and miserable.
- Most elections for positions of authority today involve bribery in one form or another.
- Admissions to institutions (universities, top-notch schools etc.) are easier for people who have money to bribe.
THE EFFECTS OF BRIBERY
- Destroys fairness in society. Protection of wealth, dignity, and life cannot be assured. All can be bought.
- The number of competent, skilful and knowledgeable people will decline as skills becomes meaningless. The skill to bribe is more important.
- Slow response and management. People will delay a task to wait for higher bribes. Approvals may take longer if the executives at each level desire bribes before processing an application etc.
- Snowball effect. The person who takes bribes enjoys it and feeds his family with it. Eventually the whole family becomes addicted to easy money.
- Imbalance in the distribution of wealth. The rich will become richer and the poor will become poorer. The poor will face enormous difficulties in improving their lives since they do not have enough money to bribe.
Run after the Dunya and it will run away from you, run away from the Dunyah and it will follow you like your shadow. (Hassan Basri رحمه الله )